Choosing a cell phone can be a big undertaking, especially if you're looking for the right balance of size, price, and features. You'd like good audio quality and advanced features such as downloadable ring tones and games, but you don't want to lose an arm and a leg in the process. Lacking the flash of a color screen, Motorola's C333 isn't ideal, but it does take a good swipe at hitting the nexus of features and affordability. At 2.82 ounces and 4.2 by 1.8 by 0.9 inches, the silvery Motorola C333 is an attractively styled phone that weighs just enough to feel good in your hand, but it's not so heavy that it loads down your pockets. Its 96x64-pixel screen can show five lines of text and has an extra row for icons. Unlike the more recent C350, the C333 is monochrome and displays only four shades of gray.
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|The C333 weighs a bit more than the candy bar but it is much less likely to melt in your pocket.|
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|Presto change-o: Customize the C333's looks with optional faceplates.|
As for ergonomics, the C333 fares well overall, save one flaw: The volume control isn't located on the side of the phone. The mobile's buttons are raised enough to make it easy to dial on the fly. But as with most candy bar-style phones, you'll want to activate the keypad-lock feature; otherwise, you might find yourself accidentally launching the browser or making calls when the Motorola is in your front pocket. A four-way rocker switch sits below the screen and gives easy access to menu items such as the Media Center, where you can access the Picture Viewer and MotoMixer (more on that in Features). Two buttons next to the rocker let you select items or back out of menus.
As with the C350, Motorola takes a step beyond simple customization by letting you reconfigure the phone using a smartly designed casing that changes the mobile's shape--not just the color.
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Rock on: The four-way rocker lets you roll through menu selections.
The Motorola has a vibrate mode and supports as many polyphonic tones as you can download into this model's 200K of allotted memory. Like the C350, the C333 lets you customize or remix tones using the aforementioned MotoMixer, which allows you to add bass or drums to a tone and mix your own beats. Since this feature is particularly appealing to budding DJs, we enlisted DJ Skip to mix a tune on the company's Web site. You can listen to it here. But that's not all; you can download additional ring tones, wallpaper, and screensavers.
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Shrinking size: The C333 comes with a smaller than average charger.
In our battery-life tests, the C333 gave us 150 hours of standby time, which is in the 110-to-250-hour range that Motorola touts. But we squeaked by with only 120 minutes of talk time--well short of the 190-minute rating but on a par with that of other color-display phones.