Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Toy for the New Year

After putting it off for a number of months, I finally decided that it was time to get a new mobile phone to replace my current Motorola V600. I had my heart set for a Motorola V3 RAZR phone for the longest time but hesitated to get it since the price was beyond my RM 1K personal limit for mobile phone. When a friend at work told me that he got his for less than that, I knew it was time for me to take the plunge and trade up for a better phone.

I have been using Motorola phones from the very start with my first mobile phone ever being a StarTAC flip phone. I have never had any problems with any of the models that I’ve used before or the current V600 phone that I was using previously. The only reason that I was trading up to a new phone was that I wanted to get a slimmer (and sexier, I admit) phone so that it won’t be so obvious when clipped to my belt. Last thing I need is an additional bulge on my ever increasing waistline.

I went phone shopping during the Christmas break and ended up looking at the prices of the V3 phone at the shops at Low Yat Plaza. While most shops had it just barely at the absolute limit of what I was willing to spend for a mobile phone, I was still hesitant of going all the way and purchase that model. It was as if there was something that was holding me back and sure enough at the 5th shop that I went in the reason became clear.

It was the Motorola L6 SLVR.

Like the V3 RAZR, the slim design and clean esthetics was carried over to the candy bar line of Motorola mobile phones. At 10.4 mm thickness, the thickness of a pack of chewing gum, the L6 has to be the thinnest mobile phone now out at the market. Weighing a mere 91g, the phone is a bit wider than the normal candy bar phones but I think that it fits nicely in normal-sized palm. The L6 also comes with a fairly bright 64K-color resolution screen that is superior that what was currently offered with the V3. The speaker included was also an improvement over the V3 being that it was a full 24 Channel with 22 KHz polyphonic speaker.

The key pad is not the same laser etched metal that they have on the V3 but the design is a very close approximation of that wonderful idea. The keys on the keypad were spread out fairly well and were quite responsive to the touch that text messaging shouldn’t be any problems once you get used to the key pad. It has sensors that will automatically turn on the backlighting under the keypad if the phone senses that it is in a dark room which would help to prolong the battery life between charging cycles.

The L6 model that I bought was a tri-band phone servicing all the GSM networks but a quad band version would be available soon with the next release. It has all the necessary GPRS and Bluetooth functions but does not offer EDGE or infrared technology for those who like to use them to connect to other devices. It also boast an enhanced mini USB connector (EMU) that could be used to connect the phone to either a computer USB port, the wired hands free kit or to the power supply for charging.

While some people really scrutinize the camera that they include in the mobiles these days, I was never one to quibble about it. The L6 does offer VGA phone with 4x zoom for still captures as well as video recording capability. With a built-in memory of 10MB and no expansion slots, I don’t think that the phone will go well with people who seem to insist of using their mobile phones as their camera, home theater and walkman all roll into one. I mostly use my mobile to send and receive calls or text messages so that limitation doesn’t really impact my decision to purchase the unit.

Like my previous V600, the L6 has speaker phone capability although the voice quality when using the speaker phone might vary due to signal strength. The normal speakers sounded quite clear and crisp for both ways much like the speakers on the recent Motorola models. It also has amazing clarity and reception being able to get a signal at places at the office where other brands usually fail to get reception. The only problem that I had with the audio features was that the ring speakers get a bit muffled if the phone is placed face up on a soft surface. Turning on the vibrate and ring mode would easily work instead in that situation.

At the retail price of RM 880 (USD 232), the L6 had more to offer than the V3 that I coveted all this time. It was within my price threshold and it looked as chic as the RAZR. It has turned a few heads in the office since I’ve been using it and most like the design and functionality. I have yet to fully explore the other functions available on the phone but from what I have already seen, this mobile meets all my needs and more. A slim profile, sexy phone with a price to beat makes it easy to recommend this mobile phone.

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