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Motorola i700 (Nextel) review:

Motorola i700 (Nextel)

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The Good Rugged; nice feature set; Web-enabled; inexpensive.

The Bad Bulky; not waterproof; long battery charge time.

The Bottom Line Nextel's i700plus is clearly designed for the home builder. If you're in that category, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better fit.

CNET Editors' Rating

5.6 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 5.0

Nextel's Motorola i700plus meets the military specs for vibration and mechanical shock, which gives you a pretty good hint as to what type of user the company is targeting with this model. The i700plus is designed for the foreman, not the pitchman. The combination of a rugged design and ample features--including Web and e-mail access--makes the i700plus a good fit for construction and field workers. Others, however, will be less enamored of this bulky phone. On the surface, the i700plus looks like a sportier version of its little brother, the i500plus. Wrapped in a black rubberized grip for added protection, the heavy-duty i700plus has a yellow "sport" coloring, which makes it seem like it should be waterproof--but it's not even water-resistant. Furthermore, at 6.2 by 2.3 by 1.5 inches and weighing 8.6 ounces, the i700plus is the offensive lineman of cell phones.

The phone does have a few shortcomings. For starters, the i700plus doesn't have an integrated headphone jack. (There's a speakerphone, but sometimes you want to have private, hands-free conversations.) Also, the phone takes a long time to fully recharge--about six hours--and it won't work when plugged in. It may be a good idea to have an extra battery on hand. That said, there's a lot under its uniform. An easy-to-read, four-line backlit display highlights standard features, such as caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, and the optional second-line capability that allows for third-party conference calls. You'll also find vibration alert, a 100-name phone book, text and numeric paging, and iDEN's infamous speakerphone. Like all Nextel phones, the i700plus supports Direct Connect, which allows the phone to operate as a digital two-way radio. Using this feature, you can talk with other users in private or specified groups within the phone's home service area.

Most of Nextel's phones now support Web access (that's where the plus comes in); the i700 also has the ability to send and receive email. We used the integrated microbrowser to surf preprogrammed sites, such as Bloomberg, Yahoo, and ESPN. The phone's well-placed arrow keys allow users to navigate content and menus. According to Motorola, the standard battery offers 81 hours of standby time; however, we were able to get about 60 hours. Less disappointing was the phone's talk time, which came very close to the rated 4.2 hours. If having a lighter phone is more important to you than battery life, Motorola offers a slim version of the battery, which the company says offers up to 52 hours of standby and 2.6 hours of talk time.

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