Motorola ZN5 Review

What Mobile
December 3, 2008

That said, at least there’s the addition of Wi-Fi here, so if you’re in the right hotspot you can upload your images (which won’t exactly be small thanks to that 5-megapixel sensor) relatively speedily. The phone has been designed with the collaboration of Kodak, so its photographic prowess should be assured.

Let’s start with the phone’s look and feel, though. At this price, we shouldn’t expect a super-slim model, of course, but Motorola has made the phone a reasonable size, although with a bulging top where the camera lens fits. And although it’s not chubby, the ZN5 doesn’t ooze class, not least because of the circular direction pad and the flat touch-sensitive keypad which are a big disappointment.

Each key is marked with a tiny pressable dot next to its digit and though this is striking to look at, using it is no fun. These keys are closely packed and it’s easy to press the wrong one.

This setup comes into its own, though, when the camera is activated, as hidden lights guide you to specific camera options.

It’s a good weight, though the feel of the phone isn’t great, a combination of too many different finishes (rubber, matt plastic and glossy) means that it’s a little weird. What’s more, the lens bulge is fiddly in the hand when you’re trying to use it as a phone.

That bulge, though, is what makes the phone what it is. Kodak’s influence has certainly had an effect, with decent shots a real possibility. For a start it’s very fast. The time from shutter to shot and from one shot to the next are both pleasingly short – a priority for anyone that is looking at a phone as a potential replacement to a standalone digital camera.

The images look good on the phone’s big (2.4-inch) screen and even if they don’t quite match those of a dedicated digital camera, they’re as good or even better than most cameraphone shots.

The flash is Xenon, so it’s bright and the lens is autofocus too. If only this had an optical zoom, it would be near perfect. It’s a shame you can’t mute the shutter button, even when in silent mode, not in order to take clandestine shots but because the noises are all intrusive, and some of them (the monkey-shriek, for instance) just ridiculous. Handy to make sullen children smile in portrait shots, perhaps.

Beyond imaging, Motorola has taken the trouble to put a regular 3.5mm jack into the phone so you can use your best headphones to listen to music or the built-in FM radio.

So although it’s certainly feature-packed for the money, and the camera – though now outgunned by the range of 8-megapixel snapperphones available – better than most, the lack of 3G to upload shots is a shame.

Sure, if you’re in a wireless hotspot the phone handles it competently, but lots of outdoor shots won’t qualify for that. Still, Motorola points out that it will upload in the background easily enough, allowing you to get on with taking more shots.



The collaboration with Kodak has paid off, with excellent image quality and a minimal start-up time


The lack of 3G means you can’t send pictures quickly, unless you’re near a wireless hotspot





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