Motorola Zine ZN5 review
Motorola Zine ZN5 is the first cameraphone of the company with a built-in 5 megapixel Kodak camera. It is made in a classical monoblock form-factor and has a distinguishing design that tells you right away you’re looking at a Motorola phone.
MotoZine ZN5 design
Motorola ZN5 is rather large and its powerful camera only adds to that, protruding noticeably from the back of the phone. The design is overall unusual and quite attractive. The case is mostly made from plastic; only the back lid is metallic. The memory card slot is located under it, and you need to take out the battery in order to swap the card.
The design of Moto ZN5 is simple and yet appealing:
The phone looks quite impressive due to the large and noticeable camera:
You can clearly see a big Kodak logo on the lens cover which emphasizes the collaboration between them and Motorola in building the ZN5 Zine. There’s also a powerful Xenon flash and a speaker for playing the ringtones on the back of the phone.
You can clearly see both Motorola and Kodak logos on the back of ZN5:
On the right side there are two volume control buttons and a toggle for blocking the keyboard (you’ll recognize it from the ROKR E8) as well as a camera launch button of an unusual design. On the opposite side there’s a loop hole for attaching a strap, a standard 3.5 mm audio jack for connecting headphones, and a microUSB port. The latter is covered with a small plug; unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to close it properly.
The right side…
…and the left side of the phone:
Keyboard and controls of Motorola Zine ZN5
The stylish, flat keypad might remind you of Motorola’s ROKR series, but instead of touch sensors it uses simple flexible plastic. This solution reminds of Sony Ericson’s W950, but in Motorola’s credit, the keyboard of ZN5 is much easier and more comfortable to use. The phone also has a 5-way navigational wheel, Accept/Deny buttons, two function keys and two additional buttons, one of which launches the gallery and the other sends you to the screen you were previously in. It takes some time to get used to, but like I mentioned before, it’s quite easy to use.
Software platform of Motorola ZN5
The phone is built on LJ (Linux/Java) platform which will be familiar to users of Motorola’s RAZR 2 & 8, ROKR E8 or Pebble U9; it doesn’t have anything new or unusual. The only exceptions are a separate menu item for instant messaging, and the “Kodak gallery”, which allows members of this free Kodak service to instantly upload photos to their online accounts. The phone is also interesting in a way that it’s the first non-smartphone from Motorola which has WiFi. Naturally, the built-in browser as well as all Java applications such as Opera Mini will be able to connect to the web via WiFi.
Users of other LJ-based phones will find the menus of ZN5 familiar:
Music playing capabilities of Moto Zine ZN5
The media player deserves a separate note; while it doesn’t compare to that of E8, the music capabilities of Zine are good enough and it can compete with Nokia’s or Samsung’s counterparts. The quality of playback is rather good, and like I mentioned before, you can also connect your own headphones via the 3.5 mm audio jack.
Camera of Motorola ZN5 Zine
Before we move on to the main part of the review and test out that digital camera, it must be noted that we had our hands on a prototype, and the camera will work slightly differently in the commercial version. Our device asked for confirmation to save after making each photo; this is one of the things that you won’t see in the official release. We also encountered occasional lock-ups that I’m sure you won’t have to see if you buy the phone.
The phone switches to camera mode automatically after you open the lens cover. The control interface is simple and easy to use. The navigational joystick allows you to access camera functions such as Night View, Flash, Focus, White Balance and others. For example, you can first select Flash and then set it to Automatic, Always On/Off, or Red eye reduction modes.
The camera can be controlled easily using the navigational wheel:
The camera possesses a number of good qualities, one of which is fast autofocusing. You will be able to make high quality photos with Moto ZN5, and it will probably be one of the best camera phones of the market, comparing easily even to Nokia N82. Throw WiFi, good music playback capabilities and interesting design into the mix and you’ll get a very attractive offering for those looking for a good camera phone. The name “Kodak” is bound to help in building the popularity of ZN5 as well, especially in the US.
ZN5 “Zine” is an excellent camera phone from Motorola and a great present for the followers of the company. It is also a viable choice for anyone looking for a phone with a 5 megapixel camera. The many qualities of Moto Zine ZN5 include a great camera, good music playback, big display, WiFi data link (a true gift for active internet users!) and an interesting design. There are some minor downsides as well, such as the unsuccessful plug covering the microUSB port, or the accumulation of dirt under the lens cover (which is very hard to clean).
And also there’s one big issue with the connectivity options on Motorola ZN5 – it does not have 3G! Yes, MotoZine ZN5 is supports only 2g GSM, GPRS and EDGE networks. Wi-Fi connectivity somewhat compensates for it, but not always.
Still, it’s a very good, high end camera handset, and if you do not plan to do a lot of net surfing and data transfers while out of reach of Wi-Fi, MotoZine ZN5 might be a good selection.
Hope you enjoyed our Moto ZiNE ZN5 review – the phone should appear in the market very soon!