Consumer Cellular, an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) based out of Portland, Ore., has made it its mission to provide relatively basic phones, particularly for senior citizens. These phones include the Doro handsets like the Doro PhoneEasy 345 and the Doro PhoneEasy 410. One of the latest handsets to join its lineup is the Motorola WX345, which is certainly easy to use, but has a few more advanced features than the typical basic phone. Features include a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, a music player, and even an FM radio. We especially like its bargain-basement price: it's free without a contract, but you do have to pony up a $35 activation fee.
This is the simplest Motorola flip phone we've seen in a long time. Measuring 3.74 inches long by 1.85 inches wide by 0.66 inch deep, the WX345 has a straightforward rectangular silhouette. It does have curved corners and a textured border along the sides, but it has no frills or design quirks otherwise. At 3.32 ounces, it's incredibly lightweight, which has the unfortunate side effect of giving it a rather cheap feel in the hand. The surface of the phone is plastic and glossy, and it comes in either silver or red.
On the front of the phone is a simple monochromatic external LCD display. It shows the date and the time, plus the symbols for signal strength and battery life. It also displays caller ID information. Above the display is the camera lens. The volume rocker and Micro-USB charging jack are on the left spine while a 3.5-millimeter headset jack sits on the right. We're a little disappointed that there's no external camera button.
The phone flips open easily, courtesy of the smooth yet sturdy hinge. When it's opened, you'll see a bright 1.8-inch display. It only has 65,000 colors, however, and the 128x160-pixel resolution results in blocky images and text. However, that's acceptable for a basic phone like this. As for the font, we're glad to see that it's large and legible, but we're disappointed that you can't adjust the font size. You can adjust the main menu style and the wallpaper, and toggle the date and time display on or off. You can also set the brightness and backlight timer. There's also an option to change the language to Spanish.
The navigation array is as simple as the rest of the phone. It consists of two soft keys, a square toggle with a middle confirmation key, a dedicated camera key, a Back key, and the Send and End/Power keys. The toggle doubles as shortcuts to the music player, user profiles, contacts list, and message inbox respectively. Beneath that is the roomy number keypad. The keys are quite big and have a nice rubbery feel to them. Each key is slightly raised so you can press them by feel.
The microSD card slot is located behind the battery cover. You have to remove the battery to gain access to it, which is a little inconvenient.
The Motorola WX345 has a 500-entry phone book, which has room for four numbers, a company name, and an e-mail address. You can group the entries into different categories like Friends, Family, VIP, Business, and Others, and you can customize each entry with one of 15 polyphonic ringtones. There's also vibrate mode, a speakerphone, and text and multimedia messaging. It has basic PIM tools like a calendar, tasks list, alarm clock, and calculator.