|Review of the Motorola V710|
The Motorola V710 is a fairly large phone from Telus PCS, especially compared to some of the other models they sell. However, it provides a really big screen to go along with its large size, and it isnít all that heavy. It weighs only 4 ounces, which doesnít exactly put it in the fly-weight category, but thatís markedly lighter than other phones of similar size.
The V710 is available on Telus PCS.
Last Updated: 25-Jan-2005
Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.
RF Sensitivity: Most Telus PCS phones that Iíve tested of late donít have pull-up antennas, and so their RF performance is constant. Others that have pull-up antennas havenít shown a marked difference in sensitivity between up and down. The V710 has a pull-up antenna too, but sadly the difference in performance between up and down is rather noticeable. With its antenna pulled up the RF sensitivity of the V710 is roughly on par with any of the other recent Telus PCS phones that Iíve rated highly in this regard. Unfortunately when the antenna is put down the performance drops dramatically.
Some of you might be tempted to say that itís not a problem, as youíll just extend the antenna whenever you use the phone. Yes, this will work, but it doesnít take into account the fact that the phone idles with its antenna down. Youíll miss incoming calls in areas where the signal is marginal, yet good enough to carry on a call, simply because while the phone sits there waiting for a call it wonít have particularly good RF sensitivity.
Over-the-road Performance: I found this aspect of the phone to be about average. Plenty of audio disturbances were noted, but it wasnít as bad as the Kyocera K494. By the same token, it wasnít nearly as good as the Nokia 3205i either. The disturbances were generally well muted, and may not bother those who arenít picky like me.
Click on this link for a full description of RF Performance, and how to interpret it.
Tonal Balance: This is one area where the V710 excels. Tonal balance is about as good as Iíve heard on any CDMA phone Iíve thus far tested. It wasnít overly bassy like the old Motorola V60c, and it wasnít the least bit tinny or hollow like many of the other phones presently sold by Telus PCS. Compared to the Kyocera K494, which also has really good tonal balance, Iíd picked the V710 by a slight margin.
Sound Reproduction: This aspect of the phone is also very good, which combined with the excellent tonal balance makes this model the best-sounding Telus PCS phone presently available (with the K494 coming in a close second).
Outgoing sound is also reasonable, but it doesnít quite stand up to the high standards set by the incoming audio. Just the same, your callers arenít going to have too much to complain about.
Earpiece Volume: This is another aspect of the phone that gets a solid AVERAGE mark. The volume of the earpiece is good, but hardly stellar. It should be adequate for most situations, but it hardly holds a candle to the K494 and its SmartSound feature.
Click on this link for a full description of Audio Performance, and how to interpret it.
Ringer Volume: Once again, about average. The ringer isnít exactly feeble, but it wonít blow your socks off either. With a properly-selected ringtone the ringer should be audible in all but the most extreme conditions.
Keypad Design: Iím not sure what to say about this. Overall the keys felt quite good, but the 6 key on my phone had a nasty habit of either not pressing or bouncing and entering the 6 twice. According to the gentleman I borrowed the phone from a bunch of other V710s in the store had the same problem with the 6 key. This might be the result of a bad batch, or it might be the result of a bad design. I canít be sure, but I recommend that you check this before you buy one.
The 6-key problem aside however, the keypad was quite nice. It was a mostly-traditionally layout (with a few odd key overlaps that didn't seem to matter), and the overall feel of the keys was good. The navigation keys werenít quite what they could have been, but even they werenít that bad overall.
Headset: I tried the V710 with my excellent Samsung earbud, but I encountered a strange problem that made using the phone with the earbud a huge pain-in-the-neck. For some reason the volume kept cycling slowly up and down, with no apparent relationship to the background noises or conditions. Ignoring the volume changes however, the overall sound quality was very good (just as it is through the native earpiece) and tonal balance was also top-notch.
Display: The V710 has a fairly large 176x220 pixel main color display that looks gorgeous. Itís usefulness in direct and in-direct sunlight however is a little disappointing, but this seems to be about par-for-the-course for many color phones these days. Once again the V710 pulls in an AVERAGE rating.
It also includes a 98x67 pixel external display, but this one suffers from the same readability problems in daylight. External color displays may be great for people looking for flash-over-function, but it seems to ignore the main purpose of having an external display in the first place, which is to let you see whoís calling before you open the flip. Indoors the display is great, but outdoors you are going to wish it had an old-fashioned monochrome LCD display.
Phonebook: Standard Motorola, which is to say rather limited. As Iíve said about virtually every Motorola phone Iíve tested in the last 2 to 3 years, the phonebook functionality, while competent, it light years behind the competition and is really in need of a makeover.
In some respects the V710 is a terrific phone, in that it has excellent audio qualities and very few major failings. On the other hand, it doesnít really excel at much other than sound quality. Its poor RF sensitivity with the antenna down, its average over-the-road performance, and average earpiece volume make it much more difficult to recommend to the discerning buyer. Whether itís suitable for you depends upon how much emphasis you put on the various aspects that Iíve tested. If sound quality is a big requirement, and youíre happy with keeping the antenna up all of the time, it might be one of the best Telus PCS phones to get right now.