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Motorola Timeport 270c Review

Highs

  • Good voice recognition
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Rating

Our Score 8
User Score 8

Lows

  • Poor belt clip
Its cutting edge Bluetooth capabilities truly make it the cream of the crop while its easy-to-use interface keeps it user friendly

Summary

Two things we did not like about the Timeportâ„¢ 270c was the lack of an adapter card to allow Bluetooth connectivity to a desktop PC and the belt clip included with the phone. While we did not care for the included belt clip (the phone easily fell out while sitting) this can be remedied with an aftermarket clip once they are available. The reversed “Send” and “End” buttons also annoyed us but after a while we became use to the buttons’ locations and didn’t think twice about them.

Overall, the Motorolla Timeportâ„¢ 270c is a mobile phone far beyond its time. Its revolutionary features and eye-candy design place it high up on the food chain. The Timeportâ„¢ incorporates all of the wonderful features we have grown to love so much along with a plethora of new and innovative technology. Its cutting edge Bluetooth capabilities truly make it the cream of the crop while its easy-to-use interface keeps it user friendly. Digitaltrends.com has received the wonderful privilege of reviewing this new mobile phone from Motorola.

Introduction

This is the first Motorola cell phone based on the new wireless Bluetooth technology. With a variety of features including speakerphone, voice recognition, and voice activation, the Timeportâ„¢ 270c pretty much allows you to have the conveniences of a pager, cell phone, and limited laptop features all in one little device. Entering the market at around $350.00, you will pay a hefty price for these conveniences.

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the Timeportâ„¢ 270c when I first heard about its promises. It is not very often that a manufacturer touts such enhanced features and is actually able to deliver them. The Timeportâ„¢ 270c is, in actuality, a lot smaller than its picture indicates. At 4.7 ounces with a stock battery, the 270c has an average weight when compared to other cell phones, although newer cell phones entering the market are considerably smaller and lighter. As companions to the Timeportâ„¢ 270c cell phone, we also received the FM radio headset and the Bluetooth Connectivity Kit.

The Timeportâ„¢ 270c should be available September 2001 and works on the CDMA 800/1900 and analog 800 MHz networks. Our service was provided by Verizon and we know Alltel will be providing service as well.

Bluetooth Technology in a cell phone?

For those who are not familiar with what Bluetooth technology is and why this phone is revolutionary, here is a short lesson. Take a look around your computer, you have your keyboard connected to the computer, as well as a printer, mouse, monitor and so on. What (literally) joins all of these electronics together are cables. Cables have become the bane of many offices and homes. Most of us have experienced the “joys” of trying to figure out what cable goes where, and getting tangled up in the details. Bluetooth essentially aims to fix this problem; it is a cable-replacement technology.

Created initially by Ericsson, before being adopted by a plethora of other companies, Bluetooth is a data-transferal standard for small, cheap radio chips to be plugged into electronics such as computers, printers, mobile phones, etc. Bluetooth is designed to replace cables by taking the information normally carried by the cable and, instead, transmitting it at a special frequency from a transmitting Bluetooth chip to a receiving Bluetooth chip, which will then give the information received to the appropriate device. While Bluetooth technology is not taking off as fast as earlier predicted, there are more electronics entering the market with the new technology. We would predict that towards the middle of 2002 is when you will really see the technology take off.

In order to use the Timeportâ„¢ 270c’s Bluetooth capabilities, the Bluetooth Connectivity Kit must be purchased and a laptop computer is the only type of computer system to accept this kit. We found the price of $299 for the connectivity kit to be quite expensive. Its lack of options for desktop users was another strike against the 270c. In the information we received from Motorola, they suggest that you “insert the PCMCIA Card into your Windows PC or laptop”, however we found there was no adapter card included in the Bluetooth Connectivity Kit that enables the PCMCIA Bluetooth card to fit into a standard desktop computer. The Bluetooth Connectivity Kit comes with a PCMCIA card, a cell phone battery with the Bluetooth chips inside, TrueSync Plus for synchronization, TrueSync Desktop for Personal Information Management, and Bluetooth Neighborhood for managing your Bluetooth devices.

With the Bluetooth Connectivity Kit, we were able to wirelessly sync our e-mail and phone book addresses with our laptop relatively easy – even through the wall separating the two rooms. Bluetooth technology has a range of up to 30 feet and you can even surf the internet with the 270c using your home pc’s internet connection. How many phones do you know of harness that ability?

FM Stereo Headset

One feature, which Motorola is adding to a number of their phones, is the ability to use the Timeportâ„¢ 270c as an FM radio when coupled with the additional FM Stereo headset.

The Timeportâ„¢ 270c instantly recognized the headset when plugged in and uses the phone’s joystick to navigate through radio stations. Reception was excellent and when a call came in, you had the option to set the phone to automatically answer the call, or you could switch to the incoming call by pressing a button located conveniently on the headset cable. A handy microphone is built into the headset cable so hands free talking is available. Although reception was exceptional, the sound quality, as far as bass and treble, was substantially flat. We found this to be odd since the amplifier built into the phone itself appears to be powerful when using the cell phone’s built in speakerphone. This would lead me to believe that the speakers in the headset are not as capable as I would have liked to imagine. The appearance of the FM stereo headset is very sexy, and looks to be state of the art when being used. The FM stereo headset is Compatible with the V. Seriesâ„¢ 60c, 120c, and Timeportâ„¢ 270c mobile phones and costs about $59.99 MSRP.

Navigation

While the Timeportâ„¢ 270c offers a heap of features, its navigation in the menu system is easily controlled by a 4-way joystick. The 4-way joystick is the first of its kind on any Motorola cell phone. We found the joystick and navigation to be very intuitive, settings for such controls as ring volume, network settings, and other options are where you would expect them to be. There are even options to change the animation of the menu itself! The 270c features 32 customizable rings and 4 built in vibration alerts. We found the 270c to be very user customizable and not to mention, friendly. One awkward thing we noticed about the phone was that the “Send” and “End” buttons on the faceplate were reversed compared to phones manufactured by other companies. After using a Nokia cell phone for several months, I found the button reversal in the 270c annoying for a while until I adapted. On another note, I found the large-screen display that shows up to 6 lines of text or 96 characters at a time is well backlit and very easy on the eyes in both light and dark settings. Motorola says the battery has a life of up to 225 hours of standby time and 235 minutes of talk time when used with the included Lithium Ion Battery. Our phone averaged about 190 hours of standby and 200 minutes of talk time, not bad for a battery as small as the phone uses. Charging time took as little as 45 minutes, which we were very impressed with.

Enhanced Features

We are calling the features of the Motorola phone enhanced because while the features may be standard on a lot of phones, Motorola has added numerous twists to the mix. For example, the Personal Information Manager (PIM) can store 400 Phone Book and Data Book entries. Other cell phones might be able to store this many entries, but how many of these entries can be activated by voice? Not only can you assign a voice title to each phonebook entry, you can also record up to 2 minutes worth of personal voice notes. We found the voice activation to work excellent in quiet areas but when using the Timeportâ„¢ 270c in a car, be sure to speak loudly and clearly, otherwise the phone might accidentally confuse your request with another entry.

Speaking of talking on the phone in the car, the 270c has a built-in 360-degree speakerphone. Not only can you talk hands free, you can also conduct conference calls with other callers or people in the same room sharing your phone. We found the speaker phone to work exceptionally well, so much in fact that people often mistook the Timeportâ„¢ 270c cell phone for a full sized regular phone. The speaker in the 270c is loud and clear, so much so that when the volume was up to its maximum peak, the phone shook with the loudness of the speaker. Motorola spared no expense with using a quality speaker in the Timeportâ„¢ 270c.

Other features included with the Timeportâ„¢ 270c are SMS messaging, which allows you to send, receive and store short alphanumeric text messages with another compatible wireless device or email address. Motorola also included a WAP 1.1 enabled Micro Browser, which allows you access stock prices, local news and sport scores, all wirelessly. We found the WAP browser to be confusing and slow, typical of any cell phone regardless of the manufacturer. We think there is still a long way to go in perfecting the WAP 1.1 protocol and software, but since the Timeportâ„¢ 270c is state of the art, WAP is included nonetheless.

Accessories

Other than the Bluetooth Connectivity Kit and FM Stereo Headset we received, many accessories are available for the Timeportâ„¢ 270c, ranging from batteries, to cell phone covers and headsets. One headset we found to be particularly interesting is a Bluetooth Enabled headset, which eliminated wires altogether and had a battery life of 100 standby hours. The Bluetooth enabled headset features interchangeable colored faceplates and is compatible with various Bluetooth devices by Motorola and other venders.

Conclusion

Two things we did not like about the Timeportâ„¢ 270c was the lack of an adapter card to allow Bluetooth connectivity to a desktop PC and the belt clip included with the phone. While we did not care for the included belt clip (the phone easily fell out while sitting) this can be remedied with an aftermarket clip once they are available. The reversed “Send” and “End” buttons also annoyed us but after a while we became use to the buttons’ locations and didn’t think twice about them.

Overall, the Motorolla Timeportâ„¢ 270c is a mobile phone far beyond its time. Its revolutionary features and eye-candy design place it high up on the food chain. The Timeportâ„¢ incorporates all of the wonderful features we have grown to love so much along with a plethora of new and innovative technology. Its cutting edge Bluetooth capabilities truly make it the cream of the crop while its easy-to-use interface keeps it user friendly.

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