CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Motorola V710 (Alltel Wireless) review: Motorola V710 (Alltel Wireless)

Motorola V710 (Alltel Wireless)

Kent German
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).
6 min read
While Bluetooth has made extensive inroads into the GSM cell phone world, the CDMA camp has been less eager to embrace it. So when we heard about the Motorola V710--Verizon's first Bluetooth phone--we were anxious to get one in our hands. Sadly, our initial euphoria quickly faded once it arrived. While the V710 has excellent sound quality, its Bluetooth capabilities are severely limited. Similarly, while we were excited by the prospect of an expandable memory slot, a 1.2-megapixel camera, and an MP3 player, the player and the card slot were not well integrated, the photo quality was average, and the handset's standby battery life was below par. Add in the V710's $319 price tag (without a service agreement), and you get a second-rate mobile that will disappoint beginner and experienced users alike. In the case of the Motorola V710, size comes as a trade-off. While the mobile is by no means small (3.7 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches; 4.5 ounces) and fits only in larger pockets, you're assured of a solid construction and a flip cover that opens and shuts with authority. Styled in an attractive black and silver, it's also comfortable to hold while you're talking, and the prominent front-facing camera lens is well placed for taking photos. The V710's 4,096-color external screen shows the date, the time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID (where available). Generously sized, the external screen also functions as a viewfinder for the camera when taking self-portraits, and it shows clear but tiny pictures for photo caller ID. We did have some complaints though. The display goes completely dark when the backlighting is off, a setting that you can't adjust. Also, you can't change the blue and white wallpaper.


Motorola V710 (Alltel Wireless)

The Good

Internal and external high-resolution color screens; analog roaming; decent speakerphone; expandable memory.

The Bad

Limited Bluetooth and MP3 player functionality; inadequate e-mail support; somewhat hefty; low standby battery life; poor picture quality.

The Bottom Line

Though the Motorola V710 comes packed with high-end features, their integration and performance is far from satisfactory.
"="" --="">/sc/30980661-2-300-DT1.gif" width="300" height="225" alt="" />
Big stuff: The V710 is far from compact.

The V710's left spine has a volume rocker and a dedicated button that activates the speakerphone--a particularly nice touch since you can turn it on before making a call. On the right spine, you'll notice a camera button and a key for activating voice commands. While we found the buttons useful, they were tiny and hard to activate by feel alone. We also had some trouble with the TransFlash card slot, located on top of the phone; you must have nimble fingers to insert a card since it's so deeply recessed in the case.

"="" --="">/sc/30980661-2-300-DT3.gif" width="300" height="225" alt="" />
Add on: Use the V710's memory slot to add more storage.

Open the handset and you're immediately drawn to the outstanding display. It supports a vibrant 262,000 colors and measures a whopping 2.25 inches diagonally. As is the case with most LCD screens, it's difficult to see in direct sunlight, but it's sufficiently bright for dim situations. It's also great for displaying photos and the phone's animated menus. For such a large screen, though, the text size is quite small. A useful, though somewhat diminutive, five-way toggle gives one-touch access to messaging, the Web browser, Verizon's Get It Now service, and a list of user-defined shortcuts. There are also a dedicated camera button and two soft keys, which can be set to access various features. A Clear button is also present, but it didn't function in some menus, so we were forced to use the Call End button.

The keypad buttons on the V710 are amply spaced and are lit by a bright backlight. The middle row of keys is a bit smaller than those on either side, but they are still large enough for big fingers. Still, we aren't completely pleased with its design. Covered in a slippery plastic material, the keys aren't terribly tactile, and it's difficult to dial by feel.

Criticisms aside, basic features on the Motorola V710 were satisfactory. You get a 500-name contact book with room for six numbers and an e-mail address in each entry. Callers also can be assigned to groups or paired with a picture or any of 8 monophonic or 18 polyphonic (64-chord) ring tones. Other features include a vibrate mode, text- and multimedia messaging, a calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, voice memos, a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, and voice dialing. The speakerphone is easy to use, but it will not function when the flip is closed.

Data features, on the other hand, were beyond frustrating and completely undermine the V710's appeal. Though Bluetooth may be the handset's star attraction, its integration and limited usefulness left us wondering why it was included at all. You can use it to connect with a Bluetooth headset but not to sync with a PC or to transfer pictures, MP3s, your contacts, or any applications. And since there's no infrared port, you're left either paying for Verizon's Get It Now service or using Motorola's Mobile Office Kit (available from Verizon for $39.99) or a TransFlash card ($30 to $40). Verizon said it limited the Bluetooth functionality to protect security agreements with its Get It Now partners. It promises a software upgrade in the future but only for address book syncing.

These Bluetooth restrictions are a marked change from other Motorola Bluetooth phones, such as the GSM V600, where data transfer is possible without paying a fee to the carrier. Plus, even if you buy the Mobile Office Kit, you must use a USB cable, which defeats the purpose of a wireless connection. E-mail support also is inadequate. You can access Hotmail and AOL POP3 accounts via the browser (again, for a fee), but you must download Verizon's SodaPop application from Get It Now for access to an SMTP or IMAP4 account.

If our disappointment with the V710's Bluetooth implementation wasn't enough, the MP3 player had problems as well. While you can play MP3s that are on a TransFlash card, at present, you can't download them to the handset itself. Verizon says it's working to fix the problem, but until then, you're out of luck. Also, you can't use MP3s as ring tones unless you download them from Get It Now to the handset. Be careful, though--the V710 has 10MB of memory. That's not a generous amount for a phone with so many features; if you plan on saving lots of data, you'll need to purchase a TransFlash memory card. They top out at 128MB though, and you'll likely need an adapter as the tiny SD cards will not fit in most devices.

"="" --="">/sc/30980661-2-300-DT2.gif" width="300" height="225" alt="" />
Large lens: The V710 camera's megalens sits just above the megadisplay.

The V710 does somewhat better with its integrated camera. Armed with a CMOS lens and 1.2 megapixels, it can take pictures in four resolutions: 1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120. The 4X zoom can be used at all resolutions, and you're also free to adjust the brightness setting. The phone also has a self-timer that can be set for 5 or 10 seconds. In addition, you get a choice of four color tones, six light settings, and five shutter sounds (there's also a silent option). As with the V600, a convenient meter helps keep track of how much photo-memory space is left. Photo quality, however, fell short of what we'd expect for a 1.2-megapixel camera. Colors were washed out and edges were fuzzy. Fortunately, video quality was a bit better. The recorder shoots 15-second video clips with sound and has adjustable lighting choices. When you're done, both photos and clips can be saved to the phone, stored as wallpaper, saved to contacts, or easily sent via a multimedia message. Alternatively, snaps can be send to Verizon's PixPlace online album for 25 cents each.

"="" --="">/sc/30980661-2-300-SS1.gif" width="300" height="225" alt="" />
Bad shot: Photo quality on the V710 was hardly better than that of a VGA phone.

You can personalize the V710 with a large variety of wallpaper, color schemes, and sounds. You can also pick a screensaver, though we couldn't get them to show properly. More selections are available for download from Get It Now (fees vary), where you can also get more ring tones and BREW 2.0-enabled games--no titles are included with the handset. Creative types will welcome the embedded MotoMixer application to mix their own ring tone melodies.

We tested the triband (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Motorola V710 in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service. Calls were exceptionally clear on both the handset and the speakerphone, and callers said they could rarely tell we were using a cell phone. Volume on the mobile, however, was quite low, so those with hearing impairments should take note. In noisy situations, we were forced to use the speakerphone, which was much louder. We had no problem connecting to a Motorola Bluetooth HS810 headset or a Plantronics mobile Bluetooth headset, and while calls were slightly fuzzy, it wasn't terribly distracting.

Battery life is a mixed bag. We beat the rated talk time of 3 hours by an extra half an hour, but be warned: excessive Bluetooth use drained power more quickly. Standby battery life was meager. We barely managed 4 days, almost 3 days short of the rated 6.8 days. According to the FCC, the V710 has a digital SAR rating of 1.4 watts per kilogram.


Motorola V710 (Alltel Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 7
Shopping laptop image
Get the best price on everything
Shop your favorite products and we’ll find the best deal with a single click. Designed to make shopping easier.
Add CNET Shopping