Offering high sales from its flip phone segment, Motorola is arguably the king of clamshells. And for those who require more, the Motorola V551 delivers quite a package. Complete with a VGA camera with video recording capabilities, EDGE high-speed transfer rates, and Bluetooth wireless technology, the V551 is perhaps one of the most well rounded phones on the market. All within a very affordable price.
Built with a colorized exterior and perforated metal casing, the Motorola V551 is a sleek and colorful phone. When the flip is closed, the front of the V551 features a blue monochrome external display capable of showing time, call information, battery, and signal strength.
A VGA camera lens sits above allowing users to capture photos at the touch of a button at resolutions of up to 640 x 480 px.
Side keys provide convenient access to regularly used functions. On the left side, a Smart Key gives users another way to perform many basic phone functions. It anticipates the next action users are likely to perform. For example, by highlighting a menu item, pressing the Smart Key will select it.
Volume Keys is able to provide multiple functions as well; increasing and decreasing earpiece volume during a call, turning off incoming call alerts, and increasing and decreasing ringer volume.
Along the right, a Voice Key allows convenient access to enabling voice dialing, or recording voice memos.
Outlets for attaching accessories are along the top and bottom of the V551. Accessory connector and charger ports are located on the bottom, while an outlet jack is available on top to attach headphones.
When opened, the main internal screen is revealed. Displaying 65K colors, the V551's internal screen has a resolution of 176 x 220 px. Navigation through the menu structure is provided through the 5-way direction keypad.
Unleash the photographer inside. The Motorola V551 contains the same 330K pixel VGA camera found on other Motorola models; able of capturing photos at sizes of 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.
When taking pictures, the upper portion of the internal display becomes the viewfinder, while the lower portion shows useful information such as available memory. Up and down navigation on the directional keypad act as the controls for the 4X digital zoom.
While not providing "true" zoom, as optical, the Motorola V551 uses digital zoom which will actually crop the image rather than moving closer, so images will not gain in resolution. Due to the compact size of phones, the moving parts required for optical zoom are not yet available.
Other features allow users to adjust light levels, set self-timers, adjust settings and even edit photos. FotoFun Photo Editor is preloaded on the V551, giving users the opportunity to personalize photos by adding clip art and backgrounds to existing images.
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.
For times when a picture just won't do, the Motorola V551 can record up to 15 seconds of video. The V551 supports the MPEG-4, H.263, and AMR Audio formats for video recording and playback at Sub-QCIF 1 (88 x 72 px), Sub-QCIF 2 (128 x 96 px), or Full QCIF (176 x 144 px) resolutions.
Released exclusively for the Cingular Wireless, the Motorola V551 is a quad-band phone (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 GSM), making it truly a world phone, compatible with GSM networks worldwide.
Motorola rated the V551's 820 mAh Li-Ion battery at 225 hours of standby and 3.75 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.
The external screen's blue display is 96 x 32 px. While not full color, like some external displays, the V551's STN (Super Twisted Nematic) monochrome display 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.
However, the internal TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screen is capable of displaying 65K colors at 176 x 220 px . Being TFT, it has advantages over STN matrices by allowing quick response and refresh rates.
TFT active display matrices can achieve more vibrant colors and faster refresh rates due to circuit transistors being placed directly on the glass at the pixel location. STN on the other hand, does not, and requires the scanning of pixel locations. This results in noticeably quicker response times; refresh rates needed for using the V551's screen as a viewfinder during camera mode.
As for polyphonic ringtones, the V551 supports up to 24 simultaneous chords. However, for users who want the most realistic sounding tones, MP3 ringtones are preferred, which the V551 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; allowing users to record audio from any input, whether it be music with lyrics, voice, or sounds.
As for other audio capabilities, the V551 also supports speakerphone for handsfree functionality.
Standard text messaging features including SMS (Short Messaging Service), EMS (Enhanced Messaging Service), and MMS (Multimedia Message Service) are included on the Motorola V551.
For multimedia messaging, MMS goes one step further than conventional text messaging 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.
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.
Wireless Village instant messaging (My Friends) is also included in the V551. It goes beyond previous mobile chat features. The Wireless Village specifications define how the instant messaging provides an open connection with existing IM providers, such as AOL, ICQ, Yahoo and MSN.
The result is a system for sharing personal information about the user's status, (e.g., on-line, off-line, busy), location (home, work), and the moods of their friends and colleagues (happy, angry). In addition, services will allow users to participate in private or public chat rooms with search capabilities. Ultimately network operators will be able to provide meeting and conferencing type of services with shared content.
Preinstalled software on the V551 includes common applications such as Alarm Clock, Datebook, Notepad, and Voice Recorder. Gaming is already a popular feature in cell phones today, and with Java, consumers can install new games. Installation files can be transferred to the V551 from a PC or through the web. And with the popularity of J2ME, there are already plenty of games and applications to choose from.
An integrated web browser renders pages built upon markup languages of WAP 2.0. The Motorola V551 also supports high-speed transfer rates through EDGE (Enhanced Data rate for GSM Evolution). The migration of GSM to EDGE results in less strain on current voice traffic bandwidth and allows for higher transfer rates when downloading multimedia or browsing the web.
Building on existing technology, EDGE allows for more than double existing GPRS rates. While theoretically the Motorola V551 could transfer at burst speeds of up to 200 kbps, average download rates will be about 70 - 135 kbps.
The Motorola V551 has 5.0 MB of internal memory that is dynamically shared. Therefore, free space is dependant upon the amount of images, audio, contacts, messages, and third party applications stored.
The V551's memory is rather generous compared to most phones on the market. However the lack of an expansion card slot means users who run out will need to remove some items.
With a range of 10 meters, consumers can link without cables to headsets, car handsfree equipment, computers, printers, PDAs, digital cameras, and more using Bluetooth technology.
The phone also supports all the latest PAN (Personal Area Network) and OTA (Over-The-Air) technologies for synchronization. For synchronizing between the V551 and a PC, the phone is also SyncML compatible.
SyncML is the common language for synchronizing all devices and applications over any network. With SyncML any personal information, such as email, calendars, to-do lists, contact information and other relevant data, will be consistent, accessible and up to date, no matter where the information is stored.
The Motorola V551 features many mobile features found on high-end phones on the market today; many features which are found on other high-end phones.
Its clean and stylish design, J2ME downloadable games, MP3 ringtones, and VGA camera are attractive to young consumers looking for fun, while the Bluetooth technology, and high-speed EDGE data transfer, and quad-band GSM frequency range will appeal to business consumers. Its design is colorful enough to be distinctive, yet not so wild that it isn't appropriate for the workplace; making it appealing to a wide range of consumers.
Being well-rounded with strengths in multimedia, connectivity, and entertainment, the Motorola V551 is a complete package at an affordable price, something rare in today's marketplace. The Motorola V551 is currently available for Cingular (AT&T Wireless) and has an expected price of $100. ♦
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