Motorola V265 Review| By Allen Tsai
Think of the word "clamshell" and what comes to mind? The classic StarTac of the 90s? The more recent best selling V600? Or perhaps the revolutionary RAZR V3? Regardless of which came to mind, one thing remains certain, Motorola is synonymous with timeless flip phone design.
Lately, Motorola has been aggressively designing a flurry of new phones in an attempt to gain market share, and the V265 is the latest release. Built-on a polished design complete with integrated camera, the V265 provides multimedia messaging resources, speakerphone and advanced speech recognition, and location based service capabilities.
Add to this high processing speeds, entertainment and application versatility, and a large storage capacity, makes the Motorola V265 a phone for both professional and personal needs.
The urban chic and sophisticated design of the V265 is sure to attract refined consumers.
With the flip closed, it's black finish and uncluttered exterior is simple yet elegant. On the front, the external grayscale screen displays basic information such as time, network status, and battery strength. And a lens for the integrated VGA camera sits above it, able to snap images of up to 640 x 480 px.
The sides contain quick access to useful functions as well. Along the left side of the V265 are volume keys used to adjust earpiece and ringer volume, and a speakerphone key used to enable handsfree mode.
Advanced voice recognition functions can also be activated with the press of a key on the right side. With Motorola's new speaker independent feature, users can find contact names without having to touch the keypad or pre-recording a name. While pressing and holding allows users to record comments, contacts, and shortcut names.
Outlets for attaching items are located along the top and bottom of the phone. The top contains an outlet jack for a headset, while the bottom contains the charger and accessory ports.
Flipped open, the V265 reveals an internal 128 x 128 px CSTN (Color Super-Twist Nematic) screen capable of displaying up to 65K colors. While a 5-way direction keypad is used to navigate through menu structures.
The Motorola V265's built-in 330K pixel VGA camera is able to capture photos at sizes of either Small - QQVGA (160 x 120 px), Medium - QVGA (320 x 240 px), or Large - VGA (640 x 480 px) resolutions, while providing 24-bit color depth at 16 million colors.
The upper part of the internal display functions as the viewfinder. While the lower displays useful information such as available memory. Up and down navigation on the directional keypad act as the controls for the 4X digital zoom.
It should be noted that digital zoom is not "true" zoom such as optical zoom. A digitally zoomed image will not actually zoom in with the lens, but rather crop the image to make it larger. So picture quality decreases. Due to the compact size of phones, the moving parts required for optical zoom are not yet available.
Should users want to take self-portraits, or just be included in the pictures, a mirror is used. Other functions include Self-Timer, and Auto-Focus. Additionally, extra camera tools allow users to fine tune and adjust their photos. Some features integrated include Contrast Adjustment, and Image Style (Color, Black and White, Antique, or Negative).
Approximate image file sizes are 50 KB for VGA, 16K for QVGA, and 3 KB for QQVGA. Pictures stored on the internal memory would be dynamically allocated along with other applications and multimedia.
Released exclusively for the Verizon Wireless, the V265 is built on a tri-band AMPS 800 / CDMA 800 / 1900 network.
Motorola rated the V265's 820 mAh Li-Ion battery at 160 hours of standby and 3.5 hours of talk time. However, those are under optimal conditions.
When handset manufacturers and mobile phone carriers list talk-time and standby-time ratings, they usually include disclaimers about variable performance and often refer to the times they publish as maximum times. Some quote expected battery life ranges, and in this case you're probably safe to assume you'll experience at least the minimum rated range. Actual talk and standby times are lower.
With most external screens being full color, the V265's STN (Super Twisted Nematic) 96 x 32 px grayscale display is behind the market. However, it does have its advantages. Grayscale consumes much less power and can prolong the battery life of the phone. Since the external screen is most used to access quick information such as time, caller ID, or network status, many people might prefer longer battery life to color.
When using the main display, the internal screen is capable of displaying 65K colors at 128 x 128 px. Unfortunately, the internal screen is rather small relative to other screens today. Additionally, the V265's display is STN rather than the more expensive TFT (Thin Film Transistor). TFT has advantages over STN matrices by allowing quick response and refresh rates.
STN, as opposed to TFT, needs to scan each pixel location, rather than having the circuit transistors placed directly on the glass. This results in less vivid displays, and slower response times and fast refresh rates.
The Motorola V265 has the ability to play polyphonic ringtones of up to 64 simultaneous chords. The number of simultaneous chords playable has been steadily increasing within the industry. With more chords, more realistic sounds are capable by overlaying several instruments, and the V265's 64 chords are top of the line.
Additionally, for users who want the most realistic sounding tones, MP3 ringtones are preferred, which the V265 supports.
Conventional ringtones utilize the MIDI file format, which recreates sounds by essentially playing "musical notes." Thus the more simultaneous chords that could be overlay meant more realistic sounding ringtones. MP3s on the other hand are not "sheet music," but rather straight recordings.
As for other audio capabilities, the V265 has speakerphone and advanced voice recognition functions. With the speaker independent voice dial feature, there is no need to record a voice dial if the caller recipient is in the phonebook. Without so much as a pause, the V265 will automatically match the name spoken to the name in the phonebook, and even asks if users want the mobile, home or work number.
The V265 contains standard text messaging features including SMS (Short Messaging Service), EMS (Enhanced Messaging Service), and MMS (Multimedia Message Service).
EMS allows consumers to send text, pictures, and sounds in easy-to-create messages. Adopted by several leading phone manufacturers, EMS makes it possible for users to add text formatting such as style, size, alignment, and paragraphs.
For multimedia messaging, MMS goes one step further by allowing users access attach real pictures, sound, and time-based sequencing. With true communicative versatility users can say it in words, photos, animation, and sounds.
Now, instead of sending plain text messages, creative users can design messages for those special occasions. Animated birthday message with a recorded greeting or digital vacation postcards with attached photos are easily made by combining photographs taken with the phone's built-in camera and a bit of creativity. With the V265, limitless arrangements of photography and personalized messaging are possible.
Messages can be typed quicker with predictive text. Instead of having to press keys several times for a letter, software on the phone chooses from a dictionary of words and phrases to anticipate what is being written. However, instead of the more widely used T9 standard, the V265 features the Lexicus Software iTAP method. Essentially both are very similar, but loyal T9 users may find it difficult to break old habits.
Preinstalled software on the V265 includes common everyday applications such as Alarm Clock, Datebook, Notepad, and Voice Recorder. Gaming is already a popular feature in cell phones nowadays, and with Java, users can add new games to further enhance the V265. But while most of today's phones use the more popular J2ME (Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition) standard, the V265 uses the BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless).
From a consumer standpoint, both are virtually identical. However, since J2ME is the more popular platform, it is more versatile in the number of games and applications available. But that's not to say BREW is lacking. Users will have a significant quantity to choose from.
Installation files can be transferred to the V265 from a PC or through the web. However, unfortunately BREW is not as popular a platform as J2ME, so there is less software to choose from. However transferring through PC seems inconvenient due to the lack of connectivity options prevalent in Verizon phones.
Conveniently though, Verizon Wireless utilizes its network to bring users games, productivity tools, wallpapers, ring tones, and more with Get It Now. For a minimal fee, users can transfer multimedia at the touch of a button.
getIM, getEMAIL and getBROWSING require a monthly access free, plus airtime. And download charges for getTONES, getGAMES, getGOING, getPIX and getFLIX vary by application and airtime charges apply when browsing, downloading, and using certain applications.
An integrated web browser renders pages using the an Openwave UP 6.2 browser; built upon markup languages of WAP 2.0 - WML, xHTML Mobile (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) and xHTML Basic.
The V265 is also capable of transferring at higher speeds while browsing or downloading through Verizon Wireless' cdma2000 1xRTT service. Short for single carrier (1x) radio transmission technology, cdma2000 1xRTT is a 3G wireless technology based on the CDMA platform, and has the capability of providing ISDN-like speeds of up to 144 kbps.
Internal memory is dynamically shared among the V265's 3.8 MB of available storage. Therefore, free space is dependant upon the amount of images, audio, contacts, messages, and third party applications stored.
The V265's memory is rather generous compared to most phones which range from 1 to 2 MB. However the lack of an expansion card slot means users who run out will need to remove some items.
Most phones are able to transfer multimedia through Bluetooth or infrared. The Motorola V265 is not one of them. In fact, a data cable accessory will need to be purchased separately to have PC connectivity.
For the office professional, Mobile Office Kit is also available for purchase, allowing users to connect a laptop onto Verizon Wireless' NationalAccess network. It includes a Mobile Office Configuration CD, USB Driver CD, USB Connector Cable, and Quick Start Guide.
However, users wishing to purchase a phone with better connectivity on the Verizon Wireless Network will be hard pressed to find one. It seems to be common trend among Verizon phones to provide minimal transfer capabilities, while conveniently providing the Get It Now menu.
The Motorola V265 is not bulletproof by any means. There are certain strengths and weaknesses that will appeal and ward off consumers.
Among its strengths is undoubtedly its sleek and attractive design. The black exterior provides a simple and refined sense of sophistication.
But while most screens have large TFT screens, the V265 is behind the competition. CSTN and STN screens have a drawback of "ghosting" at times, due to slow refresh rates.
Ghosts appear when the screen cannot refresh fast enough, and faded remnants of the previous screen don't disappear immediately. While this may not be a problem for less graphics intensive usage, it may pose a problem for fast paced games or in viewfinder mode.
With Verizon's Get It Now pay-per-download service, users wishing to customize their V265 may need to pay extra fees. Fees that could have been avoided with the addition of Bluetooth, infrared, or a supplied data cable.
Regardless, the V265 will most likely appeal to business consumers. Its slim and understated design is stylish without drawing undue attention compared to other bulky phones or ones with too much flash.
Additionally, productive features such as SMS, EMS, and MMS messaging allow people to communicate effectively, while BREW downloadable applications let consumers to add software tools. Furthermore, the voice-activated commands and speakerphone make handsfree operation more powerful and versatile than most other phones, making it the ideal solution for the workplace. The V265 was released for Verizon Wireless in mid November and has a suggested retail price of $150 with a plan. ♦
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