Motorola U9 Preview - Rock N Roll Pebl

By: Darren Evans

You may remember the original Motorola PEBL; it was released shortly after the V3 RAZR, as an alternative to all that flat pointy-ness, a phone for people that wanted a small flip, but one that had some actual depth. It wasn't precisely feature packed, but was advertised as a mid to low budget model with its emphasis on looks and solid performance rather than unique features.

The Motorola U9 looks to take this form and seriously update it. Gone is the magnetic slide lock of old, meaning the handset can now safely be put in your pocket with your credit cards and in comes a very funky front colour screen, which is somehow embedded into the front plastic, so subtle that when it's off you would not know its there. This screen lights up when the phone is closed to show the clock, or when playing music to indicate track details. If you've never seen this before, this is what an OLED screen does and as a novelty it is very cool. In addition to this, Motorola have added touch sensitive controls on the front, which if they work in the same fashion as the ones on the RAZR2, should not get selected by items in your pocket, but this obviously needs to be confirmed.

Motorola have obviously worked hard on the looks of this model and to be fair they seem to have got it right for once, at least it's not as controversial as many of their other attempts. They have also beefed up some of the other features, most notably adding microSD support, as expandable memory was sadly lacking in the original U6. The rest of the features are not particularly groundbreaking, however they have also been upgraded from the first unit, to bring it to a respectable level. As such you can now expect to see a 2 megapixel camera with video capture, but no auto-focus or flash, music player supporting most common formats, Bluetooth 2 (with A2DP and AVRCP compatibility) and Quad-band signal (but no 3G).

The music player appears to be one of the features that Motorola wish to emphasize, making good use of that impressive front display and touch sensitive keys. With the expandable memory, and bundled stereo headset, we hope that the sound quality is enough to compete against the likes of Nokia and Sony-Ericsson. If it can, thanks to its designed integration with Windows Media Player 11, it may well give those two manufacturers a run for their money, it certainly manages to look better than most of the efforts out there.

Overall the Motorola U9 appears to be a solid mid-range mobile phone and like its predecessor, whilst it might not wow people technically, if it works ok, its looks and music features should see this model selling very well.

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