Motorola i1

NAME: Motorola i1

PRICE: $200 w/ two-year contract (Sprint); $400 w/out (Boost Mobile)

FUN FACT: To comply with the Military 810F spec, the i1 is dust- and waterproof.

THE BACK STORY: When you think of push-to-talk (PTT) handsets, bulky, walkie-talkie mobiles usually come to mind. Motorola is looking to put a modern-day twist on that image with its new i1. In addition to PTT, Motorola pre-loaded the i1 with a variety of business and messaging features and coupled it with a touchscreen interface—making it the first Android phone to support Direct Connect. As of now, it's exclusive to Sprint and Boost Mobile. We called in the Sprint version and put it through the paces. Peep our review below. Chirp, chirp!


Direct Connect: Loud, clear, and easy to use . There's also a cool coast-to-coast two-way radio conference-call feature that lets you simultaneously connect to 20 Direct Connect users. Though at that point, things may get a bit hairy.

Sleek and rugged design: The flush glass screen, protective rubber corners, and plastic body complement each other, while the soft-touch button panel offers good functionality without messing up the overall design. The rubber corners make it easy to hold and save it from nasty drops. The i1 could be the most durable touchscreen phone available.

Sharp sound quality and feedback: Nextel phones always had exceptionally loud speakers, and the i1 is no different. Incoming/outgoing calls sound great and the Nextel Direct Connect is top-notch. Even listening to music and watching videos sounds like you're blasting media from a stereo dock. It's that loud!

Unique features: The My Sign feature was one of our favorites: Create customized shortcuts to apps and commands that you access by drawing patterns on the touchscreen. For those using this phone for real business, try apps like Xora (which automates business payroll) and TeleNavTrack (which works as a wireless barcode scanner to track inventory and schedule changes).

Morotola i1 2


Difficult learning curve: To truly get the most out of the i1, you have to play around in the settings and turn everything on, like SWYPE texting. Side note: Don't set the phone on silent mode or calls and DC output will be near mute level.

Outdated specs: You're stuck with an OS (Android 1.5) that's four generations behind, an aging 600MHz ARM11 Freescale processor, and the inferior Opera Mini web browser when not using wi-fi.

Unresponsive controls: The touchscreen is inaccurate at times. Vertical and horizontal screen adjustments lag. Also, not all included applications support the built-in accelerometer function.

Mediocre camera and video features: The five-megapixel camera produces grainy pics, while the 15fps video recorder captures only decent footage.


FINAL SAY: The Motorola i1 is not meant for the casual smartphone user. It may run an outdated version of Android and rock a last-gen processor, but for those that need to use Nextel Direct Connect and also want a modern touchscreen phone with the ability to download and run apps, this is the phone for you. Sprint users looking for better multimedia features should check out the HTC EVO 4G. Boost Mobile users—well, there's really no Android alternative. Overall, if you're about durability and making business a priority, then the i1 is right on the money.