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Meet the ROKR E1

Intro The Phone The Music The Rest Comments  13  

As expected, the ROKR E1 is essentially a Motorola E398 in a new color (white), with iTunes software on board. The E398 was released over a year ago, so the E1 is a little anticlimactic after all the hype, but then again the E398 was fairly advanced for its time, and has received rave reviews.

The hardware of the ROKR E1 is truly identical to the E398. While it is white and does have an extra button compared to the standard black E398, there was a white E398 with an extra button made for T-Mobile Europe. The only difference between T-Mobile's E398 and the ROKR E1 is that the extra button links to iTunes instead of T-Zones, and of course the E1 is blessed with iTunes software.

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In terms of features, the E1 (like the E398) has stereo speakers, a VGA camera with LED flash and video capture, Bluetooth, and haptics with synchronized vibration and multi-color light effects.

It also has a microSD (TransFlash) memory card slot. Most carriers around the world - including Cingular - will ship the E1 with a 512 MB memory card included. Unfortunately, the card is located under the battery and therefore isn't hot-swappable, but that's mitigated by the fact that the included 512 MB card is the largest size the phone can support.

For reasons that aren't entirely clear, the iTunes software in the ROKR is specifically restricted to holding no more than 100 songs. That's not a major limitation in this case, because 512 MB is only enough memory for roughly 100 songs anyway. It is nonetheless a little unsettling; hopefully the same restriction won't be imposed on future ROKRs with larger memory capacity and/or hard drives.

It would have been nice to see stereo Bluetooth on the E1, or at least a 3.5 mm audio jack for normal stereo headphones. Unfortunately they left the E398 hardware completely unmodified, so the rubber cover on the top of the phone just hides a standard 2.5 mm phone-headset jack. It is stereo, though, and a 3.5 mm adapter is included in the box.

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