Hello Moto: Reviews Versus Performance
Reviewed on Thursday December 29, 2005 by Motorola User, Canada
I was given this phone for Christmas. Upon opening the box, I was very impressed with the look and style of the phone, and I still am. Now, this is my first flip-phone, so perhaps I am easy to impress, and compared to the other reviews for the V551 I've read, you might think I'm the only one who actually likes this phone -- but don't be fooled by what they have to say.
I started reading reviews online on boxing day, curious to see what other people thought of this great phone. Lets just say I wasn't so enthusiastic about it after that. However, as I have been reading the reviews, I have been playing with, and using, my phone. Let me be perfectly clear: most of the reviews are just plain wrong.
Most people who seem to complain about this phone must have used it for a day and immediately wrote a review, as if they knew everything about the phone from their first impressions of it. (I'm not sure what they were thinking, since I was very impressed at first.) For example, one scathing review says that you cannot use the phone while it is charging, and the reviewer said he/she could not figure out how to make it useable while charging. This is absolutely false. It may seem difficult to some, but if you try pressing and holding the 'power on/off' button (as you would turn it on normally) during the charge, the phone will turn on while charging and you will be able to use it. Amazing.
Other people seem to be commenting on the problems they have had with the menu system. Now I cannot comment on the V551 by Cingular, but my V551M (Rogers) is perfectly fine in this respect. Everything in the menu is where it should be. Moreover, you can actually customize all most all of the keys to do what you want. For example, the quick dial can be set to anything you'd like, the same with the soft buttons. So, if you have a problem with some buttons doing this or that, or if you think something should be more easily accessible, you can change it.
Some people seem to be having more difficulties with the charger, like my fellow reviewer on this website. In my experience, it has worked perfectly as it should.
Other complaints people often raise in their reviews involve the signal, speaker phone, or volume. My signal strength is always between 3 or 5. At 3, I can still hear people decently compared to other phones I have used or heard. I'm still using it and testing it, but so far, it has been fine. It's a cell phone, not a land-line, and it will never have that kind of reception. As for the volume, obviously it depends on the circumstances that you are using it. In a noisy place, you might have to turn up the ringer volume to 7, the highest. But in a quiet place, that would be very, very loud. It has actually startled me for being so loud in some places where I forgot to turn down the ringer volume. I have no problems hearing it. If it really bothers you, you can always set it on vibrate, or vibrate and ring, and slip it in your pocket. The speaker is quite good, in my opinion. The speaker phone is also quite good. I have had no problems using it so far. The sound is incredible for that little speaker, and the reception for the mouthpiece is great, too.
As for the battery life, a major sticking point for many people, I have not had any problems so far. I am not going to comment, numerically, on how long it has lasted me, because unlike many of the other reviewers, I know that lithium-ion often require more than one full charge and discharge cycle to reach its potential (It even says this in the user's manual on page 10.) Of course it is going to run down quicker after the first or second, or even third charge. To base the battery quality and phone quality on that is absurd. Right now, I fully believe that the quotes of 4-7 hours of talk-time and 9 days of standby time are accurate, however I have only put my phone through one full charge cycle (I've put it through several smaller charges for testing purposes, like to see if you could actually turn it on and use it while charging) and discharged it entirely only once, so naturally it has not reached its potential yet.
So far, this has been a great phone. Naturally, it has been less than a week since Christmas, and even I do not have the full picture about the complete quality of this phone, but at least I have spent some time using and testing it. Please don't be scared away by inaccurate reviews from people who have used it for one day. In my experience, there has been a complete difference between what the reviewers have said about this phone and its actual performance. I am certainly glad that I received this for Christmas, because had I wanted to purchase it, I would've had read the reviews and changed my mind.