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I can still recall the first mobile phone I bought - it cost me the princely sum of £10 and it was a Dancall DC10. It was the size of a small housebrick, didn't text, had a limited address book, one ring tone, a battery life that was stupendously short and on many an occasion it took 30 attempts to get through to the number I was dialling yet I thought it was the business and so did many of my mobile-less colleagues at the time. How times have changed….
I recently upgraded my Sony Ericsson K700i because my one year was up and the phone was having a little trouble re-charging. After much looking around I decided to go for the Motorola SLVR as it looked darned snazzy and seemed to have the best talk and battery life out of the 'Upgrade Only' handsets Orange had to offer - plus it was free which is always a bonus.
The handset is quite masculine in design - I know that sounds quite sexist but bear with me and I'll explain why - the handset is black plastic (the back is actually black metal), the phone is oh so slim, the key pad is flat 'brushed' metal in a dark bronzy colour which does tend to give it a more 'manly appeal' - infact, whenever I use this phone on the train if I happen to be texting or making a call it elicits many envious looks from men but the women totally ignore it and the Boyf also pleads with me on a daily basis to "Pleeease lets swap SIM cards - for a week. Ok, a few days. A day. OK, a few hours then".
~ PHONE FEATURES ~
Bluetooth Quad Band (although the guide book keeps saying Tri-band) GPRS MP3 player Polyphonic & MP3 ringtones Vibrating alert SMS (regular texting) MMS (Multi-Media messaging - so you can take a video and send it to someone) Loud speaker Alarm clock, calendar, calculator, camera with 4x zoom, video camera, email Two pre-installed games - mine were Crazy and Rebels although this may change depending on which network you are with. Digital Download player 'Safe' which you can enter all your PIN numbers in (something I personally won't be doing). Toughened scratch resistant screen Memory card
Measurements:- 49mm wide. 113mm length. 11.5mm depth. Weight :- 96g
~ SETTING UP THE HANDSET ~
You get many things with this phone:- About 5 'how to use your phone' guidebooks. SIM card. Memory card - this is little finger nail sized (i.e. teeny). Memory card adaptor & case. Headphones and 2 spare sets of foam earphone covers.
Once you've unpacked the phone and given it a good old charge up you can transfer the numbers across from your old handset as frustratingly, it didn't work when I put my old SIM card in and tried to copy the address book over. I then set up Bluetooth in both handsets, selected 'transfer address book' pressed start….and only one number transferred. For some reason, Motorola and Sony Ericsson don't get on with each other so I had to transfer each number across one by one. I then found that SE and Motorola REALLY don't get on together as each name was now flipped round, so for example Bob Smith was now Smith Bob so another hour was spent changing all the names round the correct way. Highly infuriating. I am hoping that this start-up glitch was just between my two handsets and that Motorola does not have this problem with other makes and models out there.
After finally setting up my address book, I hit Glitch 3 - all the names were now no longer in alphabetical order. After much searching and a temper tantrum during which I threw the phone across the room (wrong time of the month to be messing around with new fangled technology for me!) I finally found the answer was to sort by speed dial so now my names were in alphabetical order. Hurrah. Incidentally when thrown the phone skittered face down across a tiled floor and miraculously sustained no damage whatsoever - quite a robust little thing eh.
~ MENU & KEYPAD LAYOUT ~
My handset is with Orange and each network will have their menu set out a little differently, however, I will describe mine to you.
The screen icons, running from top to bottom, left to right are:- Call List - details who's called you, who you've called, call times and so on. Address Book. Settings - call diverts, connectivity info (Bluetooth, Sync, USB), ring styles, phone personalisation. Games & Apps - Two pre-set games, PIN Safe, Downloads, MP3 player, memory card. Messaging - texts, multi-media & email. Orange World. Downloads - this contains the Orange catalogue of ringtones, games, wallpapers, screensavers, etc,
Pictures of Motorola SLVR L7
Memory card & it's adaptor
etc. Media - camera, video camera, picture albums, sounds, videos. More - Orange Plus (weather, sport & horoscope text service), calculator, shortcuts, alarm clock, Dialling services (fixed, service & quick dial), calendar. The keypad has tiny raised clear rubberised numbers and a thin rubberised line running horizontally between each row of numbers - when the handset is used during daylight this isn't that impressive, however, when the phone is used in a dark environment, these lines glow a bright blue so not only can you easily use your phone to dial, you can also use it to light up the keyhole on your way back from a night out.
In the top middle of the keypad is a round metal disc with top, bottom, left and right arrows marked and in the centre of this is a solid button - this is the Action Key to be pressed to confirm anything. Above this is a small horizontal piece of clear rubber, if you press this you go straight into the main menu. To the left and right of this line are small rubber dots - these are the soft keys and used for exiting or selecting an item. Below these dots you have the handset pickup button (green) and disconnect button (red).
When not in the main menu the screen is laid out bare on the right hand side and along the left you have the following icons - address book, received/dialled calls, texting, calendar, camera, Orange World so at a glance you can tell if you have missed a call, have voicemail or text as the relevant icon will illuminate. On my handset screen, there is a small toolbar at the foot of the screen which says Message and Address Book although depending on which network you are on, this may be different.
If you flip the phone to the right you will see two silver buttons, one has an up arrow for increasing ringtone or call volume, the other has a down arrow for decreasing volumes. Below that is another silver button which has two raised dots on it - this is a quick shortcut for changing ring styles so if dashing off to a meeting you can quickly and easily turn the ringtone to silent.
If you flip the phone to the left you have a plain silver button and this is the shortcut to activate the camera.
The handset has a huge amount of ringtones, far too many to list and they rang from traditional sounding telephone rings to full-on songs being sung so it is fair to say that you will find something you like. You also have a wide rang of tones and vibe options for text messages so you need never miss that important text message ever again.
~ TEXTING ~
At first I found this a tiny bit tricky as I was used to my old handset but in a matter of minutes I was texting away quite merrily as it is SO much easier than Sony's and Nokias. You have the usual choices for texting, either letter by letter when you repeatedly press the key until you get the letter you want OR the predictive text which is what I use. There are two ways to insert speech marks or to insert numbers, the quick way is to hold down the number key for a few seconds until the letter turns to the number you want and for speech marks, press key 1 (it has an @ symbol) and you can then right click through the symbols until you get to the one you want which you can select by hitting the top right 'soft key'. The faffier way to insert a number is by clicking on the # key and click until you get to the text setting you want - you will see the icon change in the top left of the screen. To insert any speech marks you will then need to click key 1 and then using the centre keypad click right until you get the symbol you want and then click the top right soft key. Of course you then have to remember to switch back to predictive text….
One thing to bear in mind when texting is that this screen is crystal clear and incredibly sharp. So sharp infact that the person next to you can easily read the screen if you happen to be texting. If you are a Dirty Texter then you may wish to hide the screen rather than alarm the person next to you as tilting the screen doesn't work - it can still be read.
Sending the message is incredibly quick and easy too. If it's a new message you click Send To and using the up arrow, scroll through your address book. To select the recipient, click the central 'action' button and a tick will appear next to the persons name. You then hit send and you're done. You can request delivery reports and to check the message has been delivered go into outbox and there will be a tick next to that persons name providing the message has gone through. When replying to messages it's even easier, no scrolling through the address book - very fast, very easy.
There are several texting options too which can be a little confusing for us techno-phobes! You have New Short Message which is your regular SMS/text messaging. New Multimedia Message which is for sending videos to people, New Voice Message, New Email and MMS Templates. Located within New Short Message there are 10 templates which you can use for speed which are your basic 'Hi, I'm running late….' 'The time of the meeting is …' and so forth. Does anyone actually use these?!
The only thing about texting that does frustrate me is that on my old handsets it would tell me when I had rang out of space and had moved on to 'SMS2' - this handset doesn't but will tell you once you've hit send that the message is 2 pages. It does give you the option to re-edit but this can still involve lots of backing and forwarding.
~ CALL QUALITY & BATTERY LIFE ~
The call quality of this phone is amazing and I have to say it is much better than my previous handsets. The person on the other end of the line sounds so crisp and clear it's as if they are standing next to you. So far I've not had any problems with fuzzy or crackly connections and even the Boyf who has the L6 and uses a Bluetooth headset still comes through loud and crystal clear (his previous phone made it sound like he was in the middle of a wasp attack).
The battery life of this phone is one thing that concerns me. When you view the Motorola website it tells you talk time is 6hrs and standby time is 14 days as does the Orange website. However, the first charge from new only lasted 2 days although admittedly who doesn't fiddle around non-stop with their brand new mobile when they get it so this may go a small way to explaining it. The second charge lasted 4 days and the third charge lasted 8 days. Not quite the 14 days the websites would have you believe.
Charging takes a long time. From empty you are looking at 3 hours which is a shockingly long time considering Nokias have a quick charge of 1hour and I've even heard of some handsets completing an empty-to-full battery charge in 20minutes. This can be a tad annoying but I make sure the phone is on charge overnight and thankfully, unlike my previous phone it doesn't emit an ear shattering BEEP when it's fully charged.
~ GAMES & GADGETRY ~
I do own an alarm clock but the thing is so confusing to operate you need a degree to set the dang thing so I find it handy that mobile phones have built in alarm clocks. This one is very easy to set up, you simply click on Main Menu, scroll to (what is my) bottom right icon entitled 'More' and click round until you reach the alarm clock icon. Enter, click New Alarm and set the time in either 12hr or 24hr format. You can then choose the alarm tone and volume which is so handy - the ring tones on this phone are quite loud so Volume Level 2 is more than loud enough first thing in the morning. One handy thing is that you can set numerous alarms and you can name them so Monday-Friday I have my 'Work' alarm and Saturday and Sunday I have my 'Weekend' alarm so instead of resetting each time, I simply click on the name I require. If you don't allocate a ring tone, the phone will do this for you - it gives different times different alarms too. Warning - the default setting volume is 3, something I wasn't aware of so I was woken with such a jolt on Saturday I think it would be fair to say that my next door neighbour probably heard the alarm too.
One thing that almost tricked me is that there is a small alarm bell symbol which stays on by the battery strength bar on the top right, this gives the illusion the alarm is always set but is in fact a symbol which tells you how your phone will ring - either vibe then ring, vibe, ring or all at once.
The Calculator is incredibly easy to use and does come in handy from time to time, especially when you are in DIY stores and you have your measurements written in inches and the item in question is packaged in centimetres (or even more annoyingly ….. in millimetres).
There is also a calendar you can use to make notes, log appointments - all the usual suspects are there; meetings, birthdays and so on, and you can set an alarm for these so you need never miss a birthday again.
As I mentioned earlier, my handset came pre-loaded with two games - the most addictive one is Rebel, a kind of Space Invaders shoot 'em up game. I'm hooked on this already and am very pleased to say I have thrashed the Boyfs top score much to his disappointment and then his insistence that my game must be on an easier setting. No such thing as a good loser is there!
~ CAMERA & VIDEO CAPTURE ~
The camera is sufficient for my uses which is mainly taking silly pictures of my mogs rolling around on the floor when they're high on cat-nip or taking product pics to accompany my reviews. The only thing that this camera doesn't have is a light but as my house has it's full compliment of light bulbs that doesn't pose too much of a problem. You can choose different settings for your pictures by selecting the middle horizontal rubber key and you can select from the various sunny / cloudy / indoor (home) / (office) settings to get the lighting right. You can then change the resolution of the pic from the standard basic MMS setting, to medium and high - the higher the pixels, the better the picture quality. You can also select shutter tone, I have mine set to none but to mine and the Boyfs amusement we found that you can have 'chimp', 'quack', 'flix' and 'boing' (the chimp is amusing but after a while grates a little). You are able to save your snaps, have the snap as a screen saver or email it to someone (or even Bluetooth it if you want to be ultra swish).
The video camera records for a paltry 6 seconds if sending by MMS, buy if you select Maximum you can record for 34 seconds. There is also the option to record sound and as with the camera, you are able to change the settings to get the colour management right. I rarely use the video camera as to be honest I don't really see much point to them but I daresay some of you will opt for a handset that has video capture over one that doesn't.
~ DATA TRANSFER & STORAGE ~
The memory card is capable of holding up to 512mb of data - this is the size of memory my personal MP3 player has so I know if I were to download albums I could save at least 20 albums with no problems. The SIM card can hold 200 names and numbers but it is very rare for a person to know that many people (or is it just me that's a Billy 70 numbers?).
Data can be transferred from phone to phone via Bluetooth OR if you have taken photos you can take out the tiny memory card, put it in the larger adaptor - this is the size of memory cards that you stick in cameras - and pop this in your photo printer and off you go. Again, I haven't tried this yet considering I only take random pictures of eggs with bites taken out of. Hardly going to frame those am I!
Another way to transfer data is by using a USB cable, this doesn't come with the phone and I personally have no need to purchase one but these can be bought quite easily from the Motorola website (www.motorola.co.uk) for £17.99.
~ MP3 PLAYER ~
Yep, this handset even has a built in MP3 player for you to download your favourite tunes. This can be done two ways - either by surfing the Net and downloading tunes OR by downloading the albums off your PC however, for this you will need a data cable and this doesn't come with the handset. I have my own MP3 player and at the moment have no plans to download anything onto this handset so sadly I am unable to comment on how easy / difficult the whole process is, or on the sound quality although as the call quality is crisp I imagine the music quality will be just as impressive.
The layout of the MP3 player seems incredibly easy to use as you can search your download catalogue by either albums, songs, artists, genres and playlists so much more impressive than my bog-standard personal MP3 player.
~ PHONE COSTS ~
Orange Upgrade - £0 - £49 New Orange contract - free eBay - £119 - £170
~ SAR rating ~
SAR - the Specific Absorbtion Rate is the measurement of electromagnetic radiation the body absorbs whilst using the mobile phone. The highest allowed limit is 2.0 and the rating for the Motorola is 1.34
~ OVERALL OPINION ~
Normally it takes me about a week to get used to a new mobile - I used to be a Nokia Girl and found it so difficult to move over to Sony Ericsson which I then found incredibly easy to use. The Motorola is even easier, something I didn't think possible. Yes, I'll freely admit that at first the whole setting-up of the address book annoyed the heck out of me but once I got past that everything went so swimmingly.
I can't think of anything on this phone that annoys me - well yes, the screen does need almost constant wiping to remove the steady stream of finger prints of people picking up your phone from your desk and going "Oooo, is this yours?" (No, I stole it - what do you think?!) and "Ooo, isn't it lovely" but apart from that I can honestly say that I love this phone and if you can upgrade for free it is well worth considering.
Apologies for the length of this review - yes, it was a longie wasn't it! I'm hoping I've included all you would want to know about this handset although it is inevitable that I would have missed something somewhere along the line so if I have, drop me a line in my GB and I'll amend this review accordingly as I've read, re-read and edited so many times, I think any tiny mistakes could have slipped through the net.
Thank you for reading, you can go and get a cup of tea now!
A really thorough review with lost of personal insight.
Pittypomm 18.04.2007 14:23
An excellent review. The SAR rating was particularly interesting.
curiousG2 03.03.2007 13:50
excellent review. i also have thhis phone and think its great(though a little more internal memory would of been nice). the review was very detailed and was very useful. everything was included great. ~curious
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