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Review: Motorola i870

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The i870 - like all iDEN phones - uses an interface completely different from any other Motorola handset, although it certainly bears some similarities. Unfortunately it does not appear quite as refined as the common Motorola OS. Navigation is difficult and many icons and graphics feel out of date.

The default home screen exhibits how the i870 interface is both similar and different from other Motorolas. Like most new Motorola phones, application shortcuts can be assigned to the four D-pad directions and the two softbuttons. A shortcut can also be assigned to the D-pad select on the i870. On most phones, including most Motorola phones, hitting the D-Pad normally takes users to the main menu. However the default setting for the select button on the i870 is direct connect. The only way to access the main menu is using the menu button to the left of the D-pad. Unfortunately the icon for the menu button is in the center, between the two softbutton labels. Because of this we kept on mistaking the select key for the menu function for quite sometime.

The select key can be customized to take you to the main menu, however on every subsequent screen, the menu key label remains in the center, while the actual key remains on the left. It was not unusual to find ourselves or others pressing the select key when trying to launch the option menu. It is rare for the select key to actually bring up the options menu. In most cases it works simply as select or "ok."

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The main menu is more similar to Microsoft Smartphone than to Motorola's typical offering. The screen displays nine options, however instead of having sub-menus for options with more than one application, the i870 has additional applications on additional main menu screens. When in icon view, you must continue pressing the more softkey until you reach the screen with the desired application. When in list view, selecting more brings up a scrolling list of all remaining applications. In either mode, items are not accessible by pressing a corresponding number on the keypad.


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