We were disappointed that Motorola chose to downgrade the L6's display from 262,000 colors on the L7 to 65,536 colors, or 128x160 pixels. Though it's large enough (1.75 inches diagonally), the difference in resolution on the display is clearly noticeable. Graphics had a washed-out effect, so the screen isn't the best for viewing photos, browsing the Web, or playing games. It was fine, however, for scrolling through the standard Motorola menus. You can change the backlighting time and the brightness, but you can't alter the contrast or the font size. Also, be warned that the glossy display shows finger smudges easily.
The L6's navigation controls are nearly identical to those on the L7 save for some minor cosmetic changes. There's a five-way toggle, two soft keys, the Talk and End/power buttons, and a dedicated menu control below the screen. There's no dedicated Back button, which we'd prefer, but the toggle can act as a shortcut to four user-defined functions. Also, hitting the center toggle in standby mode opens the Web browser automatically. The controls are large and easy to manipulate, and in a nice design touch, the toggle is raised ever so slightly above the surface of the phone. However, it was a different story with the keypad buttons. As on the L7 and the Razr models, the keypad buttons are completely flat against the surface of the phone, but instead of being metal, they're a cheap-feeling plastic. The individual buttons are smaller and more scrunched together than on the L7. As a result, we had trouble dialing by feel. On the upside, the keys have a tactile feel due to raised numbers and ridges between the horizontal rows, and they're brightly backlit.
Completing the exterior of the phone are just two unmarked controls. On the left spine is a "smart key" that functions as a user-defined shortcut, while a camera button sits on the right spine just below the mini-USB charger port. In a bad move, Motorola decided to design the L6 without an external volume rocker. It's a bit annoying to have to remove the phone from your ear when on a call in order to change the volume. Finally, on the back of the phone are the camera lens (though no flash or self-portrait mirror) and the speaker.As we stated earlier, the Motorola Slvr L6 has a comfortable selection of midrange features. Casual cell phones users will appreciate the Bluetooth, speakerphone, and Motorola Screen3 technology, but more hard-core users will lament the lack of a music player and a high-resolution camera. We'll review the essentials first, however. The 500-contact phone book is adequate, and there's room in each entry for six phone numbers, an e-mail address, a postal address, and a birth date; the SIM card holds an additional 250 names. You can assign contacts to caller groups, pair them with a picture for photo caller ID, or assign them any of 24 polyphonic ring tones. The phone also supports MP3 ring tones. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, a mini-USB port, a calculator, a date book, and an alarm clock. Messaging features are plentiful, with support for text, enhanced, and multimedia messaging. You also get instant messaging for AOL, Yahoo, and ICQ platforms. The Slvr L6 isn't a business phone by any means, but it has a couple of offerings that road warriors should find useful. Not only is there full Bluetooth, a speakerphone, and voice dialing, the Slvr L6 also supports PC syncing and e-mail. And as we said earlier, while the phone is capable of supporting PTT services, Cingular has not activated the L6 for its PTT network.
Like the Motorola V557, the Slvr L6 features Motorola's Screen3 Web-browsing technology (see the V557 review for a full description), which greatly improves the WAP 2.0 browsing experience.