With the cover open, you're presented with a large (2.25 inches diagonally), vibrant 262,000-color display. Just below that is a five-way navigation pad surrounded by controls for accessing menu options, the camera/camcorder, the Talk and End keys, and two soft keys; the navigation toggle and soft keys can all be customized to access whatever feature you wish. The dial-pad keys are large and well spaced, and the buttons are set such that touch dialing is easy. The left spine features a volume-control rocker and the walkie-talkie button for making direct calls to other Nextel subscribers, while the right spine houses the Micro SD (TransFlash) expansion slot. The top of the handset features buttons for the speakerphone and for accessing your list of recent calls, so you can make calls without opening the cover.Whether you're a business executive or a tech hipster, you'll find the Nextel Motorola i870 to be fairly loaded in the features department. As for the basics, the address book holds up to 600 contacts, each of which can take six phone numbers, as well as e-mail and IP addresses. If you don't want to thumb through your phone book to find a number, you can add voice tags to your contacts and make calls simply by saying the name. You also get a speakerphone, three-way calling, and call recording, all of which are accessible through the menu during a call.
Along with walkie-talkie calls, the i870 supports Nextel's Direct Talk service, which allows you to connect with other Direct Talk-compatible phones while off network. The i870 is also the first phone to support Nextel's Direct Send service, which lets you push to send pictures or contact information to another Direct Send-compatible handset. In addition to these voice features, the Nextel i870 supports text and multimedia messaging and comes with a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, a date book, a vibrate mode, and onboard GPS. The i870 is Bluetooth enabled for file transfers and for use with wireless headsets.
In another first for Nextel, the i870 features a 1.3-megapixel camera, which includes a 4X digital zoom, a flash, and a self-timer. Picture quality is decent, with better color saturation than we've seen from other megapixel camera phones, though it still can't compare with a digital camera. You can take pictures in sizes from 128x96 to 1,280x1,024 pixels in either Fine or Normal quality settings. On the other hand, it's missing the picture effects (black and white, sepia, and so on) and the white-balance controls that you find with most camera phones. There's also a video recorder if you're in the mood to shoot poor-quality clips. Once you're done with your snapshots or videos, you can store the files to the phone's 25MB of internal memory, which is on the low side, but you can always save these files to a TransFlash card. You can also use images for picture caller ID or as your phone's wallpaper. The i870 supports multimedia messaging, so you can send images to any e-mail address or to other cell phone users; Sprint Nextel's multimedia messaging service is compatible with Cingular, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Leap Wireless. In a nice bit of synergy, you can store pictures and video clips on Sprint's Web site.