Motorola are very well known for their clam shell form factor handsets. Recently reviewed here at iMobile.com.au was the super thin RAZR V3 handset, another one of the company’s clam shell creations. The Motorola V620 isn’t by far as thin as the V3, but is another showcase of Motorola’s ability to create fun and functional clam shells. It’s based slightly on the V600 model, but with added functionality.
The V620 incorporates everything we love about clamshell handsets with other features that are most common in their other clamshell and non-clamshell handsets. That’s one great thing about Motorola phones; if you see a nice feature in one handset, the next handset released by the company will usually have this feature. For example in the V620 you will find lights positioned in the handset just like first seen in the E398 model.
Having thoroughly tested the V620 for quite a while now, I hope you’ll find this review very helpful at making a decision regarding the V620! :)
The V620 has a few features uncommon in mobile handsets these days, as well as everything you need to keep connected and contactable. Fun and easy to use features also make an appearance in this Motorola-built handset. To mention a few of these features, there is the VGA still and video camera, rhythm lights, 262k display, Java games, and MMS and e-mail support. The quad-band GSM support keeps you connected literally anywhere around the globe, and Bluetooth Wireless connectivity ensures a clutter free mobile experience.
Let’s start off with some of the more exciting features of the V620, like the displays! The V620, being a clamshell handset, has two displays. There is a small 96 x 32 pixel display on the front, which has a bright blue inversed backlight. The larger and internal display will blow you away with 262,144 colours in a 176 x 220 pixel range. Wallpapers, images, videos, and all other aspects of the V620 look stunning on this high quality, large display. More on both the display and user interface can be found in the appropriate section on this page of the review.
When the E398 came out onto the market and I had the chance to review it, I was amazed by how cool the colours lights hidden behind the stereo speakers were. Coming with several different colour effects and rhythms, the lights are activated when the phone rings, a message comes through, and in other situations like when charging. These coloured light effects were brought into most other Motorola handsets after the E398, and it’s great to see this feature being brought to the V620 as well. The lights are located in a circular fashion around the Motorola logo on the top flip, below the display.
The VGA camera on the V620 has the ability to record video as well as capture still images, something the V600 lacked. The shared internal memory is reasonably small which is one issue that I had with the handset. Find example images and a detailed review of the V620’s camera abilities on the additional page two of this review.
Java MIDP 2.0 support allows the user to install and play Java games on the handset, which are a heap of fun when you’re bored or just need to kill some time! You can play the games that are preinstalled on the handset or download your own without any hassle.
Wireless connections with Bluetooth enables use of clutter free headsets for true hands free calling. GPRS allows you to download information directly to your handset with ease and speed.
The Motorola V620 follows the standard Motorola clam-shell format. The back cover of the V620 is made from metal and therefore is very durable, and also extremely easy to remove unlike competitor’s plastic covers. The front of the V620 has three main points – the Motorola logo (with a hidden agenda!), the LCD display and the VGA camera lens. The lens is located in the top left hand corner and to the right of it is a small chrome window for self portraits. The Motorola logo has a ring of lights around it, which lights up in user programmable colour sequences when specific functions happen on the handset (ie. receiving a call). The LCD display on the V620’s external side is explained in more detail in the next section of this review.
A chrome tongue on the V620 wraps around the front of the handset and ends at the hinge of the top flip, of which the sides are also chrome. The buttons on the external side of the handset are silver, with the stub antenna totally black like the rest of the handset.
Flip open the V620 and the display springs to life. It is surrounded by a thin chrome border and silver Motorola logo with the earpiece behind this logo. The 262 colour display’s protection is quite soft compared to other handsets which have a hard layer of plastic covering the display. More on this is in the problems and issues section however. Motorola is printed in the border around the display.
On the bottom flip are the numerical and navigational buttons – the keypad. The top row of buttons are silver (not chrome, so fingerprints aren’t left behind). The rest of the keys, which are all the numerical keys are black with a chrome line at the top. The keypad backlight is white and shines brightly through all the keys. Below the keypad is the model number of this handset, V620.
The entire keypad of the V620 is bordered by a chrome line. At the very bottom of the handset on the left and right are two soft jelly-like pads which are used to absorb shock when the handset is closed. These pads also lift the display up from the keys which prevent any scratching or abrasion of the display. You will find near the top of the bottom flip a small hole – a section in the top flip fits into this hole to tell the handset weather or not it is open or closed.
Overall the V620 gives off a sleek impression, but is prone to fingerprints and therefore gets a very messy look extremely quickly. I was constantly wiping down the handset to keep looking as best I could.
User Interface & display
The V620 has a 262,144 colour LCD display as the main display. There is also a small sub-LCD on the front of the handset that is monochrome, with a bright inverted blue backlight. This means that the backlight is blue and the text/images on screen are white. The sub-LCD on the front shows vital information like time and date, reception, GPRS status, battery status, and other small indicator icons like alarm, and so on. By pushing the directional keys on the side of the handset time/date can be alternated on the little LCD. This display measures 96 x 32 pixels.
The main LCD is much more exciting. On opening of the handset the display activates and your “home screen” is displayed. This contains wallpaper, the date, operator name, battery and reception status and any other small indicators at the top of the display. To the bottom of the display you will see the labels of the two left and right soft keys. By default this is “Messages” and “Camera” on the left and right, respectively. The small ladder-like icon in the middle is the menu icon. This icon matches the print on the key directly below it.
The main menu of the V620 can be displayed in two ways – a list or icon form. The list form takes up less space on screen, but the icon form is much more stylish and matches your selected theme. The main menu contains self explanatory menu items which lead you into every other function of the handset. Menu icons can be reordered for your personal tastes through the settings menu. You won’t have any problem operating the menu and general used interface with the 5-way navigational key. To the left and right of the directional key is the dedicated hang up and pick up call keys.
Themes on the V620 totally change the user interface of the handset. Three are preinstalled on the handset, and more can be downloaded. They contain wallpapers, screensavers, and other changes to the UI which will be noticed straight away as you apply them. The theme engine on Motorola handsets is on of the fastest and changes are made as soon as you select the theme without much delay.
The quality of the internal LCD display is quite amazing and when you use the display as the viewfinder for the VGA camera the true quality really comes out.
Making and receiving calls
As with any clamshell form factor handset, making and receiving calls is one of the best bits! The clamshell form factor allows the handset to wrap around your face, which gives the microphone optimum positioning for picking up every single mutter from your mouth. The V620 has external volume control buttons for uninterrupted calls, and also a loudspeaker function for group conversations.
The phone book on the V620 supports photos and multiple entries; all your information on a contact can be stored in a single location. SIM contacts can also be read, but to store multiple entries on a single name your contacts will need to be moved to the phone memory. When a user calls their selected photo will be displayed (if any) when the handset is open, or when closed the name will be shown on the mini-display which will light up.
Polyphonic and MP3 audio formats are the supported ones on the V620 for ring tones. MP3 files can be created by you or downloaded, same with polyphonic ring tones. There are several polyphonic ring tones on the V620 to select from and a small amount of MP3 ones. With MP3 ring tones you can cut up your favourite song or record your own and transfer it to the handset to use.
Loudspeaker and earpiece volume on this handset was great, no problems there. The only issue people may have with answering calls would be the hang-up and pick-up buttons. These are on opposite sides to most other handsets, so it can get annoying if you’re not used to it and accidentally hang up on a caller. Of course this won’t happen if you have the answer on flip open function activated. Closing the flip when you want to hand up will end a call.
One other little thing – the V620 contains profiles, like you’ve seen endless times before on other handsets. By pushing a volume key on the left of the handset and then pressing the dedicated camera button, you can switch between profiles. This is of course when the handset is closed.
The V620 offers the normal set of messaging options, nothing new in this area. You have SMS/EMS, MMS, and e-mail messaging to choose from. iTap predictive text is supported on this handset, but is very slow. The Motorola iTap input is quite confusing to get used to and the slowness really gets annoying. More detail about this is in the Problems and Issues section, however.
The V620’s messaging menu is very easy to operate. For example, when selecting new message, you are prompted to select Short Message aka SMS, Letter, Multimedia Message, E-mail, or read from your MMS templates. Unlike Nokia handsets where Text and Multimedia Messages have their own menus, the V620 is laid out nicely. When you select a message type the input window appears where you can input text, images, videos, animations, and sounds depending on the type you have selected.
When it comes to using iTap predictive text, the navigational keys are used to change between words. The hash or star key isn’t used, star is for a space and hash is for text input type – ie. Abc, abc, iTap, numerical, and so on. When you input letters the word combinations appear at the bottom of screen with a list of options which you can select from. When you have selected one you can press the Ok soft key, or simply press the star (space) and move onto your next word.
MMS messaging support on this handset means you can take pictures and video clips with the integrated VGA camera, and then send them via MMS to friends and family. Images you’ve transferred from a PC or downloaded from WAP can also be sent with your messages.
Other than the V620’s slow messaging interface, the handset performs well with messaging. It has all the features you could need, from the power user to the novice.
Motorola always know how to keep their users happy when it comes to connectivity. They are one of the only companies (other than Sony Ericsson, who only do it with their [very] high end handsets) that include USB data cables in the sales package. This is one of the best things for a user who wishes to back up their data, transfer files to and from the handset and perform synchronizations right out of the box. With other handsets you would have to go out and buy a (sometimes expensive) data-cable or infrared/Bluetooth adapter.
So, as I just said the V620 comes with a USB data-cable which connects to the interface at the bottom of the handset. A Software suite is in the sales package on CD enabling you to get started straight away. Transfers with a data-cable are fast and the cable is much more stable than other methods.
The V620 also supports Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity. Be it a headset or Bluetooth computer adapter, or most other devices the V620 can connect to it wirelessly with this technology. No longer do your conversations have to be tied down with cords, Bluetooth technology is truly wireless! :D
The only problem I could mention here is how prone the V620 is to fingerprints. After a few minutes of use, this little phone is full of your fingerprints. If anyone was after your fingerprint they’d just have to see your phone, it’s littered with them! The front of the handset is particularly worse than the others, with the smooth surface around the LCD display.
Other than that, which can be kept under control by wiping the handset down (every time you use it mind you) the handset has superb build quality. The jelly pads on the inside of the flip ensure the screen and top flip never touch the buttons and bottom flip, which is always a good thing. The back cover is removed very easily and is made of metal giving it extra support.
The battery is tricky to remove, but there are indents on the handset to remove it – the battery is the pain not the rest of the handset!
Outstanding! The battery life on this handset was much more than my expectations, and it also charges quite quickly. When I was using the handset and let it drain all out, I could put it on charge for just a short time and it would be charged enough for me to make a few calls, send messages and so on.
The handset uses a single 780mAh lithium ion battery pack. The estimated times given by Motorola are about 7.5 hours talk time, and 11 days standby time.