Motorola's V710 came out at a time when the CDMA platform was strongly in need of a solid, feature-rich phone. Touted as a feature-rich business cell with a high-resolution camera, video recording, mp3 playback, and bluetooth support, the V710 was a highly awaited phone for Verizon customers. Myself being a longtime T-Mobile user, I was eager to see what Motorola had to offer for other providers. So when the V710 arrived at my doorstep, I more than eager to see how it would perform.
The V710 package comes with a multilingual manual, a belt holster, an AC adaptor and the physical phone.
First off, the V710 is by no means a thin phone. At about an inch thick and two inches wide, its a rather hefty phone to be lugging around. However, in light of the fact that the V710 was originally released last year, the bulkiness of the phone can be forgiven. Holding it in my hand for the first time however, I couldn't help but notice the V710's soft plastic construction. Simply put, it doesn't feel as sturdy as my Samsung e715 flip phone, which sports a more solid quality of plastic and a lighter build.
Aesthetically speaking, the V710 isn't an eye-catcher like Motorola's new RAZR phones. But for its generation, the design is quite a few notches above the average. The colors of its casing are a sleek silver and black scheme, with an external screen integrated into the black front panel. Flipping open the phone reveals a large screen and keypad set against dark gray casing.
Side by side with my Samsung 225m, you can see that the V710 is just a little bit shorter and wider (not to mention much more capable than my monochrome 225m). Overall, my first few minutes with the phone were favorable.
In terms of design, Motorola went for a sleek, business-like black and silver color profile. The glossy black finish of the phone face contrasts in a good way with the brushed silver side and back casing. Additionally, "concealed" within the black front casing is a low-res color display which not only adds to the eye-appeal of the phone but also serves to display the time. However, the V710 is anything but slim. At almost an inch thick and weighing in at a hefty 4.5 ounces, its sure to make its presense known in a pant or shirt pocket.
Lets take a look at the V710's design from several angles:
This side of the V710 shows the consistent silver and black styling of the phone as well as the volume-adjust buttons and the speakerphone toggle. Also of note is the bulk of the phone, which is more obvious in this view.
Same styling applies to this side, but note the silver top of the antenna which matches the silver of the camera lens casing as well as the side buttons and front motorola insignia. The button closest to the antenna is the camera toggle, and the other one activates the speech recognition feature.
This view shows the bottom area of the V710 and its accessory and power slots.
The top end of the phone is where the memory card slot and headset jack are locted, both protected by fitted rubber coverings. For a multimedia phone, as Motorola sells the V710 as, room for additional storage is crucial. Fortunately, the V710 designers placed the card slot so that it would not distract from the phone's overall design.
The interior of the V710 features a sizeable 2.2" color display and silver keypad set against dark gray. Taking advantage of the large size of this phone, Motorola has implemented large num-pad keys, a circular 4-way navigation button and other shortcut keys. The keypad is backlit.
Motorola touts the V710 as a comprehensive multimedia solution. With advertisements bearing phrases such as "MotoPhone?...or MotoTheater?" (note the characteristic creation of a new word by the placement of "Moto" in front of an existing word) and "Groove at your own pace" Motorola hyped the V710 like none other. And with all the buzz about bluetooth support and mobile browser, the V710 was certainly one of the most anticipated phones of its time.
So imagine my frustration as I tried to actually make full use of these features, realizing that many of them were sub-par in reality, and then re-reading the V710 press releases and their promises of a full-fledged "totally-connected device." I'll just say that overall, the phone was a dissapointment feature-wise. But lets start out with the good things first.
First, the TFT screen is pretty big, 2.2 inches of viewable display. Color production is also strong at 176x220, and contrast is superb. As for the keypad, keys are easily accessable and you won't have any problems with tricky keying or hitting multiple buttons. The addition of movie playback capabilites is also a plus in the functionality department, and a Transflash expansion slot allows for an optional upgrade to 128mb. Oh yeah, taking calls with a compatable Bluetooth headset proved to be hassle-free, although keep in mind that this drains battery life like none other.
However, where the V710 has several features going for it, other supposed "features" are mediocre or crippled. Take, for instance, the 1.2MP camera. By now most people have begun to realize that megapixels do not equate to quality, and in the case of the V710, this is painfully obvious. Pictures I took with the V710 were covered in a sickly blue cast, and many times were washed out, grainy and generally ugly. The digital zoom is a joke--basically an in-camera crop--and actually getting the pictures on my computer requires a subscription service and/or a hassle with uploading and transfering files. Where's the Bluetooth to PC connectivity in all this? The obvious answer: Crippled by Verizon so that they could make a few extra bucks by forcing users to pay for their online multimedia swapping service.
Another minor complaint is the V710's web browser, which is horrendously slow. But web browsing features on the CDMA network have never been exceptional, so theres no big surprise here. Finally, my absolute biggest gripe with the V710 is its battery life. Perhaps the review unit Motorola sent me just happened to have an old battery, but I am guessing that this isn't the case (after all, wouldn't Motorola make their best effort to send reviewers a phone in optimal condition?). At best, the V710 lasted 30 hours on standby. Compared with Motorola's projected 160 some-odd hours, battery life is a huge dissapointment.
I have no major qualms with voice quality; I can hear others clearly on the V710. However, some have told me that there is intereference on my end, despite the V710 showing a full signal. As for text messaging, it is easy to use and customizable as well. Messages that a user would send often are stored as "quick notes" that can be sent within seconds.
As the premier Bluetooth CDMA pioneer, many had hope that the V710 would be the feature-rich phone to revive the aging network. On paper, it appears to be just the multimedia phone that consumers were anticipating. Unfortunately, in reality many of these promised features are only half-heartedly implemented. With stripped down Bluetooth and an average camera, the V710 turned out to be only part of what it could have been. Part of it can be attributed to Verizon's modifications, designed so that consumers would have to purchase extra subscriptions in order to take advantage of features that should have been available in the first place. Consequently, the V710's redeeming features, namingly a sleek design, large screen and expandable memory, are welcome features but ultimately prove insufficient to balance out the phone's disspointments. For over $300 list, the V710 should have been much more.
SLCentral Verdict: 7/10
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