posted by Eugenia Loli on Mon 8th May 2006 21:25 UTC was very kind to send us over a Symbian/UIQ 3G smartphone for the purposes of this article, the Motorola M1000 (currently $290). This specific model originally was only sold in Japan as a "world phone" since last July, meaning that it can work both in Japan and in the rest of the GSM world. We tested the operating system, its usability and the phone itself with the Cingular network in the Bay Area. Many screenshots and pictures included.

What you get:

The Motorola M1000 comes with a 32MB TransFlash card (microSD), a US AC/DC adapter, a USB data cable, a stylus, a 1600 mAh Li-ion battery, a desktop stand (cradle), a CD and a Japanese manual (english manual here). The phone runs the Symbian 7.0 OS and as its user interface on top you can find UIQ 2.1. There is 48 MB of internal storage (23 MBs available to the user), 32 MB DRAM (about 15 MBs of free RAM after a clean boot) and a 32bit 168 Mhz ARM9 CPU. The phone weighs 168gr and its dimensions are 117x59.5x21.5 mm (thiner than the HTC Wizard, but a bit taller and wider). The device sports a 2.9" 65k 208x320 TFT touchscreen, a 1.3 MP back camera (no flash) and a VGA front camera for video-calls. The phone supports 802.11b WiFi (unsecured, WEP, WPA, WPA-PSK, LEAP etc. networks are all supported), Bluetooth 1.1 (obex, HFP/HSP, serial profile support) and it operates at GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz and 2100 Mhz WCDMA.


The device feels pretty nice in the hand, it has a solid feel. However, the stylus could be better. It feels like an elephant sat on it or something, and so one of its sides is completely flat. It is not very nice using it for extendend periods of time, but it will get the job done.

Above the screen is a wrist strap hole and two buttons: one opens the menu of an open application and the second one is a "joker" button that each application can add its own special support for, for example, the included Opera 7.50 browser uses it to alternate between fullscreen and windowed mode. Especially for Japanese users these two buttons also have an alternative meaning when pressed and held: they activate/deactivate the "manner" and the "drive" mode. These are modes that the phone goes into automatically when the user is driving a car or when it's necessary to show good "manners" towards other people in the same room as the user (e.g. at the cinema, next to a person with a heart pacemaker, at a business meeting etc). The user can indicate how these modes should be carried out exactly (e.g. if there will be an active ringtone or not, if there will be a vibration or not, if there will be sounds when pressing the touchscreen or not etc).

click for a larger  view

Below the screen is a 5-way joystick that helps you navigate through lists, the "answer" button, the "hang up" button, and also an additional button below the joystick, the "Home" button, which loads the "Summary Screen" of the device. In that screen there is the month calendar displaying, the date and time, number of the emails, voicemails, SMS, upcoming appointments and active tasks. There are also 3 buttons that load the video, image and music playback applications.

On the left side of the device you will find the button that launches the camera application and a two-edged button that increases and decreases the volume. On the right side there is a "Voice Record" button and when used during a call it works as a "speakerphone ON". Below that there is a slider button that has 3 states: Hold, Phone ON, Phone OFF. We should note that the phone comes with extremely good stereo speakers, maybe the best ones I have heard on any phone. This is a good thing given the fact that (except for Bluetooth mono headsets) you won't be able to find and purchase DoCoMo-specific wired headsets outside of Japan -- the phone only accepts DoCoMo headsets. At the bottom of the device you will find the charging port which also doubles as a USB data exchange port. You can charge the device either by using its power adapter directly, or by placing it in its cradle. The cradle has a very funky design, so it might take a while to get used to it.

click for a larger  view

Phone functionality:

The phone application is pretty nice: it has large numbers, allowing you to type a number with your thumbs. You can select if you want to make a voice call or a video call. Unfortunately, I was not able to test the video call camera because I don't think Cingular supports WCDMA at 2100 Mhz (it works in Europe and Japan though). Another problem was the fact that the phone wouldn't get the information it expected from Cingular's towers regarding voicemail and so I couldn't check my voicemail. Thankfully though, the phone comes with a small utility that allows for speed dialing, so you can specify the voicemail number (you can get that number by directly calling your carrier and asking for it or by checking it out on a SonyEricsson phone's voicemail settings). The phone application also allows you to block some callers, enable/disable the Caller ID, and it has roaming and call forwarding settings. In the "History" window you will be able to see the Dialed, Missed and Answered calls. When making a call you are presented with the ability to Mute, put on Hold, enable the Speakerphone and lock the screen avoiding to accidentally pressing on it with your face against it. Finally, you can setup your own ringtomes, mp3 is supported.

The phone supports alternative ways of communicating such as email and SMS. On this business phone Motorola purposely removed MMS/EMS support unfortunately (which would make useful the sending of personal video messages of the user's face by using the front camera). At least, the email application is pretty good and even supports GMail and IMAP. However, there were a few discrepancies with HTML email not rendering at all. You can have multiple email accounts and you can apply filters on them.

The Contacts application is pretty good. It has lots of different default fields and even allows introducing your own fields! The only problem with the Contacts app is that there is no quick button search (e.g. click a button named "A-C" to find all contacts that their names start with A, B or C). To be more presice, there are such buttons, but only available for Japanese characters.

Regarding Bluetooth, the phone maxed out at about 30 KB/sec of transfer rate, while the GPRS connection was constantly between 7 and 10 KB/sec. Finally, the service line at the bottom of the screen shows up the time, Bluetooth and WiFi status, profile chooser, virtual keyboard launcher, network status (also allows to enable Flight mode) and the battery status (which unfortunately only has three readings: high, medium and low).

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