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Motorola VU204

>> Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Motorola VU204 offers a basic flip phone design, but it goes a long way toward achieving both appeal and ease of use. We like the clean lines and rounded edges, and the soft touch material on the rear face gives the phone a nice feeling in the hand. The battery cover is a bit cumbersome to pry off, but, overall, the VU204 has a sturdy construction. And at 3.54 inches tall by 2.09 inches wide by 0.76 inch thick and weighing 3.4 ounces, the VU204 won't bog you down.

The external display is a bit too small for our tastes (1.05 inches, 96x80 pixels), but it is full color, so it shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID. It also works as a viewfinder for the camera lens, which sits just above. On the left spine, you'll find the volume rocker, a speaker phone control, and a mini USB slot, which accommodates the charger and a USB cable.

The choice of mini USB is interesting, considering Motorola has begun to move to a standard micro USB connection.

On the left spine, you'll fund a voice dialing button and a 2.5mm headset jack. Normally, we'd prefer a 3.5 mm jack. The VU204's single speaker sits on the rear face of the handset.

The VU204's internal display only supports 65,000 colors and has a 220x176 pixel resolution, but it's bright and vibrant, with sharp colors and graphics.

The menus (available in three styles) are easy to use particularly now that Verizon has refined its menu structure.

Our only complaint is that 1.88 inches is a little small for the overall size of the phone. You can change the dialing font size, the brightness, and the back lighting time. The navigation controls, which sit below the VU204's over sized hinge, couldn't have a better design. The arrangement is spacious and the keys have a pleasant tactile feel even if they are relatively flush.

Besides the silver toggle and central OK button, you'll find two soft keys, a camera shutter, a clear key, and the Talk and End or power buttons. The circular toggle also acts as a shortcut to user defined functions. The numeric keypad is equally well designed, with large tactile buttons conducive for dialing and texting. We could dial by feel and the bright back lighting helped in dim situations.


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