Motorola V70 - White silver (Unlocked) Cellular Phone Reviews
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Motorola V70 - White silver (Unlocked) Cellular Phone

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V70 : The phone that gets other people's attention!

Aug 13, 2002 (Updated Jul 3, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Durability:
  • Clarity:
  • Portability:
  • Battery Life:

Pros:Small, stylish, excellent signal reception, attention getter, light, customizable

Cons:Small, looks fragile, microphone quality, Headphone jack interference

The Bottom Line: Above average phone that doesn't beat out the V60 is several aspects... but wins in overall style, size, and weigh categories. Not worth it if you pay over $150 however.


I now have the V70, the phone I was supposed to get with my cellular plan instead of the V60G. In some ways, the V70 is a superior cell phone... in other ways, the V60G was a better phone than the V70.

I've got to say though, the V70 catches anyone attention. Just taking out the phone had people coming up to ask me about the phone. Everyone was impressed with the size and weight of this phone. The swivel motion of the phone instantly had eyes turn upon my phone.

As for the price when I got the phone, it is exclusively available only to Cingular Wireless GSM cellular service for the immediate future. The phone costs $399 directly from Cingular with a $100 mail-in rebate. The phone cost me $299 from Best Buy with a 30% promotion and $30 mail-in rebate from Best Buy and the $100 mail-in rebate from Cingular. I got very lucky at that time!

Update: 7/3/03. However, the phone was more widely available now... T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless GSM services also offer the phone. The phone is no longer carried by Cingular at this time. On top of all this, the phone costs much less... even free... and at times gives you back money on the deal.

The Short Take

Overall, this is an above average monochrome screen phone that isn't as feature rich as the V60G phone but wins in some important categories... mainly signal reception, size, weight, and style (and maybe the screen). There are definitely features that I miss from the V60G like the voice annotations, bigger screen, and easier to open flip design rather than the swivel design. Still, I hardly notice the phone in its diminutive leather (or leather like) belt case.

There are several potential problems with this phone. People with large hands or those with difficulty with small objects and buttons will find quite a few problems on the V70. The buttons are also quite small to match the phone's small size. The design of the phone close up makes the phone look a bit cheap with the translucent plastic parts. The new design of a swivel front also brings into question the durability of the phone... it may be durable or a diaster, only time will tell.

There is a major downside to this phone, use of a handsfree set is particularly disappointing. The closeness of the jack to the antenna sets up all types of interference problems in this phone! When I use the handsfree set, I get either an enormous amount of static or a high pitched whine that drowns out the person you're talking to. It doesn't affect the transmission of your voice to the person you'll calling however. This wasn't a problem with the headset since I tried three different headsets with the same results. I also tried the same headsets on a V60 Motorola with no problems!

Pros:

1) Stylish phone
2) Extremely lightweight
3) Swivel cover to open phone
4) Can access functions with phone swivel closed and headset attached
5) Easy to read display even in daylight
6) Very small phone
7) LCD is always external to give you all the information on the phone without swiveling it open
8) Voice activated calling
9) Excellent signal reception
10) Very limited organizer functions
11) Limited datebook
12) Calculator built-in
13) Nice case included with package

Cons:

1) Phone may be too small for some people
2) Buttons on phone are small as well
3) No high capacity battery available yet... but it may ruin the dimensions of the phone.
4) Occasional echo on internal microphone
5) Severely dimished sound quality through headset that makes using a handsfree set unusable!
6) User interface not as easy as Nokia phones
7) Some of the translucent plastic parts may ruin the look of the phone for some
8) Horrible games (the same ones on the V60G)
9) No voice annotation for notes feature like the V60G (You do have voice annotation for voice recognition dialup!)

Details

The actual dimensions of the phone are 3.7 x 1.5 x .72 in and 2.93 oz! This may be the smallest and lightest phones on the market today. Most people mistook the V70 for a MP3 player of watch until they saw me swivel open the phone. The key cover can be swiveled around the circular LCD screen a full 360 degrees... but you must swivel the cover by 180 degrees if you want to talk on the phone. At any other angle, the connections to the speaker on the cover to the appropriate areas on the base phone and you won't hear the caller without a headset attached to the system. You can access other features of the phone as long as you swivel the cover away from the keys.

The phone is usable on GSM networks only. However, as I said before, only Cingular Wireless is selling this phone for use. I do not know how compatible it would be on other GSM run networks like VoiceStream/T-Stream but I suspect the phone would run under AT&T's GSM network (Can't verify that however).

The phone consists of a 5 line black LCD screen with text and icons in an ivory white color that turns sky blue with the backlighting. It is easy to easy even in bright sunlight and is quite clear as well. The top line is for signal strength and battery life. The bottom line indicates which function that each of the three buttons below the screen (on the bezel) is for. The bezel itself can be changed to different color bezels (if you purchased additional bezels for the phone).

When the phone is swiveled closed, the phone has only four buttons and a two way rocker accessible. There is one button on the left side of the phone for volume control of the ringer when the phone is not being used and of the headset volume when the phone is in use. The three buttons on the bezel access the menu and usually the phone book and voice activated calling (both buttons can be set to different functions however). The two way rocker actually just presses on the two way rocker on the keypad under the cover.

When the phone is swiveled open, you don't add much to the length of the phone. You're only increasing the length of the phone by 50%. The phone swiveled open is easier to hold and jam between your head and shoulder. Now you also have access to the keypad, the call button, the stop call button, and the real two way rocker switch. There is no power button on this phone by the way! The buttons have a solid tactile feel but may be considered small by some users. It was quite comfortable to me however. The cover is actually quite thick and makes up 1/4 to a 1/3 of the thickness of the phone. The keys near the bezel of the phone can be difficult to press especially with the depression made from the bezel and swiveling the cover out of the way.

The actual phone is made out of heavy duty translucent white plastic that allows a soft blue LED light to shine through to illuminate the labels for the buttons/keypad. The cover is plated with a magnesium casing (I think) on the outside and the inside (facing the keys when swivel closed) is the translucent plastic. The buttons are all chrome plated. The back of the unit is in two parts both composed of a magnesium plating. The top part is screwed on and contains a rubber plug to what I believe is a port for an external antenna. The bottom part is held by a spring loaded switch and covers the battery. The battery is a normal capacity battery... there is no high capacity battery for the V70 yet. If there was, you would need a new cover (like what Motorola did for the V60 series phones).

You can access some menu options via voice command and even use voice command to call people with the phone flipped closed and a headset attached. You can store 500 numbers into this phone with voice annotations for voice dialing them (up to 20 voice dial registers). You can send messages with this phone and the iTAP software will try to guess the word you're typing it... the phone gets better at it as you use the feature more. There is also a microbrowser if you get that kind of service on your cellular carrier (I don't so I can really say how well the phone handles this). The phone is GPRS compatible. You can set number keys 2-9 to be quick dial keys... i.e. hold down button two and it will dial the fixed number you associated with it. Holding down number 1 will access you own voice mail account without you having to set it up on the phone.

You can also customize the sounds on the phone to one of 32 tunes and a number of vibration ring modes... The manual states that you have an additional 32 registers for custom ring tones. I haven't experimented too far with this feature yet.

You cannot type in quick notes via the keypad and place voice notes into the V70 unlike the V60 series! I actually miss this feature from the V60G.

Volume on the phone is very generous on the internal speaker. The volume was louder than the V60G phone. People I called did not hear any echos when I talked with them. However, I did get an occassional echo from my own voice while using the phone... likely due to how the connections for the speaker on the cover to the base phone unit. Singal reception was outstanding. I was able to receive signals from areas my Nokia did not and I also received weaker signals better than the V60G did! I have found difficulty with signals from Cingular in my own apartment on my Nokia phone but my friends with Motorola phones and the same cullar service did not have such problems!

Using headsets saw a considerable drop in sound reception quality and a slight drop in microphone transmission quality. The V60 had a slight drop in sound reception and microphone transmission as well... but the sound reception was not to this severe a degree! The headset jack is the standard 2.5 mm jack so you should be able to find one easily from a decent store.

The phone maintains the last 10 phone numbers dialed and received through the phone logs. You can even set the phone to automatically forward calls to another number as well.

For the most part, accessories that attach to the port on the V60 also work on the V70. Chargers and the such fit easily into the V70 phone.

Battery life

Battery life is decent with the included battery. The phone would last at almost 2 hours of talk time with a fully charged battery and the factory settings for the backlight and screen contrast. They include a standard travel charger with the V70. The battery takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to fully charge a drained battery. Motorola rates the standard battery at 135-215 minutes of talk time (what a wide range Motorola gives you) and 70-145 hours of standby time (another really wide range). I found on the standard backlight settings (10 secs) in signal strength areas of 3 bars and higher, I talked about 30 minutes and had 36 hours of standby before hitting the last bar out of three.

Note that at this time, there is no high capacity battery available... although I don't think Motorola is planning one anyway. It is also difficult to see this phone with a bulkier battery than the 400mAh battery included in the package.

Update. The phone barely gets me 1 1/2 of talk time now and won't last a day on standby.

Extras

The phone has a built in datebook and calculator. The datebook is marginally useful and the calculator is nice but a bit difficult to use since there are no set keys for the plus, minus, multiply, and divide functions. Looks like I'm not getting rid of my Palm anytime soon.

There are three games on the phone. The only one worth playing was blackjack. The other two... paddleblaster and mindblaster were mindnumbing boring... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The leather or leather like case with belt clip is actually quite nice and compliments the phone well. It is very unobtrusive with a small magnetic closure. The case can be turned to 90, 180, 270 angles to the belt clip to make it less obtrusive on your belt. The phone has not dropped out of this case/holster.

Problems?

The antenna is still quite big on the V70 although not to the extent that of the V60G. The antenna is almost a 1/5 of the length of the phone! I haven't knocked it into anything... YET!

The interface is still a bit difficult to use although much better than previous Motorola setups. Nokia is more user friendly than the Motorola interface... however, it may be that I need to just get used to the Motorola interface.

The headset/handsfree use quality is poor. The volume of voices was low and echos occurred on the headset. It was a significant differencefrom the volume on the phone's actual receiver that I had to take notice!

If you wanted another problem, two of the three games on the phone reek to high heaven.

The major problem of this phone is the price. This phone is exclusive to Cingular Wireless for the near future. Cingular Wireless wants $399 buckaroos for the phone although there is a $100 mail-in rebate until 8/17/02. Best Buy sells the phone for $299 with a $100 mail-in rebate and whatever other Best Buy rebate/promotion is available. The V70 is a GSM only phone, so make sure you get GSM cellular service. Only VoiceStream/T-Stream and AT&T (to a limited area) offer GSM services other than Cingular Wireless (again only to a limited area). The V70 is not capable of the Cingular Nation plans but can run the more limited Cingular Nation Preferred plans.

Final Thoughts

The V70 is a decent phone that can't be beat in size, weight, and stylish good looks. However, it lacks a bit in features compared to older siblings like the V60. I will miss keyed notes and voice annotated notes. The signal reception of the V70 is one of the best I've seen for a cellular phone however, the poor quality reception when used with a handsfree headset is a major disappointment. It looks like Motorola is making a very strong comeback to try to retake the cellular phone crown.

Check my homepage for other reviews I've written. I've reviewed the following:

Motorola V60G
www.cellphoneshop.net (a cheap place to get quality cell phone accessories)
Nokia 5165


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 80postrebate

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