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Review: Motorola's Slim SLVR L7

Review by Michael Oryl on Monday March 27, 2006.

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While it took a year's worth of time and a name change to get to us, the Motorola SLVR L7 has finally arrived in most world markets. First introduced as the SLVR V8 back at 3GSM 2005 and later renamed to the L7, the SLVR was designed to do to the candy bar form factor what the Motorola RAZR V3 did to the clamshell. It appears to be working to some extent, too, since we are starting to see a fair number of SLVR-like devices coming out of Asia.

The Quad-band GSM/GPRS SLVR L7 has gone through a number of specification changes since its initial introduction, as well. The L7 is, as I mentioned, no longer a triband device, and no longer supports EDGE. People who have been following the device for a long time (or are reading old web pages) might notice other discrepancies, as well.

Physical Aspects

Motorola's SLVR L7 is a very thin phone, even if it is not the thinnest available. It measures 114mm x 49mm x 12mm (4.5" x 1.9" x .5") in size, and slips perfectly in just about any pocket or purse. In spite of its thinness, the SLVR feels very solid. I'm not saying that I would want to carry it in the back pocket of my jeans, as we see the girl in the commercial do, but I can say that it feels more robust than most all the other handsets I have used recently. Our review unit weighed 100g (3.5oz), which is a a decent bit more than the original claims for the device (around 85g). But all things considered, the overall size and weight of the SLVR L7 seem quite good to me.

The keypad design of the SLVR L7 is a variation of that used in the RAZR series of handsets. While smaller, to fit the SLVR's narrower form factor, it too uses a metal plate with recessed key switches behind it that act as the actual buttons, and all of the digits and cuts in the plate are lit with a bright blue backlighting system. One difference in the SLVR L7, though, is that the clear numbers on the keypad are made of hard plastic, not of the rubber material found on the RAZRs. I imagine this was done since the keys are exposed to wear and tear more from pockets and such than on the RAZR, but I do not like the feel of the keypad as much as a result - it makes it harder to use a fingernail to dial. The truth of the matter is that you don't need to use a fingernail, even though the keys look small. You just have to trust that it works and eventually you get use to it. Getting used to the fact that the keys in a given row don't actually line up with each other (ie. the 2 is closer to the bottom of the phone than the 1 and 3) might take a bit more time. One other thing of note: there is no automatic keypad lock available on the SLVR L7, though the keypad can be locked manually.

The d-pad used on the SLVR L7 is significantly different from and better than those used on the various RAZR designs. It is a solid, if thin, piece of metal with a good feel to it. The center button is very easy to locate blindly by touch, and the entire design works very well. The other buttons on the SLVR L7 are also nicely done. There is a pair of volume buttons and a smartkey button located on the left edge of the device. The right edge is where you will find the voice dial button, the memory card slot, and the miniUSB connector that is used for charging and data as well as with headsets. The button on the top of the SLVR L7 is the back cover release, and it is located near a lanyard loop. A flashless VGA camera is found out back, as are the speakerphone grille and the external antenna port.

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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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