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Review GSM phone Motorola C380/v180

Motorola C380. Live pictures

Standard kit:

  • Handset
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • Manual

Our regular readers already know reviews of such phones as Motorola C650, v220 and they also know that these are the same models in various form-factors. This is also true for Motorola C380 and v180. Their functions are absolutely similar, and the only difference is the form-factor. The younger models in a product range differ from the elder ones only by the absence of a camera and a decreased memory size (from 2.5 Mb to 1.6 Mb). Even the results of the productivity tests (Jbenchmark 2.0) show the same thing. Technically C380 is the same as C350 but without a camera and surely not an updated C350, the differences between these models are great.

The design of С380 is sustained rather strictly; brown plastic and silvery buttons. You can see the dark matte plastic, which is translucent, on a back surface. The whole style of the phone can be compared with more expensive models, such as Nokia 6610i.

Taking into account that we are speaking about the low-end model we cannot expect it to have better design. But there is a small secret: panels of С380 and С650 are interchangeable, so you may establish the panel of the elder model on the younger one. Only a camera gap will become a disadvantage because it is not present in С380.

The phone is comfortable to hold, fingers lay well the on smooth plastic of the top part. The size of the phone is comfortable (103x44x20 mm), as well as its weight (91 grams). If you compress the phone in your hands, it will start to squeak, that is not surprising. But if you use it not extremely, you will not hear any sounds.

Let's turn to Motorola v180. The phone looks rather thick as well as the elder model. It is a typical clamshell in a silver color, its size is comfortable (83.5x44x22.2 mm), and its weight is also typical for the class (95 grams). The plus of this phone is a one-line external display (plus an icon bar), which shows numbers or names of callers. The backlight of the display is dark blue; the resolution is 96х32 pixels.

There are lateral volume control keys, pressing is easy (casual pressing is not present). These are the differences from С380, so we start speaking about these two models again.

The battery that is located under the back panel is Li-Ion, 600 mAh. According to the manufacturer it is capable of providing up to 200 hours in the stand by mode and up to 3 hours of talk time. In Moscow the phone worked for 3 days with 25 minutes of talks and about 40 minutes spent on other functions daily (organizer, games). With less time spent on phone's use its working time can be up to 4 days or even more. This is a pretty nice result for the phone with a color display. We failed to find out any longer working time, while a camera is absent, both models work for same time as the elder phones.

The resolution is 128x128 pixels (28x28 mm), it displays up to 65000 colors (STN). Considering that this is a low-end solution among other phones with a color screen, you should not expect much of it. But if to compare this model with Nokia you will see that the superb of Motorola C380 is clear, the colors are livelier, brighter. If you compare this display with Samsung, than we will notice pure and obvious defeat from the Koreans, including such phone as C100. But anyway, almost all models in this segment cost higher than C380, direct comparing is not correct.

The display shows up to four text lines, the font is large and visible. The screen turns very pale when it is at the sun. The only note is that in autumn and winter the screen will be seen better, the sun is not so bright during these seasons.

The keyboard is presented as one block; the keypad elements are stuck closely to each other. This does not rouse any problems; working with the keyboard is comfortable. A navigation key with the OK button centered in it is comfortable and this is another difference from С650. The disposition of a Menu button is a surprising feature; it is under the navi button. And now you do not have to move your finger far away to access the menu, this is convenient. On the whole the keypad's ergonomics is average; it is not very good or bad. The backlight's color is blue; the symbols in the first vertical row are darker. In various conditions the symbols are seen differently, they are often flown together when indoors.

As a standard option - mini-USB port is present. The phone can work with any standard cable, which is a certain advantage. The price of such a cable ranges from 4 to 5 dollars, or even less in any computer shop. Unfortunately the software should be got separately. You may get the full version of Mobile Phone Tools, by the way, but its price will be significantly higher.


Whenever you turn the phone ON you will be asked to personalize your mobile phone. Pressing Yes gives you redirect to a corresponding menu automatically, it is standard. Basically it is some kind of a craze, first steps to the control of the interfaces. If you like you can switch off the inquiry about adjustment when you switch the phone on, this choice is offered when loading.

Another interesting moment related to the interface is notification when the phone is turned off. For example, if an event comes up or an alarm clock starts working the phone turns on by itself automatically. At the same time you may refuse full turn on after viewing the event. This function is really well done despite the overall simplicity. It allows to forget about setting up various separate timers for the phone's turning on.

The menu is an exact copy of elder models; the phone took a lot from previous models as legacy. You can access the Main Menu by pressing the Menu key that is located under the screen right in the middle. The main menu is traditionally represented as 9 icons; each of them uses information bar for definitions. You can switch the appearance of the main menu to the list mode. Then everything will be represented as lists. Half of the submenus is represented as lists and half as icons (if you choose a corresponding menu appearance). A user may customize the order of the icons in the main menu (or the items in list view mode). The menu does not support fast number navigation, but you can setup shortcuts for almost every menu item or function. Two soft-keys can be bind to various actions as well, apart from the default ones. With such menu personalization flexibility the lack of the fast number navigation is not so noticeable.

In case you use two input languages for your SMS - you can choose the language from the special menu. But you can also setup which type of text input to use for every Language - predictive or not. An interesting solution that allows setting up your mobile even more customized. However, I would like to notice that the text input is related to the users and only a small amount of them use more than two languages.

Phone book. 500 entries can be stored in the main memory, however only one number can be assigned to each. You can switch the way the phone book's represented, in that case all identical entry names will be stored as one entry, this means that one entry can finally have more than one phone number, e-mail address etc. The only matter is the way of representation you have chosen. The plus is you can bind custom ring tones and pictures to every number (not entry) to be used in case of an incoming call. The phone book supports Contact Groups as well.

However I have noticed a small disadvantage - when you are deleting an entry from the phone book, you will have to delete each number assigned to it separately. It's impossible to delete them all at once.

Users' names or names with assigned images may be displayed in a general list that is very comfortable. Name sorting is possible in different ways (speed dialing number, name, e-mail address). The phone book reminds the one in Samsung phones (unlimited number of fields per a name, you can enter as much as you wish), on the other hand it has some obvious advantages and additional parameters (personal photo, ring tone). At the moment Motorola is the only manufacturer to offer such kind of a phone book, the others have certain limitations on one of the parameters (one photo for each name, and the lack of ability to bind it to separate numbers, the same goes for the ring tones).

A separate mass message function is present here; a user may edit subscription lists manually.

Messages. The first disappointment is that there is no additional memory for SMS; you can only use SIM-card memory. The company considered that MMS will become the future standard and they decided to head for it. However this phone does support EMS, but there is the very same SIM-card limit.

Working with MMS does not bring any inconvenience; everything is simple and understandable. Pictures or sound may be attached to a message. The ten predefined templates are really great, be sure to check them out

WAP. The phone has a WAP-browser v2.0 and its possibilities are standard, so, nothing special can be said. GPRS (class 10) is present, the settings are rather simple, just follow your operator's instructions and everything will be done in a matter of minutes. In the original phones, intended for the Russian market, there are settings of three basic operators for Moscow and three operators for Saint Petersburg. Having chosen them, you will not need any additional installations.

Office Tools. The whole set of applications is stored here; the simplest of them is a calculator. After you press the Menu button you will get access to the memory functions, as well as the unit converter.

Shortcuts are located in the same menu. You can create shortcuts not only for various menu sections, but for a definite wap-site as well.

Alarm clock. You can create several alarm clocks and choose a custom ring tone, name and volume, type of reoccurrence (daily, once) for each of them. This phone was designed for permanent use, that's why entering names and titles for the alarm clocks is required. This option seemed wicked at first, so I went on naming the alarm clocks with some random letters like A, G, J, R, M etc. I've ended up with a huge mess of alarm clocks, so I was forced to leave only one of them. Everything became clear and useful after sorting up the titles. My final list was the following: morning, weekday, weekend, training, interview for the radio. Of course it was possible to make the appointments in the organizer, but I do not really like marked squares in the calendar, seeing really important appointments and business that are not suitable for daily "To Do list" separately is much better. The alarm clocks are an ideal solution for these needs; they can be activated by one key press and will warn you about the appointment. You just have to set them up once. Someone can refuse by saying that the Alarm Clocks are rather routine and not really needed since most of the people use them only to get up in the morning. Well, it depends on a person but, as for me, I am really busy and sometimes it happens that I forget some important meetings, so a set of Alarm Clocks will save me theoretically.

Organizer. You can view it monthly or weekly with a breakdown for hours. You will see your appointments bind to a certain time of the day in the calendar in the stand by mode, it's convenient. Each entry can be provided with a name, start time, length (measured in hours, the minimal amount of time - 30 minutes). Warning can be set in advance. Each entry can be recurrent, this is a significant plus.

Games and applications. The phone supports Java; all applications that are stored in this section are created using this technology. Depending on the market on which this phone was bought, number of games and their titles will differ. In our sample we had such preinstalled games as Skipping Stones (logical game), and Hungry Fish (you must avoid big fish and eat small ones).

Whenever you are working with Java applications you will notice a proper icon - a coffee cup. There were no problems encountered during upload of new games, the installation went smoothly. The maximal size of Java application was 100 KB, the phone supports MIDP 2.0. And please don't write me e-mails with questions like "Where can I download JAVA games?" we have a Forum for that.

Multimedia. The phone supports themes. It is a set of wallpapers, color schemes for the menu, sounds and ring tone types. You can change the appearance of your phone almost instantly and this is really fun. New themes can be downloaded from Motorola's website.

MotoMixer – original sound file editor that allows mixing tracks. You can play with it from time to time; the results may come out rather unexpected and nice. However, as the practice shows, these sound editors are nothing more than a toy for most of the users.

Sounds - the information about all sound files located in the phone's memory is stored here. You can check out their size, info and even listen to them. The player is similar to other Motorola's phones; everything is clear and easy to understand.

Picutres - list of all images located in the phone's memory. There's a special icon near the file name. Each picture can be set as a wallpaper or a screensaver. Pictures can be sorted in categories; this will make browsing easier. A special editor is present as well, it allows putting frames, changing color scheme and using special effects. The most convenient part is that after mocking the picture it can be stored with a new name. This means that both the original and the new picture will be available for use. This may come handy in case you want to edit a photo, and not to ruin the original.

Settings. Here you can setup all Display settings including color schemes.

Ring tone type and notification mode (mixed mode, when the vibrating alert works at the same time with the present ring tone) is here as well.

I don't think there is any need to describe the network and security settings since they are all similar to any other phone.

The last thing I wanted to tell you about is the amount of available dynamic memory. On the whole there are about 1,6 MB of memory; about 1.4 MB of it is available at once. This should be enough for most built-in applications, plus there will be some space left for own pictures and other stuff.

Graphical sub-system performance

The JBenchmark v2 test was used for testing the graphical sub-system performance. As a result we have gained the following, which is similar to С650:

Overall score 56

  • Work with graphics 43
  • Text 184
  • Sprites 176
  • 3D transformations 5
  • User interface 76

On the whole the picture does not look so cloudless, the processor and considerably low amount of memory are affecting the performance, the phone works with graphics worse than such phones as Siemens C65 (98 points), Siemens CХ65 (87 points). For example the worse results in working with graphics belong to such phones as Siemens ST60Siemens ST60, Sagem myX-7. Let me remind you that Motorola C350 had a pretty weak processor as well, and it was not going well with the graphics either. It turns out that games are the weakest point of this phone; in all other applications low graphical performance is not noticeable.

While comparing this model with Siemens C60 (JBenchmark 1, 330 points), we see almost the triple advantage of Motorola C380 (921 point). So it turns out, that the model looks rather adequately in its class and it works fast.


The network reception quality is well. The volume of 24-tone polyphonic ring tone is loud enough; the phone can be heard even if it is in your pocket. This is a real improvement comparing to the very same С350. The vibrating alert is average in power and is not always felt. The phone has a good loudspeaker; it can be compared with best products by other manufacturers.

One of the advantages is the support of mp3 ring tones (mono, up to 96 KB stream). You should record small parts; otherwise the amount of free memory will disappear at once.

The model С380 will appear in the market in the end of August, simultaneously with Motorola v180 (one week later). The price of C380 will be about 130-135 USD while the clamshell will cost about 165-175 dollars. I cannot judge the fashion component of Motorola v180, the model seems to be much exaggerated. The real difference in their prices cannot exceed 10 or15 USD. Sure, there are not so many clamshells with similar functionality and price at this moment, and also the trademark deserves something, but as a whole the price of v180 is obviously overestimated.

As for С380 I can tell that it is a good choice for those who want to get the phone for calls and does not need a camera, but searches for polyphony and a color screen. An opportunity to set mp3 melodies as a call signal is rather interesting. С380 has very strong positions in its class; it does not have any direct competitors. You will see two competitors - Motorola C650 and Siemens C65 in the higher range of the prices. If to limit our money and to turn to a phone in a lower segment, so we will see Motorola C350, Siemens C60. Both models obviously have lower functionality.

Ring tone samples for Motorola C380/v180 (400 KB, mp3)

Eldar Murtazin ([email protected])
Translated by Maria Mitina ([email protected])

Published — 8 November 2004

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