Motorola Stature i9 Review

Introduction and Design

Sprint has put an emphasis on revitalizing the iDEN network, and the Motorola Stature i9 stands along side the BlackBerry 8350i as a centerpiece to this revitalization. The former a sexy flip with external touch controls, a 3 megapixel shooter with a polished finished while the latter the solid business class device. The Stature’s external controls allows the user to control virtually the whole phone with the flip closed and the phone offers just about any feature you want…short of anything data related. Included in the box you simply find the Li-Ion battery and microUSB AC adapter.


The Stature is a good looking phone, but it’s big. Like really big. Like as big as your face when opened for guys, bigger for girls. With recent iDEN units such as the i576 and i776 trimming down considerably we would have liked to see the i9 do the same, but beggars can’t be choosers. The phone is smaller than the i880 it replaces, though that’s not anything to brag about.

You can compare the Motorola Stature i9 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Thankfully it’s ditched the antenna. This may seem like a given in this day and age, but it is still one of the few iDEN phones to have an inbuilt antenna. It features the funky hinge design we’ve seen on other units such as the Katana DLX, where the top half overlaps the back when opened. It’s a very reassuring hinge; it has a good amount of resistance and feels as if you could open it a thousand times without it getting loose.

Both sides of the phones are rather busy. On the left you’ll find four buttons on the top half, with the microUSB charging port at the bottom. Running from top to bottom you will find a speaker key, volume rocker and Direct Connect button. The right is a bit better, with a menu button above a sliding lock switch on the top half, and a camera key on the bottom. The shiny silver keys sit against a soft touch matte black finish that envelops the entire bottom half of the flip.

The top half is shiny gunmetal and dominated by two large displays. On the front is a 2” QVGA display featuring 65K colors, inside is a 2.2 incher with 262K. Both are crisp and clear, and despite the color difference there doesn’t seem to be much of a visual difference between the two. The internal is a bit more vibrant, but both are very usable in direct sunlight. Along the outer display is a heap of touch sensitive controls that light up at different times according to the current function. They all give haptic feedback when touched, but are not resistive so you won’t be able to use them with gloves on.

The gigantic keypad is completely flat, save for small silver nibs on each button. These are supposed to allow you to navigate the keypad without looking, but they are so shallow and spaced so far apart that we didn’t find them very useful. The keys do offer a defined click when pressed and is much better than Moto keypads we’ve seen before, but we still aren’t too much of a fan. Each key only reveals its function when it’s lit up, which earns style points for sure. The back is very minimalistic, with the 3.1 megapixel camera and LED light tucked away at the top left.

One thing we don’t like is the complete lack of a headset jack. The Stature supports Bluetooth, so the user is left in the cold when it comes to hands-free, but PTT calls cannot be initiated over Bluetooth and require a special wired headset, which means that the user cannot do hands-free PTT.

Overall the design of the Motorola Stature i9 is to be commended. While not military spec it sure feels solid in your hand, with a stellar flip and a good amount of weight, if not too much. For Nextel the design is nothing short of revolutionary. For the mobile industry in 2009 the design is good, but nothing groundbreaking. We would like to see both the size and weight decreased, and for the iDEN radio to be swapped out for some QChat love.

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