Review: Motorola Motozine ZN5

[Editor's note: The ZN5 we review here was a prototype version. When Motorola sends us a fully baked model to play with, we'll update the review accordingly. Thanks for reading, G-Labbers!]

Motorola Motozine ZN5



Access camera mode with a flick of the lens cover. Skinny, with curves in all the right places, the ZN5 is one of the most attractive cameraphones out there. Big, beautiful 2.4-inch screen. Backlit keypad is simple and elegant. Flip the phone sideways in camera mode, and dedicated camera and gallery shortcuts buttons magically illuminate. Panorama mode lets you stitch together multiple horizon shots into one sweeping mega image. 3.5mm headphone jack lets choose your own soundtrack while snapping up a frenzy.


Indexed zoom (4x) is clunky and makes noisy images downright deafening. Disappointing low light performance. 15 fps looks craptastic even on the ZN5's screen. WTF! Moto's still cramming the MicroSD card behind the battery.

How We Rate

  • 1/10A complete failure in every way
  • 2/10Barely functional; don't buy it
  • 3/10Serious flaws; proceed with caution
  • 4/10Downsides outweigh upsides
  • 5/10Recommended with reservations
  • 6/10A solid product with some issues
  • 7/10Very good, but not quite great
  • 8/10Excellent, with room to kvetch
  • 9/10Nearly flawless, buy it now
  • 10/10Metaphysical product perfection

Oh snap! There's a new cameraphone on the block — and this skinny, pixel-packin' newcomer's got Nokia and Sony Ericsson squarely in its sights.

As the unlikely lovechild of a sweaty fling between Motorola's engineers and Kodak's imaging wizards, the ZN5 aims to give cameraphone mainstays like the N82 and the K850i a serious run for their money.

And on the hardware front, this 5-megapixel pocket shooter does just that. Not only does the unit feel velvety smooth in the hand — thanks to a slightly concave back that gently cradles your index finger — but it's made to weather the inevitable phone fumblings with grace and style, too. Featuring a rubberized base and a smokin' dark grey metal body, the ZN5 flat out runs circles around the plastic-y competition.

Combine that with relatively artifact-free images, a high-res 2.4-inch screen plus the ability to save pictures with TIFF lossless compression (instead of JPEG), and you have yourself a solid first entry in the cameraphone arena.

Unfortunately, once you get past the handset's formidable design jujitsu, the ZN5 does little to raise the cameraphone bar. While photos were clear and natural, we found they were considerably dimmer than those produced by our cameraphone fav, the Nokia N82 — even after using Kodak's PerfectTouch tech.

There are also plenty of rough edges Motorola and Kodak want to smooth out away if they miss to offer Nokia and Sony Ericsson thing to rub about. inwards particular, our look back whole was infested aside Associate in Nursing fanatic Xe flash, which, once secondhand inwards closely law of proximity to A subject, tended to cleanse away faces (and yet part of the background) inwards A turbulent flow of blazing whiten light.
turn away the appear doesn't avail matters, either. The cameraphone's moo lightly accomplishment (sans flash) was abysmal. And disregard optimized settings for exactly these kinds of conditions, night shots were noisier than A My damn Valentine show.

Equally, dissatisfactory is the ZN5's television implementation. piece the French telephone flaunts A television receiver away and lets you inject inwards 2 resolutions (176 Adam gross and 128 Adam 96) Laotian monetary unit fifteen fps, the rate we guess successful YouTube videos count desire the raise of high-def splendor.

A fair denude bone photograph editor program rounds away the phone's sport set, allowing ZN5 users to give staple effect to protected photos, including visualize rotation, mirroring, cut and resizing. Essentially, there's no A sport hither you can't find oneself along likewise weaponed cameraphones.

Don't beget United States wrong: service of these quirks ar inevitably sell breakers. But hopefully in the finished version, we'll find some some big brains to accompany the ZN5's banging body. In the end, Motorola didn't need to shoot the moon, but it did need something a step above other cameraphones that have been on the market for a year or more now. Unfortunately, the ZN5 is not quite that phone...yet.