If you like your phones with a bit of flare then the Motorola Z8 should put a kick in your step. This bendy slider phone is a marked departure from Motorola's popular Razr V3 and comes with its fair share of features.
It's currently available from several network operators for free on a monthly contract.
There's something different about the Z8, both on the inside and out. Parts of it look like they've been made out of green kryptonite, and when you slide it open it curves towards you like a tech-filled banana.
Not everyone will like the black and fluorescent-green casing but it is eye-catching -- almost everyone who saw it wanted a closer look. The bendy slide mechanism or 'kick slide' also had people flocking around since it's rather unusual.
The idea behind the kick-sliding mechanism is that it curves the phone closer to your mouth and ear. While it's a nice idea, in practice we're not sure it's completely necessary and there's an unwelcome side effect in the form of a curved keypad.
Slider phones are renowned for not leaving enough space at the top of the keypad to type comfortably -- the Z8 is another offender, but worse still the keypad is curved and rather hard to press. There simply isn't enough tactile feedback when you click a key.
Add to all the above a large lip at the bottom of the Z8 where the keypad is housed, and what you get is a difficult-to-manoeuvre keypad that left us unimpressed. We also have a problem with the navigation keys on top -- they're too squashed together to press properly.
If, however, you can overlook the keyboard issues, the Z8 does have some, albeit small, redeeming design features. The SIM card slot, for example, is easily accessible from the outside, as is the microSD slot, and the loudspeaker is well positioned too.
Underneath a rather quirky exterior hides a growling tiger. The Z8 is jam-packed with features that will keep you infinitely more entertained than you would be using a Razr V3. In fact, this is one of Motorola's most feature-filled handsets to date.
The Z8 runs on the Symbian OS so it supports third-party software, such as Quickoffice, which lets you view Microsoft Office documents on your phone. It also runs on a new and improved user interface that is so much better than previous offerings.
If you've ever owned a Motorola product, you'll know how painful it is to use the old Motorola interface. Fortunately, Motorola has seen the light -- it has developed a new interface for the Z8 that is much prettier to look at and far more logical to use.
Thanks to HSDPA (3.5G), browsing the Web is very fast and the Z8's Web browser isn't too bad, either. We were disappointed to see that you can't watch videos via YouTube's mobile site, though -- you can on certain other handsets.
We could, however, watch the The Bourne Identity, which comes bundled for free on a microSD card. The Z8 plays video at 30fps and the screen displays 16 million colours making it relatively watchable -- just don't expect high-definition quality.