Motorola ROKR Z6

June 19th, 2007

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When I first became interested in phones Motorola’s most popular phone was the StarTac. It was a nice phone but you’d have to read the manual before you could use it. Soon after this they brought out their Synergy interface. Synergy was pretty awesome at the time; customizable menu system, more menu icons, assignable shortcuts, menu animations, etc.

Synergy is still with us (ie it’s in the Motorola RAZR) and it’s has been updated numerous times along the way. However it’s starting to get dated and clunky.

Times have changed and now Motorola has their new Linux/Java interface. It used to be called Moto JUIX or just JUIX. What’s cool about Linux/Java is that it actually uses Java on top of Linux. So here’s Motorola’s newest Linux/Java phone – the ROKR Z6.

Make sure you check out the gallery for some pictures.

Physical Impressions:

The Z6 feels fairly solid when you hold it in your hand. It has a slight heft to it. The front and bottom of the unit flexes a tiny bit. The back has the same sort of rubberized paint you’ll find on the KRZR. The front of the phone is plastic with a piano black finish.

It runs a Java based interface on top of Linux so it has a different interface compared to older Motorola phones like the Motorola RAZR.

The screen has a resolution of 240 x 320. Indoors it looks great. It’s bright and works ok outdoors when it’s sunny.

The keypad is like a RAZR’s; it looks flat but is actually really easy to use. The keys have a decent amount of travel when pressed. I appreciate how the top part of the slide curves inwards at the bottom so that you can fit your fingers over the buttons easily.

Hands-free usage:

There is support for Bluetooth headsets, stereo headphones, mini USB headphones (included) and a speakerphone.

The speakerphone’s maximum volume is about average (it’s not that useful in loud environments).

There doesn’t appear to be any voice command software built into my Z6 but apparently most should have it.

Miscellaneous:

You’ll find a mini USB connector underneath a port cover on the right side of the phone. It’s used for charging, wired headsets duties and for connecting the Z6 to your computer.

There’s a microSD slot under the battery cover. You don’t have to remove the battery if you want to swap cards.

The Z6 has some magnets in both parts of the slide so that it can tell when it’s opened or closed (at least this is my guess). I found that if you put magnets near the Z6, you can fool it into thinking it just closed. This is a minor inconvenience if you carry the Z6 around in a phone pouch that stays shut via magnets – it will keep making the open/shut noise.

Previously ROKR phones had some special features that made them more suitable for listening to music. The first ROKR; the E1 came with stereo speakers, haptics and a really crappy iTunes client. The second one had a stereo headphone jack. The Z6 doesn’t really come with anything too special music wise besides the dedicated music client key on the front.

Menus:

Software wise the Z6 runs Motorola Linux/Java interface. It resembles their old Synergy interface (found on the RAZR).

There are numerous changes from Synergy. You can reorder menu items and create custom folders to put them in. At the standby menu, the left softkey is mapped to an option function which lets you quickly access frequently used items.

All the apps are different though they resemble the ones found on Synergy phones. The main menu has a grid view with icons (you can also choose a list view) but the sub-menus are just text so they can look a bit bland.

I found the menu sounds to be pretty interesting; I actually left them on instead of turning them off immediately like I usually do.

I really enjoyed the new interface. It looks great and it’s faster than a speeding bullet.

Phone Related Features:

The phonebook is pretty straight forward. It’s split into entries; each entries can have multiple bits of information. Types of information are sorted into tabs which is similar to newer Sony Ericsson phones. You can search the phonebook by typing part of the entry’s name. Pretty standard stuff.

You can remote sync the Z6 with an exchange server (I didn’t try this but there’s an option for it).

I noticed that you can quickly change the Z6′s profile by pressing either side mounted volume buttons. This is a nice change from older Motorola phones where pressing up will cause the phone to ring.

Connected Features:

You get a mini USB connector hidden behind a port cover on the right side. There are 4 different USB modes; Media Synchronization, Memory card, modem and USB printing.

When the Z6 is in Media Synchronization mode you can sync media files to it using Windows Media Player. Memory card mode is also known as Mass Storage Mode. You can transfer files to the Z6 without needing special drivers in this mode. I clocked the Z6 at a fairly speedy 1.15 MB/s.

There is an email app that is separate from the messaging one. The email app supports IMAP4 and POP3. It works well and is pretty fast. You can still read messages while the Z6 is grabbing your email.

Browsing duties are handled by Opera Mini. If you’ve never used Opera Mini on a ‘regular’ (non-smart) phone let me say it totally kicks ass. Opera Mini uses a proxy server. Basically means that when you request a page, the request gets sent to another computer, that computer downloads the page, reformats it and shrinks the images and then sends it to your phone. This way pages load up faster plus it requires less data to transmit.

I liked the history as well as the support for multiple browser windows. You can have Opera resize webpages so that you can view them without having to scroll horizontally or as they would be rendered on your computer.

Opera is pretty speedy when it comes to scrolling through webpages. I just wish there was a page up/down button.

Multimedia Features:

There’s a 2 megapixel camera with a LED flash. Resolution is ok though the colour isn’t as vibrant as they could be. It’s very ‘camera phone’ looking. Check out the gallery for some sample pics.

The camcorder app can only record videos with resolutions of up to 176 x 144.

The mp3 player is alright. You can sort your music by artist/album/genre/composer. There’s a playlist feature. You also get some audio processing options like a spatializer function plus you can adjust the bass settings or use the bass boost.

There’s a dedicated music player key + a background play feature. You can use A2DP Stereo Bluetooth Headphones to listen to music. The music player supports AVRCP so you can control it using A2DP headphones.

Organizer Features:

You get the basic organizer apps; Calendar, Alarm Clock, World Clock, Calculator, Task List, Notes and Voice recorder.

The alarm clock has been changed so that it’s a lot more intuitive to use. You can now see the current time when you’re setting the alarm. I was a little disappointed to see that you still have to set an alarm as ‘on’ even after you set its time.

The Calendar and Notes apps can synchronize with Outlook on your PC using Mobile Phone Tools

Impressions:

Incoming sound quality is good, there’s virtually no hiss. Maximum earpiece volume isn’t bad.

RF performance isn’t that great. My Sony Ericsson W600i was much better than the Z6.

Conclusion:

Even though the RF performance could be better I liked the Z6. It feels nice in your hand, has a very nice looking display and has a blazingly fast menu. Opera is just awesome, it’s good enough that I didn’t mind using it even when I had a Blackberry or some other smartphone in my other pocket.

Ratings (out of 5)
Build Quality 4
Battery Life 4
Phone Related Features 4
Ease of Use 4
RF Performance 3
Degree of Customizability 4
Overall (not an average) 4
*Please note these ratings are temporal and are really only valid for the date they were assigned. A phone which receives a rating of 5 a year ago will probably get a lower rating today.

Pros:

  • Alarm app is more intuitive to use
  • Menus are really fast
  • Fast USB transfers
  • Screen looks great
  • Memory card slot

Cons:

  • RF performance could use some work
  • No HSDPA
  • No dedicated buttons to control music playback

Discuss this review at HowardForums.com | See the gallery here
Written by Howard Chui 06.17.2007
This article may not be reproduced without the the author’s permission.

Entry Filed under: Phones

20 Comments Add your own

    Duker  |  June 22nd, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Great Review. Thank you!

    MobileMadMan  |  June 26th, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Yes, this was a very good review. I am personally waiting for the RIZR Z6TV. Let’s hope that Verizon doesn’t $%&@! it up too bad when they do their typical crippling.

    Griffie  |  June 28th, 2007 at 10:43 am

    What kind of price are they looking for this phone? Nice review!

    John  |  July 6th, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Great review, i think this is one of the best cell phones i’ve had in a long time. I downloaded some free ringers here and it really made the phone that much better.

    Today’s Review &raq&hellip  |  July 6th, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    [...] Read Full Review Review By Mobileburn [...]

    DUB  |  July 9th, 2007 at 7:21 am

    In spain, the z6 is about 400 €.

    Eric  |  July 17th, 2007 at 4:08 am

    Great review with so much detailed information. Anyone know the battery life of this Z6?
    I’m currently deciding whether to get this Z6 or the Maxx V6. Any suggestions?

    Afromusing  |  August 7th, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    great review. Have you had issues with txting on the Z6? My thumb started hurting after prolonged use coz i was bending it slightly in order to txt. Other than that, i am pretty happy with it.

    Afromusing  |  August 7th, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    @Eric, battery life is not too bad though not as spectacular as Nokia phones, note that i was not using the music player…lasts for 2 days before having to recharge.

    laurenscott  |  October 25th, 2007 at 7:27 am

    How much is it? And is it a chunky phone?

    JC  |  January 20th, 2008 at 2:39 am

    I have had the phone for about 2 weeks, and really like it, i have not spent alot of time in the manual so the following might not be a problem, several reviews i read mentioned the clunkyness of turning ‘bluetooth on and off’, lots and lots of clicking and menu navigation, i found that there is a button on the side of the phone underneath the volume control, that if you press once, it opens the connections menu, press again and it powers up bluetooth, still take a few click to turn it off, but its a lot more convient, cuts it from nearly 20 steps, to two button presses.

    Using it as a music player is pretty good, sound quality is as good as you would expect, with the usb headphones, beside a brief crackle at the start of the first track, i would like to change the background graphic of the music player, but it doesn’t mater much, and i have not tried the bluetooth headphones, as i think they look stupid.
    I have found a great little freeware program that, if your an itunes user is great, call ‘iTune Sync’, it works with itunes, and will copy any defined playlist over to any source, be it a memory stick or a phone like the Z6, makes it easy to keep what music is on your phone organised.

    The video playback seemed only average at best, but i have not spent much time trying different encoding options, but i would not expect to watch much video on it, if at all.

    Hope that helps anyone who has one or is thinking about getting one, i don’t get a new phone very ofter, and am really enjoying having this one.

    rose  |  January 20th, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Yes. Its player is good. I always download youtube movies from http://www.bywifi.com and watch them.

    Nick Kerr  |  February 26th, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Can you sync the Task List app with Outllook Tasks?

    “The Calendar and Notes apps can synchronize with Outlook on your PC using Mobile Phone Tools”

    Great review!

    Mic-Re  |  March 3rd, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Flaws:
    - No sync of notes from outlook to Z6 with motorola phone tools 4.0!
    – Alarms: no repeater function of alarms without pressing a key! You have to press a key after the first alarm … to get the repeated alarm! Very bright idea! If I don’t wake up at the FIRST alarm… I don’t get a second chance!!!

    Mic

    Mic-Re  |  March 3rd, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    another Flaw:
    you can’t send any contact from your Z6 adress list by SMS! You can just send it by more expensive MMS …

    Good: Motorola Phone Tools to sync Outlook Calendar, Tasks, and adress book. It is funktioning great! One of the best SyncTools I ever had!!!!

    Z6 Owner  |  April 21st, 2008 at 11:49 am

    i bought a Z6 but for only 2 weeks it started to intermitently shut off without any reason. i went to the service shop they said they have to replace the hardware. i researched in the internet and i noticed many of the owners have the same problem as me. such a shame i used to be a motorola fanatic – used to own a razor, previouse rokr phone and even bought a razor v3i for my girl.

    BUT NOW I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER MOTOROLA AGAIN WHY? BECAUSE OF POOR QUALITY CONTROL MAYBE IT IS BECAUSE THAT THEY MOVED MANUFACTURING IN CHINA WHICH ARE THE WORST QUALITY CONTROL IMPLEMENTERS. MY GUESS THAT IS THE ROOT OF THIS DEFECT WHICH IS EXPERIENCED BY OTHER Z6 OWNERS.

    I MISS THE AMERICAN MADE MOTOROLA.

    DONT BUY THIS PHONE ITS ONLY GOOD IN THE OUTSIDE BUT ITS SO PROBLEMATIC. IT ALSO HAVE OTHER NOTABLE DEFFECTS I DONT HAVE TIME TO MENTION.

    THEY SHAMED THE NAME OF LINUX WITH THIER UNSTABLE SOFTWARE.

    MOTOROLA SHOULD GIVE A FIX TO THIS PROBLEM

    john  |  August 10th, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    hey guys i have alot of problems with this phone

    1 when i try to call (ex mail box) it says callin but its not connecting and i have 6 bars of service

    2 it freezes

    3 some times it hangs up by it self

    does any one knoe how to fix 1?

    wayne  |  August 16th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Can the motorokr sync to Vista? I f so where would I find the driver

    chad  |  August 28th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Wayne, did you find out if the rokr can sync with outlook in Vista?

    Bunny  |  November 19th, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Hi. I bought motorola rokr z6 on November 2009. This phone is very good to utilize. But Battrey is the biggest problem. What should I do? Pleae help me?

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