Monday, January 12, 2009

Motorola PEBL U6 Unlocked Cell Phone--International Version with No Warranty (Graphite Black)

Motorola's PEBL U6 is the second model in Motorola's high-end "four-letter word" line, following the super-popular RAZR V3. The PEBL takes some of the same materials and technologies used in the RAZR and packages them into a completely different kind of clamshell handset. While the RAZR is all about thin, sharp angles, the PEBL is more about design, making use of soft curves and smooth lines throughout.

Screen shots from the PEBL.

The graphite black finish on the smooth, rounded exterior of the PEBL U6 manages to very glossy while still having a visual texture to it. The effect is very cool in person, but the downside is that the phone is an absolute magnet for finger prints. But that's just the cost of high fashion, isn't it?

The PEBL's biggest claim to fame is perhaps not its shape and look, but its unique opening mechanism. A series of custom hinges, a dampening device, and some magnets allow the PEBL U6 to be opened up one-handed in a very smooth, elegant manner. When holding the device, you simply use your thumb to pull the top cover towards the bottom of the device a bit, which releases the magnetic latch that keeps the spring-loaded opening mechanism at bay. At that point you simply move your thumb out of the way and let the spring do its job. The motion is smooth and slow enough not to cause the device to become unbalanced.

Once open, the PEBL's unusual keypad is ready for use. The directional controller and its center select button are very typical of mobile phones, but the rest of the keypad builds on some of the design elements we saw in the RAZR's keypad. The PEBL's keypad and softkeys are completely flat. The actual buttons are hidden behind a single sheet of metal that has a bit of give to it, allowing finger pressure to make its way to the switches underneath. Thin strips of translucent material let light filter in from behind, just as they do on the RAZR's keypad. The net result is a very distinct-looking keypad that probably sacrifices a bit too much in the name of fashion. Individual keys are simply much easier to find and press, even if they don't look nearly as sharp.

The inner workings of the PEBL U6 seem to be stock Motorola. The handset comes in two variations, each of which supports three GSM frequency bands and EDGE data. The North American version supports the 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 Mhz bands. The internal display is a 262k-color unit with a pixel resolution of 176x220. The battery should be good for over 6 and a half hours of talk time, or up to as long as 10 days of standby time according to Motorola. Bluetooth support more than makes up for a lack of infrared connectivity. The only aspect that seems a bit dated is the PEBL's VGA camera. For a high-end handset like the PEBL, you certainly would expect more resolution in the camera, but at least it's capable of recording MPEG4 video clips.

Other highlights include 5 MB of internal storage that can be used for MP3 or MIDI ringtones, photos and video clips, and downloaded Java games and applications. The addition of speaker-independent voice dialing and voice commands is welcome, and the PEBL's relatively low weight of 3.7 ounces (110 g) makes it quite pocketable.


  • Unique design
  • Automatic opening mechanism
  • Bluetooth


  • Low-resolution camera
  • Difficult keypad

Motorola's PEBL U6 is a unique handset. Where it goes, stares and longing gazes will follow. It might not have the full range of high-end features inside, but for the see-and-be-seen crowd, it probably has everything to get the job done.

--Reviewed by Michael Oryl, editor in chief of

Customer Review: USED is not NEW

I order this phone NEW from amazon. I actually can't say anything about the phone itself, because I didn't get to use it at all. First of all I ordered a NEW phone and the one I received was defenitely not new. It had all the plastic sheets on it, but it was udes before. So I returned it within 5 minutes of receiving it. I am very dissappointed with amazon. I don't think I'll order anything from them again.

And the phone doesn't support the my faves plan from T-mobile. Well, just the graphics of the phone doesn't support you may be able to call your faves for free, you just won't have the symbols on the screen....which is a big turn off for me.

Customer Review: Motorola PEBL U6 for International Use

I purchased this unlocked PEBL phone for my daughter to use while she was studying in Greece, so once there she could buy a Greek SIM card, with a Greek phone number, and avoid roaming charges from using her US iPhone. She was still in the US when it arrived, and the PEBL came with an international charger and manuals, but did not come with a SIM card. This phone needed an inserted SIM card before it would allow her access to any setup menus, or to try it out to make calls, so she used the SIM card from her iPhone temporarily and it worked fine. She was easily able to bluetooth sync the PEBL to her MacBook and transfer her contacts list using iSync, and to make calls on the ATT network. Once she was in Greece, the phone has worked great with a Greek SIM card.
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