Motorola ROKR E1

The Motorola Rokr is the first phone to feature an iTunes mobile music player from Apple, but in Australia, it is licenced to hold a maximum of only 50 MP3/AAC songs.

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Up until the announcement of Motorola's ROKR in September, iPod music players were the only devices able to sync songs from Apple's iTunes music software. In theory, we like the idea of iPods and mobile phones converging, but Motorola's implementation of iTunes on the E1 leaves a lot to be desired.

Rather than designing the E1 from the ground up with music and iTunes in mind, Motorola has simply tacked the software onto an existing model, the E398, which we reviewed in November 2004. The only differences in design we can spot is the addition of a shortcut key crammed in under the screen to launch iTunes, and the case is pearly white instead of black.

iPod users will find a familiar user interface on the ROKR, but menus are traversed using a fiddly joystick rather than a touch-sensitive scrollwheel. Depressing the joystick selects a menu option, playlist or song, and users can skip or fast-forward through songs by pressing right. Individual songs can be given a rating (out of five stars) and, like all colour-screened iPods, the ROKR E1 can display album art.

We love the concept of an iPod-like phone but Motorola's implementation seems to miss the mark in a few regards. The biggest letdown is the firmware-based restriction on the number of songs users are able to transfer from iTunes to the ROKR: only 50 MP3/AAC tracks in Australia -- in other countries such as the US, a 100-song limit applies.

Although the Rokr E1 has Bluetooth onboard, users are stuck with a painfully slow USB 1.1 connection for synching music with iTunes. Over-the-air downloading of songs via a mobile network provider is not possible, so songs must first be ripped from CDs or purchased using the Australian iTunes Music Store.

Other E1 features include a VGA camera, tri-band connectivity, video player, stereo speakers, lights that flash in time with ringtones and support for microSD (TransFlash) memory -- a 256MB card came bundled with our review handset but this might vary with different operators. Airplane mode switches off radio transmissions so you can use the ROKR purely as a music device during flights.

The ROKR took a painful 30 minutes to synchronise 50 songs with iTunes on our test PC -- Motorola seriously needs to address this by adding support for high-speed USB 2.0 in future devices. Using the joystick to go through the iTunes interface is not nearly as easy as the iPod scrollwheel. Selecting items in the iTunes menu tends to be a little sluggish as well.

The E1's camera is a bit outdated in terms of resolution and pales in comparison to 2-megapixel models such as the Nokia N90 and the Sony Ericsson K750i. Still, it is adequate for displaying photos on the phone's screen and for sending pictures messages.

As a phone, however, the ROKR E1 performed admirably. Motorola includes personalisation options including wallpaper, a range of polyphonic ringtones, screensavers and themes. Battery life is rated by the manufacturer at 540 minutes for talk and 210 hours for standby. We generally got between four to five days of average use out of the phone, but this was using the music function rarely.

Sadly, the first iTunes phone falls well below our expectations. While Sony is making inroads with phones badged with the well-known Walkman brand, we doubt iTunes will do the same for this ROKR. Give the handset more memory, a higher number of songs allowed to synchronise, easier navigation, consistent menus and a cleaner design and we might be able to recommend it. But for the time being, we'll wait for the next round of convergence, and keep our iPods and phones separate.

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Bryan Murphy posted a comment   

The Good:Work OK

The Bad:Bluetooth very limited.

Working for Group 4 in city great phone coverage but bluetooth to PC is bad.


thunder posted a review   

The Good:itunes, speakers, lights, look

The Bad:camera, screen, 50 song limit. bring on the a new motorola with itunes

i love this phone. it looks great, the best speakers, the rythm lights are fun


baha123 posted a review   

im having problems with my motorola rokr e1. everytime i turn the fone ON the motorola welcome screen comes on then it goes blank and restarts itself again. does anyone know why thats happening?


Musashi posted a review   

The Good:The big plus and all other phone makers should pay attention is the outstanding battery life. Sound quality is excellent. Easy of use very good.

The Bad:USB cable connections and those terrible Motorola charger connections are the worst. Nokia is way ahead there.

Great phone. Had it for years and now my wife is using it.


Alvin posted a review   

How do you recieve broadcast message, like where you are (suberb)
Email back!

<a href=>motorola rizr z6</a>

motorola rizr z6 posted a review   

The Good:Gorgeous color.
Decent talk time.
Solid construction.
Good 3D stereo speakers.
FM radio.
Best headphones on a portable yet.
Finger-friendly keypad.

The Bad:Nothing.

Great itune phone. Specially for those people who loves music. Hard body. Fast and efficient features. I like its graceful color. Slim and sleek. Battery timing is also good.

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bestestimes posted a review   

The Good:Awsome mp3 player with stereo speakers and disco lights, screen size, i tunes, ease of use, sound quality rocks, good batt life, all round nice phone.great speaker phone/Bluetooth

The Bad:camera is crap. as they were in those days, screen light died after 2yrs, not due to miss use. never dropped it. wont play 3gp with out jurking. not smooth with 3gp.

Rokn' Phone. The Rokr Does Rok.


phat_buddah2000 posted a review   

The Good:good speakers

The Bad:50song limit
vga camera

well ive had this phone for about two years now. Ive only had one problem with it. the headphone jack broke and i had to replace it. it about a month......
p.s. does anyone know where to get headphones for it


lucky posted a review   

i used 2 use the E1 it was quite a good phone but i was slow with the transfer of music and the charger is crap cause it broke on me twice cause i took it 2 a phone shop 4 repairs cause it broke and after i got it back it didnt take long for it to brake and i also had problems with the sd card and itunes cause when i put songs it it once it keep skiping tracks it also frezzed on me and as i turn it off it would make a pop sound when its turning off .


ppspp posted a review   

can i download songs directly to the micro sd adapter and then put it inmy rokr??
because i dont have a usb for it

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User Reviews / Comments  Motorola ROKR E1

  • Bryan Murphy

    Bryan Murphy

    "Working for Group 4 in city great phone coverage but bluetooth to PC is bad."

  • thunder



    "i love this phone. it looks great, the best speakers, the rythm lights are fun"

  • baha123



    "im having problems with my motorola rokr e1. everytime i turn the fone ON the motorola welcome screen comes on then it goes blank and restarts itself again. does anyone know why thats happening?"

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