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Motorola V635 review: Motorola V635



Motorola V635

The Good

Captures great videos and photos. Expandable TransFlash memory card slot. Quad-band \"world phone\". MP3 ringtones and player.

The Bad

Obtrusive external antenna. Can take accidental photos when in your pocket. Heavy and bulky.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola V635 is a user friendly phone with an excellent camera but its bulky shape and weight let it down.

When you first pick up the Motorola V635, it is rather heavy and bulky compared to many new phones on the market. When compared to Motorola's popular RAZR phone, which has most of the same features, the V635 is a relative brick and includes an obtrusive stub antenna.

However, the phone's stylish black and silver lines combined with a bright screen make it a pleasure to use -- if not carry.

The phone's keypad is easy to navigate and contains two soft keys that can be personalised to launch one of the phone's numerous applications. By default the soft keys launch the text message menu and the video camera, so we didn't feel the need to change them. In addition, it also contains a permanent button that launches the digital camera and another that launches the browser.

Just about the biggest annoyance with the V635's design is that the camera shortcut is located the side of the case and is activated even when the clamshell is closed. While this can be handy to take self-portraits, it also means at the end of an evening it is not unusual to have inadvertently taken ten or more pictures of the inside of your pocket.

The quad-band V635 comes with a 1.2-megapixel digital camera with an 8x digital zoom and a video camera. The Bluetooth connection allows easy transfer of images and video from the camera but once the phone has been used for a while accessing the memory can be slow. When testing the phone using an Apple PowerBook, we found that the computer timed out up to three times before eventually gaining access to the phone's memory card.

The V635 also includes an MP3 player, calendar, numerous games (including a very addictive golf game), a built-in 22KHz polyphonic speaker capable of playing MP3 and MIDI ringtones.

If all you want from your phone is to make and receive calls and text messages, then this handset probably isn't for you. However, if the camera quality of your phone is an important factor, then the V635's digital camera takes good pictures in the daytime. But be warned, like many other camera phones it produces very poor results in low light conditions. Even using the built in LED "flash", pictures are grainy and patchy. We found that the flash was more useful as a torch than an accessory for the camera.

By default the V635's camera functions are set on low resolution so the results were disappointing until manually changed. Also, when taking videos, the phone would only shoot ten seconds at a time and produce virtually unwatchable images. However, move to the highest settings and suddenly the phone produces video that can be watched on a reasonable sized window on a computer screen and is probably ideal if you have invested in one of the new video-capable iPods.

If you are going to use this phone for taking videos we recommend purchasing an external TransFlash memory card, which neatly slots into the side of the phone and is hidden behind a clever sliding panel. In addition to increasing the phone's 5MB of memory to 256MB (which was supplied in our review unit), it also allows the phone to shoot up to 30-60 seconds of video at a time.