i530 phone
Motorola - Nextel
The i530 comes in either all black or bright yellow with the same black rubber covering.
By Columnist
updated 4/14/2004 6:38:50 PM ET 2004-04-14T22:38:50

I get to play with a lot of cell phones. Some have all sorts of bells and whistles and can do everything from showing you TV programs to making a cup of coffee and taking out the garbage. At the other end of the spectrum, there are cell phones which act like cell phones and do just what you might expect them to do. Today I’m going to tell you about two terrific handsets of the latter variety.

I’m a Nextel subscriber. I like the service. I like the monthly plan I have. And I like my phone.  For the past year or so I’ve been using an i95c phone with a color screen and a fancy Java operating system. I barely use most of the features inside, though. 

The i95 has served me well and has taken lots of abuse. Sometimes, despite my best intentions, my cell phone winds up on the floor. Which is not bad when the floor is carpeted, but somehow my phone frequently goes from its holster to the the concrete pavement of New York City. It still works, but the outside shell has seen better days.

Recently, I tested the i730 , Nextel/Motorola's newest/latest/greatest top-of-the-line model and thought it was really very nice. But despite all the improvements (better quality color screen, advanced user interface, built-in GPS, terrific shape and feel) I decided to stick with my trusty i95.

But in the back of my mind I was hoping Motorola had something up their sleeve. Something just for me.

My prayers have been answered. They’ve just released two new phones that do everything I need them to do — and they’re both made for abuse. And they’re both very, very cool.

i305 phone
i305  /  Motorola - Nextel
Voices sounded a little shrill on the i305 phone.

The i305 and the i530 are rugged phones. Both are wrapped in a tough rubber "overmold" shell and are certified to Military Standard 810 F for dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, low pressure, solar radiation, blowing rain, humidity, salt fog, sleet, and snow.

They’re made to perform in extreme outdoor conditions and stand up to dusty environments, drops, exposure to vibration from heavy machinery use, and extreme climates. Rubber encasing, interior linings and seals protect the phone’s antenna, speakerphone, keys, battery door, and accessory connections against water intrusion.

Both phones have a small black-and-white display and use Nextel’s new SIM card with improved storage capabilities (up to 600 contacts, just like the i730).

The built-in GPS function supports non-Java location-enhanced services such as Mobile Locator. Navigate to GPS on the menu, aim the antenna on the back toward the sky, press "START" and 60-seconds later it can give your exact location (or as close to it as the U.S. government allows). A laptop or PDA connected to the phone can also access the phone's GPS circuitry.

The GPS feature can also help emergency personnel locate you when you call 911, assuming both that you have an adequate GPS satellite signal (outdoors only) and that the response center is equipped to handle such information. 

Good looks
The i305 is a standard one-piece handset which comes in all black. It’s 5.0 by 2.3 by 1.4 inches and weighs in at 6.6 ounces with the standard Lithium-ion battery (215 minutes of talk time and 90 hours of standby. The handset is a solid piece of gear and feels great in your hand.

The i530 is a folding "flip" handset and comes in either all black or bright yellow with the same black rubber covering. It looks like the perfect companion for a G-Shock watch . It is 3.6 by 2.0 by 1.1 inches and weighs 5.2 ounces with its Lithium-ion battery good for 165 hours of standby time.

Both phones do everything that I need: the best speakerphone feature in the industry, Direct Connecting with my buddies, making and receiving phone calls, e-mails and pages, text browsing the Web and downloading ring tones and other Nextel features (like Voice Connect and Voice Record).  In short, they’re both nifty Nextel handsets.

I’m gonna retire the i95 and go with the yellow i530 as my new workhorse phone. Despite it not having an external display to see who is calling, a quick flip of the phone cover lets me see the incoming number on the main screen then decide if I want to answer the call to speak with them. I also like the way voices sound on the i530 (everyone sounds a little shrill on the i305).

Now, the best part: the price. The i305 sells for $89.99 on the Nextel Web site.  A fair price for the phone.  The i530, which normally retails for $124.99 now comes with a $50 mail-in rebate.  At $74.99 this is one sweet deal for a fantastic handset.

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