Motorola ROKR E1
- Support for iTunes, excellent display
- Limited to 100 songs, VGA camera only, USB1.1 connection
Its music player is not as good as we expected, but the Motorola ROKR does have some redeeming features.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Much of the apparent disappointment with the long-awaited Motorola ROKR E1 stems from the fact that many consumers were expecting a true 'iPod Phone'. While we feel Motorola have produced a worthwhile standalone phone, this attempted fusion of mobile and music player is limited by a slow USB 1.1 connection, a 100-song cap and a sub-standard VGA camera.
Ever since the Apple iPod hit our shores, white has become the new black, and in designing the ROKR Motorola has copied the successful style made famous by the Apple iPod. The pearl white and silver design combine to produce what we think is a surprisingly good-looking candy-bar phone, dominated by a large and bright 176 x 220 pixel display.
Under the screen, Motorola has added a dedicated iTunes button, which takes users to the easy to use iTunes menu system where playlists, artists, albums or songs can be selected.
We were impressed by the quality of sound produced by the two 22kHz speakers on either side of the phone-- although we wouldn't go as far as Motorola's description as '3D Surround'.
While the idea of having iTunes support on a phone is a good one, there are some serious limitations on this particular implementation. For example, the ROKR supports TransFlash memory up to 512MB, but users are prevented from loading more than 100 songs onto the unit, even if there is extra capacity available. This level of storage doesn't really compare with the gigabytes offered on current Apple music players in the market right now.
We were mystified at the lack of any kind of equaliser on the phone to improve sound quality. No FM radio has been included and Motorola has used a 2.5mm headphone jack, meaning that standard 3.5mm headphones can't be used without an adapter. Bluetooth users will also be disappointed; although the ROKR supports the use of Bluetooth headsets, they can't be used to listen to music.
Transferring songs to the ROKR is done using the Apple iTunes software installed on a PC or Mac. The ROKR uses a USB1.1 connection, which we found extremely slow compared to the USB 2.0 available on the new Apple iPod Nano.
All up, while we like the ability to listen to music and access other applications at the same time, we feel that the music features on this phone aren't nearly as impressive as those on the Sony Ericsson W800i Walkman. Additionally, the W800i ships with a two megapixel camera, while Motorola has only included a VGA camera.
The phone features of the ROKR are pretty much standard fare, supporting the usual organiser, phone book and graphics options. Although we much preferred this interface to the chaos on some other Motorola phones, we did find it a little slow at times and experienced significant lag when loading Java programs.
Battery life on the unit is excellent. According to Motorola, you get 9 hours of talk time or 6 hours of music using the integrated speakers.
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PCW Evaluation Team
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