Motorola T720 Cellphone
by Jim Bray
If you want a cell phone that sings and dances all the latest tunes, Motorola
thinks it has your answer.
Its T720 unit is not only a fully featured cellular telephone, but it
also brings to the mix just about anything you could desire from a wireless
telephone. Except, perhaps, for a camera.
The sleek little bugger is the latest incarnation of Motorolas StarTac line
of clamshell phones that are reminiscent of the old communicators from
the original Star Trek TV show. You know the beasts - they flip up from
the top to reveal the keypad and the screen.
That particular feature has never really appealed to me, however, other
than as a Star Trek fan delighted to see science fiction becoming reality.
What bothers me about it is that you really need to use two hands to get
the phone open, which seems to me not to be the most efficient way of operating
Still, there are plenty of people out there who really like that aspect
of the phone (and to be fair, it does allow for a much smaller unit), so
perhaps its just me.
Anyway, the $449US T720 is a GSM/GPRS phone that features a color display
and Java technology. Its technology not only allows its users to yak incessantly,
but download polyphonic ring tunes (as if we need more of that!),
animated graphics, and wireless games such as Tony Hawks Pro Skater
It cant bake an omelet, but what do you want?
The phone weighs a paltry 101 grams, which is terrific except that its
so light that sometimes I would lose it in my over stuffed pockets. This
isnt the phones fault, of course.
Theres actually so much stuff on this gadget that youll want
to take a cruise through the owners manual before sallying forth
into the cold, cruel world with it. I never did figure out how to use all
the features fluently during my testing period, though part of the reason
was my aversion to features that arent directly telephone-related.
Which means I didnt spend a lot of time messing with games and stuff
On more substantive issues, the T720 is equipped to do a fine job. It
can handle PIM functions, enhanced messaging services, two line external
caller ID etc.
Oh, it also has changeable front and back faceplates.
The phones small size is terrific for those who can still see without
reading glasses, but that aspect of it really screwed me up. The numeric
keypad was okay, and the color keyed Send and End/Power buttons
were fine (though reversed from what felt comfortable to me) but I had
real problems with seeing the color display if I didnt pause and
grab my specs.
Still, the overall layout is fine. The top line of buttons is for menu
and selection functions, with a circular cursor control thingy immediately
below, surrounded by the power/end and send buttons. Its pretty straightforward.
The color screen uses icons (accessed via the cursor control thingy) to
get at its various features. The screen is bright and sharp enough and,
though I didnt think Id care about it, I liked having color.
One thing I really liked was the fact that this telephone offers you the
chance to have a real ring tone. Ive seen so many phones lately (and
tested a few) where you were only given choices of various Mickey Mouse
Musical Missives (every one of which I despised), that this Motorola is
a breath of fresh air.
Of course, you can ruin that aspect of it by changing to a more obnoxious
ring, but thats your problem. You can also compose your own ring
Motorola says the T720's LCD screen supports up to 4096 colors and, though
I didnt count them, the screen is very easy to read (remembering
the above caveat about needing reading glasses!).
One control I though could have been placed better was the one that controls
the volume. When I held the phone my fingers would fall right on the buttons
and Id find myself lowering the volume unconsciously.
The T720 is also quite configurable in the stuff you can add to it, such
as a financial calculator, memo pad, news feed and the like. The display
can show up to nine lines at a time, and you can also zoom in a tad closer
to make it more legible.
You also get a POP3 E-mail client with which you can be assaulted by spam
wherever you go (hey, Im not cynical!), and you can switch from function
to function (including sending a fax) without waiting for a dial up connection.
And you can take advantage of voice activated dialing and a vibrating
function that makes the phone less annoying to others, but which (if it
works anything like my personal cell phone does) can also make you feel
(depending upon where youre carrying it) as if youre in the
process of having a coronary.
The T720 also supports TrueSync, which lets you create, edit,
and synchronize your phone and date books with compatible PC, handheld
device, or Web-based PIM.
You can even get an (optional) MP3 accessory to download tunes and listen
to them on the tiny little speaker - and an optional FM radio headset gives
you access to radio stations for those times you really want to spend your
airtime minutes on Rush Limbaugh or classic rock.
Okay, theres a lot of stuff on this phone than people like me, whose
cell phone needs are limited, would never use.
But there are also people who either want the latest and greatest or who
can actually justify the use of such features as this Motorola offers.
For them, this T720 cell phone could be a real bonus.
And isnt that what its all about?