Are you perpetually lost but don't want to be weighed down by an additional GPS device? Then Verizon Wireless may just have an answer for you with its new Motorola V325. The handset takes full advantage of Verizon's newest network offering, called VZ Navigator. It offers a respectable alternative to Nextel's TeleNav GPS service, complete with voice-activated turn-by-turn directions, maps, and an extensive points-of-interest database. The V325's design could use some improvements, and we lament the lack of Bluetooth, but the phone's feature set and quality performance still should appeal mostly to the practical business user who prefers functionality in a relatively compact handset. The V325 is fairly priced at $129, but you should be able to find it at a discount. Although the Motorola V325 is hardly a cell phone for a supermodel, the unassuming design is somewhat attractive. The brushed-metal finish with a black grip border gives the exterior of this clamshell a sharp but not overly modern appearance, and we like the thin, ring-shaped LED light that sits inside the black border. The light flashes in four patterns when the phone rings, or you can turn it off completely. With dimensions of 3.6 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches and a weight of 4.1 ounces, the phone is long and feels somewhat heavy, but it still ranks far below the usual GPS-equipped Nextel behemoth. The 1-inch antenna may make for a tight fit in smaller pockets, but it is large enough to fish out of a bag or a purse without much effort. The stubby antenna also extends, but it is flimsy and easily bendable. On the other hand, the clamshell's construction is similar to that of other Motorola models, such as the , and should prove durable over time.
We are disappointed with the Motorola V325's external display, which is grayscale and very tiny; plus, it has no programmable settings. The external display packs in as much information as possible in the rectangular area, including the time, battery life, signal strength, various message icons, and caller ID (where available). The placement of the camera lens at the top left of the phone is a bit high, which made it hard to avoid taking pictures of our index fingers. There is no camera flash or self-portrait mirror.
As with other Motorola handsets, the side buttons on the Motorola V325 remain a nuisance, with the volume rocker doubling as the ringer-style select. It is very easy to accidentally turn off the ringer or change the ringer style inadvertently. Besides the two buttons controlling the ringer select, the left side of the spine has a covered headset jack. The button on the right side of the spine activates the voice-record memo when the phone is open. The back of the V325 has a large speakerphone, which is activated by the left side button when the flip is open. Unfortunately, Motorola does not include an external dedicated camera button.
The Motorola V325's internal display measures 2 inches diagonally (176x229 pixels) but supports only 65,000 colors. The screen is bright and easy to read, but the difference between the 65,000 colors or the 262,000 colors on higher-end phones is definitely noticeable. The backlight timer on the internal display can be set to 5, 10, or 20 seconds. The brightness can be adjusted, but the font size cannot be changed.
The Motorola V325's five-way navigational buttons have an attractive blue-backlit line in place of arrows or icons, which not only makes it easy to use the control in dark conditions but also gives it a modern look. The four outer navigational buttons are set as shortcuts to the camera's pictures menu, Verizon's Get It Now service, the Web browser, and the calendar, while the center OK button opens the menu when in standby mode. These shortcut keys are not programmable. There are two soft keys, which when on the background screen are set to Messages and Contacts. Below the soft keys sit a dedicated camera button on one side and the Clear button on the other side, as well as the Talk and End/power buttons.
All navigational and keypad buttons have a blue backlight, which is attractive against the glossy finish of the black keypad. While the buttons on the keypad are large and have a nice rectangular shape with a slight U-shape curve, they are also flat against the surface of the phone, making it impossible to tell them apart when dialing by feel.
The Motorola V325's menu navigation is not intuitive or well designed. We were forced to use different buttons to control the same navigation command in several situations. For example, sometimes we had to push the Clear button to go backward, and other times, this navigation command was controlled by one of the soft keys, so going back two steps usually involved pushing two different buttons.The Motorola V325 has a phone-book capacity of 500 contacts, with an impressive flash memory of 64MB for all applications. Each contact stores four phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, a fax number, and a ring tone. The handset has three predefined caller groups, but we also successfully set and named our own groups. You can pair contacts with a photo for picture caller ID, but the image shows up only on the internal display. The V325 includes an impressive 50 ring tones. We were able to record our own tones, and the handset supports MP3 tones as well. Unfortunately, the vibrate mode cannot be combined with a ring tone--it is one or the other.
Organizer features include a calendar; an alarm clock with three settings; a world clock; a notepad; and a calculator. Other offerings include voice dialing and commands; text and multimedia messaging; voice memos; PC syncing, a speakerphone that can be activated before you make a call; and a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. On the downside, there's no wireless connectivity. Bluetooth or even an infrared port would have been a nice addition to the handset.