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Motorola i9 review: Motorola i9

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The i9's camera has a flash, but the lens is in an inconvenient location.

The 3.1-megapixel camera takes photos in seven resolutions, from 2,048x1,536 down to 320x240. Other editing options include two quality settings, exposure control, white balance, brightness, an 8x digital zoom, a self-timer, a macro mode, an autofocus, four color tones, and two shutter sounds (there's no silent option). The camcorder shoots clips in three resolutions and it offers a similar set of editing options. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at one minute, but you can shoot for longer in normal mode.

The i9's photo quality was just average.

Photo quality wasn't as good as we were hoping it would be. Most images were blurry and dark,with faded colors. Videos were about average--fine for a short clip, but quick movements came out choppy. We also noticed that the camera is a tad slow, and we didn't like having to save every photo we took manually. The i9 has an impressive 128MB of internal memory and the microSD slot can accommodate cards up to 8GB.

The music player has simple interface on both displays. It supports album art and you can choose between a number of themes and visualizations. Features are pretty slim: you get shuffle and repeat modes and an equalizer with nine settings. Getting music on the phone is easy through either a USB cable, Bluetooth, or a memory card.

You can personalize the i9 with a variety of clock styles and wallpapers. You can download more options and additional ringtones with the wireless Web browser. You won't find any games, but the Sprint version of the phone comes with the Nascar Sprint Cup Mobile application.

We tested the Motorola i9 Stature (iDEN 800) in San Francisco using Nextel service. Call quality was up to usual Nextel standards. The signal was clear and free of static and we had enough volume. Voices sounded natural most of the time, but there was a robotic effect at times. It wasn't enough to be distracting, but it was noticeable.

On their end, callers said we sounded good. A few couldn't even tell that we were using a cell phone. A couple people even remarked on the clarity of the call. Our friends could hear us when we were in noisy environments and we had no issues with automated calling systems. Speakerphone calls were quite satisfying, with loud and clear conversations on both ends.

The i9 has a rated battery life of three hours talk time. Our tests showed a talk time of 5 hours and 38 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the i9 has a digital SAR rating of 1.44 watts per kilogram.

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