Verizon Wireless recently introduced their new Push to Talk technology, and I had the opportunity to evaluate the new service using their V60P phone made by Motorola. Those familiar with the V60 series of phones will appreciate the similarity in function and availability. The new feature (Push To Talk, aka PTT) makes the phone about twice as thick as well as adds a button on the left hand side of the phone for the PTT feature.
The menu options also include phonebook listings for PTT Contacts on top of the normal phonebook entries. Adding and deleting entries and groups requires you to go to a special website to make any changes, which is unfortunate as you cannot add PTT contacts on the fly. Other than the large inconvenience of having to use the web to enter PTT contacts, the phonebook is easy to use.
The Push To Talk use through testing I feel is barely functional. Upon first queue up of a contact connection time takes upwards of 15 seconds to connect, compared to Nextel’s 2-3 second delay. Subsequent PTTs take roughly 5 seconds or more whereas the Nextel is almost instantaneous. There are also issues with the way PTT works on Verizon’s 1x network. Their 1x network is not available everywhere you get a signal, and you could have a strong regular signal, and no 1x signal at all, which makes the PTT portion of the phone unusable. One positive about the PTT is that the sound through the speakerphone is clear and audible.
The regular use of the phone is consistent in signal strength and clarity as the other phones in the V60 line, however I noticed that the battery drain was much faster than the other V60 phones possibly due to the PTT functions. Compared to some other phones in the Verizon lineup I had a much better signal strengh and fewer dropped calls which is a welcome sign of improvement.
Although Verizon finally brings competition to Nextel in the PTT market, their technology is still in their infancy. The delays for PTT connections is unbearable as well as the split 1x / regular coverage which will be the short term letdown of this phone. If Verizon can work on the speed in which the radio functions work as well as their 1x tower network this solution could come of age, but will most likely not occur in the near future.