Review by Guest Contributor on Tuesday October 19, 2004.
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By Michael Puhala
Motorola A768iI've recently gotten my hands on the Motorola A768i, a feature rich tri-band GPRS smartphone that boasts a Linux operating system along with Bluetooth, MP3 player, speakerphone, 65K TFT color screen, multi-function camera capable of shooting both stills and video, and a slew of other hidden features. Do I have your attention yet? Well then, let's find out if this phone delivers on everything it promises.
If you are a flip phone zealot, then the design of this phone will appeal to you. However, if you are drawn more to the candybar or slider type of phone, as I am, then it might take some time to get used to the A768i.
At first glance, the A768i doesn't look much different than your typical Motorola flip phone. Upon closer review, and after opening the flip, you'll notice the absence of any physical numeric keypad and the presence of a fairly generously sized display. From here on out, there are very few similarities to the Motorola of the past. The form factor has been kept fairly compact considering its category (phone + pda = smartphone). The A768i weighs in at a respectable 120 grams. It is noticeably smaller than many other smartphones, but this Motorola model probably will not get any style points when compared to some of the ultra compact phones now on the market.
Back in Black
With many of the new phones donning the oh so popular silver exterior, Motorola went the other way with A768i and chose a dark gray exterior with chrome like accents. However, depending on the light, it often appears to be more black than grey.
On the left side of the phone are a volume rocker switch and a select button for navigating the user interface UI without the included stylus. On the right side is a single button that acts as the shutter button when in camera mode. It also enables the status and time when the flip is closed. Rather than going with a dual screen layout (one exterior and one interior), the a768i sports a clear plastic window that reveals roughly two thirds of the overall area of the main display when closed.
The back of the phone houses the camera lens, with its adjacent mirror for taking self-portraits. The face of the lens is almost flush with the phone, which lends itself to possible scratching. Also on the back, in close proximity to the camera lens, is the external speaker that is used for the speakerphone as well as other audio functions. A noticeable protrusion is the small fixed external antenna, which is obviously seeking function over form in this case.
The a768i's display is quite impressive. Technical specifications indicate a 65k color TFT display. The display really shines is when it comes to internet browsing, where it shows off remarkable clarity and detail even on zoomed out web pages with a lot of images. Viewing the screen outdoors in direct sunlight is better than average; the display remains very readable.
Which comes first, Phone or PDA?
When it comes to smartphones, there are usually two camps: the devices that are more phone and less PDA, or just the opposite with the PDA taking center stage. If I had to allocate a percentage, I would suggest that the A768i is 70% phone and 30% PDA. Let's first cover the phone functionality.