Motorola EM330

FM radio and music for $99.

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Motorola EM330
  • Motorola EM330
  • Motorola EM330
  • Motorola EM330

Pros

  • Price, A2DP Bluetooth, FM radio, music player, microSD storage, 3.5mm headphone jack, excellent controls and keypad

Cons

  • Looks bland, mediocre display, menu is slow in some instances

Bottom Line

It’s a bland-looking handset with a mediocre display, but the EM330 does offer some features usually reserved for much more expensive handsets. It's definitely worth a look if you're on a strict budget.

Would you buy this?

Motorola has been dreadfully quiet in Australia of late in terms of mobile phone releases. We had to go back to July to find the last handset we reviewed — the MOTOROKR E8. Low and behold though, the manufacturer is not dead! Its latest release is the EM330, described by the manufacturer as a "stylish and affordable clamshell".

Affordable it may be, but if there is one thing the EM330 isn't, it's stylish. Obviously Motorola's definition differs to ours: we don't consider this bland black and light gunmetal handset stylish. It's certainly attempting to be though, with rounded edges, a swirl imprint on the rear and a gloss black panel hiding the external display.

Flipped open, the blandness continues with matte black plastic surrounding both the display and controls. However, both the keypad and the controls are well designed. The keypad buttons are slightly raised and large enough to provide comfort, and they are well spaced. The same is true of the five-way navigational pad and the rest of the controls — the rounded keys provide excellent tactility and are responsive.

Unfortunately, the internal display is a victim of the handset's low price point. It's one of the poorest resolution displays we have seen in quite some time. Icons in the main menu are barely legible, though the general ease of use of the device is commendable. The speed is average — scrolling through lists is a little sluggish, but there is no noticeable keystroke lag when typing messages. The external display is also basic but nonetheless convenient. It displays reception and battery indicators, time and notifications of missed calls and incoming SMS messages.

Despite commanding a ridiculously low price, Motorola has packed the EM330 with plenty of multimedia features, headed by an MP3 player and an FM radio. Both these features work in tandem with the external display, which features touch-sensitive music controls that are displayed when the radio or music player are active. These buttons are generally responsive.

The FM radio has nine presets and an auto-scan function. There is also a convenient record function: pressing record while listening to the radio lets you quickly create a file to use as a ring tone on the handset, with the files automatically stored in the Sounds folder. The quality is mediocre for regular listening, but the recorded files are definitely good enough to be used as ring tones. FMShare is an option that allows you share your favourite radio stations with friends, via an SMS or MMS message. For MP3 playback, a built-in audio equaliser with 11 presets is included, along with a bass boost function.

Surprisingly, the EM330 includes a microSD storage slot (accessed by removing the rear battery cover) and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Motorola definitely deserves a lot of credit for the latter — some smartphones commanding prices of close to $1000 often lack this basic and convenient feature. The rest of the features are quite basic. Three Java games, a 1.3-megapixel camera with video capture and stereo A2DP Bluetooth are present, along with a range of PIM functions including a calculator, alarm clock, stopwatch and calendar.

CrystalTalk technology rounds out the package. Motorola claims it increases call quality and allows conversations to be audible even in the event of excessive background noise. Quality during testing was fair but not outstanding.

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