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Motorola V80 R880

Motorola V80 R880
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By Jonathan Cheah (

The Motorola V80 phone is the second in the rotator range from Motorola, with the first being the V70 in 2002. The uniqueness of a handphone that rotates has yet to be replicated by another brand, with the closest being the recent Siemens SK65.

At A Glance:

Price: RM 1,899
Local Distributor: Mobile Distribution (M) Sdn Bhd.
Contact: 03-8026 7188
Build quality: 8/10
Applications: 8/10
Interface: 7/10
Value-for-money: 7/10
Overall rating: 7.5/10
+ Automatic camera position
+ Bluetooth
+ Loud speaker
- Stiff navigation key
- No expansion capability
- Slow response to fielding calls

Compared to the V70
The first thing you notice about the V80 is that the antenna has vanished, and what remains is a phone that is round as an egg with nothing protruding out. It weighs a good 30 grams more than the V70, but makes up a huge leap in technology from the earlier model.

The V70 was viewed as being a rebel in its time. While everyone else was going for a colour screen model with a hidden antenna, Motorola stepped out with a monochrome display and a new form factor to boot. That strategy did not work very well, and that is remedied this time around with the spring action that only requires a gentle push from the user to unfold the phone fully.

The action is similar to that of a switchblade, and will probably get you a similar amount of attention at first, especially if you put some really loud sound to coincide with your opening the phone. Yes, you can set sounds to play when you flick the blade of the phone open and close.

Hardware matters
One touch picture shooting is still very much a dream, despite what many are claiming for their phones. In reality, you need to at least deactivate the keypad lock that sets in automatically. The delay in the camera function is most aggravating especially when you need to take a quick photo, like when the babe of your dreams walks by, just like in that Maxis advertisement.

In the Motorola V80, you simply need to rotate the blade of the phone to a 90 degree angle to the rest of the body. However, you cannot do this when the phone is closed. This is an engineering error as the phone must be rotated to its full 180 degrees until you hear a click. Only then can you rotate it back to the 90 degree setting. The screen immediately goes blank and the camera function kicks in then.

The V80 feels very solid. Even while opened up, it does not seem that the rotating part of the phone is liable to failure. However, the key buttons could have been a little larger and lit brighter. The screen is a 65K one, but the display takes too long to respond when rotated from the open to the closed position or vice versa, especially when there is a call in effect.

To have song or not?
The menu retains the icon layout that started with the T720, and it looks very much nicer on a 65K screen. The joystick is a little stiff and hurt the fingers a little. I wonder why the music player relied on the joystick so heavily. Using the 2, 4, 6 and 8 keys to control the music would be nice, especially when the joystick is this stiff.

One thing defies logic. Motorola has been making a name for itself in recent months with phones such as the E398 and the MPx200 which have really good speakers attached to the phone. The V80 also has the same 22 KHz speakers in it, but here is where something important was left out. Storage space, or memory, is at a premium here with only 6MB allotted for the phone, and no card slots are available for adding memory.

What a waste! Music from this phone was just as good as from the E398, but the speaker was parked on the back of the phone, and you had to have the blades open or else the song will not play. I transferred an MP3 file to the phone with Bluetooth. The Bluetooth was easy to set up, and pairing was easy to achieve. Only then did I check the specs and find out that one song was all the space that was available.


Editor,s Opinion

The Motorola V80 appears to suffer from confusion in its objectives. It is apparent that Motorola made this phone to compete in the fashion category, and this is readily apparent from its premium price. However, the phone is too fat to be seriously categorised as classy. And while the speakers are of such quality that you can play really cool tunes on them, 6 MBs of memory with no way to expand is really so last year.

I do not really know of that many people using rotator phones, and I’ll even venture a guess that the coming Siemens SK65 will not be doing well unless its price is dirt cheap. Simply put, some people will want it to rotate clockwise, while others would want it counter-clockwise. The V80 favours right-handed people, and rotates open in a clockwise direction. However, it would not be very ergonomic for someone who is left-handed.

Perhaps Motorola should abandon all this nonsense about rotating or semi-rotating phones, and stick to a tried and tested formula – flip phones. Now that the candybar design is pretty much Nokia and the slider design is pretty much Samsung, the remaining member of the triumvirate should go back to basics and start making those flip phones it was so famous for in the early 1990s.

For the RM 1,899 asked for this phone, I say give it a miss. It is not so much that the V80 is a bad phone, and in fact it is a really good phone and I like using it very much. The chief reason for my scepticism on the V80 is that 6MB of memory is really short changing the customer. Now if there was 80 MB or maybe even a slot for a regular or a mini MMC, then I would say the price is a fair one. But then again, maybe I am sore that only one MP3 could fit into the phone at a time.


Photo Gallery
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Photo Gallery
Motorola V80 R880 photo 1
Motorola V80 R880 photo 2
Motorola V80 R880 photo 3
Motorola V80 R880 photo 4
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