Motorola Z8 Preview
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The Z8 has futuristic design that stands out of the lines of the manufacturer. If we examine different other models we will see common lines in the design of the different series (clamshells, candybars, sliders) but Z8 look like entirely different phone. We may consider the Z6 as the slider-version of the popular RAZRs, but the Z8 has more differences than similarities with its RIZR-siblings.
One of the key features, which Motorola uses to advertise the Z8 is the form-factor, which is called "kick-slide". It is similar to the standard slider but at the end of the opening the bottom slider curves to lift the part with the display up. This way, the whole phone curves and this helps to hold it more naturaly next to the face, during a call. This reminds of a clamshell which is also slightly bended when is in open position.
The MOTORIZR Z8 feels very well in the hand both during a call or while using it. The front side has glossy finish applied to it but otherwise the phone is made in mat black plastic, which has rubber-like feeling. This helps for the sporty-feeling of the phone,targeting the active people. Although we are using a prototype, the construction is very solid and the only concern we have is the cover of the Sim card slot. Unlike almost all other modern sliders, this one lacks any assisting mechanism and its movement is carried fully by the hand. To slide it more comfortably, a short line raises between the display and the d-pad. This is where your finger is supposed to push but we often did it over the keyboard or the display. In the beginning both opening and closing are slightly tough, but with the time one gets used to it and does it easily. Still, we would have preferred to see a spring assisted slider.
Logically for a slider, the keyboard is located on the two parts. On the surface below the display are situated the navigation keys. Although they are absolutely flat, they are physical keys that must be pressed and not only touched. They are all very responsible and can be felt well thanks to the raised lines between them. We prefer such type of keys instead of the nowadays popular “touch-keys” like the one used in the Chocolate or Samsung U700 which completely lack tactile feedback and act slow.
The left side has two volume keys and a video-call key tightly fit next to each other with no space between. On the right are the media and the camera shortcuts. All 5 side keys are flat which means you have to know exactly where they are to press them.
The back is also very futuristic looking, with rectangular glossy surface taking the middle. It houses the small camera lens, LED flash, the Motorola logo and the bottom part of it is the cover for the SIM card slot. This is the first phone we see with hot-swappable SIM card, which can be removed while the phone is working but putting it back in the place will require a reboot to get the phone functions working again. The SIM card can be removed without switching the phone off also because it is not below the battery, as in most other phones. The battery is located in the upper part of the back similar to the RAZR, while most other phones have it in the lower part.