Motorola i836 (Nextel) review:

Motorola i836 (Nextel)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
Compare These
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Compact, rugged design; push-to-talk functionality; uncluttered navigation keys.

The Bad Lousy battery life; washed-out color screen.

The Bottom Line Don't expect to see a supermodel flashing an i836, but if you're a business user who wants a better-looking Nextel phone and can afford an extra battery, you should check it out.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0

Nextel i836

For years, Nextel's cell phones have been praised for their rugged, functional designs and scorned for their clunky size. With the Nextel i836, however, the company has found a way to make a sturdy work phone that can be beautiful and tough. Dubbed "an instant classic" by Nextel itself, the i836 offers essentially the same feature set as Nextel's i730 but in a smaller, sleeker form factor. Unfortunately, the less-than-stellar battery life keeps the i836 from achieving true greatness. The resolution on the internal and external displays is disappointing, and at $299, the price tag is a bit over the top. Nextel has released so many big, bulky phones that it's almost become a company trademark. However, the Nextel i836 may change that. First of all, the handset doesn't come in any ordinary paper box. Instead, Nextel packages it in a dark wooden box with felt lining. Open the hinged lid, and you're greeted by not only the i836 but also a Nextel pocket watch and a leather case for the mobile. While this presentation is eye-catching, it's a bit much for a cell phone, even if it's supposed to be "an instant classic." The handset is small, weighing just 3.6 ounces and measuring only 3.4 by 1.9 by 0.8 inches. It isn't the smallest phone we've tested, but it's the smallest Nextel phone we've seen. Even the compact Nextel i830 is larger.

The i836 isn't your average Nextel phone.

Nextel also took some chances with the i836's overall style. In place of sharp angles, the flip phone has curves that feel good in the hand. The hardened shell comes in bronze or silver and resists scratches well. In fact, the handset feels very rugged and meets Military 810F specifications for weather resistance. To show off its guts, the inside of the front flap of the mobile is translucent, offering users a peek at the transistors underneath.

On the downside, the external and internal screens are less than impressive. The simple monochrome external display shows the time, the signal strength, the battery life, and caller ID (where available), but its tiny rectangular size may be hard for some users to see. Inside, the small 1.75-inch diagonal display shows 26,000 colors, but it's a far step down from the brilliant screen on the Nextel i605. With its overall washed-out effect, it isn't meant for serious Web surfing or multimedia apps.

On the side of the phone, you will find the volume rockers, a headset jack, and of course, the push-to-talk button. On the top of the mobile is a button for activating PTT calls and a key that opens the list of recent numbers. If you have trouble getting a clear signal, be aware that what looks like a stubby antenna actually extends. Just take care when doing so, since it's fragile. As with most Nextels, the speaker is on the rear of the phone.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    Starting at: $589.00
    4.5 stars

    We reviewed the new Samsung Galaxy S7 in London, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney. It's...

  • Apple iPhone 6S

    Starting at: $27.04
    4.5 stars

    3D Touch promises a new type of future input on iPhones. It joins an improved camera and...

  • OnePlus 3

    Starting at: $489.99
    4.5 stars

    You just don't see cheap phones with this combination of price, polish and prime-time...

  • Motorola Moto G4

    Starting at: $149.99
    4 stars

    The G4 packs everything you need from an everyday phone into a water-resistant body. And...


Discuss: Motorola i836 (Nextel)

Conversation powered by Livefyre