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Motorola Quantico review: Motorola Quantico

Motorola Quantico

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
5 min read


Motorola Quantico

The Good

The Motorola Quantico is well-built and durable against a variety of harsh conditions. It has a 1.3-megapixel camera, a music player, A-GPS, and a roomy keypad. It has good call quality as well.

The Bad

The Motorola Quantico's screen could be improved, and it's quite bulky.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola Quantico is a rugged midrange phone that doesn't offer too many surprises, but it makes it up in reliability.

Motorola is no stranger to the rugged clamshell, with recent handsets like the Motorola Brute i680 for Nextel and the Motorola Tundra for AT&T. So it's no surprise that even regional carrier U.S. Cellular has one of its very own--the Motorola Quantico. Like the others, the Quantico is military-specified to withstand harsh and extreme conditions. Though it's not much to look at design-wise, the Quantico does have a decent set of midrange features that includes GPS and a megapixel camera. The Quantico is available for $99.95 after a two-year service agreement with U.S. Cellular and a mail-in rebate.

The Motorola Quantico was not designed to look good--it's designed to be tough. Its hard plastic housing is certainly indicative of that. Measuring 3.7 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 1 inch thick, the Quantico has a slightly pear-shaped chassis in gun-metal gray. The battery cover on the back is clad in textured rubber, as are the sides of the phone. The Quantico is bulky and since it weighs around 4.2 ounces, it feels quite solid in the hand.

The Motorola Quantico is big and bulky.

On the front of the Quantico is a 1.6-inch color external display. You can view the date, time, battery length, signal strength, and caller ID, plus you can use it as a self-portrait camera viewfinder. You can adjust the wallpaper and clock format on the external display, but nothing else. Sitting on top of the display are the camera lens, the external speaker, and the Motorola logo. On the left of the phone are the volume rocker, the Smart key, and the charger jack, while the voice command key, the speakerphone key, and the 2.5mm headset jack are on the right.

In addition to the Quantico's ruggedized housing, both the aforementioned headset and charger jacks have tight rubber plugs to prevent water from seeping in. The battery cover is also secure thanks to a rotating locking mechanism. Motorola claims that the Quantico is durable and can withstand obstacles like vibration, dust, shock, extreme pressures and temperatures, and blowing rain. While we couldn't replicate these environments, we did throw the phone on the ground and dunked it in water a few times without ill effect.

Flip the headset open and you'll find a 2.2-inch color display. It only has 65,000 colors so it's not the most colorful screen we've ever seen. Still, the 176x220 pixel resolution results in sharp graphics and crisp text. You can adjust the backlight time, the brightness, the clock format, and the menu layout. You can't change the font, however.

Underneath the display is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a round toggle with a middle OK key, a dedicated camera/camcorder key, a Back key, and the Send and End/Power keys. The toggle can be mapped to four user-defined shortcuts. Right under the navigation array is the number keypad. All the keys are rubberized, with the exception of the round toggle. The keypad is roomy and the keys are raised above the surface so it's easy to text and dial by feel.

The Motorola Quantico has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five numbers, two e-mail addresses, a birthday, a Web address, notes, and a street address. You can organize contacts into caller groups, add a photo for caller ID, and assign one of 17 alerts and sounds for either ringtones or message alert tones. You can choose a silent option as well.

Basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a datebook, an alarm clock, a world clock, a calculator, a tip calculator, a notepad, and a stopwatch. More advanced features include Bluetooth, voice commands, a wireless Web browser, and A-GPS with support for turn-by-turn directions. The push-to-talk feature is only available in MetroPCS versions of the phone.

The Quantico comes with a music player, which requires a microSD card to function. It has the basic player interface, plus the capability to set songs on repeat or shuffle, and you can create and edit playlists on the fly. The player supports AAC, AAC+, AAC+ Enhanced, AMR NB, MIDI, MP3, WAV, and WMA v9 file formats. It supports up to 8GB microSD cards.

The Motorola Quantico has a 1.3-megapixel camera lens on the front.

The 1.3-megapixel camera on the Quantico can take pictures in four resolutions (1280x1024, 640x480, 320x240, and Picture ID), six white balance presets, and four color effects. Other camera settings include a self-timer, picture frames, brightness, and the choice of four shutter sounds plus a silent option. The photo quality is surprisingly good for such a simple camera. Though images do look a bit washed out, the overall color is good, and it's not as blurry as we expected. The Quantico also has a camcorder that can record in 176x144 resolution in four different lengths--2 minutes, 5 minutes, fit to memory, or fit to MMS. It has settings similar to those of the still camera.

The Motorola Quantico takes decent pictures.

You can personalize the Quantico by changing the wallpaper and the background color of the menu interface. You can also add your own sounds or alert tones. You can buy these graphics and sounds from U.S. Cellular's Easyedge store. The Quantico only come with one game--a demo version of Namco's Pac-Man. You'll have to buy it from the Easyedge store to get the full version.

We tested the Motorola Quantico in San Francisco with U.S. Cellular's roaming service. Call quality was quite impressive on the whole. On our end, we heard our callers very clearly with hardly any distortion. Voices sounded natural, and volume was good, too.

On their end, callers reported similarly good call quality. They did detect a tiny bit of static, but it was not a big deal. They said we sounded natural, loud, and clear. On speakerphone, we heard them just fine thanks to the loud speakers. Callers heard us fine as well, though they said our voice sounded harsh and a little scratchy at times. As for music, we would suggest using a stereo headset of some kind for the best audio quality.

The Motorola Quantico has a rated battery life of 5.8 hours talk time and 18.6 days standby time. The Quantico has a tested talk time of 5 hours and 43 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 1.11 watts per kilogram.


Motorola Quantico

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7