Equipped with a VGA camera, a dedicated speakerphone, and solid messaging capabilities, Motorola's latest midrange phone is a respectable addition to Verizon's handset lineup. While we weren't impressed with its dim internal display or its humdrum design, the V265 ($150 with a one-year contract, less with online rebates) boasts an average set of features in a small package. If you need a stellar internal display and video recording, however, the and the have a bit more bling and might be better options for Verizon customers. The rounded, silver-and-black V265 is cast from the same mold as other midrange Motorola phones, which is to say it has a routine and not overly flashy design. Measuring 3.6 by 1.8 by 0.9 inches and weighing a reasonable if not featherlight 3.8 ounces, the clamshell-style phone fits comfortably in the palm of a hand, but is thick enough to make a noticeable bulge in a jeans pocket. The stubby antenna adds more bulk, and you should be careful when using the retractable extension as it is rather flimsy.
Close the phone with a solid, satisfying clap, and you'll see the small but serviceable monochrome external LCD. Rectangular in shape, the display gives you the time, signal strength, a battery-life indicator, and caller-ID info (where available). Just above the LCD is the Motorola V265's VGA camera lens, complete with a small fish-eye mirror for self-portraits. Sitting on the left edge of the phone are volume-up/down controls and a dedicated speakerphone button--a feature we wish we saw more often--while a voice-command key occupies the phone's right edge.
Flipping open the phone, we were disappointed by the smallish, 1.5-inch-diagonal internal display. The 65,000-color screen looked a little soft and washed out, and it's tough to read in direct sunlight. On the plus side, the V265's raised keypad does a solid job, even if the keys felt a bit small to our fingers. The backlighting too was dim. The five-way navigational keypad gives you shortcuts to messaging, Verizon's Get It Now service, and Web browsing, while a dedicated camera button lies just to the left. You also get dedicated camera and menu controls, two soft keys, and a Clear button.The Motorola V265 carries a satisfying complement of features for a midrange phone, including a 500-name phone book with room in each entry for six phone numbers and an e-mail address. Contacts can be organized into caller groups or be assigned any of 10 polyphonic and 25 monophonic ring tones. Other goodies consist of a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone that you can turn on before you place a call, nine-number speed dialing, conference calling, voice commands and memos, Web browsing via a WAP 2.0-compliant Openwave browser on Verizon's 1xRTT data network, caller ID, a calendar with month and week views, an alarm clock, and a calculator.