Smaller used to be better, but the advent of the Smartphone has made devices even the slickest technology bulk up a bit. Add a protective case and most phones wouldn’t fit anywhere but a clown’s pocket.
The Boost Mobile i425 from Motorola is a refreshing, if odd throwback to the svelte, low oz. phones popular a few years ago. Of course, there are some sacrifices Motorola had to make to keep things light, but are they necessary?
Features and Design
The Boost Mobile i425 is amazingly light, about 4 oz., and it feels like the insides are missing when it’s first picked up. The dimensions are like a thick candy bar, 5 in. x 2 in. x .5 in. The plastic exterior is almost completely smooth: the keypad buttons aren’t individual, but a flat grid delineated by small, but effective raised bumps and the round control pad, situated in the middle of the phone’s face, raises slightly on the outside and actually dips in to make a concave dish. It is designed to slide in and out of pockets.
The rest of the phone is virtually blank. There are no cameras, no Bluetooth extensions and no mystery buttons. The only outstanding details are on the left side, which is where Motorola decided to put all the extra buttons. From the top is a two-button volume control, a wide power button and a removable, but connected face that protects headphone and USB jacks.
The phone screen is about an inch vertically and horizontally, and the buttons take on a space-age blue glow when the phone is in use.
Setup and Use
The Boost Mobile i425 is part of Boost’s popular walkie-talkie series, so calling other people with Boost handsets can be done in a button press. Though it is becoming commonplace, the i425 has surprisingly robust instant messenger capabilities. It supports AOL, MSN and Yahoo! Instant messenger programs, a feature that unfortunately comes at an additional to-be-determined price. Ditto for the MySpace-inspired social network sites Boost Hookt and Boost loopt. While not a spectacular array of options, the Boost Mobile i425 has a solid selection for what could be called at best a non-traditional Smartphone.
Regular phone calls were clear, but sounded a bit “tinny,” probably a result of the tiny listening speaker. It sports a max of three hours talk time, so this isn’t a phone to take on long trips – though to be fair, the i425 does have a solid GPS program, albeit a stripped down one, and people used to more complex programs won’t be impressed. Nevertheless, consider the price of a car charger along with the price of the phone. The standby time is more impressive, lasting up to 120 hours, or about five days.
More concerning is the baby-sized screen. Two-thirds the size of the average pinky, the i425 display takes up a small portion of the phone’s petite surface. The actual resolution is fine. The problems are the colors, with a palate straight from 2002, and the icons, such as battery life and cell reception, which would look fine on a normal phone, but look like munchkins here. Fortunately, this isn’t a true Smartphone, and the main purpose is to make calls, not read websites.
Image Courtesy of Boost Mobile
The phone is cheap – real cheap. The MSRP is $39.95, which makes it an absolute bargain, especially since its IM and GPS functionality could put it into the Smartphone lite category. As mentioned earlier, Boost Mobile is providing just the basics. Add in extra money for the car charger and any special Boost-based applications.
The Boost Mobile i425 feels really good, light and simple, reminiscent of the deceptively complex phones common in Japan – except, of course, the i425 doesn’t have any outstanding hidden features. It will do best with low-maintenance people who like their phones slick and smooth and, perhaps, the former Smartphone lover who’s burnt out on hauling five pound phones. Just don’t expect a whole lot of depth.
• Easy to pick up and use
• Smooth design
• Almost too light
• Tiny screen with tiny graphics
• Premium features cost extra