The Theory has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, an e-mail address, an instant-message handle, a Web URL, a street address, and notes. If you like, you can organize your contacts into groups and customize them with photos for caller ID or any of 16 polyphonic ringtones or message alert tones. Unlike some other Boost Mobile handsets, the Theory does not have push-to-talk.
Basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, a datebook, an alarm clock, a world clock, a calculator, and a notepad. You also get voice commands, a mobile Web browser, GPS with TeleNav (the TeleNav support does cost $9.99 per month or $2.99 per day), and Bluetooth. As the Theory is meant for texting, it has pretty decent messaging features. That includes text and multimedia messaging with threaded conversation support, e-mail, and instant messaging. However, the Email + IM service is tied to a single Java-powered app. The Email + IM service also costs $0.99 a day. The e-mail portion supports Yahoo, AOL, Windows Live, Gmail, and your own POP/IMAP accounts.
There aren't many multimedia options with the Theory, but it does have a 1.3-megapixel camera lens. It can take pictures in four resolutions with settings for the self-timer, picture frames, brightness, white balance, color effects, up to 4x zoom, and four shutter tones with a silent option. Photo quality was not good. Images were tiny, blurry, and dark, especially in low light. Even when there was enough light, colors looked muddy. You're limited to 148MB internal memory.
We tested the Motorola Theory in San Francisco using Boost Mobile's network, which is essentially Sprint's. Call quality was quite good for the most part. We heard our callers clearly without any distortion or background noise. Voice quality was impressive as well.
On their end, callers reported similarly good quality. However, they did say we sounded a touch muddier than usual. Otherwise, they said we sounded loud and clear without any static or hiss. Speakerphone quality was quite good too, though callers detected a heavier echo effect.
Motorola Theory call quality sample
The Motorola Theory is just what it is: a basic messaging phone. We weren't fans of its display and camera, but we did like its simple and compact design as well as the QWERTY keyboard. It doesn't have push-to-talk, which might be a bummer for Boost customers, but it's otherwise a solid messaging phone without a lot of frills. It's $79.99 without a contract from Boost Mobile.