I have been using my Motorola RAZR V3 on the T-Mobile network for almost two years and became eligible for a phone upgrade program recently. Among the phones T-Mobile offers, I chose the Motorola RAZR 2 V8. It was not cheap, even after 2-year contract extension and the $50 rebate. But I wanted better reception and call clarity than that of the original RAZR.
Although the RAZR V3 was perfectly acceptable at the time I got it, its reception was not perfect and I suspected that I could get better call clarity from a newer model. Also, although it survived 2 years of use pretty well, it had an annoying issue with the dust accumulating behind the screen, or rather between the screen itself and the transparent plastic over it.
Although I could have gotten a new RAZR V3 for free (which I did for my mother) and the new RAZR V3 has no holes that allowed the said dust to get to the screen, I decided to go for the RAZR2.
Features and Benefits
The Motorola RAZR2 V8
is stylish flip-style phone, features large and colorful screens both inside and outside. The outside screen is 2 inches and the inside screen is 2.2-inch with double the resolution of the original RAZR. Both screens have 240x320 QVGA resolution (262k).
The phone is constructed of stainless steel, as opposed to aluminum of the RAZR. It features 2 GB of memory, ability to act as a USB drive and a music player with MP3 and WMA playback. The outer screen has touchscreen functionality when used as a music player.
The phone has no external antenna, but still features excellent reception. The RAZR 2 has a 2-Megapixel camera with 2x or 4x digital zoom. It lets you record videos as well. You can take a picture and attach it to a phone number so that when the person calls you, you can see their picture and recognize who is calling you.
The phone also lets you browse the web. It has Bluetooth connectivity. It has 4-band GSM compatibility (850/900/1800/1900) and can be used in any countries that uses GSM (virtually all European countries as well as AT&T/Cingular and T-Mobile). It also comes with a charger that can be used in any country (110-240 V).
The phone lets you record voice memos. It also has good voice recognition for phone number/names and commands.
The MOTORAZR2 V8 features nice polyphonic ring and good talk/standby time (4-8 hours of talk time). It has a speakerphone functionality as well.
Once I received my phone, I inserted my SIM card, attached the supplied battery and closed the back cover. I plugged the supplied worldwide charger into the wall outlet and the cord into the phone. The battery was fully charged in less than an hour, at which point I was ready to use the phone.
The phone offers you to go through the initial setup, which is rather easy. The menus of the phone are easy to use, even for someone who have not read the manual. The phone automatically set the time, which I find convenient, but did so after a delay.
The phone is very well-made and has a very sturdy construction. The materials it is made of are durable and look nice. The stainless-steel construction make it heavy and it feels very solid.
Update as of 01/2011: I actually dropped it twice. It fell once on a concrete floor from about 3 feet and the other time from about 4 feet on hard tile floor. In both cases there was no damage whatsoever (well, the battery door opened and the battery fell out, but I put them back and everything still works).
The phone is a flip-style with good amount of effort required to open or close. The buttons require good effort to operate. The buttons have good tactile response and backlit well.
The original RAZR was not exactly flimsy, but the RAZR 2 is much more solid and has very good materials throughout.
The only item that didn't stand the test of time is the plug that covers the charging/USB port. It broke and fell of within the first 6 months. Overall, now (after almost 1.5 years) the phone still works as well as new.
The phone is very easy to use. I have not read the manual at all for most functions and only had to look through the it for about 5 minutes to figure out the advanced functions of the phone: voice commands. The rest is easy to use and intuitive.
The menus are easy to use and the large screen lets you see a lot of information. The voice dialing is a convenient feature that works well. Unlike the RAZR V3, it does not require you to create a duplicate phone number entry in the phone’s memory (even if you have the same phone number on your SIM card already) and attach the recorded name to it. You just say the name or say Dial Number #######.
You can send email or SMS messages easily and also can use instant messenging through AIM. You can also browse the web (something I do not do).
The phone lets you customize its numerous features, e.g. you can specify if you want to answer a call by flipping the phone open, by pressing any button or neither. You can select from numerous ring tones for incoming calls, SMS or voice mail. You can also customize what picture appears or what tone sounds when a certain person calls you.
You can customize the volume of tones for all functions (incoming call, SMS, etc.) independently. The volume can be set to a rather loud level and you can also select a profile that makes the phone ring and vibrate at the same time, which is useful in loud environments.
I find the phone's buttons on the side not very convenient to use. They are narrow and although they are now located on the thicker part (the one that houses the buttons), they do not stick out far from the case.
The most important aspect of the performance of a cell phone is its reception and sound quality. The RAZR 2 is a good improvement over the original RAZR, which itself was an improvement of my earlier phones (Nokia 6610, Motorola C650 and Innostream 89).
I now can get reception close to the middle of the building where I work, which was not something that happened with the RAZR V3.
The sound quality is better than the RAZR V3 as well and, although still not quite up to the sound quality of the land line, approaches it to the extent I have not heard any other cell phone approach. Overall, I am very impressed with the reception and sound quality of the RAZR 2.
The battery lasts quite a long time for its size. I have not validated the claims by Motorola about up to 4-8 hours of talk time, 200-300 hours of standby time. But I know that the phone can definitely handle a week of my, admittedly short, phone conversations (even using a Bluetooth headset) and standby with no need to be recharged, which is enough for me.
The 2-Megapixel camera provides pictures that are pretty good for a camera phone and adequate to use as photo caller ID or for emailing. The camera has effective 4x digital zoom and produces pictures that are a little noisy in low light, but still usable.
In addition to the Bluetooth connectivity, the phone can also be connected to the computer using the supplied micro-USB cable. The computer charges it and you can copy (or drag-drop if it is your forte) files to and from it. You can copy music to/from it as files or, using Windows Media Player, sync it with your music library.
The micro-USB port is different from the larger min-USB port of the RAZR V3, but my phone came with a min-USB to micro-USB adapter so I do not have to replace my car charger left over from the V3.
The 2-GB music player is built-in and you can use the supplied stereo headphones/handsfree device. The headphones are pretty good for music listening and the outside screen has virtual touchscreen buttons for play/pause/cue/rev/pref/next. The sire buttons control volume.
Unfortunately, there was no micro-USB to 3.5 mm headphone plug adaptor supplied, but I might be able to find one online. This way I can use better headphones for music listening.
The sound quality is excellent, even with the supplied micro USB-plug headphones. And 2-GB capacity is enough for me.
The phone is stylish, thin (even thinner than the original RAZR), very well-built, has excellent interface/menus, great functionality, performance, large screens, 2-GB music player, Bluetooth, great battery life. It is super-durable (dropped it twice on hard surfaces from 3-4 feet already with no ill effects).
Pricey, pretty wide (because of the large screen), no access to music player without opening phone, no music player mode that does not power the phone on (on the airplane).
I am very happy with the MOTORAZR 2 and recommend it to anyone. With cool styling, worldwide compatibility, excellent reception and sound quality and good battery life, as well as a 2-Megapixel camera and a 2-GB music player, it is an excellent choice. I feel like it was money well spent.
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