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Mobile phones have become an important mode of communication in our lives – ensuring we are in contact with the rest of the world at the touch of a button. Users need to select a phone that can correspond with their lifestyles , especially the nature of their work. Certain users work outdoors and are exposed to harsh conditions of the environment like those who work in the construction sites, transportation sector, utilities industry and specific sectors of the government; military. The Motorola i355 is the just the phone to meet the needs of these group of users as it comes with a rugged shell that can withstand dust, shock, drops against hard surfaces and vibration and has been made weatherproof to military conditions like Blowing Rain, Humidity and Salt Fog making this phone simply tough and durable.

Not only is this phone tough but it still performs its primary function as a mode of communication effectively and efficiently with the inclusion of an integrated speakerphone and services supported by Nextel such as the Push to Talk service that upholds features such as Direct connect, Group Direct connect and Direct Talk functions to make the lives of users a whole lot simpler taking into account the color screen and the GPS technology.

The Motorola i355 comes in a flashy black rubber plastic that resembles Batman , which serves as a protection and is categorized as large and hefty weighing at 6.88 ounces and measuring at 5.1 by 2.4 by 1.3 inches. This phone is shaped more like a tank with its pointy external antenna and since this candy bar phone is no lightweight it can’t enter into a jeans pocket but will fit snuggly into a case or a tool belt which is more of a convenience for construction site users as this allows them to have easy access to the phone rather having to reach into a tight jeans pocket.

Another interesting part of the phone is that it conforms to the Military Standard 810F to withstand dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, low pressure and solar radiation which makes this phone simply remarkable. Therefore users need not worry that the phone will be damaged even when it is dropped on a hard surface as there will be no scratches or experience trouble like sparks or shorted out keypad if the phone is to get wet. This is because the phone’s antenna, speakerphone, keys , battery door and accessory connections is protected from water by the rubber encasing which acts as an interior lining or seal.

It comes with an external display that measures at 2 inches with the support of 65,000 colors and users have the flexibility to change the font size as well as the contrast and backlighting time. The display is satisfactory as it comes with a 130 x 120 pixel resolution allowing users to view the details clearly. Below the display is the navigation array which is designed quite nicely as the keys are not crowded but are spaced quite far from each other. The navigation keys consist of a five way button in the centre that allows users to control most of the functions in the phone, followed by two soft keys, Call, End, Power and main menu keys. The keypad is also reasonably spaced and is attractive with yellow backlighting for easy dialing and messaging.

The Direct Connect button is located below the main keypad and it enables users to gain access to the walkie talkie service. Speakerphone key is at the rear of the phone, while the push-to talk and volume control keys are situated at the left side of the phone. The 2.5mm headphone jack is on the right side of the phone , followed by the ACdata port at the bottom of the phone which is protected by a thick rubber flap. The silver-ringed speaker and battery cover can be seen at the back of the phone.

This large phone has quite a number of features to be boasted about and the main ones are its touh and durable built, followed by the Direct Connect service that enables users to access to the walkie talkie service that will connect them instantly to other Nextel phone users and the GPS feature allows users to view their location approximately and if they make emergency calls this feature enables the emergency personnel to locate them which can save time and lives. Other personalization features is the 600 contacts capacitated phonebook that permits a few numbers followed by an e-mail and web address per entry which is reasonable enough. Callers can be grouped and identified with the 3 given polyphonic ringtones or there are 12 monophonic ring tones that can be used to identify the caller ID.

Plus point about the Direct Connect service that must be emphasized upon is that this service works anywhere and anytime and its coverage ranges up to 6 miles and it is not necessary for users to be connected to the network in order to communicate via the walkie-talkie. This is a very useful service as users can use it to communicate in times of emergency, network outrage or when traveling in remote areas that have no Nextel coverage, this something users can’t find in other phones making this phone unique in its own way.

Basic features that this phone has to offer is call timers, a calendar to with weeks and month view, an airplane mode, a speakerphone , voice calling and memos, multimedia and text messaging, a WAP 2.0 wireless web browser and a vibrate mode. Users have the option to change wallpapers from the available animated versions and are given the flexibility to change the menu and clock styles, ringer profiles and color palates. The “airplane mode” lets users turn off network connection whilst still utilizing the games, programs, date book and the voice record features. Users can entertain themselves as with the availability of Java technology there are preloaded games such as Tetris and JAMDAT Bowling. The fun continues as users can download more games, ring tones , news, sports update and virtual address books with the Nextel Online.