Review: Motorola i9 Stature
The i9 has two displays, both of similar size and the same resolution. Both are bright and sharp and easily read outdoors, even in direct sunlight. Icons and images are nice a smooth, with little to no evidence of pixel edges. Colors looked great.
This is the first time I have tested an iDEN-only phone in NJ. Previous iDEN-enabled phones I've tested from Sprint also included CDMA radios. The i9 operates on iDEN 800MHz only. Signal quality was amazingly inconsistent and hit-or-miss. Sitting in the same spot, it would range from No Service to 4 bars of coverage. The i9's inconsistency was consistent across the metro NYC area. It often failed to find Nextel's iDEN network as often as it did find it. I missed calls all over the place. Since I haven't mapped out Nextel iDEN coverage in NJ, this could be playing a role in the signal performance of the i9 I tested. Coverage wasn't great in my basement, and the NJ vault completely killed the i9. No signal in there at all. Of course, the i9 just might also not be good at collecting 800MHz signals.
In order to build a frame of reference, I took the i9 to two local Nextel shops. In both stores, I compared the i9 to an i576, an i335 and an i9 to see if there were any differences. Both stores were located in "best" coverage zones, according to Nextel's coverage map. The i576 and i335 were much better at getting good signal strength from the iDEN network. They averaged 4 or 5 bars in the stores. My i9 and the other i9s I compared it to exhibited similar signal characteristics. They averaged 2 bars.
Ringers for the i9 are ear-piercingly loud. Holding the phone next to your head with the ringer set to full volume is asking for hearing loss. It literally caused me pain to have it set all the way up. This means you could probably bury the i9 in your backyard and you'll still hear it ring (OK, not really, but you WILL hear it all over the house). Trust me, you're not going to miss calls because the ringer isn't loud enough. When I had connectivity, quality of standard voice calls was excellent. Conversations were crystal clear, with no noises or interference of any kind. The ear piece volume could also be made plenty loud to hear your conversation. The speakerphone was also quite loud, and would be suitable to environments such as construction or other outdoor work sites.
Battery life was not one of the i9's strong suits. I managed to consistently get two days out of it, no matter how much I did or didn't use it. This included plenty of voice calls, PTT sessions, picture taking, message sending and using the browser.