Review of the Motorola i265

The i265 caught my attention because it was the first candy bar style iDEN phone in quite some. I much prefer candy bar phones to clamshells personally, and so I was hopeful that it would be a fitting replacement for my i730.


The i265 is available on Telus Mike.

Last Updated: 17-Jan-2005

Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.

RF Performance

RF Sensitivity: Like virtually all of Motorolaís iDEN models, the i265 was almost identical in this regard to every other iDEN phone Iíve tested in the last couple of years. Thatís good news, because the current crop of iDEN models seem to be excellent at picking up extremely weak signals and making good use of them.

Over-the-road Performance: I did a lot of testing on this front, but there was definitely something amiss. The i265 would suffer from audio-damaging frame errors far more often than my i730 when tested over the same routes. I checked to make sure that both phones were using the identical CODEC (one of the Field Test screens covers this), and so the only way to explain the difference was that the i265 just wasnít as good as the i730 in this aspect. Of course, I might have had a lemon, but I really had no way of knowing for certain.

Click on this link for a full description of RF Performance, and how to interpret it.

Audio Performance

Tonal Balance: While generally quite good, the tone of the internal earpiece on the i265 was decidedly HOLLOW. It wasnít annoyingly so, but it was quite noticeable in back-to-back comparisons with my i730. The speakerphone sounded similar to the i730, but it was a bit peakier and therefore rather annoying by comparison.

I ran a test using Direct Connect and the i730 sounded markedly richer and more natural-sounding than the i265. To be fair, my i730 does suffer from a bit of sympathetic vibration when the speaker is used, but during the Direct Connect conversation the overall sound of my i730 was decidedly nicer.

Outgoing sound quality was excellent, and Iíd have to say it is better than either the i730 or i830 when the native microphone is used. Sound quality when in speakerphone mode is about the same, however.

Sound Reproduction: In this aspect the i265 did quite well, and was on par with the i730. The sound reproduction of the current crop of iDEN phones is extremely good, though not quite perfect. However, part of sound reproduction is the presence of background noise generated by the circuitry (or lack therefore). The i265 produced a lot more background noise than the i730, which itself produces more than the i830. So in this particular respect the i265 fails to live up to my expectations.

Earpiece Volume: Earpiece volume isnít quite as loud as the i730. The difference isnít tremendous, and represents about 1 to 2 notches on the volume setting. This wouldnít be such a bad thing if the i730 was a super-loud phone to begin with, but it isnít. For normal conversations this slight lack of volume isnít a huge deal, but under severe conditions is can be annoying. The same applies to the speaker, which is also slightly lower in volume than the i730 (though not as noticeably so as the earpiece).

Click on this link for a full description of Audio Performance, and how to interpret it.

Support Features

Ringer Volume: Like the all of the current iDEN models the ringer on this phone is about as loud as they come (especially if you choose the right ringtone). The loudest one can be heard over a lawnmower, if that gives you any idea of how loud this phone can ring.

Keypad Design: At first glance the keypad looks quite nice, but after playing with it for a while I was really not that impressed. When backlit you can see that the numbers are just painted on, and the overall feel is cheap and plastic. While the keys pressed fine, they lacked any real feel, and they were really quite bothersome over time.

Headset: When used with my excellent Samsung earbud the phone sounded just as good as my i730, except not as loud. The volume difference between the i730 and i265 on the headset was quite noticeable and certainly far greater than with the earpiece or speaker. The background noise was very prominent, and there was much more sidetone on the i265. That sidetone, while not too bad, was enough to make the use of a headset nowhere near as great as it is on the i730.

Display: The color screen on the i265 is identical to the one used in the i730 and the i830. It displays 130 x 130 pixels, and it produces reasonably nice color. It can be seen in direct sunlight, even without the backlight on, though Iíve certainly tried better color phones when it comes to this.

Phonebook: The phonebook is typical Motorola, which is to say rather minimal. The phone does allow the storage of up to 5 numbers per name, along with an email address (for what I canít fathom), but thatís about it. Search capabilities are limited to the standard approaches seen on virtually all phones, such as scrolling through the list manually or pressing the key corresponding to the first letter of the name.


As I noted at the beginning of this review, Iíd hoped that the i265 would be a great candy bar style alternative to the i730, but I just couldnít warm up to it. The cheap keypad, the lower earpiece volume, the hollow earpiece tonal quality, the high level of background noise, and the worse over-the-road performance just put me off of it completely.

Iíd like to tell you that itís a CHEAPER alternative to the i730, but at only $50 less I it isnít worth the pain and suffering. The only reason Iíd recommend anyone buying this over the i730 or i830 is because they absolutely have to get a candy bar phone. Otherwise do yourself a favor and go with the i730 or i830 instead.