Voyager Versus iPhone

Category: Mobile

Some people are calling the new LG Voyager a potential iPhone killer. I'm considering buying the Voyager so I'd like your take on how it stacks up against the Apple iPhone.

LG Voyager touchscreen

Voyager Better than iPhone?

I have to admit it. I'm loving my new LG Voyager. I initially held off from the iPhone because of the high price and the hoopla, and I am now glad I did. Let's look at the Voyager and its advantages.

Starting off with its specs, the Voyager is 4.64 by 2.12 by 0.71-inches, while the touchscreen measures 2.81-inches. Weighing 4.69 oz, that's about half an ounce lighter than the iPhone although it is slightly larger (.18") and doesn't have the pizzazz. Both internal and external displays have a 400 x 240 pixel resolution with over 260,000 colors and a QVGA resolution.

The outer touchscreen features shortcut icons to send a text, open contacts, or access the main menu. When you touch the screen, a little vibration provides tactile feedback. If you opt to text message there, you can enter both numbers and letters and contact multiple recipients at once, an advantage over the iPhone. There is a 1,000-contact phone book with room for five phone numbers and two e-mail addresses each.

Although Verizon is saying that the Voyager is not a smartphone, it does offer a calendar, alarm and world clock, stopwatch, notepad, an audio memo recorder, even a couple of calculators. Add to that speaker-independent dial-up and voice commands. Although there are not as many applications as there are on the iPhone, give it time. The Voyager does support web-based email services like AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail. I tried mobile Gmail on my Voyager, and found that it works pretty well. Verizon is promising to roll out improvements to the Voyager, and I'm hoping they will allow third-party apps as well. In the meantime, you can access a variety of online apps through the Voyager's web browser.

Oh, and if you're disappointed that Voyager does not handle Flash games, there are some workarounds to make Flash work. I won't go into the details here, but you can find lots of help if you do a google search for "lg voyager flash games".

Voyager Has a Real Qwerty Keyboard

LG Voyager phone Like its sibling, the LG Envy, the Voyager has a full QWERTY keyboard, and the keys are large enough for most fingers. This is particularly helpful for texting and web browsing. If you find it frustrating to compose messages on the standard numeric keypad found on most phones, you'll enjoy having a complete keyboard with easy access to punctuation and symbols. It's too small to do any serious touch typing, but still a step up. Since the iPhone doesn't flip open, it has no keyboard, so all text entry must be done on the touchscreen. I also like the Voyager's multi-media support (MMS) for sending images, audio, video, and rich text, something the iPhone cannot do.

Audio, Video and Other Goodies

Voyager lacks the ability to connect to a wireless network, but downloading music, video or web pages with Verizon's 3G network connectivity is fast. On the iPhone, if you're not in a WiFi zone, you're stuck with the antiquated AT&T Edge network, which will slow any online activity to a snail's pace. Verizon also has better coverage in the U.S. than AT&T, which may also factor into your decision.

Voyager can receive eight channels of Vcast Mobile TV for $15 a month. There are also stereo speakers and a small retractable antenna for better reception. Of course, a headphone input is also on the Voyager for keeping your listening private.

Like the iPhone, the Voyager's 2 megapixel camera with zoom has no flash, but plenty of other adjustment options are available such as brightness. I was very happy with the picture quality, especially compared to the awful pix that came out of my old 1.3mp RAZR's camera. And yes, Voyager can record video. iPhone lacks a video recording feature.

A GPS application is also integrated into the system. Verizon's GPS V2 Navigator, with turn-by-turn directions, talk-back, and real-time traffic data is available for an extra charge of $10/month or $3 for a single day. I tried the Navigator on a recent trip from NYC to Boston, and found it very capable. I even asked myself if having a standalone GPS unit in the car was worthwhile. Over the course of 3 years, I'd spend about $360 on Verizon's $10/month plan, which is about what you'd pay for a decent dashboard GPS. But after 2-3 years, that old clunker would be obsolete, both from a technology and a map data standpoint. The Navigator in my Voyager phone would automatically update itself, because it's all software. And unlike my Garmin, the phone fits nicely in a pocket.

Storage-wise, the Voyager comes with 180MB of shared memory. While the iPhone has 8GB, the Voyager can be expanded to the same amount with a microSD card slot for an additional $99. When it comes to battery life, expect up to 240 minutes of talk time and 480 hours of standby. The iPhone has a longer lasting battery, but it's not removable or replaceable. Since you cannot open the case or buy a third-party battery, you must send your iPhone to Apple and pay $79 to replace the battery. Voyager uses a standard 1500 mAh Lithium Ion battery, which you can buy for around $35.

One annoyance with the Voyager is that the speakerphone does not work with the flip closed. It seems like it should, because you can play MP3's through the speakers with the flip closed. If you want to make a call and use the speakerphone, you'll have to do it with the flip open.

For completeness, I should add that the iPhone user interface is cooler than the Voyager. Yes, the Voyager has a touch screen, but somehow it's not as slick. Scrolling is smoother on the iPhone, and the Voyager can't do cool things like resize photos with a pinch or a pull. And somehow, the interface on the outside doesn't seem to match the interface when the flip is open. But still it's very usable and friendly.

Voyager and iPhone Costs Compared

Finally, let's check out the bottom lines. While the iPhone will cost you $300.00 these days, Verizon has an online price of $299 after a $50 instant rebate. If you have a new-every-two contract, you can knock another $100 of that price. AT&T's iPhone plans start at $59.99 for 450 minutes of talk and unlimited Internet. Verizon offers 900 minutes for the same price, but unlimited Web access costs an extra $15/month. Verizon now has unlimited texting, Internet access, and minutes for $100. As far as I know AT&T does not offer an unlimited voice plan, topping out at $99.99 for 1,350 minutes monthly.

Personally, I'm very happy with my LG Voyager. The price was right, it makes phone calls, does text messages, takes pictures and video, and can get a high-speed web connection almost anywhere. But I'd like to hear from you... especially if you've tried both the Voyager and the iPhone. Post a comment below and tell me why you like one better than the other.

 
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Most recent comments on "Voyager Versus iPhone"

Posted by:

Nate
09 May 2008

How does the Samsung Instinct stand up against these two?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I have not tested the Instinct, but it looks comparable to the Voyager. I'm planning to do a review of the Samsung Instinct this week -- stay tuned.


Posted by:

Jim
05 Jun 2008

Can you use the Voyager with and AT&T plan?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I think it's Verizon only. LG Voyager is CDMA-based, and ATT is GSM, so I don't think it will work.


Posted by:

Jeff Smith
13 Sep 2008

Hi Bob, Nice review of the Voyager. You left out a few features though. Currently I am using LG 9900 eNV. While not a Smartphone it is the best phone I ever owned. It is the complete Message Station. I download my most important emails every hour. After every sweep if it downloads mail it will vibrate and give a quick ring. Then I keep track of 10 POP3 emails manually through another entirely different email package. Then there's great front screen with the numeric pad and the ability to access all phones functions. Open it up and there's a large display with a full QWERTY keyboard. I can send text,picture, and video messages or emails. It is like owning the worlds smallest Laptop if you want to stretch it. Of course my next phone is going to be a Voyager. However I was talking with Verizon Support and it seems like they have come out with a model better than the Voyager?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Maybe the LG Dare?


Posted by:

Dave Vandewark
13 Nov 2008

Ive got an LG Voyager, and i think that there really nice. i also had an iphone for a while and eventually got rid of it. I would have to say overall i prefer the voyager because of a few key problems with the iphone. mainly i think that the iphone was mis-marketed. it is fun and has alot of cool features but would have been better marketed as a plam pc its great for checking emails listening to music browsing the web and such but as a phone it lacks in usability. the voyager on the other hand accomplishes that phone aspect with the incorporation of the full keyboard. it makes texting and web browsing much simpler. like i said though iphone good product just not a great phone. i would suggest any one interested to just keep there old phone (or buy a voyager) and pick up an itouch (the iphone with out phone service) its got everything great about the iphone with out the phone itself.


Posted by:

Anthony
28 Apr 2009

I have a question. What is a very cheap phone with good quality that is similar to the Voyager or the Envy 1 or 2. Also possibly strong with a long lasting batter and good service and good plans for unlimited texting? I was considering the Verizon Blitz but I'm not sure. THANK YOU!


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