A relatively expensive folding world phone with a basic camera, optimized for multimedia messaging and customizing its appearance.
The Motorola V600 is a so-called "world phone", meaning that its quad-band GSM 800/900/1800/1900 MHz wireless voice capability allows users to roam practically anywhere in the world that has decent cellular coverage. Those who travel widely for business, or who are planning to travel extensively for pleasure are the most likely to make full use of this capability; users who won't be crossing any provincial or state lines with their phone will never notice the difference.
Two other capabilities that make the V600 noteworthy are Bluetooth and a built-in digicam. The inclusion of Bluetooth is one of this model's real strengths. Not only will Bluetooth provide a basic computer connection that allows you to upload or download digicam images and sound files via your serial port, as well as upload videos others have created, but it opens a world of possibilities for adding after-market accessories and extras. If you don't have USB, a Bluetooth adapter plus Motorola's Mobile Tools software (which costs extra) will still give you the ability to sync the phone's directory and calendar with Outlook contacts and calendar on your computer.
On the other hand, the V600's digicam falls into the "Weakness" category. Cam-phone users can't expect the same high-quality results that come from dedicated digicams with megapixel resolutions, and the V600's built-in camera is no exception, delivering mediocre images of 640 x 480 resolution or less without the benefit of a flash. However, what really flaws the V600's camera feature is not optics but inconvenience: not only is there a noticeable lag between pressing the shutter button and the image being captured, but the user is forced to go through a series of menu steps to review the image or discard it, save or send it, before taking a second picture. In Motorola's defence, this isn't simple neglect; they seem to have made a conscious design decision to make sending a one-off snapshot quicker and easier, but have sacrificed convenience in saving shots for later or taking multiple shots in quick succession. Potential buyers should beware of this, and unless they are skilled with a low-quality no-flash camera, or plan to use their cam-phone exclusively for quick multimedia messaging, they should seriously consider rival models.
Another non-standard feature that the V600 includes is a speakerphone, whose performance is adequate even in loud conditions.
The V600's size and appearance are nothing extraordinary, but customization is easy. In size terms the folding handset is more compact than a contemporary non-folding model, but there are smaller flip-phones available (for example the Motorola i830). Unlike many flip models, the V600 has removable front and back panels. Even rarer, panels are metal and not plastic, which adds a touch of class.
In terms of ergonomics, the V600 stacks up well. Its high-resolution color display uses a transflective LCD that is clearly visible in direct sunlight. Menu navigation uses a four-way rocker, which is better than the separate (and often scattered) left, right, up and down buttons that many phones still employ. Another nice feature of the V600 is the way the keypad buttons click audibly when you press them. In addition, buttons are relatively large and separated by beveled spaces. These little touches, along with the latest version of iTAP predictive text entry, make for quick and easy text messaging, which many users will appreciate. Audio performance and reception are average: nothing exceptional, but not a liability that should make potential buyers look elsewhere.
Overall, the Motorola V600 doesn't blow away the competition in any major category of performance or capability. International business travelers who don't need or want the unmatched E-mail capabilities of the latest GSM/GPRS BlackBerry will generally be satisfied with the model's voice and organizer functions, and will appreciate the option to add Bluetooth accessories, but may not find a use for the bare-bones camera. Basic users won't want to pay for the camera, and won't take advantage of the international roaming capability. Technophile power users won't appreciate the limited memory or rudimentary E-mail capability and Web browser. The demographic who will be best satisfied by the V600 are avid text messagers who want to add images and sound to their messages, and for them, the additional price that comes with a built-in digicam may well be worth it. This sort of user is also likely to appreciate the customization options. Anyone who doesn't fit into this category of user is advised to keep looking.
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