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Yet another review on the A835
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Motorola A835
Kevin tries an alternative to his A920 ...

Author: Kevin L
Category: Other Devices and Technologies
Created: Tuesday, 11 May 2004 18:46
Modified: Wednesday, 12 May 2004 21:06

I have had a somewhat, ahem, chequered past with my 3 mobiles. In an effort to keep one customer (me) they have finally furnished me with a new phone. I have had this phone for “trial” for a week now, holding my A925 as hostage/“collateral” until I decide to keep it or not. Well, technically it is my 6th phone, and 3rd model, but who’s counting?

This phone is the “mid-range” Motorola A835. Squarely aimed at the middle market, it has features above “ordinary” (read Nokia) and is slightly less unwieldy than the A920 – it has KEYS!

What it comes with
The Motorola A835 retail package is fairly comprehensive, much like the A920. You get the handset, the very advantageous two batteries, a desktop charger, the required software CD, headphones (which are standard to the A920/5 as well) and data cable (which too is common with the A920).

What DON’T you get? Well, maybe it is because they were sending me a “reconditioned” A835 retail package, but I didn’t get a desktop stand. This doesn’t worry me, as I have 2 already (A920 and A925 retail packs, respectively).

I actually like(d) my A920/5. It was the PDA that I never had, and I had used it for a solid 7 ½ months and gotten used to it. Let me tell you – the A835 is TOTALLY different, after all, it’s aimed at a different market space, and it shows.
The phone has a big full colour screen, with fairly high resolution. There are two cameras, one on the front, one back, for video calls and pictures.
There are keys – lots of them. On the front alone you have two selection buttons, a menu button, a joystick, browser button, hang up/abort, TWO call buttons (separate video and voice), along with the traditional keypad. On the one side is a picture capture button, on the other side up and down volume controls. Whew.
Software-wise the phone show you EVERYTHING on the front screen. You have to know what the symbols mean, but you can tell network, signal, AGPS, Bluetooth, ring style, battery remaining, browsing status, download status call status and lots more
Bluetooth – NATIVELY
This phone has great reliability. I haven’t dropped a call, crashed my phone, lost an app, or caused thermonuclear war since I got the phone. I know that I may be jinxing myself, but hopefully I do none of these with this phone
USB and Infrared connectivity to your computer
The basic menu system is quite, uh, unique. From the main screen, the four joystick directions select four fast tasks. The joystick button selects the main menu. The left select key selects a “Fast menu”. The middle menu button is the same as the joystick button, but the joystick can be customised. The right select button chooses ring styles (loud, silent, vibrate, vibrate THEN ring…). Even better – they are all customisable!
Backward (forwards?) compatibility with lots of Motorola accessories – headsets, batteries, stands, all useable through models.
App wise, you get:
Photo viewer/taker
Video viewer/taker
Music player
Games/custom apps
Web browser
Message centre (email, SMS, MMS, voicemail, as well as useless info services and browser messages)
Contact list – while good, with customisable rings and pictures, it is no where near as useful as the A920 which had unlimited fields, custom text areas, detail ONLY (no number) records, and easy groups
Setup is easy, although you do have to read the manual to know what goes where – browser settings also affect Java confirmations, while key reassignment moves menu items. Small things but you need to be aware of them
Memory – lots of it! This phone comes with 64Mb of inbuilt memory, a half decent amount for a media player capable phone.

The biggest inconsistency is any form of cohesive menu or application operation or selection. You need to USE this phone to get any feeling of comfort from it. It can be frustrating trying to navigate menus, move months in the calendar or do any number of small tasks.

It has taken me a while to get used to the A835. It will take you the same amount. It is not a Nokia, but is in fact its own distinct control brand. It is packed with features, and adequately achieves all it sets out to do, while being presented in a pleasing package.

Kevin's Score : 8.5 / 10


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