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Audiovox CDM-8900 (Verizon Wireless) review: Audiovox CDM-8900 (Verizon Wireless)

Audiovox CDM-8900 (Verizon Wireless)

John Frederick Moore
4 min read
Review summary
With the Audiovox CDM-8900, Verizon Wireless adds another stylish camera phone to its roster. As a worthy competitor for the stellar LG VX6000, this model has a striking design and impressive camera features that will appeal to young urbanites. But the CDM-8900's performance falls short, and its list price of $179.99 isn't a bargain compared to that of similar offerings. Largely resembling the Audiovox CDM-8600 in style and appearance, the CDM-8900 has a brushed-silver finish and sleek lines. Measuring 3.3 by 1.6 by 0.9 inches and weighing a slight 3.5 ounces, it's trim enough to slip into a pocket, yet it feels sufficiently sturdy to handle frequent use. On the phone's exterior, you also find a one-inch antenna, as well as blue LEDs on the hinge that flash during an incoming call.
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The pocket-friendly CDM-8900 will appeal to the size-conscious consumer.

An external LCD shows the time, the date, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID (when available). Though the CDM-8900 is a monochrome model, which limits some of the camera's performance capabilities (see Features for more), it has a pleasant, streamlined shape that is more attractive than the 8600's external porthole display. Open the phone and you'll find a crisp, 65,000-color screen that is great for viewing photos. The blue-backlit keys provide ample light in dark environments, but the buttons lay flat on the unit, so touch-dialing is slightly difficult.
The CDM-8900's well-spaced navigation keys are an improvement over the CDM-8600's crowded controls. A four-way navigation key provides one-click access to contacts, Web browsing, messaging, and Verizon Wireless's Get It Now service. An OK button in the middle of the four-way key and two soft buttons allow for easy menu navigation. You can access the camera by pressing either the OK key or a dedicated button located on the mobile's left hinge. Located at the top of the phone, the camera lens is well placed for taking pictures.
The Audiovox CDM-8900 has a 300-entry phone book that can store up to five phone numbers and two e-mail addresses for each contact; you can also specify a ring tone for each name. Other features include text and multimedia messaging, a Web browser that runs on Verizon's high-speed 1xRTT network, a calculator, USB compatibility, a scheduler, a world clock, and a stopwatch. Like the CDM-8600, the 8900 has a speakerphone that can be activated with a single click. Though it doesn't include any games, the mobile comes with 25 polyphonic (15-chord) ring tones, and you can download titles, additional ringers, wallpapers, and other applications from Get It Now. While there is no monthly fee for the service, Verizon charges per application, and airtime charges while browsing do apply.
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Mirror, mirror: A small mirror next to the camera lens helps in taking self-portraits.

The chief distinction between this handset and the CDM-8600 is the integrated 300,000-pixel camera, which offers some nice features. Pressing the up/down navigation buttons adjusts the resolution settings to Low (160x12), Medium (320x240), and High (640x480), while the left/right buttons controls the brightness level. Through the menu options, you can adjust the contrast and choose from three shutter sounds; to our dismay, there's no muting option. Pictures taken at the highest quality typically require between 30K and 40K, so the phone's included 32MB of dedicated memory should give you plenty of space for saving photos on the handset itself. Verizon also boasts the fine Pix Place online album, where you can store up to 1MB of pictures, upload images to your PC, and edit photo albums. Sending picture mail to other Verizon customers with MMS-enabled handsets or e-mail messages requires only a few clicks, and you can easily access your contact list from the picture-messaging menu.
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Pictures are a snap with the user-friendly camera.

You can choose to have the external LCD provide a representation of the subject in the frame for use with self-portraits, but you're better off using the small, oval mirror next to the lens, as the screen offers a grainy, barely discernable version of the image. Another annoying limitation: You can associate pictures with contacts to create photo caller ID, but you see the photo on only the internal display, not the external LCD. We tested this dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) phone in the Chicago area. Call quality was inconsistent, with frequent heavy static in the background. We also lost a handful of calls in midconversation, a problem we hadn't experienced with other Verizon Wireless handsets in our area. The speakerphone was clear but had little volume. We had to turn it up to the highest setting to hear people plainly.
In our battery-life tests, we coaxed about 3 hours of talk time, matching the maximum rating. The phone didn't hold up nearly as well in our standby tests, however, reaching only 52.5 hours of standby time, well short of the maximum rating of 212 hours.

Audiovox CDM-8900 (Verizon Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 6