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Motorola Rival A455: Full Review

Wirefly Learn » Reviews

June 20th, 2009


By Ari Driessen
Follow Ari on Twitter

Meet the Motorola Rival. The Rival looks cute and cuddly – and my psychedelic purple demo model (also comes in a “Tin Silver” that isn’t so loud) is the epitome of what you would imagine a 14 year old “Texting Tammy” clutching 24/7. Looks can be deceiving, however. And this maxim certainly rings true with the Rival. This QWERTY slider packs a surprising amount of power, and would not only thrill your teenage daughter, but would please anyone looking for a phone with a long list Smartphone-esque features that also comes at a smart price.

The Rival is short and stocky. Weighing in at 4.4oz, its heft is pleasing and alludes to the possibility that the Rival may be much more than meets the eye. The phone is about three fourths of an inch thick, and about 2 inches wide and only 3.8 inches tall. It’s sure to fit comfortably in a pocket, and can even slip into a small purse, or even a wristlet (yeah, I’m up the lingo).

The phone either has a black body with purple lining, or a silver body with red lining. The front is home to a nice and bright 2.2 inch, 65k color screen that also boasts some touch functionality reminiscent of higher-priced Smartphones (more on that later). There’s also a send key that brings up a recent calls menu, an end key that returns you to the home screen, a back key, a key that brings up an on-screen dial pad, and a four-way navigation key.

On the left of the phone is a volume up and down rocker that, when not in-call, is used to set the phone’s profile (silent, vibrate, loud, etc.). A button below the volume rocker activates the speakerphone. A miniUSB port for syncing and charging can also be found on the left, along with a fastening slot that allows the Rival to be hung around your neck or fastened to a wrist band. On the right is a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a key lock button, voice command key, and dedicated camera key. A 2.0 megapixel camera/camcorder can be found on the back.

Sliding the Rival open reveals a nicely laid out full QWERTY keyboard with plenty of shortcut keys. There’s a dedicated key for text messaging, another for mobile instant messaging (the Rival supports AIM, Yahoo!, and Windows Live Messenger), and even a key that brings up a menu of emoticons (OMG!).

Motorola Rival Motorola Rival

User Interface

When open or closed, the Rival is navigated with the same four-way directional key and a centered select button. Some menus and features are also navigated by tapping either the right or left of the screen. In both portrait mode or with the keyboard open, a pair of bright white dots illuminate to indicate where on the screen to press to select a given menu item. At the home screen, for example, tapping the left dot opens a messaging menu, while the right dot opens the contact list. The main menu and sub-menus are intuitive lists that allow for quick navigation and access to settings and applications. The four-way directional key can be customized to provide shortcuts to frequently used applications and features. Pushing left, for example, launches the browser by default.

Features & Performance

Phone & Voice Commands

The dial pad button on the front of the Rival opens a touchable, on-screen dial pad that worked flawlessly. The phone even vibrates slightly as you enter each digit. The Rival’s phone book has room for up to 1000 contacts, with spots for five phone numbers, and two email addresses. Of course you can also associate a picture and ringtone with each contact. The Rival also supports Verizon Visual Voicemail ($2.99/month).

The Rival is also equipped with full-fledged voice command functionality. You can speak the name of a contact or a phone number to call, say the name of a menu or feature to open it, or even speak the name of a playlist to begin playing it. Unfortunately, however, the Rival does not allow you to speak the name of a song or artist and jump to it.

Motorola Rival Motorola Rival


Although it no doubt holds its own when it comes to many other more advanced features, the Rival is still a messaging device at heart. With dedicated messaging keys, a messaging interface built for speed with multiple recipients in mind, and the ability to sort and navigate text messages by conversation or time received/sent , the Rival is an easy-to-use messaging machine. The phone also supports Mobile Email ($5/month) for convenient on-the-go access to email from most major online providers as well as IMAP and POP accounts – without the hassle of having to use a web-based interface. I gave Mobile Email a try with my Gmail account, and was pleasantly surprised. I was even able to be alerted when new messages arrived (albeit not immediately as would be expected from a BlackBerry, for example).

Web Browsing

For a phone of its ilk, I was happy with the mobile browser. It was great for browsing mobile pages (such as CNN’s mobile edition), and page loads were speedy over Verizon’s EVDO network. The Rival will do a great job with basic mobile browsing needs such as reading news or checking the weather, but with a small screen and limited mobile browser capabilities, don’t expect an experience comparable to that of a true Smartphone.


A microSD card slot can be found under the back cover, and supports up to an 8GB card for plenty of space for most music lovers. The media interface was a little cumbersome to navigate, and took a couple seconds to load, but no major qualms. Expect the usual feature set – the ability to create custom playlists, enter shuffle mode, or repeat a song over and over. With a standard 3.55mm headset jack, there’s no need to purchase an expensive set of special headphones. The Rival supports VCAST Music with Rhapsody for downloading music on-the-go (songs are $2 a pop) as well as VCAST Video (streaming access to full length popular TV shows, music videos, and other entertainment).


The Rival has an onboard 2 megapixel camera and camcorder. It’s without a flash or self portrait mirror. Photo and video quality was mediocre to be sure. Images in bright sunlight were sometimes washed out, and indoor images were often dark and blurred — even if the phone was kept absolutely still while the photo was being taken. The Rival is fine for the occasional memory, but don’t expect digital camera quality.

Motorola Rival

Bluetooth & Extras

The Rival has full Bluetooth functionality, supporting Headset, Handsfree, Dial Up Networking, Stereo, Phonebook Access, Basic Printing, Basic Imaging, Object Push for VCard & VCalendar and File Transfer profiles. The Rival also supports VZ Navigator ($2.99/day if you find yourself lost with nowhere else to turn, or $9.99/month).

The Bottom Line

With its functionality and advanced feature set, the Rival well…rivals many other more expensive devices on the market in everything but price. It’s a strong messaging phone that incorporates more advanced features such as a full-featured media experience, voice command, Mobile Email support, and a camera with some extra goodies – all in a small and attractive package. Whether you’re fifteen or fifty, the Rival is a great buy for the wireless shopper that wants it all but doesn’t want to shell out the big bucks.

Buy this phone now!

Shop Now for Phones from AT&T Wirelesss, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

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  1. Motorola Rival A455 for Verizon Wireless
  2. Motorola Droid: Full Review
  3. LG enV3 Review: Full Review
  4. BlackBerry Tour Review: Full Review of the new 9630

90 Responses to “Motorola Rival A455: Full Review”

  • Please mother of God do not get this phone. I’m saving you from all the bullcrap. I had two replacement rivals. The phone constantly turns off by itself while I texted. It vibrated by itself, and randomly sent texts. Probably the worst thing about the phone is that you can only use an ‘ authorized’ charger. So when I attempted to use another charger after my original broke it said, “unauthorized charger” and wouldn’t charge the damn thing … worst phone ever.
    Thank God I switched to the palm pixie…

  • yay! finally! some good comments! NOW i’m exited!! i have a motorola flip phone and some classmates were like: nice phone…were’d u get it the 1900′s?? so, i’m pretty exited i’m getting a new 1!!!

  • well, i’m 12 and in the 6th grade and i’m getting this phone…. it’ll B my 1st cell phone so, i’m prettyy exited! it looks really cute but after reading the coments i’m not sure if i should believe them or not……could somebody plz tell me the truth about this cute looking phone???????? LOL

  • Cel phone
    December 3, 2011

    I’m 11….do you think this phone is made for kids and teens mostly? I will be getting my rival in about 2days and I’m actually pretty excited…but these negative comments worry me. IM a little convinced it’s more geared toward younger people maybe the 16 and under crowd? I don’t know I could be wrong. BuT my rival is comeing SOOOOO soon and I’m soooooooooooo excited.

  • P.Randhawa
    October 15, 2011

    It is worst phone ever I had. I got it repaired three times during warranty period and now suddenly its screen went blank,nothing show on screen.

  • molly
    June 5, 2011

    well i had a different phone and it broke so im getting 1 of these when i read the reveiw i was thinking it would be great but after i read the coments im kinda woried lol :P

  • I previously had an LG Touch which had to be replaced. As a “comparable” phone, Verizon sent me the Rival. Comparable it is not! The “touch screen” is very minimal, no internet and very outdated style of a phone. I recall, a Nokia that I had in the 90′s that was similar to this one (although not a slider). I have only had this phone for a few days now and can already tell that I am going to begin to limit myself to the use of the phone. I am trying to wait out my contract for another 6 months, to go w/ a better provider. I thought Verizon was supposed to be top notch, but I am not impressed by any means, w/ their pricing nor plans.

  • This phone sucks! I’ve had it replaced twice and just today it snapped in half for the second time! The phone is not duriable!

  • This phone is horrible! I had to get it replaced 3 times. I got the white screen of death, then it got one drop of water on it and quit working, and now it always freezes and the touch screen buttons hit themselves. Verizon wouldn’t let me get a new phone. I had to get a replacement of this piece of garbage. I almost cried when I found out I had to get the same phone again.

  • the iron samurai
    February 15, 2011

    I have Verizon’s Palm Pre Together with and can’t have all the hallmarks to watch any exhibition videos on the browser. I’ve tried to download adobe flash entertainer but it won’t earmarks of to lessen me. Anyone comprehend what to do?

  • horrible phone. replaced three times, now it’s out of the 90 refurbished warranty with the exact same problem it had the first three times. Verizon has had horrible service too – all they say to do is replace the phone, it’s in the warranty and offer no solutions for this lemon of a phone. Now all they say is “buy a new phone” and so nicely never mentioned the option of buying an extended warranty to deal with this fuck up of a phone. No wonder this phone is no longer available new. IT IS A PIECE OF GARBAGE.

  • I think Its very poor business for Verizon and Motorola to let this problem go on.I personally
    think this is A scam. Its funny my phone was fine the first fourteen months of my two year contract. Then the screen goes black but then it comes back on so i can get a text that reads tired of your old cell phone from Verizon.Now I have a blank screen and 10 months on my contract and to get a new phone now will cost me money from my pocket.And this all happens when the Verizon finally gets the I phone.

  • I love my purple Rival. I’ve had it for a year and it’s a great phone.
    I haven’t had any problems with it.

    • thankyou i am getting this phone and i wasnt very sure about it with all the other comments

    • Yes for me this phone is in the mail I am a little worried now

  • I’ve had this phone for a year and have had 6 replacements for it. At first it worked fine for me but after the first month i had to get it replaced and it was all down hill from there. My lowest record was 6 days with this phone before it broke. I put the phone on a chair and then set a t-shirt over the phone. 10 minutes later i picked up the shirt and my phone had a pressure crack. It is the worst phone i have ever had to deal with. Save yourself the nightmare and DONT BUY THIS PHONE!

  • Don’t buy this , i got it since 5-6 months and this week this shitti phone start to lag; button didn’t work, got a white screen of death, cant’t answer to my call, battery is down after a days.
    i’m looking for something new! sigh!


  • i hate this phone !

  • this phone sucked !! i was soo exited to get my new rival and it became a huge dissapointment ! it lagged, the button didnt work , it flashed the varizon sign, it said i was still sending a message even know the person already got it , point it it sucks . i snapped it in half the first week i got it ! i do not want another model keep your stupid phone because i sure do NOT want it !!! DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE !!!

    November 9, 2010

    i agree with these people .. this phone sucks ! it is a waste of time if i send a message it still says sending 20 minuts after they got it.. this phone had sooo many problems it was embarassing !!i snapped it in half the week i got it ! i was so exited to get my new rival and it became a huge dissapointment ! DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE !!!!!!!!!!

  • look this fone rules it has the look’s it is a touch it is a great kid fone i mean i love this fone u guys are just rough on your fone i treat mi fone like i treat mi baby brother okay….. u rule rival

  • This phone is HORRIBLE!!! I had to get two replacments because they both snapped in half i absolutly hate this phone it is horrible no one buy it!!!!

    • I agree you people are wayyyyyy to rough with your rivals

  • Amanda Brand
    August 30, 2010

    This phone is absolutely awful. It borke on me, it would freeze, it would flash the verizon sign. It needs to be taken out of verizon stores if u ask me.

  • Satsuki
    August 22, 2010

    This phone rocked! I had this phone for 1 year and worked perfectly. Never had any problems! went out of the country about 50 times in the last year and nothing was included I think this phone is whicked!

    • Chelsea
      August 23, 2010

      What do you mean by you went out of the country 50 times and nothing was included?

  • Terri Taylor
    August 18, 2010

    This is the worst phone in existance. the phone should be outlawed. Verizon please satisfy your customers by letting them be put in the past. this phone sticks when calling it does everything a phone should not do. Help

  • this phone is worthless i would not reccomend it for anyone the charger does now work it always randomly vibrates and turns off even right after im charging it ive had 3 replacements i cant beleve i have it still either!!
    DO NOT purchase this phone

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