Review: MOTOROKR Z6
The Z6 clearly started life as a Z3 - the size and shape is exactly the same. What's different are the keypads, and not in any significant way.
The body is long and lean, it feels narrower in the hand than other popular sliders like the Chocolate. In fact it bears the most similarity with the KRZR clamshell, which Motorola released back at the same time as the Z3. The narrow, thin shape allows you to wrap your hand around the Z6 securely, even when you're using the keypad.
The Z6 is mostly metal, with a glass face. These materials are heavy and give the phone quite a heft. Because of the weight and long, narrow shape, it's easy to imagine using the Z6 for nefarious purposes, like bludgeoning some jerk screaming into his cell phone in line at Starbucks.
It's not just weighty, the Z6 also feels solid. Most phones we review feel solid when they're closed, but few feel as solid as the Z6 when open. Place your thumb under the raised ridge that's just north of the D-pad and the screen flicks up with a solid "thwack." Move your thumb up slightly to catch the ridge and it pulls closed just as solidly. The spring assisted slide doesn't take much effort to operate.
The navigation is always exposed, even when the Z6 is closed. It is a small cluster of 6 keys that flank the D-pad. The soft keys and send / end keys are large and easy to press, but the clear key and the music player key are much smaller and sandwiched between them.
As on other recent Motos, the D-pad is small ring encircling a small, but raised select key. It is just small enough that your thumb covers the entire thing at once. The directional ring is so small that when you're pressing a direction key, more than half your thumb is off the D-pad. This isn't a problem when pressing up or down, or even left. But pressing right (maybe because we use our right hand to navigate?) led to accidental slips and presses of the clear key more often than we cared for.
When the screen is slid up, a large numeric keypad is revealed. The keys are the same size as on the Z3, however they now have the zig-zag dividers that the original RAZR had instead of a grid. The keypad is extremely sensitive and we often wound up pressing a number of keys by accident when composing text messages.
The Z6 is perfectly weighted for use when open. The bottom end is slightly heavier, keeping the phone balanced firmly in the hand even with the screen floating way above.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.