– Using the middle top button for advanced options (in most menus, in addition to the phone book) you can modify a great deal of information about contacts including the ability to hide their ID, attach number, send message, add in a category (eg. business, personal), copy, as well as talk, then fax options. By default it displays three contacts on screen at one time, this being the ‘picture’ picture view. This can be reconfigured in the phonebook setup so that the phone displays an ample eight users at once.
With the popularity of the V600 and V620, Motorola have released its media enhanced model, the V635. This phone is very similar to previous models - from the V600 the V620 upgraded the phone book and implemented a 262k colour screen but changes were minimal. The V635 has introduced some more upgrades, including TransFlash memory card support, a fully functioning MP3 player, EDGE, external colour screen, upgrade in memory, and a 1.23 megapixel camera with flash. Overall the phone looks very similar to its predecessors bar a sliding front panel which houses the memory card slot. Also the screen on the outer front panel has slightly changed as has the overall handset design slightly. With quite positive reviews on overseas models I was happy to have the opportunity to test one of these out for myself.
Taking the phone out of the box, the phone is quite solid, weighing 124 grams. I don’t mind a solid phone as I am quite partial to having mobiles slip out of my pockets when weighing up under the 100 gram mark. I consider this phone small in size comparatively to most clam shells, sizing up at 89x49x25mm. At first glace it is definitely aesthetically pleasing with its streamline black and silver metallic design.
When turning the phone on for the first time, it automatically prompts you to go into personalise mode when inserting a new sim after unlocking, offering options to modify and configure the home screen, main menu, skin, greeting, wallpaper, screen saver and quick dial configurations. This is useful to get the important stuff out of the way early until you are ready to delve into more advanced options. I found configuring the phone from the get-go quick and easy, with its simple menu design.
As mentioned this model is a revamped version of the T600 & T620. The multimedia section of the menu has been enhanced along with the settings page. Features upgraded include the following (which will be elaborated on in upcoming sections of this review):
• TransFlash Memory – a move towards external memory support accommodating expanded multimedia content
• MP3 – bringing portable music to the mobile
• EDGE – the technology allowing efficient and fast data exchange
• External colour screen – allowing enhanced features for convenience when the clam is shut
• 1.23MP camera with flash – upgrading features here for clearer, more colourful pictures
Physical aspects & build quality
This model is very compact, solid, with wide ergonomic and well spaced buttons. It features interchangeable sleek metal housing in the form of a slideable casing on the front which houses the flash card slot. I found it difficult to slide off, and I found that instructions advising you to use your finger nails to slide the casing off were odd. When sliding I was worried about deforming it as it seems to be quite a thin panel once taken off. The flash card inserts and clicks in nicely. Having an SD card adapter which can house the smaller TransFlash card for backwards compatibility with older phones is a useful feature of the included kit.
The handset is shaped quite well and when opened snugs nicely to the face. There isn’t a large amount of nooks and crannies for dust and dirt to make itself home in other than the speaker/microphone next to the aerial on back panel and the camera lens. It would have been useful here to have some form of lens protector as after just a week of testing and normal use quite a lot of material had collected here.
With clamshells I make sure to vigorously test the flipping mechanism. The clam is not opened with a button like other models, rather one must open it by hand which in a clam styled model I find irritating as it requires both hands just to open. Obviously I am being picky here, as it isn’t that irritating. That aside the opening mechanism is smooth and quiet.
The headphone jack seems to get in the way of the camera – so you can only use the camera or listen to MP3s separately and not at the same time. So no quick happy snaps without prior disconnection from your music! Those once in a lifetime shots just got more complicated!
The aerial is external which I do not prefer as it can never fit as snug as you like it in pockets, but nonetheless it is small and doesn’t often get in the way. Other notable features introduced to this model are the placement of a speaker on the back of the phone. I will discuss this more in forthcoming sections but overall the placement of the speaker doesn’t work well in that spot as a table generally covers the amplification of the speaker’s output.
There are light, non-intrusive keypad tones – LEDs behind navigation and power buttons and behind keypad numbers vertically down the middle of the number pad (2,5,8,0).
User Interface & display
The V635 is very user-friendly, with the display and menus spaced out well. The icons and interface look old and too simple for my tastes; the icons don’t utilise enough fresh animation to keep me interested so overall the interface is quite dull. This can be configured to be displayed as a list rather than as menu icons which I opted for and personally think looks better.
– With standard features here like received calls, dialled calls and call times, it also features useful tools such as a notepad, data times (tracking data connectivity), as well as data volumes.
– notable functions here include the ability to clean up specific folders, fax, email, MMS with ease, view voicemail, reorder the list as well as monitor the memory. The setup (Msg Centre Menu) gives you the ability to send/receive mail, manage fax, voicemail in addition to a quick notes function.
– Not much of an upgrade from previous models – features the standard calculator, chat, date book, shortcuts, voice records, alarm clock and dialling services.
Games & Apps
– features FotoFunPack2, Gold and MP3 player – advanced menus include modifying permissions and security details for network connectivity as well as deleting items and viewing details.
– features My Favourites, What’s Hot, Email & Chat, Games Arcade, Ringtones & Fun + Sports, News and Weather, Info Services, Financial Services, etc.
– this menu includes Themes, Camera, Pictures, Sounds, MotoMixer, Videos, and Video Camera. There are automatic screen savers (funky lava lamp which is very hypnotic) as well as a speeding colour screen saver mirroring a more colourful and screen filling version of space travel saver common among various models. The phone comes with 32 inbuilt polyphonic tones.
– Instant messaging features here which require a GPRS APN, user name and password (note: the Australian carriers do not support this feature).
– Personalise, Ring Styles, Connection, Call Divert, In-Call Setup, Initial Setup, Phone Status, Headset, Car Settings, Network, Security, and Java Settings.
Making and receiving calls
One downfall is definitely the time it takes to access numbers from the phone book. From the standby screen pressing down takes you to the phone book. In past models by pressing a letter from the keypad it would jump to that letter in the phone book. This is not turned on by default, and must be changed to “Jump to” in the advanced settings of Phone Book > Setup > Search Method, Option.
As commonly featured among many mobiles pressing the green call button when on standby brings up recent dialled numbers, allowing you in advanced options to store/add digits and send messages, etc.
By pressing the left navigation button from the standby screen, the phone takes you to the recent calls section for quick information about received and dialled numbers and call times. Once the phone book is set up you can effortlessly dial whoever you wish.
I was impressed by the clarity of the internal speaker. It provided crisp and clear sound in all conversations with a handy volume control on the left-hand side providing ample noise in various environments such as the library (sorry library staff), cars as well as clubs. There was not a moment I had trouble hearing anyone I was conversing with. With that in mind the aerial functioned quite well, as I didn’t have any trouble with reception over approximately ten days of testing, even in slightly more remote areas that test most phone’s reception capacity.
The predictive text features here are quite nice. It doesn’t seem to start with an intense amount of built in words but learns quickly and prioritises in terms of commonly used words. I take my hat off to Motorola, as it’s definitely a boost having such efficient messaging abilities within a mobile.
The buttons are soft and large which makes life easier here, although the delete button is small and out of the way, in some respects being spaced on the top left of the phone away from the keypad. Having said that, and after getting used to it – it is a minimal flaw in design.
The amount of text displayed on screen is quite generous. It is very simple to read over large amounts of text when receiving and dictating messages without the need to constantly scroll up and down. In the event that the message is larger than the screen’s height and width, the four way navigation pad makes navigation to text very quick.
The phone auto-detects most Windows versions post 2000 via the USB2 cable. There is also support here for various wireless connectivity options including Bluetooth and infrared. On my laptop with Windows XP Professional, I found it very easy with basic computer knowledge to set up communication between the phone and the notebook. Data speeds were consistent among the different connectivity methods and I found the bundled software simple to use.
The phone leverages the power of EDGE technology with high speed data exchange rates which ensures the rapid downloading of various applications and multimedia content (although EDGE is not used by any provider in Australia at the moment). It features GPRS and WAP 2.0 for “always-on” internet access. I found browsing pages quick and simple.
The phone supports global roaming with quad-band capabilities. A cool feature here is the phone’s ability to act as a wireless modem - a very convenient option for those who travel often or are constantly on the go. Using EDGE, It supports speeds up to three times faster than a 56K modem, allowing you to share images, video clips, and music files with ease.
Motorola’s web site boasted 200 hours standby with 8 hours talk time. In testing, charging to full didn’t take more than a few hours. After quite heavy menu traversing, camera and video testing the battery remained full over a substantial period. It lasted a few days of intensive use and in over 10 days of testing I have only recharged it twice. Compared with many models I have played with which incorporate similar features this phone measures up very well. The 780 mAh Lithium-ion battery stood up well to my usage onslaught.
The model seems to incorporate some useful power saving techniques such as quick switching to no backlight mode as well as a battery friendly user interface which does not drain resources at great speed. The phone also jumps out of applications as well as the camera when it detects that the user is not using the phone which in turn is efficient in saving power resources. Overall the phone is quite configurable for ensuring maximum usage out of the battery.