You wouldn't mistake the Nextel i265 for another carrier's phone. With a hefty form factor, it is prototypically Nextel--it may not be flashy and glamorous, but it's tough. It's the same with the feature set, where all the necessary Nextel basics such as Direct Connect are present, but there aren't a lot of frills to complicate things. And since that's all that many people need, the i265 should not disappoint them. If you want on-the-go photos, graphic Web browsing, or a potpourri of ring tones, however, consider upgrading to the Nextel i275 or the camera phones. At $140, or $65 with a two-year contract, the i265 is a bit pricey for what you get. Nextel's phones are known for being big and clunky--or sturdy and solid, depending on your point of view--and the i265 is no different. Measuring 4.8 by 2.0 by 1.0 inches and tipping the scales at 4.6 ounces, the candy bar-style Nextel i265 is no lightweight, especially considering its lack of a camera and other advanced features. That said, the handset fits snugly in a jeans pocket, and Nextel aficionados will appreciate the phone's comforting heft and curved, palm-friendly design. The extendable antenna is sturdier than most we've seen.
The i265's 65,000-color, 1.5-inch-diagonal display looks reasonably bright indoors, but colors are a bit washed out, and details aren't as sharp as we'd like. We also found the screen difficult to read in direct sunlight. Just below the display is the five-way navigational control with user-defined shortcuts; it's surrounded by a pair of soft keys, the Send and End buttons, and dedicated menu and power buttons, with the keypad and a small, dedicated speakerphone button (very nice) just below. The whole arrangement is crowded, but it's nothing we haven't seen before from Nextel.
The keypad was a bit small for our fingers, but at least the raised rubberized buttons kept our fingertips from slipping. On the left edge of the handset are a big, rubber Direct Connect button and volume up/down controls, while a 2.5mm headset port sits on the right side, protected by a rubber flap. Finally, the speaker is on the rear face.The Nextel i265 comes with a solid, if unremarkable set of features, including Direct Connect push-to-talk; a speakerphone that you can turn on before placing a call; 3MB of shared memory; GPS support, although service is spotty to nonexistent indoors; text and multimedia messaging; wireless Web browsing using, unfortunately, a text-only WAP 1.1 browser; voice and text memos; voice calling; a calendar; caller ID (where available); and three-way calling. The 600-contact phone book holds up to seven numbers for each contact; as with all Nextel mobiles, separate numbers are required for regular and PTT calls. You also can store an e-mail address, and contacts can be paired with any of 3 polyphonic or 12 monophonic ring tones.
The handset includes a fair number of personalization options: changeable wallpaper, three of which come with the phone, with more that you can download from Nextel; customizable shortcuts on the phone's main screen; Blue Lagoon, Sandstone, Strawberry, Sunset, Sweet Lilac, and Earthtone color schemes; adjustable font sizes; and eight call profiles, such as Car, Meeting, Office, and Outdoors. Not bad, although we wish a screensaver was included.
Subscription services are available to TeleNav 3.0 for audible driving directions and 1KTV for news, sports, and entertainment content. Other applications are available for purchase through Nextel. Our review model of the Java-enabled i265 didn't come with any games or applications, although we found shortcuts to about a half-dozen demos.We tested the Nextel i265 (iDEN 800) in New York City, and we had no trouble chatting with our callers, who reported hearing us loud and clear. We also tried the phone in an interference-heavy living room, complete with a large television, a couple of laptops, and a local Wi-Fi network, and didn't encounter any trouble. Speakerphone calls also were clear, but because the speaker is on the back, it's best to turn the phone upside down if it's resting on a surface.
We got more than 3.5 hours of talk time from the i265, easily beating Motorola's estimate of 2.75 hours. On standby time, we measured 4 days on a single charge compared with the promised time of 4.2 days. According to the FCC, the i265 has a digital SAR rating of 1.16 watts per kilogram.