The Motorola RAZR has been one of the most popular mainstream cell phones in recent years. Motorola has now beefed up the fliptop to attract an even wider audience, particularly music aficionados. It still isn’t going to blow away your favorite smartphone, but its smooth handling, compact size and added memory capabilities make the MOTORAZR2 V8 a solid competitor.
Features and Design
Like the original, the MOTORAZR2 V8 is a thin, rectangular fliptop, less than a half inch thick total. A small, flat circular pad moves you around the menus, and the pad is surrounded by six buttons: from the top, there are two menu option buttons, an internet access quick key, a backspace, and the standard start (green) and cancel (red) buttons. As with most Motorola models, holding the red button will turn the phone on or off. The actual keypad is flat, the number button separators barely discernable by the naked eye, but dialing numbers is still strangely intuitive – perhaps because we’re so used to the MOTORAZR setup. In fact, just picture an all-black MOTORAZR on a diet and you’ll already know what the new model looks like.
Things are equally simple on the sides of the phone. On the left are two up-and-down volume tabs and a hot key to jump to the music library. On the right is an optional voice command button. Close the phone and you’ll see a colorful monitor with the time. Right above it is an inconspicuous camera lens.
Setup and Use
For not being a Smartphone, the MOTORAZR2 V8 comes with an amazing surplus of stuff. There are multiple wires (wall plug, USB, and earphones), a software CD, a silky protective pouch, several brochures (for Napster, 20 Century Fox movies and many T-Mobile services) and a manual three times the thickness of the phone. Luckily, as with the original, things are pretty straightforward.
The included CD just has Windows Media Player 11, something you probably already have. (It’s likely that a Mac-compatible update will be delivered via the website. (Check out this Motorola site for more information.) It takes about ten minutes to install on the PC. Using the USB cord, plug in the MOTORAZR2 V8 and, once the computer recognizes the device, Windows Media Player will automatically search the PC for compatible songs (which includes Windows, Apple and every other major format). After establishing a list, just drag and drop your preferred songs below the animated MOTORAZR2 V8 icon. Press “Sync” and the songs will be transferred. Each song takes about two seconds to move to the phone.
The music setup is, in a word, is superb. Press the music quick key and a current list of the music library is shown. It is organized by genres and other factors. Choose a song, then use the directional pad to play/pause, forward, reverse or stop. Close the top and the overhead monitor becomes an limited iPhone-style touchscreen: press the corresponding button to control the music. Most impressive is the sound, which, frankly, is some of the best phone music ever heard in recent memory. Put it in a small office and the neighbors may start complaining about the noise. The volume is great, and yet the clarity is crisp at any level. (Rock, rap and blues music sounded equally excellent.) The included earphones have soft, cushy covers and a button to control the music as well as to shout voice commands.
Music aside, things are pretty much what one would expect from a MOTORAZR update. The 2 MegaPixel camera is easy to use and, because it has no flash, is somewhat grainy. The actual phone screen is a bit more colorful than the previous model, which probably helps the pictures look better than they actually are. The T-Mobile-driven web access is fast and efficient.
The suggesting retail is a whopping $399.99 USD – a price you should avoid. T-Mobile wisely has a $150 instant rebate and, at press time, an additional $50 mail-in rebate. $200 is fairly reasonable, particularly considering the sound quality. There weren’t any known special plans for the MOTORAZR2 V8.
It comes with 2 GB internal memory – about half the capability of the smallest iPod Nano – so it should be able to handle the average music phone needs.
The RAZR2 V8 is a solid phone for any music lover or fans of the original MOTORAZR. Those looking for an extraordinary revolutionary leap in phone technology should look elsewhere, and even hardcore fans should take advantage of the discounts before the price jumps back to $400 USD – something this phone isn’t worth. Quibbles aside, you would be hard pressed to find a more user friendly music phone of this quality.
• Great sound setup and quality
• Practical, well thought out touchscreen
• 2GB of internal memory
• Aside from music, pretty ordinary
• Expensive without rebates