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Moto RAZR 2 Launch

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May 15, 2007, 7:01 PM   by Eric Zeman and Rich Brome

Our hands-on report from the Motorola RAZR 2 launch in New York City, including video tour.

RAZR 2 

Today Motorola announced the new RAZR 2 at a press conference in New York City. After the event, we had the opportunity to spend some time with the new phone.

The RAZR 2 comes in three different variations. The V8 will be a quad-band GSM/EDGE phone. It uses Motorola's Linux-Java user interface. The V9 is the 3G HSDPA model, but it reverts to Motorla's older Synergy UI. It is also quad-band GSM, plus HSDPA 850/1900 in the US version. Also using the Synergy platform is the CDMA EV-DO variant, the V9m.

They all share a similar build. The form factor is sleek, smooth, shiny and definitely thin. Motorola shaved 2 mm off the size of the original RAZR and slimmed the GSM and CDMA RAZR 2s to just 12 mm thick. But as the RAZR2 got thinner, it also got slightly larger, as though Motorola's designers just pushed down on the RAZR and let the volume ooze out a bit.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

As shiny as it was, it did an excellent job of collecting fingerprints and smudge marks; the RAZR 2 is not alone in this respect, though. The pictures below show off how much of a fingerprint magnet this phone is. (No, this phone isn't sitting under dirty glass - those smudges are on the phone.)

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The top surface is polished metal, but the back has a somewhat textured paint job, similar to the RAZR maxx. The sides of the phone were slightly different depending on which model you looked at. Some had a fine golf-ball texture. Others were simply smooth plastic.

The volume buttons are on the left side of the phone, as is the USB 2.0 port. The port is the new "micro" variation of USB. Yes, this means you will need to buy even more cables. Depending on which version of the RAZR 2 you have, it will or will not include a MicroSD memory card slot. The ones that have a slot (V9 and V9m) have a typical amount of on-board memory (45 - 65 MB). The V8 lacks an expansion slot, but makes up for it with ample built-in memory. The initial version of the V8 will have 512 MB, but an update - and the version that should ship in the US - sports an impressive 2GB of on-board memory.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The front exterior of the phone features a large 2-inch screen. Trust us when we say it's big. It looks good. It was sharp and displayed crisp images and menus. It wasn't exactly bright, though. In fact, the backlight is downright dim. The screen seems to be the rare reflective type, though, so it seemed like it would be readable even outdoors (though we didn't have a chance to test it.) The outer screen can be used for taking pictures, reading text messages, replying to text messages using pre-set messages, scrolling through the phone's contact list and more.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The outer display also features a new and unique type of touch interface that's half soft-key and half touch-screen. Instead of soft keys below the display, the touch-sensitive soft keys are actually on the display. It's like a touch-screen, except only part of the display is touch-sensitive. Making it so you only touch the bottom part helps keep fingerprints off the rest of the display, which is important on such a shiny, glossy phone. The buttons let you interact with whatever function of the phone you may be using, and provide micro-vibration feedback (haptics) whenever pressed. The haptics worked well and we had no trouble determining when we had pressed any of the buttons. You can see how the buttons labels change in the gallery above.

Inside, the keypad of the RAZR 2 was hardly discernible from that of the original RAZR, except perhaps slightly roomier. The action and fit and finish of the metal plating is very similar. Different versions of the phone had different keys here that take you to the music player or the camera. The V9 has a slightly smaller D-pad due to the addition of an extra key.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The hinge is made of machined aluminum. It was solid and strong and looked good, though it also collected smudge marks.

The interior screen is only slightly larger than the exterior screen at 2.2 inches. This screen looks very good, including ample brightness. It's a definite improvement over the original RAZR's screen. We were able to watch a full screen movie with the RAZR 2 in landscape mode. The movie flowed quickly and without any hiccups thanks to the RAZR 2's much faster processor. According to Motorola, it has the new ARM 11 processor that operates at 500 MHz, which is 10 times faster than the original RAZR. This speed improvement is noticeable when zooming through the menu system. It wasn't instantaneous, but it was very fast. Faster than many phones we've tried recently.

Using the camera UI to pan around the room a bit, it showed the red blazer of a Motorola staffer with accurate color. The camera UI itself was fairly quick. Taking a picture was almost instantaneous, but saving it to the phone took a little bit longer.

The Linux Java platform lets you move application icons to anywhere you want in the menus - including in and out of folders - just like on S60. Motorola also made the ability to re-arrange Synergy's main menu easier to use.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

We were able to hear music via the RAZR 2's stereo speakers, but it would be unfair to really characterize the quality when the environment was so noisy. Still, what we heard seemed like good quality stereo sound coming from a phone.

All three major versions of the RAZR 2 will launch at least somewhere in the world by the end of August, and are planned for release in the US by "the end of summer."

All in all, the RAZR 2 is a definite improvement over the original RAZR. Its design is more advanced and the upgraded feature set make it a promising performer.

Video 

We also created a short video tour so that you can get a hands-on feel for the RAZR2. You can watch it here:



or visit YouTube for more viewing and sharing options.

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Subject Author Date
CDMA? dead_psycho1 May 16, 2007, 4:35 PM
  • Re: CDMA? by slammyham   Jun 12, 2007, 2:03 AM
    • Re: CDMA? by dmichelr   Jun 12, 2007, 2:30 PM
    • Re: CDMA? by dmichelr   Jun 12, 2007, 2:34 PM
I heard July for verizon slammyham Jun 12, 2007, 1:59 AM
Verizon mlg823 May 15, 2007, 10:29 PM
  • Re: Verizon by Wireless Buddy   May 16, 2007, 2:42 PM
    • Re: Verizon by shelder   May 17, 2007, 9:55 AM
      • Re: Verizon by 213ninja   May 17, 2007, 5:03 PM
        • Re: Verizon by dead_psycho1   May 18, 2007, 6:43 AM
            (more replies...)
So which would you take... Cinner May 16, 2007, 11:35 AM
AT&T and the RAZR 2 Sirman Jun 6, 2007, 8:44 PM
Razr 2 Gambleress May 23, 2007, 9:59 AM
  • Re: Razr 2 by ChieflandFL   May 25, 2007, 11:13 PM
Branding?? custom May 23, 2007, 10:28 PM
Questions about RAZR 2 amerikazmost1 May 21, 2007, 11:16 PM
Sprint? hondaccordex May 16, 2007, 9:26 AM
Seriously thin... muchdrama May 18, 2007, 6:05 PM
windows media player dmichelr May 17, 2007, 10:12 AM
When??? custom May 15, 2007, 11:51 PM
Not Really Impressed dizilbdog May 15, 2007, 7:44 PM
New RAZR Zook May 15, 2007, 7:19 PM
iTAP? Sam K May 16, 2007, 10:31 PM
Why does the HSDPA version have Synergy? AshDizzle May 16, 2007, 12:34 AM
 
 
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