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printed October 20, 2014
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Review: Motorola i1

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The i1 is a solid phone. I expect nothing less from a Motorola-made iDEN device. It handles calls well, battery life is good, the PTT system works flawlessly and has been well integrated into Android. The hardware is good enough. It looks decent, holds up to some mild abuse, and can be rained on and/or taken to the beach if you want with no worries.

I wish the screen were bigger and had sharper resolution, but I suppose 3.1 inches isn't a dealbreaker. The software is mostly easy to use, and didn't have anything too tricky to deal with. The camera was a bit of a downer, as was the music application. They work, but could be better.

Android 1.5 is the biggest lynchpin holding the i1 back. Android 2.0 and up offers so much more and has much-needed features (native Exchange support, free Google Maps navigation, etc.) for a phone such as this. Being stuck with Android 1.5 when the premier Android handsets are all running Android 2.1 or 2.2 is just cruel.

The other problem is iDEN. It's perfectly serviceable for voice, PTT and basic telephony needs. It totally fails the i1 when it comes to web browsing and other mobile internet functions. The browser is beyond painful to use due to slow speeds, and the app market is useless without Wi-Fi. It's a shame the i1 doesn't have CDMA on board, even just for data support.

For Sprint Nextel addicts who absolutely have to have PTT functionality, the i1 is pretty much the only smartphone option at the moment. That means you're stuck with it. If PTT isn't necessary, I'd strongly recommend looking at some of the other Android handsets in Sprint's lineup.

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