Motorola L6 review: Affordable RAZR bar

Ivo Mareček, 02 February 2006. Read the original review at
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Keypad: hard to SMS

The bulging buttons would unnecessarily spoil the effect of the otherwise perfectly thin phone. Motorola has chosen a plastic keypad for the L6 model. So, all the buttons are made of one tablet. The only item, which doesn't belong to this plastic bar, is a round button, placed in the middle part under the display.

The confirming centre of the round button is also the only bulging on top of everything else. All the other buttons are on the same level. Although the keys have defined press, accompanied by a "click" sound, the passionate SMS writers won't be pleased. You have to put on increased pressure, which, especially while writing messages, is very difficult for the fingers.

The size of all numeric buttons is practically the same. The accept and reject calls buttons and the functional buttons are bigger, located just under the display. You may set the left and right buttons' functionality in the phone settings. In most cases the middle functional button takes you into the context menu.

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Keypad details

Considering that the middle range of buttons has been moved a few millimeters downwards and in addition, the buttons are separated one from another only by minimal gaps, it will take you some time, until you get used to write with your eyes closed. Moreover, you have to learn to distinguish the keys only by the miniature bulging numbers.

The software speed will cause you even more problems when writing rather than the keypad. L6 deals with the shorter messages without any problems, but as soon as the number of characters increases, the message editor is getting slow. The process of slowing down affects not only the message editor, but the software in general.

Even though I have complained about the pretty flat keypad, I must praise without hesitations its backlight. The keypad lights are shining with very pleasant light blue color. The gaps amongst the buttons are most lighted up. The numbers themselves and the symbols on the buttons are not forgotten as well. The illumination level is regulated by a sensor, which also automatically switches it on or off.

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Keypad lightening

Display: the weakest link

A long time was spent on discussing, that the one of the main stones of success for the L6 will be its top display. The results, however, didn't reach the expectations, so the Motorola got the "ancient" passive CSTN display, capable of displaying maximum 65K colors. The colors on the display are rather dim and you'd better forget about the authentic colors of the photos taken by the built-in camera.

The switched off display seems to be very big at first sight. Pressing a button reveals that there is a rim around the display itself, which enlarges it optically. The real dimensions of the display are 28 x 35 mm with resolution of 128 x 160 pixels. The icons and letters in the rounded parts are rough due to the low resolution.

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Display in daylight... • ...and in dark

Aside from the operator logo, the signal strength indicator, the battery charging indicator and other status icons, you'll also find the current date and time on the main display. All the data is displayed on turned off display, but due to the used passive technology nothing can be seen just by glance. So, I don't understand why Motorola hasn't turned off its display fully in order to save a few percents from the battery.

Different themes • color style settings

In the style of T-Mobile, the main menu is arranged like a list of items or like a matrix of nine simple animated icons in 3 x 3 layout. You won't very much enjoy the animations due to the pale colors. The submenus are organized either according to the main menu setting or like a simple list of items without icons' displaying. You may select between several menus' color styles.

Two possibilities of the menu interface • different color styles

Phonebook by brand standard

Having in mind the price the phone can be bought for, the phonebook is the best, which Motorola could add to its model. The maximum capacity of the phonebook is up to 1000 items plus the capacity of the SIM card, because the list can display the contacts, stored in the SIM card and in the phone simultaneously. Additional information can be assigned to every contact - nickname, phone type, category, address, birthday or some extra phone numbers or e-mail addresses.

For simplified orientation in the contacts are also determined those fields - voice record, fast dialing, caller ID, picture caller ID. Aside from the personal ringing tone and picture, you may assign also a vibration type to every contact when the discrete mode is on. It's possible to use not only a standard ringtone, but your own track as well (MP3s, for example), which you have already recieved from a computer or another device via the wireless Bluetooth.

Contact list • details • entry editing • entry details

The searching method in the phonebook is according to the first character, which is a pity. Nevertheless, the Razr V3 has demonstrated that this disadvantage doesn't annoy in no way so far. Having in mind the menu potential, a slight relief could be the fact that the searching method is quite agile after all. In addition you may use the second searching method - by entering a few initial characters, the phone jumps on the closest found name. This however is not a gradual searching method.

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