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Review Motorola C350
Many manufacturers decided to create entry-level handsets on the base of more expensive phones, just cutting some of their features. On the contrast, other companies add to existed platforms new capabilities and receive more advanced phones. The new phone from Motorola can be an example of the second way.
Motorola C350 is a successor of C33x series, it is based on the same platform. An Asiatic version of this model is called C370. These models differ only in available languages. Dimensions of the phone are 98 x 42 x 18 mm and the weight is 80 grams, what allows to wear the phone in the pocket of jeans. A standard available color is silver, but you can purchase the covers of another color. It’s pleasant that all covers from C33x are suitable for C350. These covers enable not only to change the color of the phone, but its design as well, even the shape of keypad. These covers can be easily found on the shelves of shops now.
The main difference of C350 from its predecessors is a color STN-screen, which displays up to 4096 colors. It is similar to the screen of Motorola T720 in response of color rendering. This display has lesser size and resolution (96x65 pixels), it contains only 3 text lines, tips to the soft-keys use and service line with icons. The information is clearly visible in artificial lighting conditions, but it is not readable in sunny day. Comparasion of this screen with the displays of other manufacturers shows that it is better than the similar screen from Sony Ericsson or Panasonic if to say about brightness and colors vividness, but it loses to phones from Nokia.
The keypad of the phone is made of plastic. All alphanumerical keys are ribbed. They are very convenient and easily pressed. On the contrast, navigation keys and soft-keys are not so comfortable. Menu-key, which is situated in the navigation key, is not handy; a scroll-up key is desired to press instead of Menu-key, as a respective indicator is placed above this key in the stand-by mode. Two rows of characters are drawn on the keys in the Russian version of keypad (Cyrillic and Latin). The keypad has a white backlighting, all characters are easily seen in artificial lighting conditions, they are not coherent by the bright light.
Mini-USB slot is placed in the bottom of the phone, it can be used to synchronize data with PC or as a high-speed GPRS modem. Cable and software are not included in the standard delivery kit. Near this slot one can find a charger connector and portable handsfree connector.
Let’s remove a rear part of the phone and we’ll see the second main difference from C33x-series. This phone has a lithium-ion battery of 650 mAh capacity, which also can be easily removed. According to manufacturers, this battery provides up to 180 hours of stand-by time and up to 3.5 hours of talking time. In reality the phone worked about 2 days in case of 15-20 minutes of talking. We left the phone to work only in stand-by mode and it had about 3 and half days of stand-by time. A power consumptin increases greatly when the phone is active and its operating time reduces. We think that a typical user of this phone will have approximately 2 days of work without re-charging. A time of re-charging is more than 2 hours.
SIM-card holder is positioned under the battery in this phone. To remove a Sim-card it is necessary just to move a slidebar. It’s very simple solution.
The main menu structure of C350 is typical to all last phones from Motorola. It is a circle of icons with tips. Shortcut number navigation is not available. But there is MyMenu function, which can substitute this feature. You can create a shortcut for each menu item and then you need only two pressures to reach a desired menu item. The features of this model are similar to C33x, so, below you’ll find several quotations from the respective review.
Phonebook. Up to 100 phone numbers can be added to phone memory. Several phone numbers can be added to one contact, but the total quantity of phone numbers can't be more than 100. Phone numbers from both SIM-card and phone memory are displayed in the list. All names, which have several records, are displayed several times and an icon of the phone number type is displayed near each number. You can also add e-mail addresses to your phonebook and divide all records to the caller groups. Besides, you can associate a special ringing tone and icon, which is displayed while incoming call, to each name. Also it's possible to add up to 25 voice tags to phone numbers. Voice recognition works correctly.
Messages. Up to 20 SMS-messages can be stored in the phone memory. SMS chat feature is available. You can also create templates. The phone supports EMS, so, there are pictures and melodies, which can be used while creating SMS message. We need 4 seconds to open a message. Experiments with other SIM-cards showed that this time was almost the same for all of them. We think that a limitation is time of picture drawining, not time of information read-out.
The other problem, which was in our phone, was a not correct indication of new message. After you received and read a message, you still see a blinking envelop on the screen. Only when you delete it, this indicator is disappeared. But in the messages list an open envelop is placed near each message, what means that all messages have been already read. Representatives of Motorola state that they will correct this mistake.
Media Centre. You should use this item to preview images, animated pictures and melodies. MotoMixer - a musical composer, is also located here. It helps to compose own ringing tones. Totally, there are 35 pre-installed melodies and space for 32 other melodies. New function which is appeared in this model is themes. Now you can change wallpapers and screen savers on your screen.
Chat. SMS-chat is located in this menu. We are not sure that it was necessary to create a speciaa menu item in the main menu for this feature, because it is not often used.
Voice dialing. It is also a special menu item in the menu. It’s not very convenient that this item is not located in the phonebook menu. Up to 20 voice tags can be added to phone numbers from the phonebook. It’s pleasant that you can view all names, which are assigned to voice dialing in one list.
Settings. As always you can find security and wap-browser settings. Besides, you can select a menu language and a backlighting duration, change a wallpaper (animated or static). You can also set time, which shows in how many minutes selected wallpaper will be displayed. Firstly, a backlighting is switched on to view an image on the screen.
Office tools. Up to 500 phone numbers can be stored in the phone memory. Alram-clocks are absent, organizer records can substitute them. There is an autodelete function of old records, a possibility to create a reminder and even recurrent event. Calendar is almost absent. You can see one week on the screen. Standard calculator is also located here.
Ring Styles. A user can find all settings connected with rings here, nothing special.
Recent calls. This menu item is highlighted when you enter a menu. You can view 10 last dialed calls and 20 received and missed calls there. It’s interesting that when you press a send key in the stand-by mode, you can see only a list of dialed numbers. To view a list of missed calls you should enter the menu (3 operations or 2 ones if you add this item to MyMenu). It’s not convininet that you can view an information about missed calls only once, then they are indicated as received calls.
Here you can also view information about calls duration and received and transmitted data (bytes, minutes).
Quick Dial. You can assign phone numbers to the speed dial keys.
Fixed Dial. The same as Quick dial, but only 3 phone numbers can be assigned to it.
Web Sessions. All settings for WAP via CSD or GPRS are placed here.
Browser. The phone has a standard wap-browser in versionn 2.0.
Web Access. It is a dubbed access to Wap-browser, also one can view history, favourites and saved pages here.
Games. There are 3 Java-games here. One of them is the same as in T720 (MotoGP). It’s not so pleasant to play because of the worse display but you can waste time playing it. Astrosmash – a space arcade. Snood21 is a card game.
In response of reception quality it’s a typical phone from Motorola. A polyphonic ringer is louder than the ringer of C33x. Now it is well-heard. Due to another phone case, vibrating alert became very weak. So, you can rely only on the ringer of your phone. But, taking into account that the phone has 16-tones polyphony, an increased ringer volume doesn’t always help in noisy places. A volume of the loudspeaker is quite sufficient.
Main menu of this phone is too long. It’s difficult to navigate between 16 menu items. Some of them, for example, Browser, Web Access, Web Sessions can be united in one. Similar situation is with other menu items, for example, majority of users don’t use fixed dial very often. MyMenu solves some problems, but not all, unfortunately. Generally speaking, the company decided to change their main principles, but new ones are not established yet.
Using of the same platform as C33x has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, color screen causes an increasing processor load and as a result keys do not response well to commands. Many operations are rather slow done; processing power is not enough.
In response of operating time, C350 is an average phone. Two days of work is a minimal autonomy for the phone of this class. Now some words about the future of this phone.
Motorola C350 is the first phone in the new model line of the company (c33x and c300 are models of the year 2002). First sales begin in Russia (20 February, according to an official information). In Europe this phone will be available 2-3 weeks later. The first price of the phone is about 170 USD. It is the cheapest phone of the middle class. So, price is the strongest reason of the future successful sales. The phone loses by other features, but it wins in the terns of price. Most likely, this situation won’t change till September and Motorola C350 will remain the cheapest GSM-phone with a color screen. Probably, in summer it would cost less than 120 USD.
Published 21 February 2003
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