When we think of push-to-talk phones, we admit that we usually think of phones from Nextel rather than Verizon Wireless. But Verizon Wireless does offer very good push-to-talk devices, such as the rugged Verizon Wireless G'zOne Boulder and the more recent Motorola Adventure. If you prefer a more compact push-to-talk handheld, Verizon Wireless also offers the CDM-8975, which is manufactured by PCD. The CDM-8975 has many advanced features found on other Verizon Wireless phones, like EV-DO Rev. A, a music player, and access to V Cast. The CDM-8975 is fairly affordable at $99.99 with a new two-year service agreement.
The Verizon Wireless CDM-8975's industrial look won't win any design awards. It has a rectangular utilitarian design that is black all around. It measures 3.9 inches long by 1.9 inches wide by 0.9 inch thick, and has a plastic shell with a rubberized back for better durability and a more comfortable grip. It feels solid and sturdy in the hand. The bright orange push-to-talk button on the side plus the large external speaker grille on the front mimics that of a walkie-talkie. The CDM-8975 doesn't have quite the rugged exterior of the G'zOne Boulder, but it should stand up to the rigors of everyday use.
On the front is a simple 1-inch 65,000-color external display. It looks washed out and is not very bright, but it shows all the information you need, like date, time, battery life, and signal strength. It also shows photo caller ID, and you can use it as a viewfinder for the camera. It also shows the recent calls list, PTT contacts, and a simplified view of the music player. When a song is playing, you can view the track information on the external display as well. You can adjust the clock format and the wallpaper, but nothing else.
Underneath the display are the external music controls. These are very handy because you can activate the music player and control the music without opening the phone. Though the keys are a bit flat to the surface, they are slightly curved for some texture and we like that the keys have a nice give when pushed. Below the keys is the aforementioned external speaker grille.
Flip open the phone and you'll find a nice 2-inch display with support for 260,000 colors. Images look sharp and colorful, and the menu interface is easy to use. You can adjust the display backlight time, the wallpaper, the display theme, the menu layout, the size of the dialing font, the menu font size, and the clock format.
Under the display is the navigation array, which consists of a circular toggle with a middle OK key, two soft keys, a dedicated e-mail key, and a dedicated VZ Navigator key. The toggle acts as a shortcut to three user-defined shortcuts on the up, left, and down directions. The right arrow leads to a My Shortcuts folder, which you can customize with up to four application shortcuts. Under that is the number keypad with the Send, Clear, and End/Power keys. The navigation array plus the keypad are very tactile; all keys are raised above the surface, and they're also quite roomy.