Review: Motorola krave ZN4
Krave's oblong 2.8-inch touchscreen measures 240 x 400 pixels, making its aspect ratio slightly longer/wider than most phone's more standard 240 x 320 pixel screens. Think of these extra 80 pixels of screen real estate as the cellphone screen equivalent of legal-sized paper.
With or without the extra pixels, Krave's screen is about as bright and images and text as detailed as any other high-end Verizon phone we've used.
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The touch cover completely covers the front surface of the Krave save the chin. While the touch cover is crystal clear and does not marr the brightness or resolution of the main screen, the main screen somehow seems brighter when it's naked. No matter how clean and clear a window is, it's still a window.
Not only does the touch cover cover the Home and Power keys, but a little more than half of the embedded speaker also obscures a bit of the bottom of the main screen. This lost screen area mostly affects what you can do with the camera with the touch cover down, as you'll see.
Since both the touch cover and the main screen get touched by your finger, you now have two screens to keep clean. Smudges on the touch cover will obviously affect your view of the lower screen.
As with most Verizon phones I've used in New York City, signal was exceptional in all uses, and survived much further into a subway tunnel than I expected. When it lost EV-DO signal, Krave retained 1xRTT signal for an additional 30 seconds or so as we zoomed into a station.
Given the short period of time I had the phone, however, I wasn't able to make enough calls in enough differing environments to adequately judge signal reception.
As with most Motorola phones, sound in every usage was uniformly excellent. Its Crystal Talk technology gives voices plenty of landline timbre and resonance with only the occasional incidence of cellphone-y underwater-like warble.
The chin speaker, although mono, also provides plenty of small room-filling sound both for conversation and for music in case you lack some other speaker-equipped music source.
Ringtones, both the included synthesized choices and downloadable True Tune MP3 ringtones, rang out loud and clear as well. You cannot use your own songs as ringtones.
At press time we had not received a complete spec sheet so we don't know the precise talk, standby or music play battery life. In our unofficial and decidely unscientific tests, however, music played continually for nearly 16 hours.
At first, touching the touch cover and seeing the main screen underneath react is both spooky and cool. Logically, just based on what you see, there's no reason why this should work, but it does. I did not detect any difference in reaction to touching the protective screen or the main screen directly. You even can feel the Krave's haptic feedback through the touch cover.
The slide lock switch on the right side of the Krave disables the touch capability. Since the screen is quite sensitive, you'll engage the lock before you slip the phone into a pocket or bag. And you may decide after a few days use that you want to keep the screen's touch capabilities disabled permanently.
As sure as you're reading this, you'll whip out the phone, touch the cover screen to activate the music or check your messages, and nothing will happen. You will furrow your brow, tap it again, harder. And tap it again and again, harder and harder, cursing louder and louder – until you suddenly realize you have to slide the lock switch to re-activate the touch capability. Eventually, you'll get tired of forgetting to slide the switch to re-activate the cover's touch capabilities and just leave it off, and simply flip the cover up and start touching the main screen like any other touchscreen phone.
Even though both cover and LCD screen are touch sensitive, neither is as reliable as we would like. On several occasions I tapped an icon on either the touch cover or the main screen and nothing happened and the screen would freeze. After a few moments, the screen unfroze and Krave executed the delayed function. And every once in a while, I hit one menu item but an adjacent menu item popped up instead.
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