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Motorola MOTORIZR Z6tv Mobile Phone Review

Date Added: December 22, 2007 12:56:14 PM
Category: Computers & Internet

The MOTORIZR Z6tv is a dual band digital CDMA phone that operates on 800/1900MHz network with support for 1X and EV-DO. It’s offered by Verizon Wireless and has Verizon provisioning including V CAST Mobile TV (digital TV), V CAST video (streaming on-demand video clips that use EVDO data), Verizon’s music store and VZ Navigator for location-based services. The Z6tv currently sells for $179.99 after a $50 online discount with a 2-year contract.

Design and Ergonomics

The MOTORIZR Z6tv is the only digital TV phone without an external TV antenna. It has the same form factor as the MOTORIZR Z6 series slider phones and the front of the phone has a gloss finish while the back is matte. You can make phone calls with the slider closed using the call send and end buttons on the phone’s front panel. In fact you can run most applications that don’t require a number keypad with the slider closed using the round 5-way d-pad, the Clear/Back key, the TV/Camera key and the two soft key (left and right). The TV/Camera launch key will launch the digital Mobile TV when you press it once, and the camera when you press and hold it. Since the surface is shiny and slippery, Motorola put a push bar under the 2” QVGA screen that proves to be very handy for pushing the slider open and closed. A key lock button on the left side locks external buttons to avoid accidental button presses (the call answer key will still work if a call comes in). Dedicated volume up and down buttons, speakerphone key, Voice Command key, a mini-USB port for charging and accessory and a 2.5mm headset jack on the left and right side of the phone. The MOTORIZR Z6tv package also includes an elbow adapter to make it more convenient to use the phone with your right hand while it’s the AC or USB charger is connected to the phone. 

The number keypad under the slider is wide and flat. The raised edge lines that separate each key will help touch dialing somewhat but the flat keys don’t give you much sense of which key you’re on. The backlight is bright and makes the keypad easy to see in the dark. The back of the phone houses the 2 megapixel camera lens, the battery door and stereo speakers under a mesh grill. Fortunately you don’t have to open the battery door to access the microSD card slot as it lives right on top of the phone.

Phone Features and Reception

The MOTORIZR Z6tv is a dual band digital CDMA phone that runs on Verizon’s 800/1900MHz network, and support EV-DO for fast data. The phone has weaker reception than the LG VX9400 but about the same reception as the Samsung u620. These 3 phones were the only enlisted members in Verizon’s small digital Mobile TV phone army when the Z6tv came out, but the LG Voyager recently joined them. The MOTORIZR gets 3 bars (out of 4) signal strength in Verizon’s well-covered areas and gets only 1-2 bars in spotty areas. You might lose the EV-DO signal in a deeper building located in spotty-coverage areas. Although we have not experienced dropped calls, we have had data interruptions when signal strength was low. The data interruptions included music downloads from V CAST music catalog, streaming videos on V CAST, downloading email and accessing the web. Please note that the V CAST Mobile TV doesn’t use Verizon’s data network therefore the EV-DO reception has no effect on the quality of the digital broadcast TV services. The voice quality on the Z6tv is good, but not super crisp. The voice volume is quite high. You can turn on the loudspeaker by pressing the speaker key on the left side of the phone. The rare-firing stereo speakers are loud and clear, great for conference calls and playing music. Cell phone users who like to use wired hands-free headset are out of luck, as the MOTORIZR Z6tv doesn’t come with a wired headset. So you will either need to use a Bluetooth headset or buy wired headset for hands free calling. 

Display, Gaming and Multimedia

For on-demand streaming video delivered over EVDO, there’s Verizon’s V CAST service.  Content includes music tracks, music video and on-demand video for news, sports, comedies and more. You will need to pay for music tracks and music videos but there are lots of free on-demand video clips you can watch. If you add the $15/month V CAST Mobile TV plan you can watch 8 channels of live TV. These channels include NBC, CBS Mobile, Fox Mobile, Comedy Central, MTV, NBC, ESPN and Nickelodeon. The shows are broadcast real time and have commercials just like the shows in real TV broadcast. Mobile TV quality is noticeably superior to the quality of the on-demand videos in V CAST. Digital TV shows can play in full screen on the Motorola with excellent clarity and if you are in an area where the signals are strong, you won’t see frame drops or digital artifacts. Dialog is crisp and sound effects are rich and full sounding. In comparison, many of the on-demand V CAST video clips are in very small resolutions (certainly can’t handle full screen playback), and are blocky with lots of dropped frames. The audio often is choppy in these video clips as well. If you are in spotty coverage area for EV-DO, you might even experience interruptions in video playback as the streaming data buffering refills. There are some limitations when it comes to digital TV: there are currently only 8 channels and Verizon has launched this service in only 22 cities as of this writing, but it’s worth to know that Verizon will add more programming channels including some NBA games and launch the service in more metro areas. If you are a TV addict, digital mobile TV is definitely a good service for that long commute on the train. The Z6tv didn’t pull in as strong a digital TV signal as the Samsung u620 and LG VX9400 (both of which have external antennas) but it did better than the LG Voyager which has the weakest TV reception among the four phones.


The MOTORIZR Z6tv has a built-in 2 megapixel camera with fixed-focus lens that takes good quality still images. You can launch the camera with a shared menu button on the front of the phone. The camera launcher button shares duty with Mobile TV. You will need to press and hold the button until it beeps to launch the camera. The camera phone can take photos in 5 resolutions: 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 and Picture ID. The quality of the photos is comparable to if not better than other camera phones with a 2 megapixel camera. The images are reasonably sharp with some over-sharpening and colors are more balanced than photos taken with the Sony Ericsson W580i. Outdoor shots are bright, color saturated and balanced. You will see some white-out effects on objects in direct sunlight. Indoor shots have good color balance as well,  and the noise level is low even in shots taken in low-light environments. The camera application on the MOTORIZR Z6tv has the usual set of effects, balance/color settings, fun frames and more. You can store the photos in phone’s internal memory or on a microSD card. 

Battery Life

The Z6tv comes with a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that’s 940 mAh in capacity. The battery is user replaceable and you can charge the phone using the included world travel charger (100-240V). The battery life is good when you make phone calls, play music, send message and access PIM applications. You can get at least 3.5 hours of talk time and a week standby. Making ½ hour phone calls, pairing the headset with 5-6 Bluetooth headsets and playing music for 30 minutes over the course of 24 hours used up a quarter of a full charge. Playing V CAST content over EV-DO, especially watching V CAST video clips drains the battery most. If you’re in a spotty coverage area (which unfortunately is the case for us), a full charge will disappear very fast when the phone is trying hard to get good signal for video streaming. Mobile TV, which doesn’t use EV-DO network, uses less power, but still more than other tasks. If you plan on watching on-demand videos and live TV throughout a day, you should prepare to charge the phone daily or every day and a half.


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