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Motorola Motozine ZN5


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At some point, digital camera makers realized that megapixels aren’t everything; users would rather have features that make the photos, you know, look better. Thankfully, cell phone makers are catching on to this idea as well. The Motorola Motozine ZN5, a 5-megapixel camera phone, includes Kodak’s Perfect Touch technology, which enhances photos with the touch of a button. Moreover, the phone lets users upload to Kodak Gallery on the go. Unfortunately the camera’s so-so print quality, lack of 3G, and fairly high price give us pause.

Lightweight Design

The ZN5’s candy bar design is refreshingly simple. At just 4 ounces it feels light in the hand, and the rubberized bottom makes it easy to grip. The phone is gunmetal gray, with the exception of the shiny purple camera-launch button on the right side. The flat keyboard has tiny metal nubs, which provide good tactile feedback. Above them is a wheel-shaped navigation pad, flanked by answer and end buttons, soft keys, a photo-review button, and a backspace key.

In addition to the camera launch button, the right side of the phone also includes volume control keys as well as a toggle for locking the phone. On the left side is a mini-USB port, covered in rubber. The back of the phone houses the 5-megapixel camera’s lens, which remains covered when not in use, as well as a powerful Xenon flash (more on that later). You must slide open the lens manually whenever you launch the camera.

The layout of the lens and flash make it easy to snap pictures without accidentally obscuring them with your finger, which happens all the time with slider camera phones. One gripe: As beautiful and bright as the 2.4-inch screen is, it picks up fingerprints easily, especially when you’re taking photos.

User Interface

Navigating the ZN5’s interface was a cinch. The on-screen menus are as lean as the phone itself: all of the main menu’s nine icons fit on one screen. We like how colorful they are, and when you highlight one it appears brighter while the rest appear in shadow. In an age when other phones’ complicated touchscreens or touch-sensitive touchpads make it easy to press the wrong icon, the ZN5 makes it easy to click what you want.

On the other hand, we would have liked to see more icons on the main menu. For instance, the Web-browsing icon is buried in the Fun & Apps category, which also includes the camera, video camera, FM radio, and games. From the welcome screen you can press the left soft key to access shortcuts, which includes the Bluetooth menu, alarm, browser, myFaves icons, Create Message, and Quick Connect, which searches for Wi-Fi networks and connects to ones you’ve already configured.

Thanks to Motorola’s ModeShift technology, entering camera mode presents purple icons in scattered areas of the keypad for sharing, deleting, and reviewing photos. This makes these high-level functions accessible without having to enter the Options menu using the left soft key.

Pressing up on the navigation pad brings up recent calls, and if you press down you’ll be prompted to add a contact to T-Mobile’s myFaves, which grants unlimited calling to five people of your choice. To scroll through or edit these contacts, which appear as bubbles on the phone’s welcome screen, press the right or left end of the navigational pad.

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