Motorolas much-hyped "iTunes phone," the ROKR E1, is a compact triband GSM phone with a lot of fun features, not least of which is the ability to sync up with the same iTunes software on your PC that you use with iPod devices. Based heavily on Motorolas fine E398 handset, the ROKR E1 weighs 3.9 ounces and measures up at 4.3 by 1.8 by 0.83 inches. It has a pearl-white exterior finish that houses a pair of stereo polyphonic speakers, a 262k color display, and a good, video-capable VGA camera with flash, as well as a nice keypad and dedicated camera and volume controls.
The keypad offers a good feel, and the green and red call control keys and joystick are sufficiently separated from the rest of the keys to keep from being pressed accidentally. The joystick offers has good action and is accurate, but its chrome finish can sometimes be a bit slick. A dedicated music button directly left of the menu key launches the iTunes application.
The iTunes app lets you play music and playlists that have been transferred over to the ROKR E1 from your desktop computer. The music is stored on the included 512 MB microSD memory card. Even though a card of that capacity could hold more 120 or more tracks, the iTunes application on the ROKR E1 is limited to a maximum of 100 songs. The phone does support the swapping of multiple 512 MB cards, though, meaning that you can have up to 100 songs on each of the fingernail-sized memory cards.
I enjoyed the fact that iTunes syncs up the album art for each song and that the ROKR E1 displays that album in not only the iTunes application, but also on the standby screen when iTunes has been minimized. When iTunes is running in the background in this way, the joystick can be used to control the playback, which is handy.
The iTunes application on the ROKR is much like that on a regular iPod. You can access your music by playlist, album, artist, or individual song name. You can listen to the music through the included stereo headset, or you can use the included adapter to make use of your own headphones. If you wish to share the music experience, you can play the music through the built-in stereo speakers, which offer surprisingly good sound for their size. The ROKR should be good for up to 8 hours of music when played through the speakers and 15 hours if used with a headset.
The ROKR E1 offers an "airplane mode" that will turn off the main GSM phone system so that you can safely use the device on a flight. When on, the phone module can run for up to 8 hours of talk time or several days of standby time. Bear in mind that all aspects of the phone use the same battery, so if you play music through the speakers for 4 hours, you will only be able to get about 4 hours of talk time from the ROKR. Overall call reception was good, and the audio was very clear.
Other highlights include Bluetooth support for mono headset, data connections, a full featured contacts system, and a nice calendar application. Motorolas Rhythm Lights system, first seen on the V80, are a lot of fun at parties and bars since the multicolor lights behind the speaker grills, the keypad, and display backlights will glow and pulsate in sync with the sound in the room. Motorolas haptics system, which vibrates the phone in time with the sound from games, ringtones, and music apps, also provides some good entertainment.
The Motorola ROKR E1 is a good solid phone, and can be a handy addition to your music-playing arsenal for those times when you just cant afford to carry around a separate music device.
* iTunes support
* 100 song iTunes limit
Whats in the Box:
It Rings and Sings
As Easy As It Sounds
* Install iTunes desktop software
* Use the iTunes key on your phone to access your music
Never Miss a Beat
* Pause music when you need to take a call
* The first phone to feature Apple iTunes software
* Size (LWH): 3.43 inches, 1.75 inches, 0.91 inches
* Network Compatibility: GSM