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printed July 30, 2014
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Review: Motorola i9 Stature

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch  

 

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The RAZR2 was not a small phone. Neither is the i9, which is based on the RAZR2s design language. It is wide and long. The i9 is a heavy phone and has considerable bulk to it. The size and weight combination may be off-putting to some, but it is surely a solid piece of hardware. It feels strong and tough, which should appeal to the targeted user of the i9. However, it's just thin enough that it will fit easily into the front pocket of even tight jeans.

The materials have a good feel to them. The back has a soft-touch paint job that makes it grip-y; it sits firmly in your hand. The hinge is rock solid. Opening and closing the i9 is very satisfying, and there's no looseness or side-to-side play in the hinge at all. It has just a tiny amount of spring assistance that grabs in the last 1/2 of the way open.

The sides of the i9 are a bit on the busy side. Starting with the left, we have a speakerphone key, then the volume toggle, followed by the PTT key and a hatch covering the microUSB port. All the buttons have good travel and feedback, though they are a bit difficult to tell apart from one another. It is all too easy to accidentally raise the volume when you mean to turn the speakerphone on, or start a PTT call when you mean to lower the volume. On the right side, there's a menu key near the very top. It brings up the menu on the external display of the i9. It has good travel and feedback. Tucked (too closely) up against it is a sliding switch that locks the external keys on the i9. At the bottom is a dedicated camera key.

Opening the phone up, you'll see the ginormous dialpad. I am generally not a fan of Motorola keypads. This one has lots of tiny little nubs spread all around for the numbers and function keys. Otherwise the keypad is perfectly flat. It is roomy enough that you're not going to feel cramped when using it. In fact, I tried using it with a pair of work gloves on, and was able to get by pretty well. The number keys all have good travel and feedback. There's the slightest ribbed texture to the entire keypad, and if you rub your thumb up and down, you'll hear a fairly noisy "zipper" sounds. The D-pad itself is huge. It is neither bad nor great, just a functional D-pad.

If you're interested in attaching headphones, you're going to need a USB adapter, as there is no standard headset jack. If you want to get at the microSD port, you'll have to remove the back cover of the phone.

In all, the hardware is pretty good.

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