It's rare that you'd confuse a Nextel phone for another carrier's handset. Indeed, Nextel models such as the Motorola i576 tend to have a functional, industrial design that's built for usability and durability rather than sex appeal. Granted, there has been the occasional exception, but most of the time Nextel phones mean business, and business only. Similar to many of its predecessors, the Moto i576 offers a rugged design with rubber sidings, an extendable antenna, and a tiny external display. Features are basic--it doesn't even have a camera--but the i576 is a reliable and easy-to-use phone with decent performance. The i576 is $279 if you pay full price but it is just $79 with service.
Clad in basic black, the i576 doesn't put on any airs. Make no mistake--this is a cell phone for making calls. At 4.3 inches tall by 1.8 inches wide by 1 inches thick and 4.2 ounces, it is a tad thick and bulky, but it remains portable and convenient. Rubber sidings on the front and back enhance the phone's durability and give it a comfortable, solid feel. Motorola added a textured design on the front and back covers that resembles a metal floor. It's purely for show, but it's a nice touch. And of course, the i576 is certified to military specifications.
As with most Nextel phones, the i576's external display is small and rectangular. Though we're used to this arrangement, it doesn't mean that we like it. The display crams in a lot of information including the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID, but the text is tiny. It supports 64,000 colors but its small size prevents it from showing photo caller ID. Above the display are two indicator lights for the Bluetooth feature and new messages.
Exterior controls include a volume rocker and the push-to-talk button on the left spine. Both controls are large and tactile. On the top next to the stubby antenna, you'll find a speakerphone button and a control for making calls when the handset is closed. The antenna is extendable but you should take care when using it, as it feels a tad flimsy. On the bottom of the right spine is a 2.5mm headset jack while directly opposite is a Micro-USB. The speaker sits on the bottom of the phone. Curiously, it's covered in bright blue.