Motorola ROKR E8 - Motorola ROKR E8

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None of these things are going to matter if you are drawn to the RORK E8’s key feature, though and this is what Motorola calls ModeShift. Basically this is all about giving the phone entirely different user interfaces for music listening, working with the camera and making phone calls.


When the phone is switched off, the front fascia is devoid of button markings, with just the Motorola branding, a sliver frame that goes about two thirds round the navigation button, a tiny silver blob in the centre of the navigation wheel and some small raised pimples adorning the front fascia.


Switch the phone on and up pops a number pad, Call and End keys, softmenu keys, a music key and a back/cancel key. The key pad area is flat and is actually a haptic touchpad – Motorola’s first. You use the number pad to make calls in the usual way, and as you hit at buttons you get a little vibrating response and a sort of faint chinking noise.


The fun starts when you are ready for tunes. You hit the music button and something weird happens. The pattern of keys changes entirely and you no longer have a number pad at your fingertips. Instead there are back, forwards, pause/play, shuffle and repeat keys alongside the Call, End and softmenu keys.


Switch into camera mode and four keys pop up where the number pad would otherwise be, offering zoom in, zoom out, video view/edit and camera/video toggle.


The system is certainly innovative, and I had no trouble using it. I’m not convinced about how well it would work in the long term, though. True, it does make getting around the phone fast and easy, but I like my music and camera control keys to be accessible all the time, not just when I call them up. And that goes particularly for the former.