My Impressions of the Motorola V2282
  The following review covers the Motorola V2282 phone offered by Fido.

Last Updated: 09-Mar-2001

Word of Warning: Many newer reviews make reference to older reviews, and this sometimes creates apparent inconsistencies in the overall assessments of various models. Reviews are relative by nature, and so what seemed like a great phone a year, may seem only mediocre now because other phones have "raised the bar" so to speak. If you find that I'm being negative about a phone, while saying it's about the same as a phone I once gave positive reviews to, this a perfect example.

The Motorola V2282 is a low-end GSM phone offered by Fido. Although youíll see an IS-136 version on Rogers, and a CDMA version on Bell Mobility, those phones donít share quite as many features as you might think (except for the outside appearance). Donít use this review as a means to gauge the quality or functionality of those other versions.

General Features

The V2282 has two unique features that are not shared by any other phones sold by Fido. The first is a built-in FM radio, while the second is the ability to surf the wireless Internet by means of a Phone.com micro browser. Iíll discuss both of these features in greater detail further along in the article.

In terms of size and weight, it is almost identical to the Nokia 5190/6190 and the Mitsubishi G310. Like the G310, it has much rounder contours than Nokia phones, which tend to be a bit blocky by comparison. However, the Motorola phone takes the swoopy curves to a slightly higher level than the Mitsubishi.

The phone features a fairly large high-resolution pixel display, which as become more or less a defacto standard on most modern cell phones. The fonts are fairly handsome, but they are all rather skinny and small. Youíd better have excellent eyesight if you hope to see the information on this screen at a quick glance. Most other phone models are far more legible than this one.

Motorola also gets carried away with icons. When reading text messages, an annoying icon takes up about 40% of the screen real estate, thus leaving only a skinny column of 5 lines on the right of the display for presenting your message. It would have been much better to dedicate the entire screen to the SMS, and thus allow you to see more text at once.

The menu system on the V2282 is very similar that of the L7089, and it includes Motorolaís unique customizable menu items. It was just as well it had that feature though, since the V2282 is practically devoid of shortcuts. The main menu system seems to have numeric shortcuts, but they donít work consistently, and phone does not give you any idea of what number applies to what menu (as do Nokia phones).

Although I found the user interface to be workable, I wasnít too pleased with it overall. It lacks distinct TALK and END buttons, and as such you have to hope that the all-purpose OK button is doing what you thought it was. This isnít much different from any of the other phones that implement the same basic idea, such as the Nokia 5190, the Nokia 3390, and many other Motorola models. I just think that Motorolaís implementation is worse than Nokiaís.

Three AAA-sized NiMH batteries provide 700 mAh of capacity. That gives the phone reasonable talk and standby times, but itís nothing spectacular. Itís certainly a whole lot better than the Nokia 3390. This isnít the first time Motorola has used discrete tubular-shaped cells for its phone batteries, and I donít believe they represent much of a hardship for the average user. However, if you plan to change the SIM quite a bit, they can be a bit of a pest.

The FM radio is perhaps a novelty feature for some, but to people who usually carry a separate FM radio with them during the day, the concept is actually quite sound. And speaking of sound, the quality and volume of the FM radio is actually very good. The receiver itself isnít really stellar, but it pulls in most local signals quite well, and it seems to be reasonably immune to multipath. I wasnít able to test how much the radio impacted on battery life.

I found it annoying that I could not directly enter a frequency, such as 102.1. Like most car radios however, I was forced to step through the frequencies in 0.1 MHz increments. Unlike a car radio, the buttons do not automatically repeat when held down. Once you find the radio stations you like however, you can store them in 9 preset locations by pressing and holding keys 1 through 9. To return to a preset, you just press the appropriate number key momentarily.

The Phone.com micro browser works fairly well, and it doesnít seem to be all that different from the ones available on Bell Mobility and Clearnet phones. Surfing the web in this way is still basically a novelty, since there is very little useful information available in a form that is compatible with the tiny phone screens.

Also beware that you are using up airtime as long as you are connected (whether you are typing, reading, or just doing nothing). Unlimited weekends and weekday/weekends packages do not allow unlimited surfing. Airtime is always taken from your bucket of minutes, no matter which plan you have. This may change in the future, so if you read this review long after its last update, check with Fido for full details.

As far as features are concerned though, this is still a basic phone. It doesnít include a clock or calendar, and it doesnít come with any games, a scheduler, or fancy messaging features. Its primary mission in life is to be a phone that also doubles as an FM radio. 

Performance

Incoming sound quality is actually quite good on the V2282, and it sounds almost as good as the Mitsubishi G310 except for two annoying glitches. First of all, the maximum volume of this phone is pitiful. If you are in a quiet environment, or talking with a ďloudĒ source, then it works fairly well. However, in noisy environments, or when talking with a ďfaintĒ source, it can be very difficult to hear. Secondly, it suffers from a rather annoying level of transmitter buzz. The G310 and 3390 seem immune this, and Ericsson T18z is affected to a much lesser degree.

As far as volume is concerned, that brings us to yet another annoying feature. The volume of the earpiece and the volume the keypad are one-and-the-same. If you turn down the volume of the keys, you also turn down the volume of the earpiece. The only remedy to this is to turn the keypad beeps off completely (which is what I did). I have never tested a phone before that didnít allow the keypad volume and the earpiece volume to be set separately.

Outgoing sound quality is excellent, so long as there isnít much background noise. Like the Motorola L7089, this phone has a perplexing ability to make background noises sound louder than other phones. It is particularly noticeable if you talk with someone from a car on the highway. The nosier the car, the worse it gets. In quiet environments though, this phone sound gorgeous to your callers.

The ringer volume is reasonable, and you have a choice of a few different ring tones. However, you cannot compose your own ringtones, nor can you download ringtones from a 3rd party. What the phone provides is what you get. However, this is pretty much the case on most phone models except for Nokia and Ericsson.

The phone handles those annoying handoffs better than most, but it's overall sensitivity isn't quite what I expected. The T18z is definitely better in this regard. During testing inside the depths of Square One, I found places where the T18z could easily find a signal, and receive calls (even with its antenna down), while the V2282 struggled to maintain service. The T18z is still king of RF performance as far as Fido phones are concerned.

Summary

Iím really not sure what to think of this phone. If it had better earpiece volume, and less transmitter buzz, it would be a marvelous alternative to the G310 as the phone-of-choice for people who value sound quality above all else. As it stands, the only things the phone really has going for it are: a cheap price, an FM radio, and a WAP browser. If any of those advantages are important to you, then the V2282 might be a good choice.

However, I would strongly recommend that you avoid the V2282 if you demand strong earpiece volume, little or no transmitter buzz, or a more logical user interface. Itís too bad I canít recommend the phone on the strength of its RF performance alone, but in all honestly, I donít think I can.

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