Review by Michael Oryl on Monday March 15, 2004.
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Motorola V600We were thrilled when we first heard that Motorola was going to build the V600. Up until that point, the high-end Bluetooth handset market was dominated by Sony Ericsson. Nokia certainly had a few models out with Bluetooth, but they all had enough troubles to often rule them out for a real Bluetooth fan. So when I was told last August that Motorola would be sending me a review unit, I could hardly wait.
Yet wait is what I did. For months. Seemingly Motorola hadn't planned on the popularity of the new series of phones (which includes the less expensive V300 and V500), and that they were running low on parts. Particularly the parts for the camera.
So I waited. For months. And here we are over 6 months later, and Motorola is still having major problems getting the V600 to market. Luckily, I didn't have to rely on Motorola for the review unit, and instead was able to get one of the limited edition Aston Martin V600 handsets courtesy of my friends at ACS. Only 1000 of these babies are being made, and most are going to Aston Martin owners. They are also priced for the person that can afford such cars, going for well over $1,500 as of the time of this writing.
For those curious, the Aston Martin edition V600 comes in a nice aluminum box with a wood inlay top, and includes the HS810 Bluetooth headset. Additionally, there are Aston Martin logos on the inside and outside of the device, and it is packed with cool Aston Martin ringtones, screen savers, and pictures.
Sizing it up
While physically it is relatively compact (88mm x 47mm x 23mm), especially when compared to a Sony Ericsson Z600, the V600 is not exactly a lightweight handset. Our test unit came in at 127g, about 15g heavier than the Sony Ericsson. Some people will be bothered by the external stub antenna, too. I am not one of them. I don't think that the antenna adds that much bulk to the handset, and the fact that the V600 is a Quadband GSM device more than makes up for it.
The rest of the exterior of the V600 is quite nice. The front and rear covers are metal with a satin finish that seems pretty scratch resistant. There are tasteful chrome accents, and a highly polished bezel that covers the small 96x32 monochrome sub-display and the digital camera.
In terms of external controls, we have the up/down volume rocker on the left side of the handset. Directly below the volume control is the smart-key, a multi-purpose key that generally acts as the right softkey. It can also be used as the camera shutter when the V600 is closed. The volume and smart-key can be used together to switch ringer profiles, too. On the right side of the handset we have the voice command key, used for accessing voice dialing tags and voice menu shortcuts.
The top of the V600 has a small loop for a lanyard, for those that prefer wearing their handsets, and a 2.5mm jack for wired headsets. I like the fact that even though the V600 supports Bluetooth, Motorola though enough to leave the ability to use a wired headset. The bottom of the handset has the same connector as most current Motorola devices. The back of the V600 has a small grill for the external speaker (used for ringtones and the speakerphone function)
When opened, the V600 reveals a very attractive keypad and display. The main keypad has a nice gloss finish to it that is quite good looking, like the rest of the handset. Many people will not like the fact that there is no space between the keys, such as with the Siemens S55. I don't really find this to be a problem since the keys themselves are quite large. What I do find to be a problem is the V600 missing one of my key presses, or double pressing when I only wanted a single press. This didn't happen an awful lot, but it happened enough for me to notice.