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Review: Motorola W755

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A cellphone purporting to be a music device, in my estimation, should have at least four of five attributes: external music controls, an external direct-to-music key (or, if a clamshell, an inside key as well, and, if a touchscreen, a home screen direct-to-music icon), at least 4GB of memory, access to a music service, and a stereo 3.5mm headphone jack. Motorola's W755 purports to be a music phone. It includes the first four of these qualifications, lacking only the fifth. The W755, however, meets these thresholds in a wildly inconsistent fashion.

First, the good news. THE W755 is compatible with the new Rhapsody Verizon music service, which is the real value of this phone. You download the Rhapsody software from the Verizon site, connect you phone via USB cable (you'll have to get your own standard USB to miniUSB cable; the W755 doesn't come packaged with one), sign up for the service and away you go. You can buy tracks a la carte or get a subscription for unlimited tracks.

The problem is you won't find out any of this from the manual. Instead, you'll get directions to a www.verizonwireless.com/music/musicmanager URL, which theoretically houses Verizon's own MusicManager software. Except, this URL leads to a non-existing Verizon Wireless page. The manual was published before the Rhapsody service went live, and merely alludes to its being available at some point.

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If you want to load your own music into the W755, you can use Windows Media Player 11. From a Mac, you'll have to use a card reader to drag-and-drop tracks onto your microSD card. The W755 can play back plain AAC (not AAC+), MP3 and WMA files.

As noted, the W755 has no obvious key to take you directly to your music. You can activate the soft-touch controls on the front flap then press the soft-touch "Play" button to activate the player. If you somehow forget this shortcut, you'll have to use one of the two shortcuts described in the Menus section. Once you get to your music page by clicking through the menus, it takes the W755 a few seconds to load up your library, the time dependent on how much music you had to load. I had around 3GB of music loaded in, so it took a good 5-6 seconds for the music to start playing.

Unfortunately, the music only plays when you're in the music player. If you want to take a picture or send a text message or add a contact any other activity, you have to leave the music app, and when you leave the music app, the music ends.

You can choose "Play All," which plays all your tracks in sequence in which they are listed in the phone, or choose "Shuffle." Many phones with Shuffle music play create a single sequence of songs, then repeats that sequence each time you restart Shuffle play. This means each time you hit "Shuffle," the same songs are played in the same sequence as the last time you hit "Shuffle." The W755, however, creates a new Shuffle sequence each time you restart the music player.

However, when you exit the music player then return to it after completing some other function, the W755 doesn't continue to play tracks from where you left off the way an iPod does. It creates a whole new Shuffle sequence, increasing the likelihood you'll hear a track you just heard a few minutes before.

 

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