Motorola MOTOROKR E6
- Touch screen display, A2DP Bluetooth profile, reasonable music player, hold switch, home screen interface, 3.5mm headphone jack, camera doubles as a webcam
- No 3G/HSDPA connectivity, no document editing application, tiny on-screen keyboard for messaging, poor handwriting recognition, bulky design
The MOTOROKR E6 is a fashionable smart phone that includes A2DP Bluetooth, a 3.5mm headphone jack and performs reasonably as a music player, but potential business buyers will be deterred by a lack of other features
Price$ 563.00 (AUD)
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A fashionable smart phone with a large touch screen, Motorola's MOTOROKR E6 features a 2 megapixel camera with 8x zoom, dedicated music keys, A2DP Bluetooth, and removable storage for extra memory. Although its looks may be appealing, the lack of a built-in document editing application, 3G connectivity and Wi-Fi are enough to deter potential business users, while messaging is a frustrating affair thanks to a tiny on-screen keyboard and poor handwriting recognition.
First things first - despite the ROKR name, the E6 isn't a new version of the previous ROKR E1. While it does have music playback capabilities, it's more of a stylish, touch screen smart phone. Unfortunately, it isn't 3G or HSDPA capable; the E6 is a tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900 MHz) handset. Its call quality is average, as volume could be a little louder at its highest setting, but calls are generally clear and crisp and the hands-free speakerphone works well. We would prefer the speaker to be a little louder though and its location on the rear of the handset doesn't do the speakerphone any favours, especially when it's lying on a flat surface.
As the MOTOROKR E6 is a smart phone, it doesn't have a keypad. Instead, it relies on a touch screen and stylus for operation. If you're thinking that just using your fingers will suffice to operate it, ala Apple's iPhone, think again. You can open basic applications and dial phone numbers by tapping the screen, but more demanding operations, such as typing an SMS message, require the stylus to be used. The interface is a little sluggish at times (especially when running multiple applications), and the awkward location of the stylus in the bottom right hand corner is a downside. We liked the home screen though, which gives you time, date, battery life and scheduled meetings in the calendar details at a glance. The menu, phonebook, messages and phone number pad are just one finger tap away thanks to a convenient row of icons at the top of the screen.
The 3.5mm headphone jack, SD card slot and included Real Player application go a long way in providing a decent multimedia experience. The MOTOROKR E6 supports the playback of MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, RA, WAV, MIDI, and AMR files and we really like the hold slider switch, located on the right side of the handset. It's convenient for both phone and multimedia use and combined with the media playback and volume controls on the left side, makes the E6 a fair multimedia player. Unfortunately, the media controls are flat and require a firm press to activate, detracting from this experience. Conveniently, Motorola includes a 128MB microSD card and adapter in the sales package, and the E6 also has the A2DP Bluetooth profile, meaning you can wirelessly stream music to a compatible Bluetooth accessory, such as a pair of wireless headphones.
The MOTOROKR E6 has a 2 megapixel camera with a self portrait mirror, but no flash means night time photography is out of the question. Next to the lens is a convenient slider to switch between macro and landscape shooting modes. The location of the dedicated camera button is perplexing though, as it's on the top left side when the phone is held horizontally, not on the normal right side. The E6 doubles as a webcam when connected to your PC using the included USB cable, but you'll need to install the drivers. There is also a business card reader feature, whereby you take a photo of a business card using the phones camera, and it automatically creates a new entry in your phonebook with all the details. It's a great idea in theory, but the camera has to be switched to macro mode, and it needs both the right amount of light, and an extremely steady hand to work effectively.
The lack of a document editing application is a real disappointment, and something that is likely to deter potential business users. The MOTOROKR E6 includes only a viewer for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe PDF files. Motorola hasn't skimped on PIM features though, offering a calculator, tasks, notes, a voice recorder and an alarm. Other features include Bluetooth 2.0, standard SMS, MMS, and push email messaging, an FM radio and a photo editor. Unfortunately, messaging with the E6 is a hit and miss affair; the on-screen keyboard is tiny, and even when using the stylus, we experienced problems with accuracy when pressing the keys. The alternative to the keyboard is the handwriting recognition feature, but this is slow to register your movement, and you are restricted to drawing in a small white box, making it painfully slow and frustrating.
Although the glossy black surface of the MOTOROKR is stylish, the phone itself is quite bulky. At 14.5mm thick, it's definitely a chunky device, and considering the amount of unused real estate surrounding the display, we feel that Motorola could have made this even larger. As it stands, the 2.4 TFT touch screen has a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and is quite bright and clear. Our original concerns with fingerprints on the touch screen proved to be unfounded; while the screen naturally leaves finger marks, they are easily removed with a quick wipe. This is due to the fact that the actual touch screen panel is located beneath a clear plastic surface so you never really touch the actual surface of the display. Unfortunately, we weren't able to abuse our review unit to see how it held up against scratches.
Below the screen are the E6's only controls; a five way navigational pad is surrounded by answer and end call buttons, a dedicated internet/browser key, and a customisable shortcut button. In keeping with the design of the MOTOROKR, the keys are completely flat, but night time use is pleasant thanks to the soft backlight etched around each key.
The E6 is charged via a standard mini-USB connection, located at the bottom of the device. Battery life is reasonable, rated up to 420 minutes of talk time and 235 hours of standby time.
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