Motorola i930 (Sprint) review: Motorola i930 (Sprint)

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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Nextel i930 by Motorola syncs seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook and supports iDEN and GSM networks for world roaming. The smart phone has excellent call quality, a speakerphone, and an SD expansion slot, plus it automatically obtains POP3 and IMAP4 e-mail accounts over the Internet.

The Bad The Nextel i930 by Motorola uses the older Windows Mobile 2003 OS rather than Windows Mobile 5, and it lacks Bluetooth. It's also big and heavy, and it has weak battery performance.

The Bottom Line The Nextel i930 by Motorola is a good choice for executives looking for a world phone that syncs seamlessly with Outlook--if you can live with the poor battery performance and the lack of Bluetooth.

6.6 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 6.0

Nextel i930 by Motorola

World-traveling executives take note: The Nextel i930 by Motorola is the first Windows Mobile smart phone that supports Nextel's iDEN network and dual-band GSM world roaming. Certainly, the melding of PDA functionality, world-phone capabilities, and Nextel's Direct Connect walkie-talkie service is appealing, but all's not perfect with this handset. Aside from its heft, weak battery performance and the lack of Bluetooth connectivity will make some potential users think twice before shelling out $500 for the Nextel i930. That said, we know a lot of mobile professionals have been waiting for this multifunctional smart phone, so we suspect it will garner a lot of interest from the business world. Although cell phones are getting smaller and smaller, Nextel seems to be immune from this trend. At 3.5 by 1.9 by 1.2 inches and 5.9 ounces, the Nextel i930 by Motorola is a phone better suited to slipping into a belt holster instead of your jeans pocket. Plus, the external antenna adds more unwanted bulk. On the upside, with its heft and its solid construction, this phone should be able to withstand a lot of punishment. Aesthetically, the i930 sports Nextel's typically rugged-industrial look. The black and silver casing is rather bland, but the external screen is fairly large. It displays 4,096 colors and shows the time, the date, network and battery strength, and caller ID (where available). Above the screen, you'll find the i930's camera lens and flash. There's no mirror for self-portraits, but you can use the external screen as a viewfinder.


Supersize: The Motorola i930 is a heavyweight.

There's a large button on the side of the hinge that flips open the cover of the Nextel i930 by Motorola. This seems like an extravagance at first, but the cover itself is so thick and heavy that it makes this an almost necessary feature. When you open the cover, you're presented with a bright and vibrant 2.2-inch, 65,000-color display. You can choose from seven screen layouts, six color schemes, and several wallpaper options, and you can increase the display font size.

The Nextel i930's dial pad is fairly roomy, and the keys are well separated for easy touch dialing. That's important for those who use the i930 for composing e-mail messages, since this smart phone doesn't have a full QWERTY keyboard. We also like the wealth of controls above the dial pad. Surrounding a five-way navigation control are buttons for making and ending calls, two soft keys, a button for backing one step out of menu options, and a key that automatically takes you to the home screen.

The familiar Windows Start icon resides on the lower-left corner of the Nextel i930's home screen. Along the top of the page, you get one-touch access to your most recently accessed tasks--Messaging, Internet Explorer, Camera, and so on. The rest of the page displays the date, the time, the number of your last call, voicemail and text-message alerts, and notifications for upcoming calendar appointments.

The left spine of the Nextel i930 features rubberized controls for volume and access to Nextel's Direct Connect walkie-talkie calls, as well as a headset jack. The right spine includes an SD expansion slot and an infrared port. On top of the phone, you'll find the speakerphone button and a smart key, which enables you to access your Recent Calls list when the cover is closed; to dial a number with the flip closed, you can select a number and press the Speakerphone button. The speaker is on the back of the phone.


Buckle up: You can use the included belt holster to carry around the large Nextel i930.

In terms of accessories, the Nextel i930 comes packaged with all the basics, including a belt holster, a USB cable, a synchronization cradle, and a travel charger.

Anyone looking for the latest and greatest Windows-based smart phone will be disappointed to learn that the Nextel i930 by Motorola uses Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition rather than the latest Windows Mobile 5 operating system. That means you can't take advantage of Microsoft's Direct Push technology to access corporate Outlook data remotely. If you simply want a phone that syncs seamlessly with Outlook from your desktop, however, the i930 certainly fits the bill. ActiveSync quickly and successfully imported all of our Outlook contacts, calendar and task information, and stored e-mails from the in-box, though not from any in-box subfolders. The i930 is compatible with Microsoft Exchange Server.

In addition to Outlook e-mail, you can obtain your POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail settings automatically over the Internet; the phone downloaded the settings for our Comcast e-mail account without a hitch. However, this feature doesn't work for Web mail accounts, such as Yahoo or Hotmail--in that case, you'll have to access your account through the Pocket Internet Explorer Web browser as you would on a PC. We had no problems opening Word attachments with the installed Windows Mobile ClearVue Suite, which also lets you view Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, BMP, JPEG, and PNG files. Also, you're not limited to just e-mail for communication, as the device supports instant messaging (with MSN Messenger preloaded), as well as text and multimedia messaging.

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