Motorola i1 Review

Introduction and Design

Deeply ingrained into the minds of just about every consumer is this lingering notion that blue collar workers would naturally gravitate toward rugged styled handsets – most notably ones from Sprint-Nextel's lineup. Even though the niche is obviously there, some individuals prefer a higher class handset that would not only provide connectivity via PTT and solid construction, but bring forth some features akin to smartphones as well. Luckily the Motorola i1 might be the solution as it's being billed as the first Android powered iDEN smartphone that's built to certain military specifications, but will it live to the minimum standard of smartphone users?

The package contains:
  • Motorola i1
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall charger
  • microSD card adapter
  • Stereo Headset
  • Get Started Guide


Sleekness isn't placed highly on the design check list for the Motorola i1, however, it doesn't mean that it's not a pretty decent looking handset versus the other available iDEN offerings. The typical slate-like handset looks pretty appealing with its two toned gray and black finish which are supplemented with a soft touch coating to present itself as a fine rugged feeling device. Not particularly bulky (0.50” thick), it is rather normal size and comfortable to hold without too much heft (4.62 oz) being felt as you place it in your hand. Versus other Android smartphones, the i1 is rather over the top with durability as every nook and cranny are covered tightly to protect its innards from the elements and brute force of physical damage that one can accidentally bestow upon it. Basically you can dish out some mean punishment as it meets MilitarySpec 810F – that's for rain, dust, shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, low pressure, humidity, and even solar radiation!

You can compare the Motorola i1 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The 3.1” capacitive TFT display dominates the front surface with its HVGA resolution (320 x 480) and support for 262k colors. When setting it to the maximum brightness setting, colors have a distinguishable look which will also enable it to function decently in outdoor conditions – but it's worth noting that reading text can be a challenge as it is rather small in size. Finally the touchscreen is fairly responsive to the touch, however, it has a plasticity feel as opposed to something more solid like glass – but then again, we'd imagine that plastic would fare better when it comes down to drops.

Easily the biggest attraction to the phone is its central circular sized navigation pad that has a chrome accent outlining it and illumination for notifications. Although it may require a solid push, it does well in aiding you to navigate about the platform – plus, pushing down the center button for a selection is a bit more tactile. Both the send and end keys are properly raised from the surrounding surface and well sized to make them easily pressed. You'll also find the usual set of touch sensitive buttons on the front which are placed far enough from the bottom portion of the touchscreen to minimize accidental presses. Additionally, you'll find a grill for the speaker phone directly beneath the d-pad. As for the other dedicated buttons around the sides, they are all stiff to the touch, but still nicely sized to be discernible to the finger. Although it sports a traditional microUSB port for charging or data connection, it reverts to employing a 2.5mm headset jack – regardless, the packaging contains a pair of stereo headphones. To the rear, you're presented with the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED  flash while removing the rear cover will require you to push the latch on the right side of the phone before yanking it off. Once that is done, you'll be treated to the microSD card slot, battery, and SIM card slot.

Motorola i1 360 Degrees View:

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