Motorola E398: Test and Review

While other manufacturers three in one devices (phone + camera photos + MP3 player) continue the war pixels, Motorola has chosen to differentiate itself with its latest offering the E398 phone.


At first glance, this stylish device, cuboid with rounded corners, equipped with its joystick, could be mistaken for a new offering from Sony Ericsson. As for the silver key to Nokia, it resembles a Finnish origin. But it is nothing …. Motorola designers have certainly observed carefully highlights the achievements of their competitors when they designed the E398.

Wrapped in black material recalling the rubber, the contact is nice and easy grip. The side faces house two stereo speakers. The navigation joystick, silver luster, can be a bit slippery in sweaty hands. But the keyboard, matte silver, is comfortable and well-spaced keys facilitate text input. Overall, the E398 looks good, it harmonizes well with a business suit holding a sport.

Tri-band, this phone has a TFT screen with 176 x 220 pixels, standard on most newer Motorola. The display of 65,536 colors shows up to eight lines of text, readable even in bright lighting conditions.


The E398 is rich in features. Although intended primarily for music lovers, this phone also includes Bluetooth connectivity and a personal information manager.

The VGA camera captures still images

but not the video.

The integrated VGA camera suitable for taking occasional snapshots but its 4x digital zoom that enlarges the images to the expense of quality is quite disappointing. It is surprising that Motorola did not foresee the possibility of video recording on a mobile designed for multimedia enthusiasts. There are also no shooting mode in low light environment. But fortunately, the brightness controls compensate to some extent for this lack. Also, do not count on the assistance of the built-in flash as it is only for close-ups.

While the keyboard is great for sending messages, the mobile has difficulty following rapid strikes: letters continue to be displayed while the strike is over. The E398 suffers from “Sony Ericsson syndrome” seen on models such as the T610 and T630: warning messages are no longer audible when, after reading, you forget to close the window containing the text.

The E398 is the first mobile to use a removable TransFlash memory. Tiny and tucked under the battery, this card is the size of a thumb nail. However, we must draw your attention to the delicate attachment mechanism. Nevertheless, we appreciate the 64MB it awards and which store about an hour of MP3 music.


The two integrated speakers that offer excellent acoustics are also good for the music for handsfree conference. In addition, the E398 uses Haptics technology that when you hold the device in hand, generates rhythmic vibration enhancing the lower frequencies.

The included stereo headset provides clear but without his wealth in low observed with the K700i from Sony Ericsson. There is no further EQ for adjusting preferences, as to the controls, they are limited. Another defect: the reader tends to muffle the sound originating MP3 files encoded in VBR – which irritate music fans.

Transfer MP3 files from a desktop computer to the TransFlash memory 64 MB is easily done using the SD card adapter. Its capacity of about 20 pieces only have to decorate a physical workout. Unfortunately, unlike competing models such as the Nokia 6230, the E398 does not have FM radio.

Not only this mobile is heard, but it is also seen. Integrated LEDs on each side of the display warn of incoming calls. Combined with customizable lights and vibrations, it is really hard to miss a call!

The E398 displays video clips MPEG-4 in a rather jerky. To the extent that you do not use it to watch your favorite series, this is however likely prove sufficient.

Reception, Autonomy and DAS

We have no problems with reception and voice clarity. The battery life is pretty good – three days under average use. However, if the phone is also used as a MP3 player, it is better to provide the recharge more often.

With a SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) of 1.01 W / kg, the E398 meets international standards of individual exposure to radio waves.


The E398 is sold at price of 400 euros with a one year warranty. If the eccentricity of its SMS function and lack of FM radio does not concern you too, this mobile offers a good cost / performance ratio compared to its competitors. Do not expect however that this Motorola replaces your iPod, but it will certainly be nice companion for your daily commute.