Motorola’s newest market-entry level handset, the C330, goes beyond the basic fundamentals of mobile handset design striving to offer an innovative set of features - which is sure to impress! This is probably an attempt by Motorola to break free from their not-so-impressive designs seen in various models from the past.
Most of the C330’s more impressive features are orientated towards extrinsic factors, which are becoming greater determinants in the purchasing process of mobile phones. Some of these include exchangeable covers with no form factor restrictions, polyphonic ringing and message tones, a white-backlit interface and greyscale display, and screen saver & wallpaper features. EMS (enhanced messaging service) is also available, and will be a standard feature on most new and upcoming Motorola models.
Weighing in at just 80 grams, the C330 brings lightweight into the budget phones equation. At the same time, it is complemented by the “just right” size for this type of handset - suitable for use by both sexes.
While the C330 has the ability to appear in different shapes and sizes thanks to its freedom in form factor, it’s quite hard to comment on the handset’s looks, usability, and hold-ability. The review unit iMobile received came with the “Mini” exchangeable covers only, instead of the standard set of three that will be available as standard.
However, from having performed quite a few functions and typed numerous messages with the C330, I found the overall physical user interface quite comfortable to use - with the exception of the keypad where I would have preferred a bit more space between each key on the vertical scale (for example - between 1 and 4, or 5 and 8). Fortunately, the keypad provided a very good level of tactility.
Also, a lanyard strap hole is available on the C330 - and is located at the base of the phone (under the charging socket). Probably one of the first phones I’ve seen having the strap hole at the phone’s base, which means the phone would be hanging upside-down if worn with a neck strap… :)
User Interface & display
The C330 incorporates the Synergy user interface (UI) that is found on both the V60i and V70. But in terms of how each of these three models presents their features and functions on screen, this is another story.
An improved version of their iconic top-level menu makes takes a bit of the complication out of browsing the C330’s menus, which eases the practise of searching for a particular feature or function. On the V60i, this was difficult mainly because of the overall compactness of the main menu display (3 menu listings per screen on the V60i versus one per screen on the C330). Items in the main menu can also be re-ordered to your liking or needs.
Alternatively, if you want an even simpler level of functionality, you can take advantage of the “MyMenu” feature, which allows you to add commonly-used menu items onto a list. Once complete, you can simply place the “MyMenu” at the top of the main menu and use the phone in this fashion… simple!
Should the C330 freeze or “hang”, a reset button is located inside the phone under the keypad. You should see a little “reset” word between the “end/power” and “down” button (see picture).
Using a greyscale screen also means the possibility of displaying text and graphics with a higher level of detail than using traditional black & white. This can be experienced in situations such as receiving EMS messages with pictures or animations, and the use of the screen saver or wallpaper facility. In conjunction with the white backlighting, the C330 certainly stands out irrespective of having whichever cover on it!
Making and receiving calls
Audio on the C330 was average, although the earpiece did provide the required sound levels even in very loud environments (like in crowded places and clubs). The overall lightweight construction provides good comfort for those very long calls, while the “M” logo on the back cover seems to provide a place for you to rest your finger on - an optimum position just below the internal antenna!
Polyphonic ringtones are the way to go on the C330. The loudness of these ringtones will depend on how many high-pitched notes in the actual ringtone you use. For example, using volume setting “7” (maximum) with the “Classic” tone will result in a very loud ringer. But when you try and play some of the tones that utilises the full potential of the poly speaker, these sounds are not as distinct and may not be heard when you’re in a noisy environment. Suggestion: use the vibrate feature with your ringing tones.
As with most other Motorola handsets, the iTAP predictive text input system is used for word-matching when it comes to messages and some other text functions on the C330. An addition for iTAP here is a little icon at the top of the screen notifying the user of the current input mode selected (for example - iTAP, tap method, numeric, symbol). iTAP is similar to T9 in the sense that they attempt to match words up with your keystrokes - but works slightly differently.
Insertion of non-text objects is easy. Simply press the MENU key and choose “insert”, where a list of the types of objects which can be inserted are displayed.
With the covers off the C330, the handset is indeed quite solid with virtually no exposed parts that can be accidentally damaged (with the exception for liquid damage, which is something that can never be prevented). When the covers are on, the phone will still be as solid - with the possible exception of the case creaking slightly when held at specific points on the covers.
On a typical full charge, the C330 should be able to provide for up to approximately 3-4 hours’ worth of talk time, and around 4-5 days’ standby. If you have the animated screen saver feature enabled, you may end up with slightly lower numbers (this depends also on the amount of times you take the phone out of standby).