I've been waiting for Verizon to cough this up into their phone lineup since I learned about it in February. Initially slated for an April release, it then got pushed to May, then June, and finally
July. I adored the Prada phone that LG produced in their European and Asian markets, but me being a Verizon customer and the Prada being a GSM phone meant that union was not to be.

(My laptop is generously providing the backdrop to these pictures. The racing stripe makes it run faster.)

Look, you can see my plants!

This being my first "smartphone," I was worried it would be big and clunky. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's really not that much longer or thicker than my old Razr (or as I like to call it, that piece-of-shit phone). It's definitely clutch purse-friendly, ladies.

Another one of my concerns was the pure touch-screen format. I'm not the most graceful person in the world and I was worried I'd be fat-fingering all over its sleek little interface, much like an awkward 14-year-old at his first hormonally-charged co-ed dance. After doing the little calibration exercise they set up when you first turn on the phone, though, I found very little difficulty navigating my way around the menus and tapping out text messages. The text messaging feature is especially nice, because if you flip the phone to its long side a full qwerty keyboard appears to facilitate typing. Flipping it back to its short side produces the standard phone pad. Other fun features include drag-and-drop menu customization and USB data storage (once you snag a microSD card for the phone, which doesn't come standard but you can get at least a gig for cheap anywhere that does computer products). It's also a full-function mp3 player, although I won't be using it for one since I already have an ipod for that. I did however download the entire music suite from Super Mario 1, 2, 3, Super Mario World, and Super Mario RPG into it. I'm retarded like that.

Speaking of music, I was trying to put new ringtones into the phone (Verizon's standard ringtone offerings are notoriously awful) and found that while Verizon has an application to access and download new ringtones, the Dare is still so new that they haven't made a ringtone app for it yet. So Verizon, I will say this to you right now: I wanted to be legit. I wanted to go to your store, access your ringtones, pay you money, and download them straight to my phone. I really did. Your lack of available software for a phone that was initially slated for an April release date forced me into Hacking Your Matrix in order to put my own ringtones into your product. I hope you're happy.

Ringtone drama aside, I'm very enamored of the LG Dare. Some of the negative things I've heard about it (slow interface, clunky touch-screen) may be the result of people not calibrating their screens properly, or maybe having really big fingers. I find using my fingernail to tap things produces the best results. I've had it for about 3 days now and I keep finding features about it that make me go "oh, that's really neat!" Highly recommended for people like me who aren't totally corporate yet and might not need something as crazy as a Blackberry or a Treo, but who still want a little more than a standard phone can offer.

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