The Motorola Rival A455 is one of the newest phones to be added to the Verizon Wireless handset lineup.
This messaging workhorse gives you instant access to IM style texting, emoticons, a slide out keyboard, and an on screen touch pad right out of the box.
I had the opportunity to use the A455 over the last two weeks, and here are my thoughts on this multimedia powerhouse.
Let’s get the technical specifications out of the way first.
CDMA – 800/1900, 1X/EV-DO
CAMERA – 2 MP, Fixed Focus, 7X Digital Zoom
MUSIC & VIDEO – V CAST Music with Rhapsody, Video Capable, Video Capture, Streaming Video
POWER – Up to 320 minutes usage time, 510 hours standby time
MESSAGING – IM style text messaging, MMS, Email, Voice Mail (Visual Voicemail Capable.)
CONNECTIVITY – Bluetooth, Stereo Bluetooth, USB 2.0, Micro USB, 3.5mm headset jack.
INTERNET & GAMES – Web Access, Wap Web Browser, Downloadable content.
PHYSICAL – Slider, 4.4 oz., 2.2 in. display, internal antenna.
MEMORY – Up to 8 gig micro SD removable.
The Motorola A455 comes in two distinct color choices.
Silver (which is what I was sent to review:)
The A455 works on Verizon’s cellular network which is one the nation’s largest.
The phone itself comes with little fanfare in the box. You get the phone, charger and manual. This seems to be Verizon’s staple though, and most accessories for the phone can be purchased right at the store.
The phone has no physical dial pad. What it does have though, is an on screen touchpad. When you press the keypad hot key located at the bottom of the phone, a dial pad appears on the phone’s screen. Calls can then be dialed using the numeric dial pad, which also features haptic feedback when the numbers are pressed.
I found coverage to be excellent in most of the places I travel. The phone held a strong signal and calls were very clear.
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to cell phones is ear piece volume. The A455’s ear piece is plenty loud, and I had no trouble hearing from it even in more crowded areas.
There is a speaker phone built into the phone as well, and it can be activated during a call by pressing a button on the side.
With an overall size of 2.0″ x 3.8″ x .71″, the phone is not large. In fact it’s quite small. But that being said, it felt quite comfortable when I held it up to my ear.
The phone has plenty of shortcut buttons along the sides, including one for the speakerphone, camera, volume, voice dialing and screen lock.
The A455 has both a 2 megapixel camera for shooting still images as well as a video recorder for recording live movies.
The camera can be used in landscape mode, and since the shutter button is placed along the top it feels like you’re actually holding a digital camera instead of a phone.
At only 2 megapixels though, the still camera takes mediocre shots at best. The images don’t actually look bad when they’re small like this, but larger images do show some blur.
There is also a small mirror on the back for taking self portraits with the phone’s camera.
I managed to record a video and upload it to YouTube, but due to some codec conflict the sound wouldn’t work.
The A455 features a built in media player which allows you to play your own music.
You can store your music on the device’s built in Micro SD slot.
The phone also connects to Verizon’s V-CAST music service as well as Rhapsody.
The heart of the device is really its messaging capability.
Sliding the side of the phone down reveals a large, backlit, QWERTY keyboard.
The keypad features shortcut keys which allow you to quickly compose a new text message, access a variety of IM services as well as view the device’s built in library of emoticons.
By pressing the IM hot key you can connect to any of the following IM services (AIM, Windows Messenger or Yahoo Messenger.)
The emoticons are a fun way to spice up your plain old text message.
Typing out text messages on the A455 is a breeze. The keys, although small, are nicely spaced. I was able to type quite proficiently, even with my large hands.
Incoming messages can be viewed on the device’s screen but all replies must be done by opening up the slider and typing them out on the keyboard.
The phone supports stereo bluetooth, which means you’ll be able to listen to your favorite music wireless via your stereo bluetooth headset.
I had no trouble pairing with my Cardo headphones.
If you just prefer the old fashion mono bluetooth headset (it’s sort of funny to call bluetooth old fashion isn’t it?) the A455 does that too, and I paired it with my Jawbone.
The A455’s built in WAP browser allows you to access the internet while on the go.
The small screen makes it somewhat difficult to view a large amount of content, but this is true of most “regular” cellphones.
As long as you know what you’re getting into that’s fine. This isn’t a full web browser, ala Blackberry or iPhone but does the job of getting you limited web content in a speedy fashion.
The phone comes with little content in the way of games built in. You get two demos. But you have access to Verizon’s entire catalogue of digital content from which you can download to the device.
The screen is fresh and vibrant and the two included demo games look and play well on the phone.
As a hardened iPhone user, I was happy to see one of the iPhone’s best feature’s had been ported over to the A455.
The A455 includes Verizon’s visual voicemail service.
Priced at $99 after a $50 mail in rebate, and with a 2 yr. contract, the Motorola A455 is nice, affordable device for the heavy text messager. If you do a lot of IMing, e-mail and texting you’ll appreciate the full keyboard.
The web browser, although limited by the phone’s small screen, is speedy.
The phone itself is jammed full of features (Video, camera, music. navigation, keyboard, games, IMing, e-mail etc.) yet it remains a very small, pocketable device.
M.S.R.P. – $99 (after a $50 mail in rebate and with a 2 yr. contract agreement.)
What I like – full keyboard, small, loud ear piece.
What I don’t like – limited web browser, small screen.