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Review: Motorola's Sleek RAZR V3i

Review by Michael Oryl on Thursday February 09, 2006.

motorola razr v3i · cell phone reviews · motorola news · cell phone news · michael oryl

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Without a doubt, the Motorola RAZR V3 has to be one of the most well recognized mobile phones ever built. The original V3, with its metal body and thin profile, was such a large success that it induced Motorola to launch a line of super slim candybar form factor handsets that includes the recently made available SLVR L7.

Since the original V3, the RAZR line has grown to include a UMTS handset, the V3x, as well as a CDMA variant with a megapixel camera, the V3c. The question was, what was Motorola going to do for the GSM market that was the home of the original RAZR V3. The answer is the V3i, the subject of this review.

The quad-band GSM RAZR V3i shares most of the significant features and design traits of the original V3, but also includes some evolutionary type upgrades that keep it current, such as the new 1.2 megapixel camera.

Physical Aspects

Physically, the V3i looks very much like the original V3. The color has been changed (at least initially) to a gun metal gray color, and the top half of the clamshell has a new brushed texture to it that gives it a unique look. Unlike the V3c, the V3i's megapixel camera does not protrude at all from the top half of the folder. This leaves the dimensions at 98mm x 53mm x 14mm (3.9" x 2.1" x .6"), which is pretty much the same as the original RAZR V3. While we're on the subject, the weight is also pretty much unchanged, at 97.1g (3.4oz).

The exterior of the V3i is mostly the same as on the V3, except that the shiny, glass-like surface that surrounds the external sub-display has grown in size and now includes the Motorola "M" logo, which glows blue at times. The same volume control and smart button are on the left side, and the voice dial button remains on the right. Apart from the color change, the back of the new device looks just like the old V3 in that it is home to little more than a Motorola logo, the battery cover, and an external antenna port. The miniUSB port on the bottom left of the device is unchanged and still deals with power, data, and audio issues - though now in stereo.

Once opened, you will find that a number of small changes have been made. For one, the V3i opens up slightly flatter than the original, and the rubber bumpers and speaker grill at the top have changed. The flat as a board keypad is largely the same, but has fewer cuts into the metal surface than the V3's did. The feel of the keypad is still the same, which is to say that you trade off feel and some ergonomics for the thinness that it offers the design. The feel is adequate, but it will not serve frequent text message senders as well as a more traditional keypad would. The blue backlighting is pretty much unchanged. The d-pad is now darker in color, and, to its right, the messaging button has been replaced with a dedicated iTunes button - more on that later.

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About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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