Apr 1, 2008, 8:00 AM by Eric Zeman & Rich Brome
updated Apr 3, 2008, 8:40 PM
Our coverage of THE big US cell phone show. Hands-on with new phones from Samsung, Kyocera, Nokia, LG, Sanyo, Motorola, Playboy, Sharper Image, Clarity, HTC, ZTE, Velocity, Sony Ericsson, and a tour of Windows Mobile 6.1.
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Motorola's Z9 is essentially a slider version of the RAZR2 V9. The styling and features are very similar. AT&T has a North-American exclusive on the Z9, and they will be offering it in the same "mahogany" color as the RAZR2 V9 they currently offer.
The Z9 does add a few tricks, such as video sharing and GPS that supports navigation services (LBS). This will be AT&T's first video sharing phone that isn't a Samsung or LG. This is also AT&T's first feature phone (non-smartphone) to support navigation software.
First impressions of the Z9: it's a big phone. Like the RAZR2, it's a bit wider and taller than your average phone. Unfortunately, it doesn't manage the same impressive thin-ness of its clamshell cousin. It feels large in your hand, and a bit heavy as well. It's not "thick", but by modern standards it's not especially thin, either. You'd think that with only one QVGA display - instead of two like the RAZR2 - they'd be able to shave some thickness; apparently not.
If you can get past the size, though, there's a lot to like. It feels solid and very high-quality. The slide mechanism is excellent. The screen is huge and lovely. It's as much of a finger print magnet as it looks, but the same can be about most stylish phones these days.
The keys look like trouble, but they're surprisingly easy to use. The little chrome bumps are just pronounced enough to not miss, yet low and smooth enough to not be uncomfortable. The size of the phone is an advantage here: having the keys so spaced out goes a long way toward making them easy to use. Even the odd-looking soft keys and d-pad did not give us any trouble in our first few hours of use.
The 2 megapixel camera seems to produce decent photos. It's certainly above-average quality for a Motorola. A very bright LED flash helps in low-light situations. Unlike some smaller LED flashes, this one is actually useful. The camera UI is excellent, providing easy access to all key functions. It works in either landscape or portrait mode, depending on whether the phone is open or closed, respectively. The viewfinder is always completely full-screen, and photos are always captured and stored exactly as seen in the viewfinder, with no unexpected cropping.
The user interface is Motorola's older "Synergy" platform. It will look familiar to any long-time Motorola user, but Motorola has continued to tweak and enhance it. The graphics don't like nearly as dated as past Motos, and many menu actions are now accompanied by some kind of nifty animation. The main menu has a fade-in effect, and some menus and alerts slide or zoom on and off the screen. A very speedy processor means menus are extremely snappy; everything happens pretty much instantly.
All in all, the Z9 leaves a mostly positive first impression. It's a powerful phone with no obvious flaw in its implementation. The one catch is the size and weight. It will fit fine in just about any pocket, but the weight won't let you forget it's there.
On the flip side, the size does allow for a huge display and well-spaced keys. The interface also features very large text in all areas, in an easy-to-read font that is anti-aliased (smoothed) for extra clarity. For those looking for the largest keys and display text possible, the Z9 will be worth a serious look.
Sanyo's latest Katana phone slices into the entry-level competition with style but not quite enough substance.
We take two QChat-enabled walkie-talkie phones for a spin to see how well the new DirectConnect technology really works. Does it hold a candle to iDEN?
LG has crafted a classy Saturday night phone with a touch screen interface. The Glimmer succeeds at being above average--but not superlative--at most tasks.
Successor to the popular enV, the enV2 pares down on the size and makes improvements on the hardware. The only thing preventing it from being a superb phone is the software.
The Motorola Z9 is the slider version of the RAZR2 series. This capable phone brings style--and sheer size--to Motorola's slider line-up.
Instinct UI Question
I'm really wondering why Sprint was so afraid to include the Samsung TouchWIZ UI that just launched in Korea. Now that would have been really innovative compared to this bug-ridden build from the ground up (WHY??) fisher-price looking user interface.
It is my opinion that they should have let Samsung design the UI themselves, not outsource it to a 3rd party company. BAD idea.
HAHA TAKE THAT STEVE JOBS & ATT WIRELESS
Before you know it walmart will be peddling Apple's iphone on shelves for $75 due to the fact so many better devices came out because people didn't want to wait for an unlocked iphone or the price to go down and the iphone has become yesterday's news. I hope the Samsung instinct is a big success that allows people way more freedom to tinker with it then Apple doe...
They still haven't launched the Z750 that they announced at last year's CTIA, so they didn't really have much credibility to launch new models for the US.
(their website for ref: http://www.joby.com/products/zivio/ )
It seemed to make a splash when announced a few months ago, but I can't find any news of it from CTIA. Zivio was supposed to be available this spring (according to the company), but still nothing but dead air out there in the marketplace and in the media.
Anyone have any current info on the Zivio?
Windows Mobile 6.1
I used to have a Shadow and now I have a Dash and I am dying to get that UI back from the Shadow without actually owning another one. Thanks
Isn't Sharper Image Bankrupt?
Kinda like when sega stopped seling gaming machines, but they still make games under the sega brand name.
Again T-Mobile fails to deliver
Sprint is actually the most innovative in the US. The "test" or use new phones and always try out new ser...
Hey Rich... LG Phones
http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/servi ... »
Granted it is one way only for video, but I hear it's pretty cool.
AT&T does offer video sharing, where you can show someone what you're lookin...
Where is the video?
I'll wait to see it in person tho, because I'm concerned it's still a little on the big side. I wish they would put a hold switch on it, too. I can't stand candybar soft keypad locks.