Motorola V80 review: Circus in a palm

Jaroslav Snášel, 09 June 2004. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
Pages: 123»

Tags: Motorola

The new Motorola V80 is one currently of the most luxurious phones. It comes out from the top model V600 but has a new stylish design and really unconventional construction.

Motorola introduced its luxurious model V80 in February, in Krakow, Poland. Selling has been planed to start in the summer, but we didn't trust this information much considering the experience we had with other Motorola phones. Luckily, we didn't bet on our prognosis. Motorola V80 was on the market on time.

Click on the thumbnails for full resolution pictures.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80
Official pictures

The new Motorola piece is in essence just differently designed V600 type, entirely identical from a software point of view. Following V70, it's the next model from the series of eccentric phones with an original opening, similar to a switchblade knife. Seriously, the cover literally leaps when you touch it.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80
Looks wonderful, doesn't it?

With its stylish design and wide range of functions, Motorola V80 belongs to more expensive high-class handsets.

Magic egg

Looking at Motorola V80 you will probably think of words like "style" and "flair". A shiny black egg with a quality display on the upper side is trimmed around by a matte silver color. A thick silver frame in matte and shiny shade highlights the display itself.
Above the display stands the joystick's green "eye" surrounded by three chrome function keys, set up in a ring form. The bright green color of the joystick lightens up the otherwise black-silver handset. On the opposite side beside the display you can find an oval small chrome frame of the speaker, slightly embedded.
Comparing to other phones Motorola V80 is small (99 x 45 x 23 mm) and lightweight (108g).

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80
Joystick and function keys • loudspeaker

On the left side of the phone there are two chrome keys for the volume control and a key for voice-recorder control on the opposite side. Close to them you can find a headset connector slot. In order to avoid possible misunderstanding there is a conspicuous silver sign Motorola on both sides of the phone.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80
Volume control keys • voice recorder key • if you forget what mobile do you have

The upper part of the oval mobile hides a telescopic wire eyelet used for wrist strap attachment. On the opposite side there is a system connector and a charger connector. About two thirds of the phone's back part is taken by the battery cover, decided in shiny black and graffiti grey. ? silver Motorola logo shines on the back cover and asymmetrically beside the logo there is a camera lens system, which seems a bit lost in comparison to the logo. On the opposite side of the phone there are four longitudinal slits for a rear speaker.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80
Rear cover and camera lens system

The opening mechanism is surely the most striking feature of the handset. The egg-shaped case is divided lengthways into two unequally thick parts. By mild pressing on the side you deflect the upper part. Then a small spring slings and turns it by 180° around its own axis, which is somewhere between the joystick and the edge of the display. Afterwards the keypad appears on the bottom part.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80
Three positions: closed position, than the upper part leaps from the closed position and then it's possible to return it back by 90° for picture taking.

Upside down

With its size of 30x38 mm, resolution of 176x220 pixels and 65k colors the V80's TFT display ranks nowadays among the best mobile phones. It somehow resembles the old-fashioned TV-sets, but shows clear colors and is well readable, even outdoors, in the sunlight. The only problem with the display is that it's to easy to leave finger marks on it; this applies to the whole shiny black handset as well.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Motorola phones have excellent display

A matte silver border trims the keypad, which appears after opening the phone. The oval keypad keys are quite small but apart enough from each other and have a good tilt. Typing on the keypad is steady and comfy. Somebody can get disappointed when (by mistake) erases selected digits as a consequence of a switched start/end call keys.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Click to zoom. Motorola V80
Keys are quite small but typing on them goes well

The joystick is fairly tough from the control point of view but owing to the fact the movements are steady and clear to all directions. Joystick edges are quite sharp, which is good for control but on the other hand it can unpleasantly press in the palm. Personally, I enjoyed the joystick. Three function keys are comfortably and easily reachable whether the phone is in locked or open position.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 Perhaps the joystick is too tough

Before saying some words about the construction of the handset I should mention that we had a pre-production model for testing purposes at our disposal. Therefore it is not sure whether the final product will show the same bugs I'm going to describe. So: the rear cover of the battery made creak sounds even if I held it weakly in my hand; better not to describe the sound by clasping the phone tight. From the mechanical point of view it looked not solid.

Opened or closed

The main display has two basic positions: open and closed. When the phone is locked, the keys get automatically blocked. You can activate them by pressing the function key and confirming. Then will be able to browse the menu and change the item values according to your needs. It's not possible to make or receive calls when the phone is in locked position, you should open it first. By opening or closing the phone an image on the display appears and turns in your direction automatically.

In addition to the standard information such as battery status, signal strength, date and time etc., you can put icons on the display assigned to individual directions of the joystick. The main menu can be displayed either in a text form with small icons or with large icons, animated when selected. The large animated icons didn't impress me much with graphics, I preferred the text form. The second level is mostly in text form with small icons and if you go deeper in the menu, you will find only items in a text form.

  
Display in standby mode (icons can be removed) • main menu in a list form (text and small icons) • in the large icons form

It is usual for Motorola that the menu is kind of complicated so users need to get familiar with it first. I find it very nice that you have the chance to arrange the main menu in accordance to your needs. Another strong point of Motorola V80 is the wide range of customization possibilities. The phone allows you to color the menu by picking one of six possible color styles. You can choose - whether for closed or for open phone position - various wallpapers from the picture folder. One from five possible sounds can be heard when you open the phone and it's also possible to set animation on the standby display.

  
Key shortcuts settings • keys and joystick functions assignment • main menu organization

At first sight you will not be able to see any color LEDs, which are hidden under the silver trim of the upper revolving part. With ten different color schemes available you can distinguish different situations: ringing, messages etc. One of the phone features called Party lights activates LED's in the rhythm of vibrations - e.g. by loud music on a party.

Click to zoom. Motorola V80 
In daylight the phone looks quite discreet...

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... and turns into a devil in the dark

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