Compatible with Nextel cell phone service, the ultra-durable Nextel i305 packs all the really necessary features of a modern cell phone into a weatherproof frame that's so hardy, it actually meets military standard durability specs. You'll also get speakerphone functionality, two-way radio capability, voice recording, voice activation, and more.
In our tests, the i305 proved an excellent, practical phone; a serious communication device for users in a rugged work environment, living in harsh weather climates, or just about anyone who needs a sturdy, no frills mobile phone. Hard rubber encasing and interior linings and seals protect the phone’s antenna, speaker, keys, battery door, and accessory connections against water intrusion from rain, sleet, and snow. Further, the Military Standard 810 F certification means that the i305 can also withstand blowing rain, humidity, salt fog, dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, low pressure, and solar radiation.
We powered up the i305 and gave it a few casual drops on to a cement floor. It showed no cosmetic damage, and continued to function normally. Next, we took the phone outside and chucked it about 100 feet onto a wet, sandy sidewalk. The phone bounced and skidded, and continued to function flawlessly. Used with a pair of medium-duty work gloves, the i305's tough keys proved perfect in their size and resistance to depression, and the dedicated volume and push-to-talk buttons were well-placed on the side of the phone.
The i305 also cleaned easily--after use with the muddy gloves, we simply ran it under an outdoor tap. Nextel has wisely provided enough space between the keys and phone body so that dirt rinses out instead of getting stuck in the cracks and jamming the buttons. The i305 also sports an appropriately straightforward and easy to read 6-line, green and black screen, which did not fog or show discernable wear under our damage tests or the water bath.
Testing calling features
Used simply as a phone, we found that the i305 provided clear reception, even when used in a closed-off basement with its extendible antenna retracted. We were also able to intuit our way through most of the menus without the manual, using the 4-way scroll key and two command keys for relatively easy navigation. The speakerphone function, important for the outdoor/industrial user, was plenty loud when set at top volume, and easily accessible with its own little button at the bottom of the set. The phone can also be set to connect to the last Direct Connect call or to a previously assigned Direct Connect contact, by pressing the PTT button. Other calling features include vibrating alert, downloadable voice activation, a two-way radio (walkie talkie) feature, customizable ring tones, a 600-entry phone book, keypad lock, voice mail, call forwarding, call hold, recent calls list, 3-way calling, and a small degree of display customization. The i305 can even be used as a modem.
Testing messaging and Internet
The i305's Mobile Internet connection was relatively fast. Some of the preset Web favorites included menus for Business Tools, Text Messages (read-only), e-mail, and the Web. The Web menu included links to news, weather, travel, finance, entertainment, and a few other handy sites (including MSN, AOL, and MBN Audio portals), all providing content that scrolled out nicely on the clear, uncluttered screen. While navigation was generally quite good on the i305, one very annoying exception was that there was no clear way to go back to the main menu from the Web site areas; we were forced to disconnect from the Web just to perform this function. To add to the confusion, (at least for the uninitiated) use of the Mobile Internet can be a bit obscure, and none of the included documentation covered this topic. That aside, other Web-related features include a variety of okay-sounding ring tones with the option to download others, and the always-handy GPS function (non-Java), which a! llows map downloading and emergency location determination.
Testing Organizer/Fun and Games
The phone's organizer capabilities are limited to time/date, memo, and voice recording capability with additional downloadable software. The usual phalanx of games and optional extras are essentially ignored. Users get Web access to a few minimalist, downloadable games, but again, accessing the games and information on them is not addressed in the included manual. However, in making a buying decision, we found this to be a non-issue. As if it wasn't obvious before, this phone provides function over form, and is not trying to replace your PDA or Gameboy. The one game we did try out was from the Nextel Arcade site; a primitive little game called Bubble Blast, which seemed like something out of a home computer circa 1984.
Conclusion and Vital Statistics
The Nextel i305 is large, weighing 6.63 oz. including the battery, and measuring 5.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 inches. Overall, we found it to be an excellent choice for just about anyone desiring a highly durable, practical cell phone. Unlike most of its contemporaries, it is not designed to appeal to users through its diminutive size, or complex graphic or organizational features. The phone comes with an OEM standard Lithium Ion battery (750 mAh) rated at about 215 minutes talk time and 90 hours standby time. Display language settings include English, Spanish, and French options. A high capacity battery door and a Black Rapid travel charger are also included. --- Erik Hammen
Compatible with Nextel cell phone service, the ultra-durable Motorola i530 packs all the really necessary features of a modern cell phone into the world's first weatherproof clamshell frame. This phone is so hardy, it actually meets military standard durability specs. If that's not enough, there's also Internet access, speakerphone functionality, a 600-entry phone book, voice recording, voice activation, and more.
The i530's Military Standard 810 F certification means that the phone can function normally in environments with high degrees of dust, shock, and vibration. Its hard rubber encasing and interior linings and seals all work to protect the phone’s antenna, speaker, keys, battery door, and accessory connections. The i530 also sports tough, rubberized keys designed to be both easy to use and durable in their size and resistance to accidental depression.
Used simply as a phone, the i530 sports a handy 4-way scroll key and two command keys for relatively easy navigation. It also includes a speakerphone function, important for the outdoor/industrial user, which has its own dedicated key. In its closed position, the i530's external screen lets you preview calls before you answer. The phone can also be set to connect to the last Direct Connect call or to a previously assigned Direct Connect contact, by pressing the PTT button. Other calling features include vibrating alert, downloadable voice activation (allowing users to speak a command or number and the phone will respond without a key being touched), recent calls list, call hold, call waiting, a 600-entry phone book, and keypad lock.
Messaging and Internet
The i530 includes basic text messaging, and its Net services include access to news, weather, entertainment, and other Mobile Net-enabled sites, as well as downloadable ring tones, and the always-handy GPS support (for non-Java services such as Mobile Locator).
The i530 also provides time/date notification, an accessory connector cover that enhances the phone's durability by protecting the bottom accessory connector from dust and debris, a headset jack for direct plug-in without an adaptor, and English, French, and Spanish language settings.
The Motorola i530 weighs 6.63 oz. including the battery, and measures 3.6 x 2.0 x 1.1 inches. The phone comes with an OEM standard Lithium Ion battery (750 mAh) rated at about 165 minutes talk time and 75 hours standby time. A travel charger is also included.