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Phone Scoop

printed October 1, 2014
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Review: Motorola VA76r Tundra

Form Basics Extras Video Wrap-Up Comments  7  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The Tundra has two displays. The external display is full color and even stands in as a viewfinder for the camera. It is small, though, perhaps an inch by an inch. It doesn't pack in a gazillion pixels, but it looks good enough. The icons and notifications are readable, though I thought the external display could have been a lot brighter. In direct sunlight, it was very difficult to read. Reading it outdoors wasn't easy. For a workhorse of a phone such as the Tundra, outside readability should be a priority.

The internal screen, in contrast, is excellent. It is very sharp, clear, and bright. I had no trouble reading it outdoors at all, even in bright sunlight. The icons and images all look smooth and clean, and colors look great.

Signal

I took the Tundra everywhere, and no matter where I went, it held onto 5 bars of 3G coverage. The external antenna does its job well in collecting AT&T's signal. It never dipped below 5 bars in my entire time with the phone, not once. I've never seen a phone do that. That said, calls seemed to take slightly longer to connect than on other AT&T phones I have on hand. I'm only talking a second or two, but it was enough to be noticeable. However, I didn't miss any calls due to signal issues, I didn't receive any phantom voicemails, and I was able to make voice and data calls wherever I took the Tundra. It even passed the NJ vault test with flying colors. Nothing challenged the Tundra's signal supremacy.

Sound

Phone calls with the Tundra sound cell phone-y. There's no other way to describe it. It was like making a cell phone call from 2001. You can definitely tell you're calling from a cell phone. I didn't hear any major interference or hissing, but every call I made had a distinct "digitized" sound to it. Despite the cell phone-y sound, I didn't have any trouble hearing callers in loud-ish environments, such as coffee shops. I'd imagine you'd have no problem hearing calls at a work site, even with noise from machinery in the background (unless we're talking a jackhammer). The ring tones are loud enough that you're going to hear the Tundra in most places. Similarly, the vibrate alert is nice and strong. If the Tundra is clipped to your belt, your entire hip is going to get quite a buzz with incoming phone calls.

Battery

I found the Tundra's battery life to be excellent. I only had to charge it once in the 10 days I've had it. I was able to make plenty of calls, test the walkie-talkie features, send text messages, browse the Internet, take pictures/video and tons more.

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