Motorola A845 (AT&T) review:

Motorola A845 (AT&T)

The A845's VGA camera took fuzzy, poor quality photos.

Of course, you aren't going to buy the A845 for the camera. The real draw is the high-quality streaming video over AT&T's UMTS network; however, the network is currently available in only Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Detroit, and Seattle. Future markets will be available in the future, but at press time, no announcements had been made. Entertainment services are provided by RealTV and include channels such as ABC News, CBS MarketWatch, NPR News, Fox Sports, and the Weather Channel. You can also view movie previews, TV-show recaps, and music videos, as well as listen to such content as horoscopes, book reviews, and celebrity gossip. Unlimited data plans, which include mMode access, are $24.99 per month for individuals and $79.99 per month for businesses. For getting down to business, you can also use the phone for videoconferencing, but the other caller must have a UMTS-capable phone and be in one of the markets served. We were unable to test this option.

The A845 also has an MP3 player. You can download and play files in MP3, WAV, AAC, or WMA formats and save them as ring tones. The A845 can be personalized with a variety of wallpaper, screensavers, color styles, and sounds. More options and ring tones can be downloaded through mMode. The handset also comes with a single Java (J2ME)-enabled game, Bejeweled, but you can always get more titles through AT&T.

We tested the triband (GSM 850/1800/1900; GPRS; UMTS 1900) Motorola A845 in the San Francisco area using AT&T Wireless. Call quality was good, providing adequate audio and clear conversations. We experienced some mild patchiness at times, however, and callers said they could tell we were using a cell phone. Calls made with the included earbud headset were also satisfactory. Using the Bluetooth adapter, we had no problem connecting to a Jabra FreeSpeak BT250 headset or a Logitech Mobile Bluetooth headset and enjoyed solid call quality on each. The speakerphone had plenty of volume, though voices had a slightly echoey sound.

Video quality was good and represented an improvement over Sprint's Samsung MM-A700. AT&T promises speeds of between 220Kbps and 320Kbps, with bursts of up to 384Kbps (speeds on the MM-A700 top out at 70Kbps). Though theoretical 3G speeds are much higher, these numbers are still impressive, considering that the fastest 2.5G networks are still in the dial-up range of 56Kbps. We tried watching news clips, an R. Kelly music video, and a movie preview. The feed was smooth, and we were impressed by the clear picture and the good audio quality, even over the included stereo headphones. And though we rarely experienced a hiccup or a frozen image, some frames on the movie preview seemed to melt into one another. One particularly nice touch is that videos will automatically pause when a call comes through.

Similarly, the download time of a new ring tone was very quick. But not all was perfect. Our main issue was with the UMTS coverage. Though San Francisco is a UMTS market, we were able to find coverage in only the downtown and South of Market areas. In the Castro and Mission neighborhoods, we could get only 2.5G speeds. If you're outside the UMTS network, you're unable to access video at all, and the download speeds are reduced to EDGE quality (100Kbps to 130Kbps).

It should also be noted that battery life when using the UMTS network is significantly shorter than with the slower GSM network. With UMTS coverage, we beat the rated talk time of 2 hours by an extra hour. But for UMTS standby time, we fell 3 days short of the promised 8 days. On the GSM network, we got 3 hours less than the rated talk time of 7.6 hours and met the promised standby time of 12.5 days. According to the FCC, the A845 has a digital SAR rating of 1.51W per kilogram.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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