The Motorola V3x is better classified as a transition phase in the Razr line
CAIRO: Though the Motorola Razr phone has yet to be mistaken for a credit card, its remarkably sublime design has helped to build its iconic status among cell phone users.
But that is no more.
Its ubiquity has led the Razr into difficult times. Its original aim has been style over substance, fashion over function, and as a result, it has aged. It had an appalling VGA camera and a medieval five megabyte of internal memory. That was the V3.
Then Motorola launched the V3i in mid-2005 with 1 megapixel of camera resolution and a shiny ‘brushed-steel’ metal casing. It wasn’t enough; neither was the extra i.
In an appropriate and Darwinian manner, Motorola has now brought us the Razr V3x. Built on a 3G-enabled backbone, it comes complete with a 2.0 megapixel camera, video conferencing, multimedia streaming, microSD/Transflash memory (expandable to 512Mb), Bluetooth, 3D graphics acceleration, WAP browser, MP3 and video playback and voice recognition. It also supports AAC+, MPEG4, WMV, WMA, MP3 and Real Video/Audio files; providing you have the memory upgrade you can use this handset as a media storage and playback device.
All of this extra kit has come at the cost of its size. Though you could describe it as a clam-shell, it’s more like two chocolate bars with a door hinge. This is a big phone. There is security in having a handset reach from ear to mouth and this phone certainly manages that.
The software that comes with the phone is intuitive and practical. You can do almost everything via your computer once it’s connected through your USB port. The software installation itself isn’t the smoothest, but once complete, the software is stable and in many cases useful. You can conveniently compose your text messages and manage your phonebook and swap files via your computer.
Previous Motorola users, particularly owners of the v500 and v600 phones, may find some confusion in the V3x menu system. It’s just as pretty – prettier actually – but has been tweaked in a rather haphazard direction.
The magi-button that Motorola had employed at the top of the keypad, which brings up a more specific menu for whatever you have selected, is gone. When it was first introduced, it was troublesome to get familiar with, but once you got used to it, it was indespensable. The button made it possible to click on the phonebook entry and get every possible option for that persons data. The same was true of themes, ringtones, and even writing style. This is no more and the menu has been adapted to compensate.
You cannot set unique SMS alerts. I see this as a considerable oversight; I’d like to know whether someone is sending me a text message or is actually phoning me – as soon as the phone rings.
The menu improvements, however, make up for this. And though the phonebook and the multimedia files are well handled, you regularly find yourself lost among all the other menus, having to hit cancel to return to the home screen. This over-complication was well demonstrated in an attempt to transfer phone numbers from a Motorola V500 phone onto the new Razr V3x.
Individual contacts are well handled and can include two email addresses, a URL, postal address and birthday. This is all presented on an impressive TFT-screen, made by Sharp, boasting a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and 262k colors. Another external screen is of medium quality and loses all clarity in the sun.
Think of the Razr as an angst-ridden juvenile going through puberty. Its once sleek lines are beginning to bulge. It’s trickier to manage. It does do a great deal more however, and to think of the V3x as a transitory phase for the Razr wouldn’t be far wrong.
Many phones are being touted as Razr-killers. If Motorola aims to promote longevity in the Razr, then we may see the enhancement of its multimedia capabilities, an already strong aspect of the phone. More memory, more functionality, and you may find it’s an iPod-killer.
The Daily Star Egypt invites manufacturers to send us their products for a period of one week and have them reviewed.