Below the three soft buttons and either side of the four-way pad are two more shortcut buttons, but these are hard locked to your Messages menu and your web browser. On top of this plethora of shortcut keys, Motorola has also managed to squeeze in hard Call and End buttons – so all those people who get confused using a phone without a green Call and red End button will feel at home with the PEBL. What’s most amazing though, is that despite all these buttons, the keypad on the PEBL never feels cramped. I’ve used phones with far fewer buttons on the keypad that felt cramped and clumsy, but not this one – I’m not sure how Motorola has pulled this off but I’m impressed.
There are even more buttons squeezed onto the side of the phone too. On the left you’ll find volume up and down buttons, while on the right is the Voice Command button. Pressing the Voice Command button allows you to control a number of the phone’s features using your voice. The most obvious voice command is voice dialling, but unlike any phones I’ve used in the past, you don’t have to record the voice command first – simply press the Voice Command button, say “Name Dial” and then say the name of the person in your address book that you wish to call. The accuracy is pretty impressive, but what impressed me even more was when I tried the Digit Dial option. Using Digit Dial you have to say the telephone number that you whish to call and despite the lengthy nature of phone numbers, the PEBL managed to get it right every time I tried.
Although I’ve already pointed out that the PEBL’s advanced features are thin on the ground, that’s not to say that it doesn’t have a feature set at all. For instance, the Samsung D600 doesn’t support voice dialling, but the PEBL does. With this in mind it’s good to see that the PEBL also supports Bluetooth communication. It also has an integrated camera, but the resolution is a very lowly 640 x 480. That said, if all you want to do is take pictures for multimedia messages, that resolution will be more than enough. But even if Motorola had equipped the PEBL with a 2megapixel camera, that would only have highlighted this phone’s biggest limitation, it’s lack of memory.