Music phones come in all shapes and sizes, from the sleek and svelte Samsung Trance to the more modest-looking LG VX8360. The Verizon Wireless CDM8950 (made by PCD) is definitely of the latter variety. It's not stylish at all, but it does have external music player controls and access to V Cast Music. You won't get much else aside from a 1.3-megapixel camera and the usual Verizon Wireless broadband services though. We would recommend the LG VX8360 over this, since it has the same features but is much better designed. However, the CDM8950 is available for the unbeatable price of free with a two-year contract, so that might be the better option if you're on a tight budget.
The design of the Verizon Wireless CDM8950 is as dull as they come. Measuring 3.7 inches long by 1.9 inches wide by 0.8 inch thick, the CDM8950 looks like an ordinary gray-and-black clamshell with sharp corners. On the front of it is a 1-inch external display with support for 65,000 colors. It shows the date, time, battery, signal strength, and caller ID. You can adjust the clock format, but nothing else. The front display also acts as a self-portrait viewfinder with the camera, plus you can view the currently playing song when the music player is activated. Above the display is the camera lens.
Under the external display are the external music player keys that let you control the music while the phone is closed. Though the keys are crammed close together, they're raised above the surface and are easy to press by feel, which is good when you want to pause a track with the phone in your pocket. Under the external music keys is a thin external speaker grille.
When you flip open the phone, you'll find a nice 2-inch diagonal display with 262,000-color support and 176x220-pixel resolution. The screen looks bright and colorful, and really shows off the bold animated graphics. You can adjust the backlight time, the wallpaper, the display theme, the menu layout, the size of both dialing and menu fonts, and the clock format. You can also replace and reposition menu items.
The navigation array consists of the usual two soft keys, a square navigation toggle with middle OK key, a dedicated speakerphone key, a dedicated new text message key, the Clear key, and the Send and End/Power keys. The four-way toggle doubles as shortcuts when in standby mode. You can map user-defined shortcuts for the up, left, and down directions, while the right direction corresponds to a My Shortcuts menu, which you can customize with up to four shortcuts as well.
Though the CDM8950 doesn't have the best number keypad we've ever tried, it's not the worst either. The keypad is spacious, and the keys are raised enough above the surface to dial by feel. We would prefer that the navigation array wasn't quite so cramped though.