If there ever was a Nextel phone, the Motorola i365 would be it. Big, burly, and bulky, the i365 looks as if it could withstand just about anything. Make no mistake: this is a serious phone for making voice and push-to-talk (PTT) calls. There's no camera or music player, and it makes no effort to be trendy or stylish. Normally we might complain, but with a Nextel phone, it's more than appropriate. Yet, the i365 does throw us a few bones. Bluetooth, voice dialing, and GPS are onboard, and the color display, while rather small, is easy on the eyes. It's also cheap, at just $89 with service. To find accessories for this phone, see our cell phone ringtones and accessories guide.
The has a lot in common with its Moto i355 predecessor. In an age where thin phones continue to be in, both handsets take the opposite course. In fact, you might confuse them with a cordless phone. At 5.3 inches tall by 2.1inches wide by 1.2 inches deep, and weighing 6.7 ounces, the i365 belongs more on a belt clip than in a pocket, but the trade-off is an incredibly tough phone that should withstand just about anything. However, it still might be too big for some. If you'd rather go for a slim phone, try the
Like most Nextel phones, the i365 meets military specifications for dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, and solar radiation. Though it's not completely waterproof like the G'zOne Boulder, it also meets military specifications for blowing rain and humidity. A rubberized casing ensures maximum protection, and the battery cover uses a secure locking mechanism. Unlike most current phones, the i365 uses an external antenna, which can extend to boost coverage.
As previously mentioned, the i365's screen is rather small (1.62 inches, 130x130 pixels), but it supports a sharp 64,000 colors. Though graphics don't look especially fantastic, the display is nonetheless bright and colorful. You can change the backlight time and the font size. The menus have the standard, multipage Nextel design, of which we've never been fans, but they're simple and easy to use.
Below the display is the i365's superb navigation array. We had no complaints with its spacious layout and pleasantly tactile controls. The rubberized covering on the keys felt great beneath our fingers and we liked that they give a distinct "push" feeling when pressed. There's a four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, a dedicated menu button, a power control, and Talk and End keys. They keypad buttons also have a great design. We could dial and text quickly, and dial by feel. The backlighting is a bit dim, but it should be fine for most users.
The remaining controls consist of a volume rocker and a PTT button on the left spine, and a covered 2.5mm headset jack on the right spine. On the top of the phone, you'll find a speakerphone button and a control for placing calls when the phone is closed. Also, the battery port on the bottom of the i365 has a tight-fitting cover.
The 600-contact phone book has room in each entry for seven phone numbers, an e-mail address, an IP address, and a Direct Connect number. Contacts can be organized further into a variety of groups, for regular or push-to-talk calls, and you can pair contacts with one of 18 polyphonic ringtones. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a voice recorder, a speakerphone, a notepad, call timers, and call forwarding.
The i355 also offers Bluetooth, voice dialing, and plenty of Direct Connect PTT services. International Direct Connect connects you with PTT users in other countries; Group Connect enables you to chat with up to 20 others via PTT at once; and Direct Talk gives you out-of-network PTT-chat capabilities with another Direct Talk handset within a range of up to 6 miles. You'll also find NextMail, which sends voice messages to any e-mail address, and Direct Send, which transmits your contact information to other compatible phones.
Another useful feature is Nextel's second line service, which allows you to add a second line to the phone with a different phone number. It's perfect for users who want separate digits for personal and business use. Nextel was one of the first U.S. carriers to offer the functionality. It will cost extra, of course, but you can have separate ringtones, separate billing statements, and even phone numbers with different area codes.
You can personalize the i365 with a variety of wallpaper, colors, themes, clock style, and alert sounds. If you don't like what comes on the handset, you can download more options and more ringtones with the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. You get a fair choice of Java (J2ME) applications, including Nascar Sprint Cup game, My-Cast 5 Weather, and TeleNav and Trimble subscription-based navigation services that take advantage of the i365's GPS support. It is pretty cool to be able to pinpoint your longitude and latitude exactly to figure out your location.
We tested the dualband (iDEN 800/900) Motorola i365 in San Francisco, using Nextel service. On the whole, we had no complaints with the call quality. The audio was loud and clear, and voices sounded natural. Also, we had no static or interference.
On their end, callers were pleased as well. They could hear us without any problems and some couldn't even tell we were using a cell phone. Occasionally, there was a very slight background hiss, but it wasn't at all distracting. Speakerphone and Direct Connect calls were satisfactory, too.
The i365 has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time. According to our tests, it has a talk time of 6 hours and 1 minute. According to FCC radiation tests, the i365 has a digital SAR rating of 1.09 watts per kilogram.