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Motorola V365 - black (AT&T) review: Motorola V365 - black (AT&T)

Motorola V365 - black (AT&T)

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
5 min read
You'd be forgiven if you expected Cingular's new Motorola to look like the Motorola V360 for T-Mobile. Though they're siblings, the V365 barely resembles the V360, and that's a good thing since we never thought the V360 was too pretty. Instead, the V365 flip phone takes its design cues from the Motorola V557. Yes, its overall form factor is bulkier, but it has the same silver face bordered by a dark, rubberized ring with a camera lens perched in the top-left corner. The feature set also is comparable, with offerings such as a VGA camera, Bluetooth, and a speakerphone, but the V365 adds an MP3 player, push-to-talk support (PTT) and a memory-card slot. Performance is satisfactory, too, but we prefer the Sony Ericsson Z525a for a Cingular PTT handset. The V365 is a reasonable $99 with service. The Motorola V365's design is a bit deceiving. It may not look like much when viewed straight on, but when you turn the phone on its side, you'll notice immediately that it's a whopper. At 3.54 x 1.65 x 0.95 inches, it's thicker then some smart phones and almost twice as thick as Moto's celebrated Razr. We're not sure why Motorola gave it such girth, as it makes the V365 a bit clunky and heavy (3.9 ounces), but we have to admit it's a change from the current thin-phone mania. The V365 fits only in bigger pockets, but it did benefit from a solid construction and a comfortable feel in the hand. Also, it does without the external antenna of similar Moto phones.


Motorola V365 - black (AT&T)

The Good

The Motorola V365 offers satisfying call quality and a midrange feature set that includes Bluetooth and push-to-talk support.

The Bad

The Motorola V365 is bulky, and its camera options and external display are disappointing. Also, its speakerphone and MP3 player sound quality is unimpressive.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola V365 is a decent Cingular push-to-talk phone, but it isn't very exciting.

The Motorola V365 has a stocky profile.

The 1-inch-square external display is bigger than the screen on the V360, but sadly, it remains monochrome so there's no support for photo caller ID. It shows the date, the time, battery life, signal strength, and the phone number called ID, but no display options are customizable. Above the display is the camera lens, but the V365 lacks a flash and a self-portrait mirror.

The Motorola V365's speaker is on its rear face.

A small speaker sits on the rear face of the V365. It's not an ideal location, but we're more displeased that Moto stuck the MicroSD card slot behind the battery cover. Surely on such a beefy phone Motorola could have found a better place for it. The voice-command button sits on the right spine just above the mini USB/charger port, while the PTT button and a small volume rocker rest on the left spine above the headset jack. Thankfully, the V365 doesn't use a proprietary connection.

The 1.8-inch internal display (176x220 pixels) is typical Motorola. It supports 65,000 colors, which is quite adequate for most uses, but we wish Motorola would embrace 262,000-color resolutions on more of its midrange handsets. You can change the display's brightness and the backlight time, but the font size is fixed. Also, we hope Motorola updates its stodgy menu interface soon. The navigation array is set a good distance from the display due to the oversized hinge, but it's tactile and easy to use. A five-way toggle is your primary tool, and you also get two soft keys, a dedicated menu button, and the Talk and End/power controls. Both the toggle and the soft keys can be set as shortcuts to user-defined functions. Finishing the array are shortcut keys for the camera and Cingular's Internet service. The only thing missing is a dedicated back/clear key, but we're used to that omission on Moto phones. The keypad buttons are large and well spaced, and we like that they're raised above the surface of the phone. They also have a bright backlighting for dialing in the dark. The Motorola V360's feature set is soundly midrange. Though it adds some goodies not available on the V557 or the V360, it contains few surprises. The phone book holds a hefty 1,000 contacts, with room in each entry for six phone numbers, a street address, a birth date, and a nickname (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts). You can organize callers into groups and assign them any of 14 polyphonic (24-chord) ring tones for caller ID. You can pair them with a photo as well, but remember the images won't appear on the external display. Basic features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, a datebook, and an alarm clock. Beyond the essentials, the V365 also offers full Bluetooth, support for Cingular's PTT network, a speakerphone (usable after you place the call), e-mail, and instant messaging, as well as voice commands and dialing.

The Motorola V365's camera is lacking a flash as well as a self-portrait mirror.

The VGA camera takes pictures in 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120 resolutions. As on most Motorola camera phones, a handy meter keeps track of how much storage space is left, but photo-editing features were slim. You get a choice of just six lighting conditions, an adjustable brightness control, a 4x zoom, an autotimer, and a selection of five shutter sounds as well as a silent option. The MPEG-4 video recorder takes clips with sound in two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96), and you can choose a lighting setting here as well. Video length is limited to 45 seconds on clips meant for multimedia messages, but you can record longer videos depending on how much memory is available. Internal storage is a tiny 5MB of shared space, so we suggest you invest in a memory card. Photo quality was pretty decent for a VGA camera; the lighting was dark, but colors were distinct and objects weren't blurry.

The Motorola V365 takes decent photos for a VGA camera.

You can personalize the V365 with a variety of wallpaper, screen savers, color themes, and sounds. As always, more choices and ring tones are available from Cingular with the AP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Gaming choices are limited--just one title, Skipping Stones, and a demo version of Bejewled--so you'll have to buy more options for extended play. The V365 also comes with a rudimentary MP3 player, but the spartan interface and mediocre sound quality is a turn-off. We tested the Motorola V365 in San Francisco using Cingular's service. We enjoyed respectable call quality for the most part; voices sounded natural, and the volume was loud. We also never had a problem getting a signal and had no interference from other electronic devices. Callers said we sounded fine, though we had to speak close to the mouthpiece in order to be heard. There was a slight echoey effect to some calls, which was exacerbated by the speakerphone. What's more, the speakerphone wasn't loud enough, and the rear-facing speaker didn't help the situation.

The Motorola V365 has a rated battery life of 3.45 hours of talk time and 8.8 days of standby time. Our tests showed a talk time of 3.33 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the V365 has a digital SAR rating of 1.51 watts per kilogram.


Motorola V365 - black (AT&T)

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 7