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UTStarcom CDM-7075 (Verizon Wireless) review: UTStarcom CDM-7075 (Verizon Wireless)

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The Good The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 is an easy-to-use cell phone with an external screen and a simple VGA camera. Call quality is great.

The Bad The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 has a lackluster display and a nonintuitive menu interface.

The Bottom Line The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 is a decent entry-level camera phone for those who want a basic phone with a basic camera.

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7.0 Overall

At this year's CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, Florida, UTStarcom introduced a new entry-level handset to its lineup, dubbed the UTStarcom CDM-7075. It has since been rebranded as the Verizon Wireless CDM-7075, thanks to its partnership with Verizon Wireless, and it sports a navy-and-silver color scheme instead of the all-black version we saw in Orlando. Equipped with a VGA camera and not much else, the CDM-7075 is aimed specifically at those who just want a simple phone with a simple camera--and on that front, it certainly delivers. The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 is available for retail at $29.99, but you can get it at the unbeatable price of free with a two-year contract and an online discount. To find ringtones and accessories for this phone, plus advice and tips on how to use it, check out our cell phone ringtones, accessories, and help page.

The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 has a rather dull clamshell design, save for the navy border that adds quite a handsome touch to the phone. Otherwise, the phone's rectangular body is wrapped mostly in silver, and there's an extendable antenna on its upper-right shoulder. Though not terribly compact at 3.5 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches, it's still small enough to fit in a pocket or purse. It's a little heavier than some basic phones at 3.5 ounces, but it still won't weigh you down. There are slight curves around the edges of the phone, which leads to a comfortable fit in the hand as well as when held next to the ear.

The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 has a navy-and-silver design.
On the front of the CDM-7075 is a 1-inch diagonal external screen, which we really like to find on entry-level phones such as this. The screen displays date and time information, battery and signal strength, and caller ID. It won't display photo caller ID because of its monochrome LCD, but since it's a relatively basic phone, that sits just fine with us. You also won't be able to use the external screen as a self-portrait viewfinder, which is a little bit of a bummer since the camera lens sits just on top of the screen. In between the camera and the screen is a LED that glows whenever you snap a photo. A volume rocker and headset jack on the left spine and a dedicated camera key on the right side round out the phone's exterior.

Open up the phone and you'll find a lackluster 1.8-inch diagonal main display. As it only supports 65,000 colors, images seemed a little washed out and colors seemed quite flat. Also, we had trouble reading the screen when it was in bright daylight. You can adjust the screen's backlight time, the contrast, and the font size (normal or large). We weren't too pleased with the default Verizon menu interface, as the structure doesn't always make sense. For example, the photo gallery is buried in the Get It Now menu.

The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 has a camera lens above the external screen.
Underneath the screen is the navigation array, which includes two soft keys and a four-way toggle with a middle OK key. The toggle also works as a shortcut to the Web browser, the phone's Get It Now menu (where you can access new ringtones, pictures, games, and more), the phone's Get Pix menu (where you can access the camera), and a programmable shortcut key. There's also the Send key, the Clear key that also acts as a voice command key and the speakerphone key, and the End/Power key. Though slightly slippery, all the keys, including the alphanumeric dial pad, are raised sufficiently above the surface of the phone; plus they are well spaced, so it is easy to dial and navigate by feel. The keypad has a pleasant blue backlight when active.

As we mentioned earlier, the CDM-7075 is an entry-level camera phone with few fancy features. That said, it's still a pretty good phone to make calls with. The CDM-7075 comes with a decent-size 500-entry address book, with room in each entry for five numbers and two e-mail addresses. Each entry can also be assigned to a group, a picture for caller ID, and one of six polyphonic ringtones. Other features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, voice command and voice dialing support, a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a notepad, a calculator, and a stopwatch. There's also a built-in GPS that will enable the network to locate your position for E911 emergency services.

The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 takes pretty good pictures for a VGA camera.
The CDM-7075 only has a VGA camera but it does come with quite a few options. They include three resolution settings (640x480, 320x240, 160x120), a self-timer, brightness settings, white balance settings, three shutter sounds plus a silent option, color effect settings, and either a landscape or portrait capture mode. The resulting image quality of the photos was actually quite impressive for a VGA camera. Colors were sharp and images appeared nice and bright. The edges seemed a little blurrier than megapixel camera phones, but that's to be expected.

There are quite a few personalization options with the CDM-7075. You can download additional wallpaper, screensavers, ringtones, and more from Verizon's wireless Web browser. Though the phone doesn't come with any applications or games, you can always purchase them.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service. Call quality was actually pretty excellent, with callers reporting little to no static from our end and vice versa. Speakerphone quality was nice and loud as well, though voices tended to sound a tad tinnier when heard from the speakers.

The Verizon Wireless CDM-7075 has a rated talk time of 3.45 hours and a rated standby time of 6.75 days. We managed to get a talk time of 4 hours in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, it has a digital SAR rating of 1.29 watts per kilogram.

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