Earlier this year, Motorola rolled out a trio of new camera phones that ranged from the high-end to the low-end . Now the company builds on its success with the V220 for Cingular Wireless. Sporting a feature set not unlike the V400's, the new mobile offers a slimmer and more attractive package, but beware: the sound quality isn't the greatest. The handset is well priced at $199, but you probably can find it cheaper with service. In terms of style, the Motorola V220 doesn't try too hard. But that's probably a good thing, seeing that simplicity is part of its appeal. Outfitted in silver and black, the flip phone has a soothing shape with a smooth surface and rounded corners. At 3.3 by 1.7 by 0.9 inches and 3.7 ounces, it's small enough to fit in almost any pocket and light enough to carry around. It also benefits from solid construction and is comfortable to hold while you're talking. A rectangular external screen shows the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available). Though it is monochrome, the display is easy to read in most lighting situations. Below the screen is the camera lens, with a mirror for self-portraits surrounding it. However, since the lens occupies the center of the mirror, the resulting reflection is a bit distorted and looks like something from a fun house. Completing the outside of the phone are a volume rocker, a camera-shutter key, and a USB port on the left spine, while a voice-dial activation button sits on the right spine.
Inside the handset, you'll find the main display set in a mirrored frame. Though it supports 65,000 colors, it wasn't the most vivid screen we've seen, and its small size (1.5 inches diagonal) didn't help things. Also, since you can't adjust the brightness, the display always looks washed-out. That said, the animated menus were easy to navigate and the navigation controls were a cinch to master. Surrounded by an illuminated ring, a four-way toggle gives one-touch access to messages, sounds, AOL Instant Messenger, and the address book. Though you can't change the options, you can assign shortcuts to numbers on the keypad. There's also an OK button in the middle of the toggle, while two soft keys activate the camera and the instant messaging.
The keypad buttons are spacious, considering the mobile's diminutive size, and are lit by a bright backlight. With the exception of the recessed 5 key, they are set flush with the surface of the phone. Because of this, it was a bit difficult to dial by feel.The Motorola V220 comes with a standard set of features that are similar to the . The phone book holds up to 1,000 contacts, with room in each entry for up to six phone numbers and an e-mail address (you can store an additional 250 names on the SIM card). Contacts also can be assigned to caller groups or paired with a picture or one of three 24-chord polyphonic ring tones. Be advised, however, that the pictures do not show up on the external display. Other offerings include a vibrate mode, voice dialing, text- and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a calculator, an alarm clock, a call recorder, and AOL Instant Messenger. The speakerphone is a bonus, though it can be activated only after placing a call. We also liked the dedicated menu for checking or paying your Cingular bill and for reviewing your minute balance. Data features weren't terribly extensive. You get a fax modem and USB support, but there's no infrared (IR) port.