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Motorola V325 (Verizon Wireless) review: Motorola V325 (Verizon Wireless)

Motorola V325 (Verizon Wireless)

Kendra Wall
7 min read
Motorola V325
Are you perpetually lost but don't want to be weighed down by an additional GPS device? Then Verizon Wireless may just have an answer for you with its new Motorola V325. The handset takes full advantage of Verizon's newest network offering, called VZ Navigator. It offers a respectable alternative to Nextel's TeleNav GPS service, complete with voice-activated turn-by-turn directions, maps, and an extensive points-of-interest database. The V325's design could use some improvements, and we lament the lack of Bluetooth, but the phone's feature set and quality performance still should appeal mostly to the practical business user who prefers functionality in a relatively compact handset. The V325 is fairly priced at $129, but you should be able to find it at a discount. Although the Motorola V325 is hardly a cell phone for a supermodel, the unassuming design is somewhat attractive. The brushed-metal finish with a black grip border gives the exterior of this clamshell a sharp but not overly modern appearance, and we like the thin, ring-shaped LED light that sits inside the black border. The light flashes in four patterns when the phone rings, or you can turn it off completely. With dimensions of 3.6 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches and a weight of 4.1 ounces, the phone is long and feels somewhat heavy, but it still ranks far below the usual GPS-equipped Nextel behemoth. The 1-inch antenna may make for a tight fit in smaller pockets, but it is large enough to fish out of a bag or a purse without much effort. The stubby antenna also extends, but it is flimsy and easily bendable. On the other hand, the clamshell's construction is similar to that of other Motorola models, such as the V557, and should prove durable over time.


Motorola V325 (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

The Motorola V325 promises a speakerphone, and it's the first cell phone to use Verizon's new GPS navigation system for location-based services.

The Bad

The Motorola V325 is hobbled by a small external display, a lack of Bluetooth and video playback, and poor picture quality.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola V325 takes advantage of Verizon's latest GPS application but falls short in regard to breadth of features and a well-integrated design.

The Motorola V325 has a simple design.

We are disappointed with the Motorola V325's external display, which is grayscale and very tiny; plus, it has no programmable settings. The external display packs in as much information as possible in the rectangular area, including the time, battery life, signal strength, various message icons, and caller ID (where available). The placement of the camera lens at the top left of the phone is a bit high, which made it hard to avoid taking pictures of our index fingers. There is no camera flash or self-portrait mirror.

As with other Motorola handsets, the side buttons on the Motorola V325 remain a nuisance, with the volume rocker doubling as the ringer-style select. It is very easy to accidentally turn off the ringer or change the ringer style inadvertently. Besides the two buttons controlling the ringer select, the left side of the spine has a covered headset jack. The button on the right side of the spine activates the voice-record memo when the phone is open. The back of the V325 has a large speakerphone, which is activated by the left side button when the flip is open. Unfortunately, Motorola does not include an external dedicated camera button.

The Motorola V325's internal display measures 2 inches diagonally (176x229 pixels) but supports only 65,000 colors. The screen is bright and easy to read, but the difference between the 65,000 colors or the 262,000 colors on higher-end phones is definitely noticeable. The backlight timer on the internal display can be set to 5, 10, or 20 seconds. The brightness can be adjusted, but the font size cannot be changed.

The Motorola V325's five-way navigational buttons have an attractive blue-backlit line in place of arrows or icons, which not only makes it easy to use the control in dark conditions but also gives it a modern look. The four outer navigational buttons are set as shortcuts to the camera's pictures menu, Verizon's Get It Now service, the Web browser, and the calendar, while the center OK button opens the menu when in standby mode. These shortcut keys are not programmable. There are two soft keys, which when on the background screen are set to Messages and Contacts. Below the soft keys sit a dedicated camera button on one side and the Clear button on the other side, as well as the Talk and End/power buttons.

All navigational and keypad buttons have a blue backlight, which is attractive against the glossy finish of the black keypad. While the buttons on the keypad are large and have a nice rectangular shape with a slight U-shape curve, they are also flat against the surface of the phone, making it impossible to tell them apart when dialing by feel.

The Motorola V325's menu navigation is not intuitive or well designed. We were forced to use different buttons to control the same navigation command in several situations. For example, sometimes we had to push the Clear button to go backward, and other times, this navigation command was controlled by one of the soft keys, so going back two steps usually involved pushing two different buttons.

The Motorola V325 has a phone-book capacity of 500 contacts, with an impressive flash memory of 64MB for all applications. Each contact stores four phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, a fax number, and a ring tone. The handset has three predefined caller groups, but we also successfully set and named our own groups. You can pair contacts with a photo for picture caller ID, but the image shows up only on the internal display. The V325 includes an impressive 50 ring tones. We were able to record our own tones, and the handset supports MP3 tones as well. Unfortunately, the vibrate mode cannot be combined with a ring tone--it is one or the other.

Organizer features include a calendar; an alarm clock with three settings; a world clock; a notepad; and a calculator. Other offerings include voice dialing and commands; text and multimedia messaging; voice memos; PC syncing, a speakerphone that can be activated before you make a call; and a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. On the downside, there's no wireless connectivity. Bluetooth or even an infrared port would have been a nice addition to the handset.

The highlight of the Motorola V325 is the GPS system, which allows users to take advantage of Location Based Services, such as obtaining maps, as well as written or spoken turn-by-turn directions for walking or driving to their destination. This is the first Motorola handset to take advantage of Verizon's new VZ Navigator application. At $9.99 per month or $2.99 per day (plus airtime), the service lets you choose directions by the fastest, shortest, or simplest route, and it will adjust automatically if you go off route. Maps can be zoomed or panned, and you can place and receive calls when using the application. You can also do a local search of 14 million points of interest, as well as save preferred locations to the phone's memory.

The V325's camera has no flash or self-portrait mirror.

The Motorola V325's VGA camera has a 4X zoom and three resolutions (640x480, 240x320, and 120x160). The camera also features a 5- or 10-second self-timer; adjustable brightness; white-balance effects; three file-quality settings; three shutter sounds (there's also a silent option); four color effects; and 10 fun frames. We were a bit disappointed with the picture quality, as it was nearly impossible to take a picture that was not blurry. Plus, it was quite hard to keep our fingers out of the way, due to poor lens placement. Once you take a photo, you can crop the image size and rotate or flip the orientation. We were able to remove the red-eye, as well as add color effects and elements such as fun frames, text, and clip art. The neatest feature on the camera, however, is the ability to warp the picture into new shapes. You also have the option to send or save the picture.

With fuzzy images and washed-out colors, the V325 had poor photo quality.

Multimedia options are limited on the Motorola V325. Motorola did not include a video camera, nor the ability to stream media or play downloaded video. No games are included with the handset, but you can download BREW-enabled titles and ring tones through Verizon's Get It Now service. Other personalization options include several included wallpaper patterns, three themes, and a customized greeting.

We tested the dual-band, dual-mode (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Motorola V325 in San Francisco on the Verizon network. Call quality was quite good, with clear conversations and loud volume. Callers could tell we were using a cell phone; however, they didn't report any significant drawbacks. The phone does pick up some wind noise, though we could hear well when using it on a crowded street. Speakerphone quality was diminished somewhat, but it was fine overall.

The Motorola V325 has a rated talk time of 3.3 hours and a promised standby time of 8.3 days. In our tests, we got 4 hours of talk time, and though we fell short of the promised standby time by 3 days, we were satisfied with its performance. According to FCC radiation tests, the V325 has a digital SAR rating of 1.14 watts per kilogram.


Motorola V325 (Verizon Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 7