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Review Motorola A830

Motorola A830, live pictures

Standard Kit

  • Phone
  • Battery
  • Desktop charger
  • ММС card (the size depends on the country, as a rule 32 Mb)
  • User's guide

Motorola always was a pioneer, including the start of 3G terminals. Even now, after almost one and a half year after the occurrence of the first samples, the serial models are only few. The manufacturers had technical problems, only 3 companies managed to solve these problems in the most successful way, Motorola was among them. The first 3G device was named A820, later, a little bit updated version was named A830. This model is produced at the German factory, it is interesting, that it was licensed by Siemens, under its mark it is named U10. Siemens doesn't produce this device independently, it ismanufactured at the German Motorola’s factory.

At the occurrence this model was outstripping the time, to its advantages referred built-in camera with video recording, big color screen, expansion slot for memory cards, in a word the opportunities of the device exceeded any model of that time by order. But, as it was the first attempt at writing, so there were some lacks in the device. The traditional minus of 3G devices, is the size, and А830 is not an exception, it's rather difficult to imagine a girl using this smartphone. In rather big man's hands the device does not look small (117 x 59 x 27 mm). A plus follows from such size - the keys are well moved off, the big screen. The weight of the phone makes 210 gr., it's also not so little, especially in comparison with usual devices of the second generation. The comparison with smarthphones is more correct, but 3G device loses, it's heavier.

Generally, the sizes of this phone can be estimated doubly, the standard kit includes standard lid covering a battery compartment, and also cover with the built - in camera. On all official photos the device is represented with the digital camera and the aerial is not visible, appears an assumption, that it's internal. Actually the aerial can be seen without camera, it is small stump. The cover with camera is a nozzle which increases the sizes of the device. There's a connector at the internal part of the aerial's cover which is automatically connected to the corresponding phone's connector.

Both standard, and the second cover sit densely, they has no the slightest backlash. The solution with two covers doesn't look absolutely justified, as it's inconveniently to carry the both covers, it is easier to fit the cover with camera and to use it constantly. On the other hand the camera is not always necessary, and it increases the ht of the device and its height (on one and a half - two centimeter). The manufacturer puts the user over a choice, and the user should choose. In any case it's inconveniently to carry both covers along.

The screen as it has been already spoken is big, it displays up to 4096 colors and is made under STN-technology. The resolution of the screen makes 176х220 pixels, it allows displaying up to 8 text lines, plus two service lines and heading. The screen fades in the sun, it's almost impossible to read information.

There are 2 soft keys under the screen, and also dedicated menu button for menu access. At navigation the left soft key is frequently used, the pressings on it are not always successful, as though it doesn't react to them. It is the biggest minus of the keyboard, but the alpha numerical keys are convenient, they are well moved off. The navigation key is four-way, it doesn't react to pressing.

The keyboard's backlight is of blue-pale color, in combination with small font size it gives unreadability in various light conditions. The central line of keys is lighted the best way, lateral lines and designations are not readable.

The service LED is located near to device's speaker, above the screen, it's rather nice. Having looked on the left lateral surface, you will see two volume keys, and below IR-port. On the right lateral surface, there are dictaphone and voice dial key, handsfree connector, the slot form SD/MMC cards is lower. The card wasn't included into the standard kit, but it can be purchased separately, various user information can be saved on it, for example, video clips, photos, music.

You can see interface connector at the bottom end face. The developers used lithium - polymeric accumulator (800 mAh) to reduce the weight of the device. According to the manufacturer the device is capable to work up to 1 hour in talk mode and up to 42 hours in standby mode. The device worked about 2 days (20 minutes of talking, 15 minutes of using other functions). Basically, the battery is a weak place of this phone, at using the phone in 3G network, the time of effective work makes about 1 day.


In standby mode you can see 4 icons correlated to joystick's moving to the corresponding sides. The user is free to choose the most frequently used functions, the similar feature of menu organization is also applied in other phones of the company, for example, Motorola T720.

In the main menu you will see some icon rows, it also reminds other models. The main menu can be realized both a icon set, and as list. The movement through the menu is realized using navigation key. You can set up shortcuts for the most frequently used functions, they are displayed in the corresponding menu.

As the device works in GSM900/1800/1900 and in UMTS-networks the corresponding icon is shown in the status line (2G and 3G accordingly). However, let's take up the realization of concrete functions and here we'll face with the fact, that this device, per se, is a bit improved version of Motorola T720. Probably all was conversely, but to us it's more conveniently considering А830 as later product.

Phonebook allows storing several numbers for one name, but in the general list each record is displayed separately. For example, we have two Smith's phone numbers, we create such name and then we enter two numbers - work and mobile. In the list will be present two Smith with various number type icons. Besides phone number it is possible to save e-mail address. The phonebook has several groups - business, personal and VIP

Let's not stop in detail on the name search by the first letter, and also on the opportunity to appoint voice labels to separate subscribers in phonebook.

Messages. All is ordinary and simple. The device has MMS, EMS support, plus built - in mail client (POP3/IMAP). The mail client does not support the majority of attachments, except for graphics (fixed size).

Call list. All is standard and traditional here.

Multimedia. In this the menu you get access to the general audio, video and graphic files list.

You can make photos with the connected camera from this the menu, and you can record small video clips. The photos can be made in different resolutions: 640х480, 144х176, 120х160. The format of files is JPEG, in the maximal quality photo's size is about 30 KB, the minimal resolution gives 5 KB. You can't watch the photos as small icons, there's only general list as files names in the device.

Video clips are saved in мр4 format, the quality is rather good, the clip is accompanied by sound. Such video clips are looked not bad on the phone's screen. The example of video clip can be watched here. The clips can be saved both in the basic memory, and on the additional card.

Office applications. The typical organizer from Motorola, it has the opportunity of viewing calendar for month, events creation for separate days, adjusting of repeated events. The device has to-do list and also a good calculator.

Connection. The device supports Bluetooth, in addition to standard IR-port. The use of Bluetooth does not cause problems, everything is traditional.

Settings. For those who are familiar with last devices from Motorola this menu will be habitual, it is possible to choose color themes, screen savers. Here you can find other parameters related to the phones. Bell settings are in separate item of the main menu, as the device support polyphony you can use wav files.

The device supports Java (MIDP 1.0), the standard kit includes some the preinstalled applications.


By communication quality Motorola A830 is quite good, there are no problems in city conditions, the phone works steadily. Voice transfer quality is high, the volume level is enough practically in all cases. The volume of polyphonic ringtones is average, on the other hand the choice of simple ring tones of increases the volume. The vibration alert is average by force, probably it is explained by the massiveness of the case.

The model should be considered as one of the first 3G-devices in the market, rather old besides. As the phone can be related to the first generation of such phones, not everything in it can suit the user today, the company tested the technologies in this model. The basic minus is the work speed of the menu, the device brakes sometime, the processor is not able to process the information quickly. The quality of the screen is quite good, but it displays only up to 4096 colors while the color depth of 65К is more actual now. The device has the maximal functionality for today, but it is not so interesting now.

The size of the built-in memory (2 Mb) is enough for work with the majority of applications, the external card can be used for storage of video and images. The solution with separate cover with the built - in camera is not unequivocally. The quality of photos is quite good, it is curious, that the same by quality camera will be used in Motorola V600.

The given device should be considered, as an intermediate link of evolution, it's not phone any more, but also defective smartphone. Hence some incompleteness, or the lack of understanding in functions (organizer, alarm, phonebook), and on the other hand the excessive functional richness (Java, Bluetooth, SyncML, mail). The device is unbalanced in some measure, but as a whole it is interesting.

At the present moment А830 is not produced any more, А835, changed it. A835 will be replaced by other device soon. If you choose the 3G device, perhaps, it is necessary to look at newer models. At the same time А830 is the first device of such class and it remains it. One and a half year ago the company presented the decision which was actual all this time.

Here you can listen to some of the ring tones (mp3, 370 Kb)

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Andreas Von Horn (andreas@mobile-review.com)

Published — 28 July 2003

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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