Motorola ROKR E1 review: iTunes inside

Jiří Kuruc, 07 October 2005. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
Pages: 1234»

Tags: Motorola

Motorola ROKR E1 seems to be a new and quite progressive mobile. Well, it is not really new, as it takes its roots in the older E398 model, but it does brings a sure novelty: a direct cooperation with the iTunes program as well as with one of the world's biggest music dealers via internet - iTunes Music Store.

Key features

  • iTunes service implementation
  • Memory card slot
  • Top-class ear-phones
  • Very good music performance
  • Loud and clear ringing

Main disadvantages

  • No radio
  • iTunes program reacts slowly
  • Recharging is not possible if a synchronizing cable is simultaneously connected

In cooperation with Apple, Motorola has launched an old-new mobile phone, called ROKR E1. It is the first mobile phone to support the iTunes Music Store service, one of the world's biggest internet music stores. Until now common Apple iPod MP3 have been the only devices to freely cooperate with iTunes.

Motorola and Apple started working together more than a year ago, in July 2004. The result of their cooperation was first presented at the CES fair at the beginning of this year. Soon afterwards, in the spring of 2005, we were shown the first pictures of their new music phone. And here we have it - the result, Motorola ROKR E1. Yet, we expect our experienced readers to stay calm, for the new Motorola is almost identical to the one year-old E398 model.

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ROKR's snowy white color version

As there are very few differences between the mentioned old model and the current new one, I think that a review with an extended and detailed description is not necessary. Instead, you may want to have a look straight at the detailed review of Motorola E398. In this article I will pay attention to the phone's most important characteristics and will go deeper in description of the music player's work, its reproduction quality as well as the comfort of applying iTunes.

Changes visible at first glance

Provided you were attracted by the design of the dark Motorola E398, the new model will make you feel euphoric. The combination of white and matt silver goes well with the design of iPod models. The color combination is far from new. Yet, I am quite willing to forgive Motorola this lack of originality. What's more, I give it the best mark possible, for Motorola has proved that the way colors are combined can transform impersonal grey into one of the most attractive mobile phones on the current market.

In my review on the E398 model I was complaining about the accentuated model logo positioned behind the transparent rubber in the bottom part of the phone. I was not the only one to raise a voice of dislike and as you can see, the manufacturer has heard the customers' opinion and has made the necessary modifications. The new model is equipped with a descent Motorola logo, hidden behind a rubber strip.

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ROKR E1 in a palm and compared with a credit card

Both sides of the phone are decorated with notable ribbing, which hides two stereophonic speakers. Here you will also find phone's color diodes. These, however, are made to serve for fun, called clubbing light only. It is basically a combination of colors and music, which reacts to loud rhythm impulses. What is a real pity is that these lights cannot be used as alerts for incoming calls and messages, as it is in the M55 Siemens model, for example. Correction: They can be used for alerts too - to activate the lights, just go to the Main menu, Settings, Ring styles, Event Lights and select 'On'. Make sure you select your desire Ring Lights pattern at the Ring Lights section. (Thanks, Jason).

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Accentuated ribbing on both sides of the phone hides diodes and speakers

I do like Motorola ROKR's design. The new color version has inspired a brand new style into the one-year old model. Is there anybody at all whom this phone's design seems old-fashioned?

Better display

The display of the new ROKR is a novelty. It shows 262K colors. In comparison, the old E398 model was able to view 65K only. I must confess, however, that I would have not noticed the difference if I had not written the technical information on the new Motorola. In any case, the top-quality that was established by the previous model has been maintained in ROKR E1 too: colors are perfectly vivid; display is easy to read in direct sunlight. Resolution of 176 x 220 pixels on a relatively small surface ensures finesse and clearness of al graphics and texts. In other words, Motorola's display is brilliant.

A thousand and one keys

There are more than 20 keys on ROKR's surface. Let's count together: 10 number keys, 2 keys with receivers, a five-way control key, 4 keys placed below the display, 2 volume control keys placed on the sides and 2 more keys on the sides that serve the camera. The phone is literally snowed under with keys. Even though this logically results in a slightly unusual method of control, with time you will surely get used to it.

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The quantity of keys placed on the front side of the phone; with time you will get used to them

The numeric keypad buttons are made of plastic. They move accurately and have an easy-to-recognize reaction. You may find it difficult to orientate by touching only, for the keypad is united into a block. A bit more interesting are the keys below the display. The two marginal ones serve phone's software. The second key from the left starts the iTunes player. The second from the right opens the context menu.

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The display of Motorola ROKR E1 is simply perfect

The graphic design of the main menu depends on you and nobody else. You can choose between traditional icons and more clearly readable text descriptions. In addition you can move or group various items at your will.

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