What's hot: Good GPS performance. Works in the US and overseas.
What's not: Voice quality isn't good. The speakerphone sounds blown.
Reviewed September 28, 2009 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
The Verizon Wireless Escapade is a voice-centric phone made by PCD. This flip phone has CDMA and works exclusively on Verizon's digital CDMA 1X networks in the U.S., and it's also a quad band GSM phone for overseas use. Note that you can't use the GSM radio in the US. The Verizon Wireless Escapade is designed for those who travel overseas often and their main task for the phone is to make voice calls. The Escapade has built-in Bluetooth for mono headsets; aGPS that works with VZ Navigator and a 2-megapixel camera that takes only still images. Since the phone doesn't have EV-DO for fast data, it doesn't support Verizon's V CAST Music, V CAST Video nor does it come with a media player. The Bluetooth doesn't support A2DP, as music playback isn't a built-in option. The Escapade is also missing a microSD card slot.
The Verizon Wireless Escapade has a standard clamshell design and weighs 3.4 ounces. The phone has a 2 inch 262K color main display and a 1.1" 65K color CSTN external display. The standard backlit number keypad is flat but the numbers are large, though not Jitterbug large. The menu keys include two shoulder buttons, a dedicated speaker launcher and a messaging launcher. The d-pad is a decent size but it's also flat and isn't the greatest for playing certain action games.
Side buttons include camera launcher, voice command key and volume rocker. The ports include charging, 2.5mm headset jack and a phone charm holder. The side keys are easy to press accidentally, especially the volume keys as they protrude from the side of the phone.
The Verizon Wireless Escapade gets decent signal strength on 1X but not exceptional. In strong coverage areas, the phone shows full signal strength, but it gets a weaker than average signal in areas that lack very strong coverage. That said, we didn't have any dropped calls even when the signal was very weak. The voice quality is subpar: it has noticeable digital distortion and muddied voice on both incoming and outgoing ends. The earpiece is quite loud and it would be a great phone for noisy places if the call quality were better. The Escapade sounded a bit better via 2.5mm headset, though the package doesn't come with a headset. The speakerphone is very loud, but voice quality isn't good. Our unit's speakerphone sounded very blown even when the volume was turned to medium and low.
The Verizon Wireless Escapade has a phone book that can store up to 500 contacts, and comes with Nuance's excellent voice command software. Voice dialing worked like a charm on the Escapade via both the phone and Bluetooth mono headsets.
Price (no rebate required)
The Verizon Wireless Escapade has a full messaging client that supports SMS, picture mail (MMS), web-based email, IM and Chat. The phone also has the Openwave web browser that works with WAP sites and offers basic web browser features such as managing the cache, history, bookmarks and more. It displays full HTML in a single column. Additional PIM tools include calendar, calculator, tip calculator, alarm clock, stopwatch, world clock, unit converter, and notepad.
The Verizon Wireless Escapade has a built-in GPS that works with Verizon's VZ Navigator smoothly. The GPS gets a fix quickly and tracked our route in the car smoothly. Routing trips and re-routing work well in VZ Navigator and turn-by-turn directions are on target. The 3D map display has occasional delays over 1X but it's still very useable. It's too bad the Escapade's blown-sounding speakerphone spoils an otherwise strong GPS and navigation experience. The Verizon Wireless Escapade also supports Verizon's Chaperone service based on location info.
The Verizon Wireless Escapade has a 2 megapixel camera that can capture still images only, there's no video recording. The camera takes pleasant pictures by 2 megapixel camera phone standards, and offers self-timer, white balance, color effects and shutter sound settings. Since the phone doesn't have a microSD card slot, it saves the pictures to phone's internal memory (57MB is available). The Escapade offers options to send the pictures as a picture message or to the online album, though when we took pictures at the maximum 2 megapixel resolution (1600 x 1200), the phone said the file size exceeds both messaging and uploading max file size. Thus there appears to be no way to get max resolution photos off the phone (how 90's!).
The Verizon Wireless Escapade has a rechargeable Li-Ion battery that's 920 mAh in capacity. The battery runtime isn't stellar for a phone that doesn't have EV-DO or a large display, reaching 3-3.5 hours in talk time and about a week in standby. But that's not horrendous either. Because the phone is for the world travelers, it comes with a world charger and a variety of international prong adapters.
For traveling professionals, having the same phone that works in the U.S. and overseas is not only convenient but sometimes crucial for business. The Verizon Wireless Escapade would be the perfect voice-centric world phone for Verizon Wireless customers if it didn't fall short on voice quality and speakerphone quality. The GPS works well with Verizon's VZ Navigator; voice command, messaging and PIM tools are all there. The phone plays games and the camera takes decent pictures though there's no easy way to get them off the phone and onto your computer. While Verizon offers BlackBerry world phones such as the BlackBerry Tour and the BlackBerry Storm, and Windows Mobile world phones such as the HTC Touch Pro2, entry-level world phones with affordable prices and plans are hard to come by. We only wish the voice quality was better on the Escapade.
Networking: Bluetooth v2.0. Bluetooth Profiles Supported: Headset, Hands-free, Phonebook Access and Object Push for VCard.
Software: Verizon UI. Openwave web browser, Web-based email and IM on board. PIM tools include Contacts, Calculator, Tip Calculator, Calendar, Alarm Clock, Stop Watch, World Clock, Unit Converter and Notepad.
In the Box: The Escapade phone with standard battery, AC charger with 3 international power plug adapters, a SIM card and printed guides.