While Nextel phones aren’t known for being sleek, the Motorola Stature i9 is both compact in size and robust in content. The Internet browser is surprisingly weak, but otherwise the i9 is one of the better phones for Nextel connections, camera functionality and easy of use.
Features & Design
The Motorola Stature i9 is a flip phone and is about four inches by two inches when closed. It is a thin half inches when closed as well – very small for a flip phone, and particularly a smartphone at that – and has a silver top and a black, tactile bottom. It is only three and a half ounces, but the heavy bottom gives it a solid weight when put down.
The closed shell has a colorful touchscreen on top. Open the phone and a regular screen, about two and a half inches tall, is found on the upper portion, while the bottom is dedicated to an extensive keypad. The keypad includes the traditional phone keys, but above are also six special keys and a rotary pad a la the iPod. From the top, the special keys are shortcuts for two context-sensitive buttons, a menu button, an Internet button, a green/go button and a red/stop/power button.
The left side has a speaker button, the volume keys, the Nextel direct connect button and the charge connector hole. The right side has the menu key, a sliding key lock and a camera button. The rest of the Stature i9 is clean, aside from the camera lens and flash on the back of the phone.
The Stature i9 uses Motorola’s exclusive IDEN (integrated digital enhanced network) network and is available on both Boost Mobile and Sprint.
Motorola Stature i9
Setup & Use
The Stature i9 doesn’t come with a great deal of accessories for a smartphone, but it really doesn’t need that many, either. In the box are the phone, a wall plug, a thick instruction booklet and a thin getting started guide. Thankfully, the starter pamphlet is enough to cover the very basics.
The start-up screen is quite simple, consisting of the time and date in large letters. Despite the number of keys, most of the basic functions can be accessed by the rotary dial. Press up for ring tones, right for apps, down for recent calls and left for all media. The two nearby softkeys go to contacts (for phone numbers) and messages, which includes voice mail and email.
Media options include the Internet, multimedia, messages and more – about a dozen different items total. Web surfing functions performing well enough, but the simplified view is more akin to that found non-smartphones than the full HTML available on the i9’s competitors. There are no quick keys or “www.” shortcuts, so new web URLs must be typed by pressing the keypad multiple times. When it comes to browser visuals, two display options are given – a standard vertical view and a “widescreen” for more natural Web views. Oddly though, there is no mock accelerometer/horizontal view option, so widescreen lovers will be stuck scrolling back and forth instead of using the longer width in an otherwise horizontal-friendly phone.
A definite strength is that most features can be accessed when the Stature i9 is closed. Flip the top down, turn it horizontal with right side up and you practically have a new phone. When closed, the two highlighted functions are the camera and the multimedia displays.
The camera is a strong 3.1 megapixel model with 8x digital zoom and flash. It runs like the average point-and-shoot digital camera – hold down the camera button halfway to set the shot, then press it all the way down to take the shot. Pics and videos can be deleted, saved or sent via email or SMS as attachment. Better yet, using a proprietary Motorola system called ModeShift, the previously docile border turns into a grid lit with icons for photo library viewing, deletion, camera close, rewind, play/pause and forward. The lit icons are responsive and relatively intuitive.
The multimedia displays when closed are an abbreviated list of the menu screen available when the i9 is open, including recent calls, camera/camcorder and music. Lit rewind, play/pause and forward icons appear below the screen via the aforementioned ModeShift.
The Stature i9 also has specific Nextel features. The most notable one is through the direct connect button – located on the left side of the phone – which allows immediate conversations with up to 20 parties (not unlike a walkie talkie).
Finally, music and videos are downloadable through the chosen network, Boost Mobile or Sprint. (An independent GPS program and other software programs are also downloadable.) The phone doesn’t come with a mini-USB cord to transfer items from your computer, nor an earphone/earphones to listen in private – those are sold separately. That said, the Stature i9 has a solid dual-stereo speaker system and supports stereo Bluetooth.
The Motorola Stature i9 is $399.99 MSRP – on the higher side of the smartphone scale – and available through both Boost Mobile and Sprint. Boost Mobile offers an instant discount of $100, dropping the Stature i9 price to $299.99. Meanwhile, Sprint offers an instant discount of $150 as well as a mail-in rebate for $50, making the Stature i9 $199.99. The Sprint prices are based on a 2-year contract and vary with month-to-month and annual commitments. More information is available at boostmobile.com and sprint.com, respectively.
The Stature i9 is a good looking, easy to use phone with a fairly intuitive design. The biggest flaw is the awkward Web browser that seems locked somewhere in 2005 – something that will be an issue with smartphone veterans. That said, when the cool camera, light frame and Nextel network are added to the equation, the good features definitely outweigh the bad on Motorola’s latest handset.
- Thin design
- Slick icon setup
- Easy to use
- Good camera
- Lack of included peripherals
- Clunky Internet browser