On the left side of the phone are the volume rocker, the speakerphone key, and a charger jack, and the 3.5 millimeter headset jack, a screen lock key, a voice command key, and camera key are on the right. The camera lens and external speaker are on the back of the phone.
The Motorola Rival comes with a generous 1,000-entry phone book, with room in each entry for five phone numbers and two e-mail addresses. You can then organize the contacts into caller groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, or any of 30 polyphonic ringtones. Other basics include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, voice messaging, a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a stopwatch, a calculator, a notepad, and a tip calculator.
More-advanced users will like the instant messenger support (AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo), GPS with VZ Navigator support, USB mass storage, the wireless Web browser, and voice command dialing. It also supports a full range of Bluetooth profiles, like hands-free, stereo, dial-up networking, basic printing, file transfer, and more. You also get a variety of e-mail options: mobile e-mail, mobile Web e-mail, and corporate e-mail. Mobile e-mail is a $5 application with which you can get your mail delivered directly to you from a variety of service providers, while mobile Web e-mail is a free service that simply gives you shortcut access to Web e-mail sites like Windows Live and Yahoo Mail. The corporate e-mail option requires a $9.99 monthly subscription to RemoSync, which works with Microsoft ActiveSync to sync your e-mail and your work address book as well.
The Motorola Rival comes with EV-DO, and along with that is Verizon's array of broadband services like V Cast Video, with which you can watch streaming-video content from providers like CBS (Editors' note: CNET Reviews is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS ) and CNN, and V Cast Music with Rhapsody, where you can purchase and download music over the air. Each song costs $1.99, which includes a download to your PC.
The music player itself is housed within the V Cast Music interface, so it feels a little clunky. You can create and edit your own playlists and you can set the songs on repeat or shuffle. You can also sync your songs from your PC with a USB cable using the V Cast Music with Rhapsody software. If you have a Rhapsody subscription, you can load your subscribed tracks to the Rival. The Rival supports up to 8GB of removable memory via a microSD card.
The Rival has a 2.0-megapixel camera, which can take pictures in five resolutions (1,600x1,200, 1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, and a picture ID mode). Other settings include brightness, white balance, color effects, fun frames, self-timer, three shutter sounds, and a silent option. Photo quality was quite disappointing. Pictures looked very dark and overcast, though they weren't too blurry. There's also a built-in camcorder with settings similar to the still camera's. It can take videos in short, medium, MMS, or maximum storage durations in either 320x240 or 176x144 resolution.
You have a few personalization options with the Motorola Rival. You can change the wallpaper, display themes, and alert tones, and you can get more via the wireless Web browser. It also comes with a few games like 5th Grader 2009 and Pac-Man, and you can get more of those via the Verizon store.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) Motorola Rival in San Francisco using . We were impressed with the call quality. Callers heard us without any static or interference, and we could hear them loud and clear. They said our voices sounded natural. Even when we activated the speakerphone, they couldn't tell the difference. On our end, the speakerphone had plenty of volume, though it sounded a little muffled and tinny at times.
The audio quality of songs from the Motorola Rival's speakers wasn't so great. It's loud enough, but the overall quality was tinny, lacking in bass, and weak. We would recommend using a wired or stereo Bluetooth headset for better music quality. Since the Rival comes with a 3.5 millimeter headset jack, you can use your regular headphones to listen to tunes.
We were pleased with the EV-DO speeds on the Rival. We downloaded a 1.5MB song in around 50 seconds, and loading simple WAP pages took only a few seconds. V Cast videos had little to no buffering. The quality wasn't that great, though: streaming video had a lot of pixelation, especially in action sequences. The low color resolution on the display didn't help, either.The Motorola Rival has a rated battery life of 5.3 hours talk time and 21.25 days standby time. The tested talk time wasn't too different at 5 hours and 54 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Rival has a digital SAR rating of 1.59 watts per kilogram.