Motorola Barrage (Verizon Wireless) review:

Motorola Barrage (Verizon Wireless)

The Barrage's 2-megapixel camera takes pictures in five resolutions, from 1,600x1,200 down to a special size for photo caller ID. Editing options are standard. The camera offers a self-timer, a brightness control, five white-balance settings, three color effects, nine fun frames, a digital zoom, and three shutter sounds plus a silent option. The camcorder shoots clips two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144). Editing options are similar to the still camera, though not as extensive. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at about a minute, but you can shoot for longer in standard mode.

The Barrage offers admirable photo quality.

When finished with your clips and photos, you can transfer them off the phone via MMS, Bluetooth, a memory card or a USB cable. You also can upload them to a multimedia message or save them directly to the handset. The Barrage has a respectable 132MB of available shared memory and the external memory slot accommodates cards up to 16GB. Photo quality is quite good with natural colors and little image noise. Videos, on the other hand, are just average.

As an EV-DO phone, the Barrage supports the full range of Verizon's 3G services, including V Cast streaming video content, and the V Cast Music with Rhapsody. Both the V Cast menu and music store interface are pretty much unchanged from other Verizon phones. Player options include the usual limited shuffle and repeat modes, but V Cast Music also will recommend other songs based on your playlist. The Barrage includes an airplane mode for listening to your tunes while aloft.

You can personalize the Barrage with wallpaper and a selection of display themes, banners, and clock formats. More options and additional ringtones are available from Verizon using the WAP 2.0 Web browser. Aside from a Bing search app, the Barrage doesn't offer any applicants or games. You can always purchase titles; just keep in mind that Verizon uses BREW instead of Java.

We tested the dualband (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) Motorola Barrage in San Francisco and San Diego using Verizon Wireless service. Call quality was quite respectable. Voices sounded natural and the signal was clear. The volume could be louder, but we had no real complaints about the audio quality.

On their end, callers said we sounded fine as well with some not even knowing that we were using a cell phone. A few of our friends mentioned that the handset picks up some wind noise, but they were in the minority. Speakerphone calls were decent, though the volume also was a tad low.

EV-DO coverage was extensive, but the 3G connection wasn't very fast. It took over a minute to download a 3.7MB song, which is longer than it takes on comparable Verizon phones. V Cast videos also took several seconds to load.

Once streaming videos were running, the quality was about average. Though clips never paused or froze, the frame size is small, and we noticed some pixelation. It's fine for a few minutes, but we wouldn't want to watch a full program. Music quality was unimpressive over the external speaker. Fortunately, a headset offers a more enjoyable experience.

The Barrage has a rated battery life of 6.38 hours talk time and 22.25 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 6 hours and 5 minutes. According to the FCC, the Barrage has a digital SAR of 1.25 watts per kilogram.

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