Motorola ROKR E8 review

It might be the weekend, but the supply of interesting phones doesn’t end. I’ve played with the new Motorola E8 to my heart’s content and now am going to share my impressions.

Simply put, the phone is superb. Honestly, I haven’t seen such an impressive handset in a while, and it’s probably the first Motorola in a long time which I really wanted to get. As much as I didn’t like Z8, I loved the E8 – granted, it’s not without some reservations, but still.

Let’s start with the fact that this phone doesn’t have a conventional keyboard. It has a touch sensor tablet instead, with small knobs in place of the buttons so you can still feel them without looking. The touch sensors have force feedback: they vibrate when pressed, and it works great, giving you a good idea of what button you pressed exactly. There’s no mechanical movement: the panel is rigid and doesn’t bend at all when you press the keys.

The stylish navigational scroll at the top is called the Omega Wheel:

Motorola E8 omega wheel

It’s a fun phone to play around with your friends; you give them the E8, let them use the keypad for a while, and look at their surprised faces when you turn the phone off and the keys “stop moving” – minutes ago, they could have sworn that the buttons moved mechanically, but that’s not the case. I won’t dig too deep in how that feeling is achieved, but the important thing is that it works, and it works great.

Turn the phone off, and the keyboard is gone:

Motorola E8 front

The dynamic, morphing labels of the buttons deserve to be mentioned as well – depending on what you’re doing with the phone at the moment, the look and functions of the keys change completely. The first mode is the “ordinary” one (you can see English and Chinese symbols on the buttons since I tested a prototype). The second one is camera mode, and the third one is for music. All of the unneeded buttons are turned off, and only the essentials for that particular mode light up – an impressive and convenient solution. See the detailed photos below.

Keyboard of the Motorola ROKR E8 in the ordinary keypad mode:

Motorola ROKR E8 keyboard

Keyboard of the Motorola ROKR E8 in the camera mode…:

Motorola ROKR E8 camera keyboard

…and, the music mode:

Motorola ROKR E8 music keyboard

Now a few words about the musical functions. It’s a first phone in a quite long time that can compare to my Sony A816. You don’t need to make any compromises with your ears – the sound is really high quality. Of course, there’s a 3.5 mm jack on the phone to connect your headphones, and it’s positioned pretty conveniently, too – on the upper side of the case. Somewhat weak output signal is a downside – in most cases the volume is enough, but I’d like to have a little backup, too. There’s 2 GB of built-in memory, plus you can connect a memory card; the phone worked fine with a 4GB microSDHC.

Side and back of the phone:



Now a little bit about the weak points of the E8. In my case, the phone was very laggy. I didn’t manage to do as much as write an SMS while listening to the music at the same time, and launching Java applications was pretty much out of the question. Perhaps the phone being a prototype is to blame – the RAZR2 had such problems in it’s time, too. Let’s see if this is fixed in the commercial version. I will say only this: a strong player has appeared among the music phones, one that can win the hearts of many users.

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  • Matt

    Sounds like a cool phone. Are you using a prototype? I’m concerned that production model might be slow.

  • tony

    Did anybody see what tehse guys are doing? WOW.

  • yanh

    This is the worst phone ever!!! its so ridiculously slow. when a phone call is coming in and you hit the answer button, it doesn't register so you're just hitting it again and again and you have a missed call. Then, when you don't want it to register just because it brushes up against something, you get random dialed calls and etc because the stupid touch screen registers things that it shouldn't! Worst rating ever!

  • mel

    GREAT PHONE. I got it for my 18th birthday. That guy down the bottom has it worng. the phone is not slow, mine is fast. get it on orange on dolpin, got 300 text in he firsty 48 hours. this phone is great for texting people, the music play is brill, your music is loud and clear, no tinny. buy it 🙂

  • Claude

    hi Mel, did you like the ROKR E8 for it's phone abilities as well? how was the reception, talking and hearing? what does “get in on orange on dolpin” mean?

  • Jay

    worst phone i've ever owned. it lags constantly. you press buttons and it hangs there for 10 – 15 seconds.. i miss calls because it wont answer even though im pressing ANSWER,ANSWER,ANSWER,ANSWER,ANSWER frantically… it ignores my button presses and misses the calls. entering text messages, smae thing.. it will stop entering text even though you are still going .. it just sits there for 10 secs and then suddenly spits out all of the wrong crap it thought you were pressing.. wtf .. this thing SUX ASS . 100% waste of money

  • Abtertou

    100% agree. Missed calls all the time! I keep pressing the answer button, and it just doesn't answer! Absolutely infuriating. That's your main job phone! Just answer the goddamned call. Terrible, terrible software/processor. Otherwise might have been a good phone, but even one missed call is way too much.

  • Name

    After a year and one month — just past the warranty! — some of the buttons just decided to stop working; one evening the phone was working fine, the next day it wasn't. Nothing can be done about it except to give Motorola another $75 to get it fixed, and like I am really going to do *that* after they failed to get me a phone that lasted for more than a year the first time! Besides which, frankly, as others have written here the phone is slow and a bit clunky, so it isn't even *worth* $75 to me.

  • Dannyboy

    it just seems to me that nomatter what phone these people have, they are going to bitch and mone!!! Blahhh Blahhhh!!! my roker is great!!! fast as anything!!! answers call with no problem!! face it guys you just got some bad apples!!! iphones too have bad apples..quit crying!!!

  • nitin

    how to turn off Butons Virbration in motorokr e8

  • nitin

    how to turn off Butons Virbration in motorokr e8