Phone, Smartphone, Notebook and Gadget Reviews and buyers guide
Phone Notebooks & Tablets Gaming Gadgets iPhone & iPad Shop Forum


Home -> Smartphone Reviews -> Motorola i930


Motorola i930 for Nextel Review

Editor's rating (1-5):
Discuss this product

Review posted Jan.2, 2005 by Julian Suwandi

The old cliché "Better late than never" applies to this Smartphone. The Motorola i930 runs Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Smartphones (WM2003SE) rather than the new Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system. The phone was in development for a few years prior to release, hence it doesn't have WM5 which was released just a few months before the i930. This may not be a bad thing after all, as Motorola has gained valuable experience from their GSM Smartphone, the MPx220 on how to implement WM2003SE better. This is Sprint/Nextel's first PTT (Push To Talk) Smartphone, a big step forward for the company and their users.

Motorola i930
back of i930


Design and Ergonomics

The i930 has a solid, sturdy feeling in hand and has some serious weight. It's thicker than the Sprint PPC-6700. The Smartphone has a slight wobble on the flip, because I can move the top of the flip slightly to the left and right. Since we only had one unit for review, I can't say if all i930s have this wobble. The wobble did not worsen during our testing period, and opening the flip gives you that nice, reassuring click.

The outer screen is a simple color, multi-line display and it's pleasingly bright with good contrast. The IR port is on the right side of the phone, as is the mini-SD slot. The slot has a dust cover, which is a must on a rugged phone. The heft and look of the phone make you think it's made of metal, but its actually shiny black and silver plastic. The status light is on the right and it blinks green while it is connected to Nextel's iDEN network.

At the bottom is the ubiquitous Motorola connector, not the mini-USB one that we see in their Razr line. This also has a dust cover which I find hard to use because the black plastic is very flimsy and difficult to open and close. The left side has a 2.5mm headset jack, the volume up/down rocker, as well as the large Push To Talk selector button.

motorola i930
side of i930





The PTT buttons are up top: the left button controls the PTT external speakers, and on the right it brings up a list of phone numbers. You can scroll through the list of phone numbers using the rocker on the phone's left side, and press the left PTT button to initiate a call to the selected number. This, of course, would only work for those numbers with PTT capabilities.

Open the flip and you're greeted with a nice, bright 65,000 color screen. In the keypad area you'll find the usual Home key, two soft-keys, back key and an OK button in the center of the direction pad. I have an average sized hand, and I find it difficult to push the buttons, especially Home, back and the two soft-keys, as they're too narrow though long. The call and hang up buttons are also small, but the number keys are usable.

As with most Sprint/Nextel devices, the i930 has an extendable external antenna. While I had the phone, I never needed to extend the antenna, as coverage was very good, and the reception decent.

Horsepower and Performance

The i930 runs on a 200 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 730 processor which is competitive with other MS Smartphones currently on the market. The phone has 64 megs of flash ROM with 27 megs available for storage, and 22mb of available RAM at boot with no additional programs running. For expansion the unit has an SD slot that supports SD and MMC cards.

Windows Mobile features

WM2003SE comes with standard features such as Messaging, Contacts, Calendar, Pocket Internet Explorer and ActiveSync to synchronize with Outlook on Windows PCs. I had no problems syncing the Smartphone with Microsoft Outlook, which is a blessing considering that my Windows Mobile 5 Sprint PPC 6700 usually crashes the computer. WM2003SE runs very well on the i930 without any of the issues that MPx220 suffered, nor does it have any problems multitasking. I used the Messaging feature extensively and I had great luck with it.


I have used the MPx220 to retrieve my e-mails, and run a variety of other applications as well. My MPx220 has a lot of bugs, from freezing to crashes, but the i930 proved to be very stable. Data on Nextel's iDEN network is usable with tolerable page loads in Internet Explorer on the phone. It took 40 minutes to download 956 e-mails (15,741k): not quick, but usable.


The i930 does not have good battery life, perhaps due to the relatively middling capacity 880 mAh Lithium Ion battery. I had the phone fully charged, and after downloading the 956 e-mails, the phone was completely drained. It was certainly a surprise, as I did not have the screen on most of the time. Keep your charger nearby if you're a heavy email user! I then tested the phone with retrieving messages every 15 minutes. Again, the battery life was short as it didn't even last a day. I did the same thing with my Motorola RAZR, and the RAZR got more than a day on a charge.


Reception should be the biggest consideration for anyone purchasing a phone. No matter how cool the device is or how cheap the service, the phone must be able to make calls where you need it to. In comparison to my Sprint PPC-6700, the i930 did pretty well. In comparison to the Nextel i870, reception was about the same. I find that Nextel's coverage is usually better than Sprint's and that's the reason why it performed better than my PPC-6700. Nextel's stability beat Cingular's reception in my area (Cingular coverage varies greatly depending on where I am in town), as tested with my Treo 650. Of course, carriers' coverage varies depending on where you are, so always try to evaluate a carrier's service in your location.

The i930 also supports the 900 and 1800 MHz GSM bands used outside the US which means you can use the phone when traveling anywhere in the world outside the US where GSM is available. Why won't it work in the US for GSM? Because the US uses the 850 and 1900 MHz bands instead.

PTT and Call Quality

The i930's PTT feature works well. I could easily turn the PTT speakers on and off and thus limit the disruptions. The external speakerphone for the PTT and calls is loud and picks up my voice well, even in the car. The i930 supports private and groups calls, though it doesn't have Direct Talk and Enhanced Group Talk, two new Nextel features.

The i930's incoming and outgoing voice quality is excellent as is call volume. Call quality is consistent with no dropped calls. The i930's speakerphone is loud and clear!


The Motorola's VGA camera won't wow you now that 1 megapixel cameras are the standard for high end phones. That said, it takes pretty good photos with pleasing colors and decent contrast. The CMOS camera's application allows you to take photos in one of four quality settings at 640 x 480 resolution or smaller sizes if you wish. You can save photos to an SD card or internal memory, set it as your wallpaper or send it via MMS or IR. In addition the camera can shoot video with audio up to 10 seconds in length.


If you're a Nextel customer and hunger for an MS Smartphone, the i930 is currently your one and only choice. It's heavy and chunky and runs an older version of the Windows Mobile OS. That said, Motorola's implementation of the WM2003SE on this device is very good. The device is stable, and I've not had any lockups with the phone. The Smartphone also multitasks very well, and the CPU is peppy, running the tasks that I throw to it quickly. Voice quality and volume are very good and PTT works well. It may be your only choice, but it's not a bad one. And the 900/1800 MHz GSM support is very attractive to world travelers.

Pro: Works overseas on GSM networks. Stable, has Push to Talk, excellent call quality and volume, full sized SD slot rather than MiniSD. Loud speakerphone.

Con: Older operating system, heavy and chunky design, no Bluetooth, uninspiring battery life.

Price: $349 with contract

Web Site: (Sprint bought Nextel)


Display: Main display: TFT color LCD. 66K colors, resolution: 176 x 220 pixels. Outer display: 4,096 color STN display, resolution 96 x 65 pixels.

Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 880 mAh. 165 minutes claimed talk time and 95 hours standby.

Performance: 200 MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 730 processor. 64 MB flash ROM, 64 megs RAM.

Size: Size - 3.5" (L) x 1.9" (W) x 1.2" (D). Weight: 5.9 ounces.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 2.5mm standard stereo headphone jack. Voice Recorder and Windows Media Player 10 included for your MP3 pleasure.

Phone: Nextel iDEN network. 900/1800-MHz GSM bands (for use in Europe, Asia, Middle East but not US).

Camera: VGA CMOS camera with 4 quality options and 4 resolution settings. Camcorder can shoot videos up to 10 seconds in length.

Software: Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for Smartphone operating system. Microsoft Mobile Office suite including Mobile versions of Word, Excel and Outlook (email, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks but not Notes). Also Windows Media Player 10 and camera application. ActiveSync 3.8 and Outlook 2002 for PCs included.

Expansion: 1 SD (Secure Digital) slot.


All Phone Reviews
Smartphone Reviews
Android Phone Reviews
Windows Phone Reviews
HTC Phone Reviews
LG Phone Reviews
Motorola Phone Reviews
Nokia Phone Reviews
Samsung Phone Reviews
Sony Phone Reviews
AT&T Phone Reviews
Sprint Phone Reviews
T-Mobile Phone Reviews
Verizon Phone Reviews
Unlocked GSM Phone Reviews


All Tablet Reviews
Android Tablet Reviews
Tablet Comparisons
Android Tablet Comparisons



Laptop Reviews
Ultrabook Reviews
Laptop Comparisons
Best Ultrabooks



Bluetooth Headsets
iPhone and iPad Accessories
eBook Readers

iPhone Game Reviews
iPad Game Reviews

iPhone Case Reviews
iPad Case Reviews


RSS News Feed

About Us

Contact Us


Site Map