Motorola PEBL

Motorola PEBL
  • Motorola PEBL
  • Motorola PEBL
  • Motorola PEBL
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5


  • Excellent design, High quality screen, Top notch sound and pick up.


  • Buttons a little inaccurate, Annoying game demos, No recurring alarm, Spring mechanism a little too hardcore.

Bottom Line

The Motorola PEBL is a very attractive phone and will add an air of sophistication to any user. However, there are some issues that need to be considered before making a purchase.

Would you buy this?

Floating through space, a meteorite collides with the atmosphere of a young Earth before the ravages of time. In a streak of fire it slams into the ground, the newly formed crater its nest of safety. Wind, time and rain erode the rock and as the ice age melts away it slinks into a newly formed river. Over the millennia the rock, now burnished, floats along the seabed until finally washing up on pristine beach in the form of the Motorola PEBL. What does a mobile phone have to do with all this? Not much really, but when David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) directs a TV commercial, it is art to be appreciated.

The PEBL is Motorola's move toward natural environment design, with gorgeous curves intended to look like a stone (or pebble) from a river. It certainly achieves this end with flush buttons and a smooth exterior. We received the black rubberized version for review but the PEBL also comes in various other finishes including a rather sexy mirrored number.

The flip mechanism of the PEBL is rather unique, but despite it being pretty innovative, it also makes the phone difficult to use. The main problem is that it needs to be slid toward the user and then released, at which time the phone pops open. Make no mistake; this looks great but the force with which it opens is a little excessive.

Once opened however, the interior design is captivating. From an artistic design standpoint, it is very attractive with a flat mirrored panel intersected with waves to separate the numbers on the keypad. Form and functionality don't quite meet here though. A result of this configuration is that it's little too hard to accurately press the buttons on the phone including the menu and select buttons which are too close to the spring hinge.

The screen is bright and high quality but has an extremely poor vertical and horizontal viewing angle. Colour shift begins only a few degrees off centre, with complete illegibility occurring at about 45 degrees. The exterior screen isn't particularly noteworthy but displays the time, battery life and signal strength, as well as message inbox status.

The menu system is the same old Motorola menu, but it seems to run a little faster than other Motorola phones we've reviewed. We were a little disappointed by the lack of a recurring alarm and found that the "demo" of bejeweled was an insult with only about 20 seconds of game play before it ends, prompting you to "BUY ME". I'm not buying you Bejeweled; I barely got to play you. The configuration options were also a little difficult to comprehend. Trying to do something simple like change the system clock took far too long and was placed in an odd position in the menus.

The sound on the PEBL was quite good. Both the speaker and microphone are positioned well, resulting in good pickup and we found the VGA camera takes fairly reasonable pictures. Unfortunately the image quality isn't the most amazing we have seen, but it is certainly good enough for most users, especially for a phone at this price point.

The connectivity options include Bluetooth, which worked very well with a very simple set up. The PEBL also supports instant messaging via ICQ, Yahoo Messenger and AIM as well as T-Mobile downloadable content and services. The T-mobile service includes a photo album, journal, email and also has games, ring tones and wallpapers available to download.

There is also a button on the right side of the phone that lets you dial numbers via voice recognition. You can apply voice tags to your phonebook or also say the number and have the phone recognize it. Unfortunately, this feature was extremely poor. Most of the time it didn't recognize very many of the numbers we said and offered us fantastic creations that were nothing like the number we had spoken. This feature definitely needs some work, but then again so do most voice recognition software applications.

The Motorola PEBL isn't a terrible phone; in fact we quite enjoyed reviewing it. It is extremely attractive and classy but anyone that is looking to buy one should keep in mind that it is has a few useability issues that need to be considered.

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