Since its unveiling, the Rokr has been criticised for being a 107g slab of disappointment. A resprayed Motorola E398 with iTunes wasn’t exactly what the iPhone fantasists had in mind, and everyone (including Steve Jobs) found solace in the iPod Nano.
By comparison, the Rokr looks a touch dated. The E398 was chosen because of its music-friendly stereo speakers, which are pretty loud.
iTunes can't save the Rokr from mediocrity
With phones like the V3 around, though, the decision still smacks of toe-dipping rather than commitment. The Rokr struggles to compete for functionality in this company, with an average VGA camera, WAP, and Bluetooth for syncing PIM functions with a PC or MAC.
Adding iTunes does little to help. It’s not the software itself – iTunes is blissfully simple to use when compared to the other music management software here – but its implementation.
Chief annoyance is the 100-song cap (to prevent cannibalising iPod sales), closely followed by the USB 1.1 connection and sluggish movement between menus. Sound quality almost rescues it but the rough edges give it the feeling of an experimental side project.
Underpowered and over here
Somewhere inside the Rokr, a processor groans as you attempt an iPod-quick flick through the menus. Considering the phone is no multi-functional genius, this seems careless.
The bundled speakers are loud enough for hotel room listening, although the option of having flashing lights smacks of cheap, Far East MP3 players.
It’s less chunky and more attractive in the flesh than you’d expect. The problem is that it’s neither a sleek slab of Ive magic nor a V3.