Review: Motorola ic402
The screen on the ic402 is small. We'd go so far as to say it's a sub-standard size compared to the typical feature phone. On top of its small size, it has low resolution of 128 x 160 pixels and this drags down the experience of using the phone. All the icons and menus are pixelized and it makes you think you're using a phone from a few years ago. In other words, the screen comes off cheap looking. The one thing we will say about the screen is that it is very bright and has high contrast. It was easily seen when outdoors in direct sunlight. All the menus and icons were legible in the sun, and we had no problems navigating the ic402's features. This also means using it in dark environments was a snap.
SprintNextel is not known for its amazing coverage in the NYC metro area. The entire time we had the ic402, the CDMA radio never reached more than 3 bars of signal strength. This includes when we took it to the local SprintNextel store. Most often, it showed 2 bars. In my basement, it slipped down to 1 bar, and occasionally lost the signal altogether. Driving around elsewhere coverage was generally spotty, but remained at the 2-bar strength. We didn't miss any calls due to coverage, and the signal stayed at one bar while driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, which let us maintain a data connection.
The iDEN radio was a different story. With the ic402, it's an all-or-nothing deal. There's a little cell phone icon up in the top bar. If there's a check mark next to it, you have iDEN coverage. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't find a spot that was without iDEN coverage. We even drove up into the northern hills of NJ, and still there was a signal. Needless to say, if and when the CDMA radio can't find a signal, as it did up in them thar hills, you can fall back to the iDEN radio for PTT calls.
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The polyphonic ringers and ringtones we downloaded sounded very poor on the ic402's speakers at all volume levels. Ringtones were so garbled and static-y that they were best not used at all. Despite the poor ring quality, the ic402 could be quite loud.
Call quality was different. Using the walkie-talkie produced clear, crisp conversations that were very audible over the speakers. We performed a coast-to-coast walkie-talkie test and the quality of the call was superb.
Making regular phone calls from the ic402 led to average results. We heard some static every now and then, and a fabulous echo once, but otherwise call quality is consistent with other SprintNextel phones we've tested. The ear piece speaker performed well enough, but it was far from dazzling. It was loud enough to be heard in noisy environments, but the quality degraded noticeably at higher volumes. It's obvious that Motorola wants users of the ic402 to use the walkie talkie or speakerphone if they're in loud environments, which suits construction sites better than noisy subway platforms.
Battery life on the ic402 was short. You won't be going on any business trips, even brief ones, without taking the charger. Leaving the phone in standby and not touching it at all drained the battery is just two days. Using the phone regularly for phone calls, walkie-talkie calls, browsing the Web and sending text messages drained the battery in 1.5 days or less. People who intend to use the phone heavily every day will need to charge it each night.
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