Saudi Arabia, FYI is a country where rape victims get punished for being raped.
After almost 4 years of flawless performance, my Motorola T190 finally stopped working last month. So I began my search for a suitable replacement. I was essentially looking for a handset, which could operate in a GSM network, which had all the basic features along with some that I would find useful in my daily life. After doing a bit of searching around, I finally zeroed in on Motorola W180 as the replacement. Having spent around a month playing with it, I finally brought myself to write down a few words about it.
Having labelled it ’Motoyuva’ in
The packaging is simple and functional. The package comes with small booklet of 36 pages as the instruction manual. Compare this with the around 70 pages booklet that came with my T190, it may seem strange. But then you must also consider who this handset is being targeted at – a modern, tech-savvy young individual, who prefers learning through exploration rather than being handed out pre-digested information. So in light of this fact, the booklet seems to adequately inform the user of the handset. The package also contains a handset charger and a headphone + microphone. They have also provided a sponge ear pad for the headphones; something that is quite thoughtful and necessary.
The W180 is a candy bar shaped phone with an all plastic body. It is currently available in only one colour – black, which, I think, looks quite sleek and elegant. Instead of providing keypad made of a different material, the keypad is etched on the plastic surface of the front panel itself, a poor imitation of MotoRazr’s keypad, though on first appearance it does not look too bad. In my opinion it is also a cost cutting measure, since they could totally eliminate the cost of providing a more conventional keypad, which would have increased their production cost in this case. Another cost cutting measure has been the back panel from where one may access the SIM card and battery. Instead of the conventional spring-loaded locking system, the T180’s back panel’s locking system is more reminiscent of the panel covering the battery chamber of a Television’s remote control.
Motorola is marketing the handset, laying special emphasis on the handset’s music features. This is essentially provided through the handset’s ability to tune into the area’s FM radio station. Up to 9 stations can be preset on the handset, with the ability to name the respective stations. The handset comes with speakerphone features and the radio can also be heard through this speaker. However for some strange reason, you need to keep the headphone plugged into the socket even if you are listening to the music over the handset’s speaker. The handset comes with an alarm feature, which students would find quite useful. Another useful feature is the ability to use the handset as a stopwatch, something that students of Science and Engineering will find especially useful while conducting their experiments during practical. The handset also contains a calendar, in which you may input tasks or event for a particular date – sort of a handy planner. The handset also has a vibrator mode. The handset comes preloaded with 35 polyphonic ringtones, though there is no provision to add additional ringtones currently available. The handset has a mini-USB slot, though they haven’t provided a cable for the same. The handset is to be charged through the mini-USB slot. According to Motorola’s website, the mini USB slot, apart from charging, may also be used for flexing, i.e., upgrading the firmware, if any is released by the company. The handset also comes pre-loaded with 3 games. Apart from these, it contains the other standard features like a calculator, 500 phonebook entry capacities and 700 SMS capacity. One can also send SMSes in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil and Telugu (a feature that would be found only on the handsets being shipped to
The handset incorporates in it the CrystalTalk™ technology, which it claims improves the clarity of the sound heard.
The absence of a more conventional, slightly elevated keypad reduces the tactile feel of the pads. It works well in a higher-end phone like the Razr, which has metallic keypads. But in the T180, the keypad etched on the plastic panel tends to hamper the typing ability of an individual (read SMSing). This is a major drawback, since an average Indian youth sends out a lot more SMS in a day than make voice calls. However, with time, as I have found out, one would be able to master the art of using this keypad. Still, a more conventional keypad would have definitely appealed to more prospective buyers. The sound clarity and volume is both quite exceptional, especially the sound from the speakers, which is quite loud. The sound from the headphone is also good and quite loud, which can be controlled through the volume control. The colour display of the handset has around 170-172 degrees of viewing angle in indoor conditions. However this takes a hit when taken outdoor where besides the viewing angle, even the normal readability of the display becomes a bit difficult. The hands-free feature also works quite welll. Even while I was standing on a busy road, the person who I was talking to was able to hear me quite clearly. The plastic panel of the handset is a smudge magnet, with my fingerprint covering it all over in no time. The interface seems adequately fast, although sometimes it appears not to respond to the press of a button, something that could be because the key may not have been pressed properly – fallout of the plastic-etched keypad used by Motorola. The one touch button used to invoke the Radio is a convenient feature.
The handset is powered by a 950mAH Lithium-ion battery. The handset needs to be recharged every two days, which, considering the fact that the radio is run continuously for two hours everyday, while I go for my evening run and have an average talk time of 30 minutes a day and send 6-7 SMS-es, speaks quite well of the battery’s performance. The construction and locking mechanism of the back panel does not invoke much confidence in the event of it falling from some height. One has to be careful not to drop it. In the vibrator mode, having experienced the bone tingling vibrating of my T190, I expected the handset to vibrate more to notify me of any incoming call or message. However that is a minor matter that can be easily overlooked without any adverse effect (my friends who used the handset did not find the vibration any bit less than their own handset’s and were every bit satisfied)
In due course of time I expect some unofficial applications (read hacks) to be developed for the handset which would enhance the W180’s functionality, which can be transferred through the mini-USB slot provided.
The Motorola W180 is priced at Rs. 1900, though I was able to purchase it for Rs. 1700 at a Subhiksha store.
Nifty Tools – Alarm, Stopwatch, Calendar
Inability to listen to the radio without plugging the headphone, even while listening to it over the speakers
Back panel covering the battery and SIM card
Absence of mini-USB cable in the package
Considering the price, I must say that Motorola has come up with a snazzy looking handset with credible performance and some useful featuresthe, keypad notwithstanding.Having said this, I am sure that this keypad would last a lot longer than the 4 years that one needs to graduate, thus ensuring that it would serve a student well through his/her student life, after which one could easily afford to purchase a more feature-laden handset with better build quality.
So if you are a student who is about to enter the hallowed portals of your college and now looking for a handset to flaunt around without burning a hole through your parent’s pocket, I suggest that you go for the Motorola W180.
P.S. Motorola has also introduced a handset, the Motorola W175 which does not have a FM radio receiver, but is similar to the W180 in all other respect.
Some high-resolution pictures of the handsets (courtesy Motorola)