Review: Motorola ROKR E1 iTunes Mobile Phone

Jeremy Horwitz
By Jeremy Horwitz - Editor-in-Chief
Review: Motorola ROKR E1 iTunes Mobile Phone

Pros: Above-average on signal strength, this combination of cell phone and iTunes music player doesn’t drop calls easily, and plays back MP3 or AAC tracks without complaint. Includes 512MB memory card. Offers partial Bluetooth compatibility, an integrated camera and limited data features.

Cons: Signal strength aside, audio quality of calls is only okay, and not good on caller’s end when using included stereo headset. Phone and iTunes interfaces, including music synchronization, are frequently slow and non-intuitive by comparison with Apple-designed products. Stereo channels sometimes reverse during headset or speaker playback. Artificially limited to 100 songs regardless of their actual size – fewer than any iPod, including shuffle – but costs more than a 20GB iPod unless you simultaneously commit to a phone contract. Can’t use for music unless SIM is installed. Uninspired industrial design. Poor battery life indicator.

Review: Motorola ROKR E1 iTunes Mobile Phone

Pundits claim that standalone digital music players are destined to be replaced by music-ready mobile phones. If they’re correct – and we’re not convinced that they are – Motorola’s ROKR E1 Mobile Phone ($349.99) will not be the vanguard of the revolution. Combining an unimpressive industrial design with a clunky interface, ROKR E1 is the sort of product Apple never would have released under its own name: an okay retrofit of an already-released cell phone with an okay, iPod-esque music player as its only semi-distinctive feature. Its saving graces are phone signal strength, reasonable battery life, and an included 512MB memory card, which can be used to store no more than 100 songs.

To be clear at the onset, we are neither damning the concept of a music-playing phone nor saying that ROKR E1 is a bad product. We have no doubt that Apple and its partners will eventually release a good or great iTunes-ready phone that’s as much of a breakthrough as various iPods have been. But as the first product of a planned series, E1 is only “okay,” the mark of our C rating, and thereby not recommendable. It’s also the first iPod-related device that we’re glad to see covered by a thirty-day return policy.

Review: Motorola ROKR E1 iTunes Mobile Phone

In order to make our comprehensive review more manageable, we’ve collapsed its text into easy to skim section headers. Open as many or as few as you wish.

Where Can I See or Purchase a ROKR E1? (Click here for details.)

Why Is It Called ROKR E1? (Click here for details.)

What Are ROKR E1’s Major Features? (Click here for details.)

What Else Is In The Box? (Click here for details.)

How Do You Transfer iTunes Music to ROKR E1? (Click here for details.)

How Does ROKR E1 Store Music? (Click here for details.)

How Does ROKR E1 Play Music? (Click here for details.)

How Does iTunes Music Sound? (Click here for details.)

How Does ROKR E1 Perform As a Phone? (Click here for details.)

What About Battery Life? (Click here for details.)

Jeremy Horwitz
By Jeremy Horwitz Editor-in-Chief
Jeremy Horwitz was the Editor-in-Chief at iLounge. He has written over 5,000 articles and reviews for the website and is one of the most respected members of the Apple media. Horwitz has been following Apple since the release of the original iPod in 2001. He was one of the first reviewers to receive a pre-release unit of the device, and his review helped put iLounge on the map as a go-to source for Apple news.