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The user interface is dreadful. To change some settings you need to input key combinations rather than choose from a menu, and I doubt anybody will commit all the codes to memory. In fact, there isn’t a menu system as such, and while I do think there is room for innovative user interface design that doesn’t use a menu system as we currently think of it, Motorola’s alternative seems quirky and ill-conceived. A disaster if it is really aimed at mobile phone newbies.
The worst aspect of all, though, is ironically enough, the display which in technical terms is this phone’s best feature. The phone has a fixed four-line display. The middle two are for characters, the top and bottom line for various symbols. As I’ve said, the characters are large – each one is allocated a space 4mm wide and 6mm tall and you can’t fit a lot of them on screen at once.
When it comes to SMS, you have to scroll a lot to read incoming messages as the screen only displays a maximum of one line’s worth of text – which is six characters - at once. If a word is three or four letters long, the next word is on the next screen. If a word is more than six letters long, it is stretched across two screens.
When you write texts, characters scroll automatically, so that the seventh character you enter causes the first to scroll off the left end of the screen. Texting, one of the most useful aspects of any phone in my view, suddenly becomes a real chore simply because you can’t read incoming messages at a glance or see the whole of an outgoing message at once.
And how about the screen below for a complicated looking way to choose a new ringtone?
Motorola is to be congratulated for the sheer effrontery of releasing a mobile that costs as little as this one does. Hardware-wise I suspect many people could live with what’s here, ditto the small feature set, and there is no doubt that the screen technology has a big future. But the user interface is far from simple, and texting is a major chore.
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