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Motorola i605 (Nextel) review: Motorola i605 (Nextel)

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The Good Rugged design; large color screen; speakerphone; push-to-talk capabilities; Bluetooth; solid performance.

The Bad Clunky, tiny keys and controls.

The Bottom Line With the release of the big and brawny i605, Nextel brings Bluetooth to a broader audience.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 8.0

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It won't win any fashion awards, but the target audience for the Nextel i605 doesn't care about that sort of thing. Big and bulky like most Nextels, it offers some unique improvements over its siblings. Though it's not the first Nextel mobile to include Bluetooth (the RIM BlackBerry 7520 led that charge), the i605 is the first phone from the carrier that should appeal to a wide segment of its customer base, as it has no camera to mess things up. It also sports an improved color screen, but the durable rubber sidings ensure it will find a place on the belts of construction workers, police officers, and others who don't mind getting their hands and their phone a little dirty. At $349, the i605 is expensive, but you can probably find it for less with service.

The black-and-gray Nextel i605 is unwieldy, even by Nextel standards. The phone measures 4.9 by 2.0 by 1.1 inches without the extendable antenna and weighs a heavy 5.9 ounces with its high-capacity battery. This is a mobile that is more likely to be clipped onto a belt than slipped into a pocket, so it'd better be a sturdy model. This larger size also gives the Nextel its toughness. The phone is made of hard plastic with resilient rubber side grips, and it feels solid. In fact, its rubberized shell provides military-grade (it adheres to the Military 810F Spec) protection for resistance to shock, dust, and vibration.


Hefty, hefty, hefty: the i605 is not a phone for wimps.

The good news is that the added bulk and durability can accommodate a vibrant and large (2.2 inches diagonal) display with a resolution of 262,000 colors. It's a big step above other Nextel screens, and it's a pleasure to view the mostly user-friendly menus. The bad news is that this size doesn't make the controls any easier to access. Just below the display is the small five-way navigational control with user-defined shortcuts; it's crowded by a pair of soft keys, the Send and End buttons, and dedicated menu and power buttons. The keypad is made of hard plastic and is very small, given the size of the phone. If you're going to build a big phone, the keys should be big too.

Criticisms aside, the standard Nextel controls are here and in good form. The speakerphone and the Recent Calls buttons are placed on the top of the unit. With the mobile's cover closed, you can make calls by pushing the Recent Calls button, then the speakerphone. The side of the phone has a rubberized volume rocker and large push-to-talk button. Plus, there is a standard headset jack and power connection, both covered and protected by rubber strips. As is standard, the speaker is on the back, below the battery cover.

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