Hands on review of Motorola ROKR Apple iTunes mobile phone

“The ROKR entered into my posession this Saturday. My wife and I visited the Cingular store in Dallas… The hardware is E398 technology – Motorola’s flagship MP3 playing phone. The phone has a weight and size I really like. It’s easy to handle. It’s also just gorgeous to look at – The white and chrome industrial design really integrates well with the iTunes interface. For those who have been bashing it as a ‘has-been’ technology, I challenge you to find a ‘bleeding edge’ phone that has speaker sound quality that’s as good. Granted, I’m not going to be playing it much without headphones, but Motorola has outdone itself on built-in speaker sound,” Micah Boswel writes for Conscious-Shell.

“The ROKR comes with some very cool light options – the side grills reveal about 5 color options, and one can choose how those light up and when – a very nice aesthetic touch that turns your phone into a ‘Communications, Music Playing Glow Stick,'” Boswel writes. “Aside from the new iTunes software on the ROKR, the firmware is basically an E398… The iTunes interface is familiar and beautiful. You get it in gorgeous color – the Motorola screens are just unbeaten in contrast and brightness, even outdoors. You get the album cover as well as the other iTunes song/track/album notes. Another nice touch – when you get a call, iTunes playing automatically pauses (One small suggestion to Firmware engineers for future releaseses would be that, once your call is done, the device should by default start playing again). The iTunes interface also carries over to your default screen (home screen) when it’s active. It’s obvious that the interface and hardware engineers worked well together on these issues.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Motorola ROKR iTunes-enabled mobile phone greeted with cool response – September 12, 2005
If Apple isn’t working on their own iPhone, they’re making a stupid mistake – September 12, 2005
Music phones pose no threat to Apple iPod – September 09, 2005
Does Apple need a mobile phone of its own design? – September 09, 2005
USA Today: Motorola ROKR iTunes mobile phone provides ‘snazzy’ first impression – September 08, 2005
NYT’s Pogue: Motorola ROKR iTunes phone ‘great-sounding, reasonably priced and a lot of fun’ – September 08, 2005
Apple’s iPod nano will make competitors whimper, Motorola’s ROKR inexplicably bland – September 07, 2005
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘iPod Nano is a hit,’ Motorola ROKR ‘simply doesn’t have enough Apple in it’ – September 07, 2005
Apple announces Motorola ROKR iTunes phone, Cingular partnership, iTunes 5 – September 07, 2005
Apple, Motorola & Cingular debut world’s first iTunes mobile phone – September 07, 2005
Motorola ROKR Apple iTunes mobile phone availability dates for Europe, North America, and Asia – September 07, 2005


  1. Everyone has their own opinions of the ROKR phone. Personally, I went to Cingular to purchase the phone and thought it was ugly (a major disappointment for a product that Apple had a hand in).

    I ended up thanking Cingular for their support of Apple/iTunes music format (If I were to buy a phone with music capabilities I wouldn’t want anything else) and ended up buying a black RAZR. I love the look of the RAZR, but Motorola should ask for Apple’s help with the UI (it’s not very user friendly and the defaults chosen for buttons are odd – not sure if that’s Cingular or Motorola’s fault – but they can be changed).

    It’s funny, my two biggest gripes about the ROKR are things the author of the original review liked… Specifically, the external speakers (just what we need MORE NOISE polution – one persons idea of music is anothers headache – keep your music to yourself when out in the public) and the lighting effects (tacky, tacky, tacky… in my opinion).

  2. “(One small suggestion to Firmware engineers for future releaseses would be that, once your call is done, the device should by default start playing again).”

    It sure seemed like that’s what they were trying to make it look like in the ad I saw last night. I guess you can’t really call them on it, since they don’t actually show the girl using any buttons on the phone up close, but the music sure seemed to resume pretty instantaneously.

    Maybe they need a disclaimer like “Not a flying toy.” for Buzz Lightyear.

  3. Dave,

    I bet the ROKR can be used as an alarm clock therefore good speakers make perfect sense. Also, good sounding music as a ringer is way better than all of the crap I hear all day long from other cells.

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