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RAZR2 second generation of RAZR

While in the first installment of our report from Motorolas press-conference we focused on the companys strategy, here we are going to dwell upon the new generation of RAZR phones- the RAZR2. The first thing I want to mention is somewhat inadequate title, especially for online magazines typing 2 in superscript mode is always a pain, so for the most part, the second generation will be called the RAZR2 (here we will stick to this name as well).

The market will see release of three handsets coming from the RAZR2 family at a time - V8, V9, V9m. Each of them has own market to focus one due to different connectivity options bundled. The line-ups flagship post is occupied solely by the RAZR2 V8, which is, much like the Motorola Z6, based on Linux/Java, and sports the latest interface version, whereas the rest of the devices run P2K and are of little interest, saving for the casing and design. Functionality-wise these products have their roots in the previous generation; the fate has some irony, for sure. Look at the table to find out what sets the devices apart:

V8 V9m V9
Linux/Java OS P2K OS P2K OS
500 Mhz processor speed 250 Mhz processor speed 500 Mhz processor speed
  Micro SD Micro SD
USB 2.0 High Speed USB 2.0 High Speed USB 2.0 Full Speed
Multi-shot image capture    
2 hour video length    
Video streaming, blogging and progressive download (carrier dependant) Video streaming Video streaming blogging and progressive download (carrier dependent)
100-300 songs w/512M
approximately 1000 w/2G
Up to 2GB with removable card Based on available memory; on board 45 MB; up to 2 GB with removable memory
Yahoo and Hotmail email capabilities Carrier dependant Yahoo and Hotmail email capabilities
Synchronize phonebook, email and calendar over the air Carrier dependant Synchronize phonebook, email and calendar over the air
Read and reply to text from CLI Carrier dependant Point to point video - See What I See video sharing (Cingular only)
Crystal Talk Carrier dependant Crystal Talk

Listing the interesting features of the Motorola V8, we cant overlook the fact that the bottom part of the outer display is touch sensitive, meaning that the music player can be managed with the clam closed the same concept was previously employed in the Motorola V6 Maxx.

The best thing about the handset is its external screen, measuring 2 inches from corner to corner and boasting the 240x320-pixel resolution with 262 K colors (TFT). This stellar, crisp display can show the full-screen caller ID, SMS-messages and allows you to reply the latter with templates (you see, there is no keyboard in this mode). Speaking of other features, there are Album Art support, track list and so on generally, it is not a mouth-watering functionality, that is inferior to Cover UI found in Nokias phones.

For the first time for Motorola the phone sports the microUSB socket capable of High Speed data sessions. Now, as for the aspect that has been widely rumored acround the Web, yet has nothing to do with the real world the storage. It is said that the user has access either to 420 Mb or to 2 Gb of memory depending on the device edition. By this they mean the memory card, rather than the inbuilt storage space, since by default the user can manage around 65 Mb (LJ platform, like in the Z6).

The phone also comes bundled with a 2 Mpix camera putting up average shots quality. The maker has enhanced its with a BestPic-esque feature, which was originally found in the Sony Ericsson phones, that allows taking 8 shots in rapid succession and then pick the best ones. It is shame, that Motorolas weak spot has always been its camera modules, and the flagship solutions are no exception. And all this happens against the backdrop of wide availability of 3.2 Mpix cameras and some 5 Mpix units already on the market.

The handset delivers very pleasant tactile feeling quality seamless casing has much to do with that. Even though the V8 boasts not the thinnest profile out there, it is still quite handy to manage. All in all, the model does well on the ergonomics front. Also, we couldnt be happier with such extra as haptics, when the device goes vibrating once you tap on the key or the outer displays touch sensitive area (Samsung calls it VibeZ).

The internal screen measures a slightly bigger 2.2 inches, while the rest of the specs dont differ from the fascia-mounted display at all.

In order to give you an idea of the handsets functionality and not to iterate the same thing over again, I recommend that you read the Motorola Z6 review, as these offerings are identical in terms of interface and abilities. The CrystalTalk add-on is a counterpart of Voice Clarity and Whisper Mode by Samsung, allowing the earpiece and the microphone to work with enhanced parameters in noisy environments, which ensures that both ends of the call will come out satisfied with the quality of communication.

The model is expected to start shipping in July and will go for about 750 USD. Basically, it is a competent price for a premium-solution, but in view of Motorolas love for beating down prices for such solution and sometimes they do it shortly after release, there is something to ponder on. It is always frustrating to get the latest-and-greatest gadget for 750 USD and then cry after 4-5 months when it stands with a 500-dollar price tag.

Models Motorola V9/V9m arent worth being put into the limelight if you are wondering about their functionality, you would be better off reading the Motorola Maxx review, due to the identical feature packs.

Short summary

The Motorola RARZ2 V8 has turned out to be one of the most jam-packed offerings in the slim folders class the record-breaking external display, Linuxs rich settings; all this makes the device an interesting proposition. However, all these amenities are outweighed by its hefty price tag for Motorola it is unreasonable today. Speaking of the V9/V9m, they are way too overpriced, but thankfully they have dated interface.

Is this product worth looking at? Make no mistake about that. Will it live up to the RAZRs popularity? I suppose, hardly. The design has received any substantial refinement, it is the same RAZR we had years ago, as somebody said looks like a slightly hammered RAZR. Its interesting that in future the company is going to present its music-driven solutions based on this handset and also the Z6, yet housed in the candybar-styled casing. With this, the interest comes back, but what about the price? Lets wait and see they are rolling it all out in September.


Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 17 May 2006

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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