Equipped with a VGA camera, a dedicated speakerphone, and solid messaging capabilities, Motorola's latest midrange phone is a respectable addition to Verizon's handset lineup. While we weren't impressed with its dim internal display or its humdrum design, the V265 ($150 with a one-year contract, less with online rebates) boasts an average set of features in a small package. If you need a stellar internal display and video recording, however, the and the have a bit more bling and might be better options for Verizon customers. The rounded, silver-and-black V265 is cast from the same mold as other midrange Motorola phones, which is to say it has a routine and not overly flashy design. Measuring 3.6 by 1.8 by 0.9 inches and weighing a reasonable if not featherlight 3.8 ounces, the clamshell-style phone fits comfortably in the palm of a hand, but is thick enough to make a noticeable bulge in a jeans pocket. The stubby antenna adds more bulk, and you should be careful when using the retractable extension as it is rather flimsy.
Close the phone with a solid, satisfying clap, and you'll see the small but serviceable monochrome external LCD. Rectangular in shape, the display gives you the time, signal strength, a battery-life indicator, and caller-ID info (where available). Just above the LCD is the Motorola V265's VGA camera lens, complete with a small fish-eye mirror for self-portraits. Sitting on the left edge of the phone are volume-up/down controls and a dedicated speakerphone button--a feature we wish we saw more often--while a voice-command key occupies the phone's right edge.
Flipping open the phone, we were disappointed by the smallish, 1.5-inch-diagonal internal display. The 65,000-color screen looked a little soft and washed out, and it's tough to read in direct sunlight. On the plus side, the V265's raised keypad does a solid job, even if the keys felt a bit small to our fingers. The backlighting too was dim. The five-way navigational keypad gives you shortcuts to messaging, Verizon's Get It Now service, and Web browsing, while a dedicated camera button lies just to the left. You also get dedicated camera and menu controls, two soft keys, and a Clear button.The Motorola V265 carries a satisfying complement of features for a midrange phone, including a 500-name phone book with room in each entry for six phone numbers and an e-mail address. Contacts can be organized into caller groups or be assigned any of 10 polyphonic and 25 monophonic ring tones. Other goodies consist of a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone that you can turn on before you place a call, nine-number speed dialing, conference calling, voice commands and memos, Web browsing via a WAP 2.0-compliant Openwave browser on Verizon's 1xRTT data network, caller ID, a calendar with month and week views, an alarm clock, and a calculator.
The V265 boasts a solid camera with 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120 resolution. You can apply one of four color styles to your pictures (standard color, black and white, antique, or negative), and you can adjust for sunny, cloudy, indoor, or nighttime lighting conditions. There's also a timer for group shots and a 4X digital zoom. The phone's picture quality was pretty good for a VGA camera. Images looked a little soft, but we were pleased with the vibrant colors and the lack of noise. The pictures we took in dark conditions looked a bit grainy, but that's not unusual for a submegapixel camera phone. When you're done snapping photos, you can store them in the phone's 4MB of shared memory, send them to buddies via MMS and e-mail, or share them on Verizon's PixPlace service. The V265 doesn't have a video recorder, but that's not a surprise for a midrange phone.