Review: Motorola RAZR V3i

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Motorola’s epochal RAZR was the most desirable handset of its time. The seductive form factor tended to distract users from some fairly irritating software decisions that Motorola’s designers would probably, given their time again, have made differently. Now they have been given their time again, and this time they seem to have fixed most of those niggles leaving us with the V3i: a handset that finally delivers on the original unit’s promise.

Cosmetically there are a few minor changes from the first RAZR, with a cool brushed metal finish .The Motorola logo is now illuminated and absorbed into a slightly larger exterior display. The external display also has status lights for charging and Bluetooth. Overall the software is pretty self-explanatory, with most functions easily accessible with a combination of the menu key and the circular cursor pad. There are a couple of minor eccentricities; Ring sound and ring volume are located in quite different parts of the OS and MP3 playback is handled by a little media player tucked away not – as one might imagine – in the media player section but under Java games. Note that the MP3 player on the review unit was not, as appears to be the case with some providers, the implementation of iTunes pioneered in the ROKR but a serviceable equivalent that I must say I got on with fairly well.

The 1.2MP camera was a mild disappointment in use: The default settings (which I imagine most people will stick with) yielded blurry results on all but the most immobile subjects and pictures were less impressive than you might reasonably expect to see on a recent model handset.

Call quality was excellent however, and the voice dial and speed dial features were – uniquely in my experience – easy to configure and use. Now that Motorola have gone with a standard USB cable for interfacing, connecting your phone to a PC also becomes a lot more straightforward. If you have a digital camera you’ve probably got a spare mini USB cable so you can sync your ‘phone at home and at work which is just as it should be!

Battery life is rated as 3 hours talktime / 200 hours standby. The RAZR I had certainly coasted through a 3 day review period on one charge. Maybe I’ve just got no friends.

The RAZR V3i is, despite its resemblance to the previous model, a huge step forward in terms of usability. If you liked the look of the RAZR, and if you’ve got friends that can stand very still when their picture is being taken, it’s a pretty compelling option.

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