Touchscreen LG Versa with detachable keypad

Not sure whether you want your touchscreen phone to come with a physical QWERTY keypad? Check out the LG Versa, a new handset for Verizon Wireless with a snap-on—or snap-off—keyboard.

Available March 1 for $199 (with a new two-year contract and a $50 mail-in rebate), the 3G/EV-DO-capable Versa bears a passing resemblance to the LG Dare (also on Verizon). Both handsets are about the same shape (4.2 by 2.1 by 0.54 inches, give or take) and boast similar 3-inch touchscreens, complete with on-screen QWERTY keypads.

What caught my eye about the Versa, though, is its leather carrying case—which just so happens to include a full, physical QWERTY keypad, perfect for texters who’d rather tap away at real buttons. Even more interesting (as Nicole Lee at CNET reports), LG and Verizon plan to make more attachments for the Versa, including (maybe) an external speaker or a gaming pad. Cool.

Besides the detachable keypad, the 3.8-ounce Versa also packs in a two-megapixel camera with video capture and face detection, GPS support and turn-by-turn directions via VZ Navigator, Bluetooth, streaming video and full-track music downloads via V Cast, SMS and picture messaging, IM and e-mail, visual voice mail, a 2.5mm headset jack, and Bluetooth. Missing in action: Wi-Fi.

So, what do you think: Like the idea of a touchscreen phone with a detachable keypad (or snap-on speakers, for that matter)? Or would you rather get a handset with a dedicated slide-out keyboard (or no keypad at all)?

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