The Motorola v60c is a magical and amazing blend of cutting edge technology, high style and tremendous vision. The phone is much smaller than my Motorola Timeport 8767 — it looks and feels about half the size — and it has better earpiece volume and a stronger vibrating alert as well. I find it funny that one sort of alert is labeled as “Ring and Vibrate” when it really works the other way around: The phone first vibrates and then rings.

Feature Rich
The phone can store 400 contacts. I don’t like that if you have an email address and a home phone number and a mobile number for one person each of those contact numbers are entered as separate entries in your phone book. If you have four contact points for 100 people, your phone book will be filled.

The 32 ring tone choices are a great and fun expansion from the standard eight included in the 8767. “Bombs Away!” is my current ring of choice for all calls. The calendar feature is a neat idea but tiresome to use and execute. The aluminum outer shell of the phone is sleek and smooth and feels magnificent in your hand as it warms or cools to your body temperature.

The external display is a godsend. Now we can finally see alerts and information and the date and time when the phone is in the closed position. It’s also a bit funny that in the open position the external display turns the information window upside down so “Motorola” can be read right side up by those on the street looking to see the brand of phone you’re using.

CALL TIMERS
Another improvement — albeit a possibly tricky one — is how the 60c handles call timing. The old way Motorola counted time spent on a call was by minute alone. You never knew for certain precisely how many minutes or portions of minutes you were using. The call timer in the 60c counts time spent in hours and minutes and seconds! That’s a lovely touch but you will need to recalculate your thinking when it comes to discerning how many minutes you’ve used on your calling plan.

While Motorola have changed the way airtime is recorded, Verizon Wireless has not. If you’re on a 600 minute plan, you will need to know the cut off on the 60c will be at 10 hours. If you’re on a 1,300 minute plan like I am then you need to realize the 60c will translate those minutes into 21.66 hours! I much prefer the precise second by second, minute by minute and hour by hour tracking of the 60c. I feel in control of exactly what’s happening with my calling plan when.

I do wish there were a button I could push to count my “promotional minutes” since I have 2,000 weekend minutes (or 33.33 hours!) to spend each month. The current call timer on the 60c lumps all minutes into your total monthly time. I have no real interest in tracking my weekend minutes and then subtracting them from my total plan time.

Details
I changed my Banner to read “David Boles.” A shortcut trick to getting a capital letter to fire is to hold down the button for a moment and that will toggle between lowercase and caps.

I changed my startup Greeting to read “Breathe” since I’m big into Qigong, Ashtanga Yoga and Kuang Ping Yang T’ai Chi. We are our breath. It’s great to watch the phone power up and then flash, for a moment, a “Breathe” reminder as the phone cycles on.

The chunky AC adapter bundled with the phone is a joke. If you want a small and thin AC adapter like the 7868w and the 8767, you have to buy it from Motorola for around $20.

The screen is a bit dim. You can read it, however, in bright sunlight unlike the 8767 screen. You can also read the display in ambient light conditions without the backlight on unlike the 7878w.

With only three bars of signal strength showing during an indoor field test in the Bronx, I ran the phone through a single two hour and twenty minute conversation without the battery dying. That’s a truly impressive time for such a small phone using the bundled battery. The bigger XT battery is a must purchase for me, though, and I plan to get it as soon as it becomes available.

I enjoy the return of the Voice Recorder. I had that feature way back during my Motorola Ultra Elite days and I’ve missed it. The Voice Recorder option has been expanded. In addition to making voice notes and recording both sides of a conversation, you can use it to Voice Dial 20 names in your address book and it really does work well! Unfortunately, unlike my Ultra Elite, the Voice Recorder does not double as a built-in answering machine.

Design
The new Motorola user interface is much kinder than the old menu chain and moving around the phone’s functions is now nearly intuitive instead of hard and obtuse. In addition to bigger function buttons and a lovely key click that is easy to ignite, another big change is the antenna.

The antenna on the v60c is stubby and telescoping. Half the antenna dives into the body when retracted and the other half moves into the rubber stub sticking out of the top of the phone.

I can’t say I’m totally enthralled with the new antenna. It can be difficult to get it to “telescope” twice when you’re in a hurry. While there is great temptation to NOT pull out the antenna while making a call, you simply must. Your sending and reception will be cleaner and your phone won’t get hot. For 30 minutes I made a call with the antenna retracted. The phone got quite hot! I then let the phone rest for 30 minutes and made a second 30 minute call with the antenna in full salute. The phone stayed cool. The old Motorola chestnut still rings true with this phone: Leave your antenna down and you cook your phone!

Since this new antenna is so funky I am certain I will break it off sooner than later. I called Motorola accessories to order a spare antenna as I did for my 8767 and my 7868w before it. I was shocked and disappointed to learn that Motorola now refuses to sell antennas to end users like you and me!

The saleswoman said there are too many things that can go wrong with a home installation of a replacement antenna and since the antenna is so vital to the proper safe operation of the phone, Motorola only sells replacement antennas (for all their phones) directly to service centers. I find that argument a bit silly, but I’m sure Motorola needs to protect themselves from lawsuits with the growing debate between cellular phones and brain cancer. I’m also certain their service centers enjoy the easy cash cow business of replacing bent and broken antennas.

I like the heft of the phone. It sits solidly in your hand. If you happen to bump the phone while it is closed, you can feel a bit of a rubbery feedback from within — as if there are shock absorbers inside the phone cushioning it from any damage. I have a concern about dropping the phone on concrete — the aluminum body is likely to get dented and scratched. The old plastic Motorola phones like the StarTAC series were made from the same material that football helmets are made from and that made them tough and indestructible. The metal body has a monumental and serious advantage over the plastic bodies, though. Your soft tissue is protected from the antenna radiation much better by aluminum than football helmet plastic.

The phone clicks when it opens. I’m not used to that sound from a Motorola phone. The hinge also has some play but that’s how it is designed: You don’t want your phone so tightly made that there’s no give when you open and close the clamshell. No one can precisely close and open a phone quickly on exactly the same hinge path every time.

Verizon
My Motorola 60c is on the Verizon Network in New York City. I paid $419 for the phone with a one year contract. That price on the phone may seem high but keep in mind three weeks ago folks were shelling out $1,600 for the phone on eBay in order to be the first one on the block to own this cellular jewel. In a month, the price will likely drop a hundred dollars. The phone works great on the Verizon network while making calls. The voice is bassy. The volume is loud. Other folks can hear me just fine.

Mobile Web
In addition to voice service, I also have Verizon’s web browser set up on my phone. Verizon’s Mobile Web has always had problems sending and receiving email in the New York City area for some reason. On my 7868w, the browser interface was sluggish and mail was wonky. On my 8767, the web was blisteringly fast and email was sometimes even robust! On my 60c, I fear the web interface is the slowest of all. Clunky, even. I cannot send email from my phone via the web. Data Support at Verizon told me I needed a software upgrade for my phone and to call any Verizon store to get it done. I was disappointed to learn only two Verizon stores in Manhattan have the ability to flash new software into a phone.

Mobile Messenger
The 60c is capable of receiving and sending two way text messages. Despite the 120 character limit for text messages, I am extremely pleased with the lightning-fast delivery and reception of text messages because it is, for all practical purposes, instantaneous. Two Way Text Messaging works just like a pager. It is a great feeling to know I don’t have to time out waiting for my browser to respond in order to send and get quick, small, messages.

Another feature of text messaging on this phone that is quite keen is its ability to send and receive text messages while you are talking on the phone! You cannot get or send text messages or speak or receive phone calls while the web browser is active and that is a major disappointment. I enjoy reading the weather and news on my phone via the web browser, but if I need to reliably get and receive a message, I’m going to “Two Way” it via text messaging with my phone. You can send and receive a text message to and from any phone or email address.

Text Input
iTap text input is supposed to help predict what you’re going to type before you type it to save you keying in a word letter by letter. iTap doesn’t work well. I never really figured out why you would prefer to use iTap over the regular course of just pressing keys until the character or number you want pops up. iTap did not predict me well. Perhaps I just use strange words.

FM Radio
The 60c can also bring you the soothing sounds of FM radio via an FM headset that also doubles as a headset for making and receiving calls. Some Verizon shops are giving away the $60 FM radio headset with a new contract while other shops are requiring you make the FM radio headset purchase as a separate accessory.

At first blink, the FM radio accessory sounds terrific. You can listen to the radio using your 60c! The implementation, however, is clunky. The FM radio attachment is a ganglia of wires. A large and chunky connector plugs into the base of the phone. That connector has a thick 18″ wire that is so massive that it comes with its own wraparound velcro strap!

That thick pipe of a wire connects to a 3″x1.5″ volume control/shirt clip. That giant clip must be were the guts of the radio are stored. From that giant clip a slightly thinner version of the thick wire continues up another 18″ to a small connector that holds the microphone and a button that will answer and disconnect a phone call you want to place or receive while using the radio.

Then, incredibly, there are two too-thin wires that branch out to connect to two ear buds. I have no idea why the ear bud wires are so thin when every other wire is thick with overkill. The ear bud wires will not last very long because they are neither strong or robust.

Does the radio work? Yes! When the radio headset is connected to the 60c your right function key accesses the radio. You can set station presets with the press of a single button. You tune the radio with the arrow rocker keys. If you get a call while you’re listening to the radio you can choose to take the call or ignore it. The idea of an FM radio is fantastic but the physical implementation is not. The FM radio is powered by the phone’s battery so beware that listening to tunes may dramatically chow your talk and standby times.

Conclusion
The Motorola 60c is a great, ground-breaking, phone. I love the size and functionality. The design is inspired flawlessness. I give the Motorola 60c the highest possible GO INSIDE Magazine Review Light rating of five out of five green lights.

(all green)