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Reviewed July 18, 2008 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Thanks to Apple’s iPhone, this year we are seeing more and more touch screen phones (if you can see how many of them are on our desk you’d agree). But what about mobile phone traditionalists? Those who still hold fond memories of their old Motorola StarTAC fear not: neither Motorola nor Verizon Wireless have forgotten about you. The new Motorola W755 flip phone is here to prove it. The Motorola W Series phones have always been an affordable alternative to the high-priced RAZR series and other more feature packed Moto phones. The MOTO W755 comes to the market with more features than most W Series phones yet keeps the price tag low. The flip phone has many of today's mid-range feature phone capabilities including V CAST music and video support, built-in aGPS with VZ Navigator support, Bluetooth A2DP stereo, mobile Web and a high capacity microSD card slot.
The MOTO W755 is a digital dual band phone with EVDO for data. Verizon Wireless is the exclusive provider for this phone in the US. The flip phone is available in two colors: black slate and purple.
Slim and Shiny
Though not as pretty as the RAZR or sleek as the ROKR E8, the W755 passes the style test thanks to its slim body and glossy look. The phone has a soft touch surface with shiny polished metal sidings and hinge. The internal display bezel is shiny too, and the phone has just enough heft to feel good in hand. The keypad is roomy and has a flat design that looks good but doesn’t function very well for blind dialing. The menu buttons are flat but quite large and easy to use. The d-pad however is just too flat and lacks the right feel to use effectively not only in gaming but in general phone navigation. You will find plenty of dedicated keys and buttons on both the keypad and the sides of the Motorola, and these controls launch camera/camcorder, voice command and speakerphone. The battery door is easy to open when you release the latch, and the microSD card slot is under the battery.
Talk and Surf
The W755 has strong reception, getting full bars of EVDO and 1x in well covered areas and half of full signal strength in marginally covered areas. The phone has not yet dropped a call even indoors and has decent voice quality with good volume through the earpiece and very loud volume through phone’s speaker. Like many other feature phones on Verizon, the W755 comes with over 90 speed dials, a phone book that can store up to 1000 entries and the excellent VoiceSignal’s VSuite 3.1 for voice dialing and voice activated commands that worked well via both phone’s mic and via Bluetooth headsets. Speaking of Bluetooth headsets, the Motorola W755 supports hands-free and headset profiles and worked with all the Bluetooth headsets we tested it with. The incoming voice quality was very good when working with the BlueAnt Z9i Bluetooth headset, but the outgoing voice had some digital distortion that thinned out the voice. The DSP worked decently, filtering out and reducing most road noise. Range between the Motorola W755 and the BlueAnt Z9i was about 20 feet which is quite good by Bluetooth headset standards. The voice quality was better on the outgoing end via the Plantronics Explorer 330 while the incoming voice was as good as with the BlueAnt. The volume was loud through the Plantronics and the range was about 10 feet, which is good for the Explorer 330 that often gets no more than 5 feet range with other phones.
The Motorola W755 comes with Verizon’s standard messaging software that includes SMS, MMS, mobile email, mobile IM and mobile Chat. Since the Motorola isn’t a web- centric phone, it comes with the basic Openwave WAP browser that does a good job with WAP sites. The browser loads WAP sites fast and offers some basic features such as history, cookies and cache. The browser doesn’t deal with full HTML sites well as it runs out memory when loading regular full HTML pages and formats pages into a single column view.
In addition to the contacts database, the W755 also comes with calendar, calculator, tip calculator, alarm clock, world clock and notepad tool.
The Motorola W755 has built-in aGPS that’s fast to get a fix, and in most places the location readings are accurate. The GPS can even get a signal indoors, and we were able to start navigation before leaving the office. The W755 works with the new VZ Navigator 4.1 which has some new and nifty features such as weather and local search. The service isn’t free however, but for $9.99/month (or $2.99/day), you get 2D and 3D map, turn-by-turn directions, voice guidance, real time traffic (in many metro areas), POI (Points of Interest) database with local search, movies and events listing and weather. We were impressed by the GPS performance and the visual and audio guidance in many of our road trip tests. The route navigation and re-calculation were speedy and mostly accurate. The turn-by-turn navigation also has a traffic color meter (green to red) to indicate traffic conditions. The POI data has been updated as well and we found some locations that weren’t in the previous version of VZ Navigator now are listed in the POI database. Like the previous version, VZ Navigator 4.1 allows you to send location messages to your friends who also have the service.
If your mobile entertainment is centered on Verizon’s V CAST, the MOTO W755 will fit right in. The flip phone has support for V CAST Music, V CAST Video and application /game downloads over the air. The W755 has a music player that can play MP3, AAC and WMA files, and you can use either the d-pad and menu keys to control it or the touch sensitive music controls on the external screen. Thanks to the new partnership between Verizon and Rhapsody, you now have an incredible music library that has 5 million songs and they’re DRM free! Booya! The W755 has a loud speaker that doesn’t sound half bad for music playback. It also has a 2.5mm stereo headset jack, but no wired headset is included with the phone. We tested a generic 2.5mm wired stereo headset, and the Motorola W755 worked fine with it. The audio through the wired headset isn’t very loud and sounded a bit thin. The best sound quality came through Bluetooth stereo headsets with super clear sound, very loud volume and very nice channel separation. The Motorola has 57MB of storage space-- if you’re into mobile music, you’ll want to get a microSD card to store your music library. Unfortunately you must remove the battery to access the card, but on the bright side, it does support SDHC high capacity cards.
The MOTO W755 can stream V CAST videos and the relatively small 1.9” display is a blessing for video playback. Many V CAST videos don’t look great on large displays since they’re low resolution, but they look great on the W755. In well-covered EVDO areas, the W755 plays V CAST video almost perfectly: videos look sharp and audio is in sync with video. In marginal EVDO coverage areas, some videos are blocky and audio goes out of sync. The videos are loud through the phone’s speaker. Streaming and watching V CAST videos put a noticeable strain on the battery. The Motorola W755 doesn’t have strong battery life even if you are only talking on the phone. If you watch V CAST video, download V CAST music and talk for a decent amount of time on the phone, you will need to charge it every other day.
The Motorola W755 has a meager 1.3 megapixel camera. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not expecting the performance of the MOTOZINE ZN5 here, but 1.3 megapixels is bottom of the barrel these days. That said, photos taken with the W755 are decent though not stellar. Both indoor and outdoor shots have saturated and balanced colors with good exposure. Whiteout is very obvious in outdoor shots and indoor shots have noticeable noise. The camera phone offers 4 resolutions: 1280 x 1024, 640 x 280, 320 x 240 and Picture ID; and has self timer, white balance and brightness settings. The camera phone can also record videos with audio, and you can take short videos (5 seconds), medium videos (15 seconds), fit to video msg and long videos (max memory). The videos look decent: no blockiness and audio is in sync with video.
This MOTO's for You
The Moto W755 is a bargain-- it's hard to beat the features and quality at this price. Long time MOTO fans who want a flip phone with a normal keypad, good voice and multimedia feature that doesn’t cost a bundle should like the MOTO. It has an updated look (though not as sleek the RAZR) compared to old Motorola flips, strong music and video playback, a decent camera and a very good GPS combined with VZ Navigator. We wish the battery life was better, though we’re consoled that the $49.99 extended battery doubles runtimes.
Pro: Slim and shiny. Good reception. Good music and streaming video experience. Good GPS performance.
Con: The microSD card slot isn’t hot swappable. Battery life could be better.
Price: $19.99 with 2-year contract after online discount.
Web sites: www.motorola.com, www.verizonwireless.com
Display: Main display: 65K color TFT display. Resolution: 176 x 220 pixels. Diag.: 1.9”. External display: CSTN color display with touch-sensitive controls, 1.119”, 96 x 80 pixels.
Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable, 3.7V, 950 mAh. Battery is user replaceable (BT51). Claimed talk time: 3.6 hours. Claimed standby time: 390 hours. Extended battery available for purchase, 1860 mAh (BT91).
Performance: 70MB internal memory. Phone book can store up to 1000 contacts.
Size: 3.9 x 1.9 x 0.68 inches. Weight: 3.6 ounces.
Phone: CDMA digital dual band 800/1900 MHz bands. EVDO for data.
Camera: 1.3 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom. Still image resolutions: 1280 x 1024, 640 x 280, 320 x 240 and Picture ID. Camcorder can record video with audio at 176 x 144 resolution. Video lengths: short videos (5 seconds), medium videos (15 seconds), fit to video msg and long videos (max memory).
Audio: Built-in mic, speaker, 2.5mm headset jack. Music player on board to play MP3, AAC, AMR, NB, MIDI and WMA files. Supports Bluetooth A2DP. Has vibration mode.
GPS: Yes. Supports VZ Navigator 4.1.
Networking: Bluetooth v1.2. Support profiles: Headset, Handsfree, Dial Up Networking, Stereo, Phone Access, Basic Printing, Object Push, File Transfer profiles.
Expansion: 1 microSD card slot. Supports SDHC.
In the Box: The Motorola MOTO W755 phone with standard battery, AC travel charger and printed User Guide and Quick Reference Guide.