Photos: Hands-on with the Motorola International 7500

If you think the iPhone or G1 are the ideal handsets for you, you'll be very keen to get your grubby mitts on the Motorola 7500 -- it's a truly groundbreaking device

It wasn't so very long ago that mobile phones were the size and shape of a fridge. Luckily we're now living in a world where you can get a phone in your pocket with minimal fuss. When the svelte and stylish Motorola International Micro TAC 7500 landed on our desk, we were giddy with excitement -- this phone takes portable communication to a new level.

The 7500 is a GSM 900MHz phone, so it will work on both Vodafone and Cellnet O2. It takes a large SIM card too, which is inserted at the bottom of the handset -- a wonderfully convenient solution.

The three-line display presents you with all the information you'll ever need. There's a battery meter and signal strength reading. You also get your network name presented to you when the phone is in standby. The 7500 can even receive SMS text messages, which are fantastic for staying in touch with friends. Sadly, the 7500 does not have the ability to send messages, so such communication will be one-way.

So what don't we like about the 7500? Well, there's no 3.5mm headphone jack for a start. But that pales into insignificance when you learn that it has no built-in MP3 player anyway and virtually no memory on to which you could store music. There's also no built-in camera, no mobile Internet and no way to install applications from anywhere. Who uses that stuff anyway?

These trifling omissions aside, on the plus side it doesn't have any mobile branding, and it's not locked to a specific network, so it'll work on either Vodafone or Cellnet O2 without being jailbroken.

Call clarity is pretty good, and the extendible aerial means that those lethal radio waves and exotic gamma radiation generated by all mobile phones is set clear away from your brain-box. Thankfully, there's no Wi-Fi capability either, so you can pop that tin-foil hat back in the paranoia drawer.

From off to ready to make calls takes the Motorola 7500 just 10 seconds. It turns off instantly too, meaning no hanging around while some fancy swirly graphic bounces around your screen yelling the name of your operator at you until you'd rather use your phone as a suppository than look at it for even one more minute.

As you can see, the 7500 fits very snugly in the palm of your hand. Opening and closing the flap will answer and terminate phone calls automatically and all the buttons are within easy reach. A beautiful, elegant design -- both functional and attractive. Motorola is really back on form with this phone.

The 7500 is a compact 34cm in length with the aerial fully extended and the flip in the down position. It weighs just 281g, including the battery.

The keypad is rather rubbery, but the buttons have a positive feel that we like.

Two side-mounted buttons control the volume of the key tones when the flap is open, and the ring volume when it's closed. During a call they control the earpiece volume. A really cunning piece of design. 

The battery pack is a high-capacity nickel-cadmium type. With care and judicious use of charge/recharge cycles, you should see as many as 8 hours standby time and up to an hour's talk time.

The batteries are charged in the supplied IntelliCharge XT, which can deal with two packs at once. You can even slot the handset in the front bay, which means it will charge in-situ and be ready for you to grab when you head out in the morning.

You can use the 7500 on any GSM provider in the world, as long as they operate on the 900MHz band. In the UK, Cellnet O2 and Vodafone are the only two providers that use this frequency.

The 7500 uses a full-size SIM card, which is convenient and means switching to another service provider is a simple matter of removing the card and inserting a new one. We wish more companies used this system -- it's been scientifically proven to be the future.

Text messages are a fun way to keep in touch with friends. Just remember, the 7500 can only receive them.

And this is how suave you'll look when you purchase the Motorola International 7500 Micro TAC telephone. It's available now from Dixons, Tandy and Carphone Warehouse.

 

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