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While the design is new and fresh, unfortunately the software has not received the same makeover. It is the same Motorola UI that has been found on iDEN units for years. Sprint’s iDEN/CDMA hybrid units are using the newer, better interface but for some inexplicable reason Motorola has chosen not to port this to iDEN only units yet. Perhaps the biggest annoyance with this is the separate menu button in lieu of a back button. This can make menu navigation frustrating at times, and while there is sometimes a back option via softkeys there are other times when you have to exit the menu system altogether and cannot simply go back a page. Even more frustrating is that the soft back button sometimes takes the user out of the menu system instead of simply going back a page.

There are two top level menu pages, and 22 different options. Quite simply, this is bloated and issues like this are exactly why Motorola is struggling. On the bright side the menu can be reordered by the user, making commonly accessed icons easier to get to. Furthermore, there is a Shortcuts option which allows the user to assign 9 shortcuts that correspond with the keypad, so if the user assigns Shortcuts to one of the soft or d-pad keys they will have two-click access to their 9 favorite applications.

The UI is pretty standard fare, only notable for some omissions such as a calculator. It does have a fairly decent datebook option where the user has some advanced features such as recurring appointments and having a specific sound profile or application assigned to an appointment. Other than that you’ll find run of the mill options like Messaging, Contacts, Settings, etc. It is Java-based, meaning the user can download both first and third-party Java applications ranging from games to GPS services.

The i335 allows for up to 600 numbers in the phone book. Individual entries can have 7 phone numbers, a DC number, an email address and an IP address each. It should be noted that the 600 number limit is total, not 600 contacts with up to 7 numbers each. We’re really not sure what the IP option is for, as you can only store an actual IP and not a webpage.

Messaging is simple and straight forward. Like other iDEN units it utilizes T9 predictive messaging, not iTAP which is found on all other Motorola devices. Despite the lack of camera the phone actually supports MMS, and you can send downloaded pictures. Sprint’s iDEN network is notorious slow for messaging and data, and we did experience delivery and receipt delays at times.

It’s not the first iDEN to feature Bluetooth, but the i335 is certainly the most surprising to do so. The only other iDEN units to feature Bluetooth are the i615, BlackBerry 7100i and the ultra-premium i580, i880 and ic902 hybrid. The i335’s $29.99 price point is $170 lower than the next cheapest of those devices. It’s not the most advanced Bluetooth out there, it’s only version 1.2 and the only profiles supported are HSP, HFP (1.5,) DUN, OPP and BPP, but for the average user just being able to talk without a wire is enough.

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