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Motorola C168i (AT&T) review: Motorola C168i (AT&T)

The C168i's navigation controls are a mixed bag. The toggle and central OK button are raised above the surface, which gives them a tactile feel. They are slightly cramped, however, so you may want to give the controls a test run first. The toggle can be set as a shortcut to four user-defined functions. On the downside, the soft keys are flush with the surface of the phone and appear to blend in with the black border surrounding the display. We'd like more tactile definition.

Fortunately, the backlit keypad buttons and the Talk and End/power keys are raised, which made it easy to dial by feel. The numbers on the keys are small, but that's understandable on such a compact phone. Yet we're really disappointed that the C168i doesn't have an external volume rocker. That means you must remove the phone from your face during a call to adjust the volume. The only features on the exterior of the phone are a charger port on the left spine and a headset jack on the phone's top end.

The Motorola C168i has a small phone book with room for 600 contacts. Each entry holds five phone numbers as well as a single field for a note, an e-mail address, a postal address, or a Web address. You can save callers to groups, but you can't assign any of the 27 polyphonic ringtones to specific callers. Features on the C168i are strictly functional. You're limited to a calculator, a calendar, an alarm lock, text and multimedia messaging, and a vibrate mode. There's no speakerphone, unfortunately.

You can personalize the C168i with a variety of wallpaper, color styles, and alert sounds. You can download more options and ringtones with the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. You get three Java (J2ME) games--Soccer, Rebels, and Crazy, but gameplay on such a phone isn't very fun.

We the dual-band (GSM 850/1900) Motorola C168i in San Francisco using AT&T service. Call quality was decent on the whole, but the audio quality was fuzzy in the background. It wasn't too distracting, but it was noticeable just the same. Callers didn't report any problems on their end except for a slight amount of wind noise. That said, automated calling systems could understand us.

The C168i has a rated battery life of 9.1 hours talk time and 14.1 days standby time. Our tests revealed an impressive talk time of 8 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the C168i has a digital SAR of 1.44 watts per kilogram.

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