This post is the third in my series of Motorola EM326g review articles for this blog. If you haven’t yet read the other parts, I strongly suggest you start here:
Now, on to the third installment of the EM326g review:
This phone is as “connectible” as any I’ve tried for TracFone or Net10. It can connect to your computer by bluetooth OR USB cable, allowing for transfer of files in either direction. And the cable type necessary for connection is a mini-USB , which is widely available. In fact, if you have a digital camera, odds are that you can use that same cable to connect the EM326g.
I was also able to connect the EM326g via bluetooth to my LG 600g phone, and send ringtones and pictures between the two devices. I WAS able to receive a .amr (real/mp3) ringtone from my 600g and set it as the tone on the EM326g, so that’s very promising. If you have friends that have mp3 or amr ringtones on their bluetooth phones, I think you’ll be able to get those tones from them if you want. And of course you can get free mp3 tones from other websites, but I’ll discuss that later.
Here’s an important note – I’ve already had several people contact me to inform me that Net10′s site states that this phone does not support file transfer by either USB or Bluetooth. However, that is simply not true. As I stated above, I’ve done all sorts of file transfers, and they work great. That leaves just two explanations: 1) it’s simply a typo or, 2) a more sinister, conspiracy-theory explanation might be that Net10 simply states that they don’t work in order to avoid tech support calls on this issue in the future. For example, if someone called wondering how to transfer files, the customer support rep could simply say “I’m sorry, your phone doesn’t support that function.” End of call. Anyway, that’s just a theory, but rest assured that file transfer works fine with either USB or Bluetooth.
But one thing where I think we’ll be disappointed again is the potential to use the phone as a modem for dial-up internet. I do have a little hope as within the EM326 menu there’s an option to set the USB connection to “USB Modem” (the other alternative is “USB Disk, which allows the computer to see your phone and memory card as a storage device).
I set the phone to USB Modem and played around with my phone’s networking settings to get it to dial out through the phone. However, I didn’t have any luck. It is possible that installing the appropriate driver on my PC would allow the USB connection to be recognized as a modem. My web searches for such a driver, though, also came up empty. If I learn any more about this, I’ll post it right away.
As far as other connectivity, I don’t think this phone should have any problem connecting to any of the Bluetooth devices you might wish to connect. I haven’t tried pairing with any navigation or GPS systems, but considering how unrestricted the bluetooth seems to be, I don’t think it should be a problem.
Beyond the mp3 capability, the next biggest advantage of this phone over others in the Net10/TracFone lineup is the superior camera quality. Whereas all previous camera phones from either of these brands have offered a maximum resolution of .3 megapixels, the Motorola EM326g produces 1.3 MP images. This, in theory, should produce a fair 4×6 print. I haven’t yet tried printing a pic taken with this camera, but I will do so, and report the results here. To help you evaluate picture quality for now, here’s a picture I took using the EM326g:
It’s also important to many people to be able to transfer photos from the phone to a computer, without having to use airtime to do so. This is especially true with the EM326g due to the higher-quality photos produced. As I reported above, files can be sent to a computer by either bluetooth or USB, so that’s a definite positive with this model. Another option would be to save the photos to a microSD card, then use that card to copy the files to your computer.
The camera can do up to 4x digital zoom, but does not have a flash, so indoor pictures might not turn out as well as outdoor shots. Unfortunately, the EM326g is not capable of recording video. You can take pictures, and record audio, but not at the same time.
It does, however, also include a basic photo editor and cropper. This may be helpful if you want to send an MMS message of a photo you just took, and need to do some editing before you send it off.
I”m going to wrap it up there for now. My next post, which I’ll publish later this week, will cover the mp3 player, organizational tools, games, and ringtones. When I publish that post, I’ll also post a link to it from my Motorola EM326g Review Index Page.
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