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Motorola V400 (unlocked) review: Motorola V400 (unlocked)

Motorola V400 (unlocked)

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
4 min read
Review summary
The Motorola V400 is a blend of two other popular models from the company: the decidedly hip V300 and the no-nonsense Motorola V600. The result, however, is a somewhat curious mix. The handset's world-roaming capability, integrated VGA camera, speakerphone, and rich color screen are enough to please serious cell shoppers, but its style is a bit ho-hum, especially when compared to that of its hipper siblings. Measuring 3.5 by 1.9 by 1.0 inches and weighing 4.3 ounces, the Motorola V400 is the same size as the V300. Yet instead of sporting the V300's rubbery blue cover, the V400 is finished in basic cell phone silver. Though some users might favor this more subdued look, the plain cover isn't removable, and the overall design is more serious than stylish. Nevertheless, the handset enjoys solid construction and is comfortable to hold while you're talking.
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As it's on the heftier side, the V400 will fit only bigger pockets.

Like the V300, the V400 has a small camera lens and a miniature mirror (for self-portraits) above a two-line, blue-backlit external display that shows the date, the time, network strength, battery life, and caller ID (where available). Adorning the phone's left side are two buttons that navigate the menus, adjust the volume, and change the ring style. Though it's not marked as such, the lower button launches the camera app and acts as a shutter button when the phone is in camera mode. On the right side of the mobile is a key for activating voice dialing and making voice recordings.
Inside the handset is an eight-line, 65,536-color display. The spacious (two inches diagonal) screen's clear, crisp resolution makes it visible in all lighting conditions. Navigation consists of two soft keys, a four-way toggle with an OK button in its center, and the Talk and End buttons. Additionally, as on most Motorola mobiles, the center key provides one-touch access to the user-friendly menus, while the four-way toggle and the soft keys give you single-click access to other applications. The keypad buttons resemble the look and comfortable feel of those on the V600, and they're a huge improvement over the V300's tiny buttons. Raised just above the surface and of sufficient size, the keys make misdials rare.
The Motorola V400's features mirror those found on the V300. Frequent talkers will appreciate the 1,000-entry phone book, and there's room for an additional 250 names on the SIM card. The handset also comes with an alarm clock, a voice recorder, a calculator, a date book, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging (MMS), AOL instant messaging, two Java (J2ME) games (Prince of Persia and Bejewled), and WAP 2.0 Wireless Web access via Cingular's high-speed GPRS network. One quibble: You can't turn on the speakerphone until you actually place a call. Additionally, the mobile doesn't have some of the higher-end features found on the Motorola V600, such as Bluetooth and video playback.
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See me: Use the mirror next to the camera lens for a self-portrait.

Also included are 21 polyphonic (24-chord) ring tones, 4 MP3 tones, a vibrate mode, and a MotoMixer application for composing your own sounds. You can designate ring tones and pictures for specific callers, and you can personalize the V400 further with various wallpapers, themes, colors, screensavers, and menu styles.
As few as two clicks are needed to operate the V400's integrated VGA camera. When taking photos, you can choose between three picture resolutions (160x120, 320x240, and 640x480 pixels), five lighting tones, five exposure settings, and six shutter sounds, including a silent option. You'll also find a self-timer, a 4X zoom, and 5MB of shared memory for storing images. A convenient meter in the Photo Viewfinder mode displays free memory.

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We like the V400's image quality.

You can purchase Motorola's Mobile Tools software ($60 with USB cable), which allows you to sync Outlook contacts and calendars on your handset. When we tried this feature, syncing seemed easy, but we noticed that the handset's calendar didn't support all the fields (such as Notes and Location) we used in our version of Outlook. We remedied this by combining location details in the subject area in Outlook on our computer, then syncing, but this isn't an ideal solution. We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Motorola V400 world phone in San Francisco. Call quality generally was good, comparing favorably with that of the triband Motorola V300, and callers said we sounded fine as well. Speakerphone sound was excellent, and the MP3 and polyphonic tones were clear and rich.
Battery life was good, though it could have been better. We achieved 2.75 hours of talk time in our tests, falling short of the promised 3.5 hours. The phone performed better on standby, however. We managed 10.5 days, surpassing the rated 9 days.

Motorola V400 (unlocked)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 8