Friday, June 08, 2007

Motorola w370

First off, the basics: call quality, battery life, and build quality.

For the first point, I have no complaints. It's not the best phone in the world as far as call quality and reception, but the speaker is good and loud enough, whether you want speakerphone or just regular calling, and reception is very much on the good side. It's not a Nokia 6010, but again, it's not bad at all.

As to battery life, I was a little disappointed with the phone. Granted, I played with ringtones on meximum volume for an hour or maybe I could have had another day of standby time, but I estimate that regular users will get about 3 1\2 days out of this phone if they don't talk a ton on it. For GSM, that's not great. But then again, if you find the right drivers you can grab any old mini-USB cable and charge your phone that way, as that's one of the ports on the phone (the other is the headset port...each one is protected by a rubber flap that isn't quite easy to get off, near the bottom of the phone).

On build quality, this phone pretty much blows me away, but for the keypad, which actually isn't half bad once you "break it in". "Razr on a budget" is about what this phone is built like. Budget meaning it's all-plastic, but it has a decent amount of heft to it, and it's decently thin, too.
I have zero complaints about build quality on this phone...there has been NO "hinge wobble" that has haunted all the flips I've had, and the fit and finish of this phone are in my opinion just as good as that of phones costing 2-3x as much. Yes, I'm singing praises of a phone that isn't even really made by Motorola, but honestly if Compal (who makes these phones) can turn out this kind of build quality on all their flips I'd rather them build the phone hardware! The absence of a caller ID screen on the phone, which leaves the front a huge black shiny plastic monolith with silver on the sides (and a Motorola logo in the middle toward the Tracfone logo except on the removable backplate), gives the phone an even better chance at style because low-end caller ID screens are...low-end. Instead, you get a amber\green LED icon when you have incoming or missed calls, a blue LED icon when you have new messages and an amber LED telling you if you're charging the phone's battery or if it's low, going from top to bottom. These LEDs are perfectly invisible when not on (lovely seemingly scratch-resistant black plastic face) and perfectly sharp when on...I dig it. Cooler than my Cyclops's lo-fi external screen.

But before I forget, the keypad is very shallow-pitch, relatively unresponsive (get ready to hit it hard with your fingers when punching in numbers and texts) and seemingly made out of cheap rubber that's thin enough to cut with a sharp fingernail. But I've had no such problems, and the styling of the keypad fits with the phone, in case that's what you're worrying about...and it's not THAT much of a pain to use in and of itself.

Feature-wise, this phone can do everything a Tracfone can possibly do except take pictures...which isn't much. But what it does, it does pretty well, borrowing it suser interface from the Motorola c261 sans camera plus another ringtone or two...and a mysterious "additional storage area" for what I know not. But there's one big difference between this phone and the c261, interface-wise: for some wierd reason, the UI on the w370...mine at least...reminds me of that on the Marbl: slow. However, it's a lot...A LOT...more "lush" and friendly than the spartan Kyocera user interface, so it's not all bad. Just keep in mind that if you're fast at punching in numbers or text messages, the phone may not be able to keep up with you onscreen.
But yes, the w370 is a bit of a flagship phone at the moment, what with its KRZR-esque form factor (big "chin", narrow profile, relatively thin), and its general quality, but for the keypad and overall speed, lie up to its position. I daresay that this phone is twice as loud, if half as fast, as my Kyocera Cyclops, particularly on ringers. About as loud, I think, as the Nokia 2126, which is no slouch in the territory...though of course not as loud as the typical Nextel\Boost Mobile phone. Again, the user interface is a slightly cheapened copy of Motorola's usual interface, so it can be confusing at times, but if you know Motorola you definately know this phone, as opposed to working with the v170 or similar. And of course the phone has a very decently-sized screen to show this UI on...not particularly high-resolution, but not any lower than any other phone on mainstream prepaid.

...and it's on Tracfone, which represents a step forward for that company, into the realm of hones that are actually a bit on the classy side. So, aside from the phone speed issue, which may or may not be limited to just my phone but is on the minor side...I give this phone a solid thumbs up. And, I'll bet, so will whoever wins it come Sunday!


Chris said...

You say the battery isn't great, but I'd beg to differ. My battery was similar to yours at first. If you do as though recommended (fully charging and discharging twice) the battery becomes quite excellent. I fully charged it over a week ago and it just yesterday went down to 2 bars on battery. I have talked, texted, played games, and got on the web several times from this phone in that period. Call quality is also amazing, but then again I live in an area where AT&T rules so I get great service and coverage most everywhere.

Anonymous said...

so is it hard to text? is it almost like you have to hit the button you want twice to get the corrct letters up and stuff? and does it have apps?

Anonymous said...

yeah, does it have apps?

Anonymous said...

can you preview ringtones from the phone?

Anonymous said...

can you buy ringtones with tracfone minutes? when will it be available for net10?

Anonymous said...

"and a mysterious "additional storage area" for what I know not."

I believe this is storage on the SIM card. It can be used for wallpaper/screen savers, and probably ringtones. I have mailed j-pegs to the phone, but it will not let me send mp3 files - I guess the ringtones need to be in a different format.

Anonymous said...

Just to answer some of the earlier questions. It isn't hard to text persay, it just takes a fraction of a second for the buttons to do something, so it's a slow factor, not a hard to do factor.

Yes, it has small, nothing really that big, apps like a calculator/currency converter, an alarm, and lantern, and a few other I can't think of off the top of my head right now.

You can preview ringtones on the phone by just scrolling over them when selecting a ringtone, or go under the multimedia->sound menu and scroll through and play them there. Same goes for pictures/screensavers. Unless you mean can you preview them on the net, I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that one.

yes you can buy ringtones with tracfone minutes through it's online browser, average cost I'd say is about 7-8 units for more popular songs, though the ones I saw were polyphonic and not mp3 that I know of. But since you have to use the browser to view it you are also using up minutes that way.

Text messaging with the w370 is .3 units sending and .3 receiving, and the browser is .5 units per minute.

My guess as to why you can't email mp3's is because they probably want you to download the songs instead of being able to put your own on there, though if you can get your phone connected to your computer I'm sure you can put some on that way.

Emily said...

I read somewhere that you can picture message. How do you do that, seeing as the phone does not have a camera?

Anonymous said...

I have a W370 Tracfone and I bought a mini USB to USB cable to try to upload my own MP3 ringtones, but ths far I have been unable to get Windows to recognize the device. I have read the Tracfone locked it down. But I figure if I reseach enough I will probably be able to find a hack.

As for the phone itself, for the price I love it. It works great, my reception is good as compared to some phones I've used. And it looks expensive, eventhough its cheap.

Anonymous said...

I have had this phone now,for about 2 months.I have been a previous Tracfone customer with older phones.(Since i have horrible cridit)
This phone is the most capable of Tracfones yet.As far as the battery I would have to agree.It takes 3 hours to charge, and only 4 days of life.
As to the browser,its slow as well.If your on a budget I suggest reframming from using it.I would go online first to save you mins.

randyp5 said...

The TracFone Motorola W370 will NOT connect to your computer. Tracfone has disabled that feature to prevent people from flashing the phone. It sucks because I have 230 names and phone numbers I cannot transfer.

Anonymous said...

Yes you can do picture messaging because the phone can store pictures, and the picture messaging is MMS (multimedia messaging system) which is just basically a fancy word for phone email where you can send some pictures and songs, though some of the preloaded stuff is locked out on your phone and you cannot send it. It does it too for downloaded multimedia.

The browser can only go to tracfone's page so it is not worth using it unless you feel like wasting a bunch of units looking for ringtones and wallpapers that can all be found using a pc on tracfone's website, where you only have to pay for what you download and the download time...

And just to reiderate, Tracfone blocked the USB functionality not only to try and prevent flashing, but to make it so you would have to use up minutes to add things to your phone. MP3s can only be downloaded by using the browser or using a pc with internet off the tracfone website. midis and pictures can be sent to your phone by emailing them to your phone as attachments, and then need to be downloaded.
email to use:
should work

Anonymous said...

8-27-07 Net10 has released its version of the W370. I just ordered mine and it will be arriving in three days. I'm sure it will be easy to create my own mp3 tones and compress them to small files so I can have many to choose from.

Brian said...

I can send midi files as ringtones and jpegs as pictures. I would love to be able to send mp3's too. I will continue my search as to how to do this.

I wonder, is there any way to trick the phone into thinking that an mp3 file is a midi?

JJ said...

You can use a site called phonezoo to create your opwn ringtones, and then use the WAP of this phone to access the WAP version of phonezoo. There you can download your selfmade ringtones, in MP3 format. You can, though, still email MIDI files to it, though it blocks MP3's, even if someone texts it to you.

I still don't know why they disabled the USB capability of the phone, no file managing here, but if you download the driver for the phone from motorola's site, you can charge it, so its a nice feature if your on the road witha fully charged laptop, and no way to charge the phone.

Matt said...

Brian just convert your mp3 to an midi.

Anonymous said...

On Motorola phones, the center menu button is not also the select key? On the c139, you press the menu button to open the menu, but then you have to use the left soft key to select, which is kind of odd. Thank you for letting me know if other Moto phones are like that also.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What about storing your MP3s and stuff on the SIM card using a SIM card reader/writer USB drive?
Would the phone allow you to use the MP3s stored from the SIM card?

Anonymous said...

How to change mp3 to MIDI? Anyone

Anonymous said...

Im not sure if anyone else is having problems with this, but ive had friends trying to send me Pictures, and all the Phone does is give em a red x after there downloaded and wont show them, But thats my only complaint. If anyone knows how to fix that lil problem for the tracfone version id like to know, But for a tracfone phone its pretty good

Anonymous said...

You pretty much CAN'T convert mp3 to MIDI. Mp3 is digitized sound. MIDI is like sheet music. It's fairly easy to read sheet music to make the sound, but very hard to listen to a recording and figure out the notes. AFIK there's no program that does this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the info you've shared here.

I'm getting set up with Tracfone to use as a business phone. The first thing that happened was that I broke up with my boyfriend, and he walked out the door with my brand new, and minute-fat, phone. Figured out how to cut it off on him, I think.

Anyhow, sounds like this new Motorola w370 is several steps up from what I bought for $20.00.

Since tracfone is offering double minutes, it might be worth the purchase for me.

Thanks ya'll!

Mary Jane Alsup said...

My other phone is a blue Razr, so this might be a good option for me.

Going to use my tracfone number as a business phone for my web site. Glad to find a special promotion that works for me.

Thanks for all the info!

Anonymous said...

Paid $49.99 at Wal-mart with double minutes included. Has any one tried the $10 software on eBay to unlock the USB?

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone

Just bought the Tracfone w370 motorola, wanted to unlock it and take it to europe. do you think its feasible? thanks a lot

Anonymous said...

I have a Motorola W370 and plugged it into a cord that was connected to the USB port on my office computer.

After I did that the phone will not recharge the battery. All I recieve is a "Unable to Charge" message.

I have tried a different battery and the phone will not recharge that battery either.

I place my battery in a different phone and it recharged easily.

I bought another W370 and used it to recharge my battery until I unintentionaly plugged that W370 into the USB cord. Now that phone will not recharge a battery either.

I called tech support and both times I called I had to talk to un-informed tech supporters that could only apologize repeatedly and offer to send a new phone.

Anyone have any ideas on what is wrong and how did plugging into the USB cause the 2 phones to stop charging the battery?


Anonymous said...

I AM USING A CORD From my fugifilm camera usb

I sent my self a picture via text and saved it to personal storage
then when i plugged in the cord it asked me to remove the cord and plug in on main screen so i did so and it came up as MS drive G:\ worked for me so peace