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Preview: Motorola Capri

Hardware Software Comments  79  

Jun 22, 2006, 8:22 AM   by Rich Brome

An exclusive hands-on preview of Motorola's unannounced RAZR-style slider phone.

At last July's MOTONOW event, Motorola dropped the first tantalizing hints of a RAZR-style slider phone. Then this February, Motorola launched the "Z," a slider phone with distinct RAZR innfluence. Unfortunately the Z was only for Korea.

Now Phone Scoop is able to bring you an exclusive preview of the real RAZR-style slider - the one for the rest of the world:

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

We don't know the actual model name yet. It could bear the famous RAZR brand (RAZR Z3, perhaps?) although it could just as easily carry a new name, such as "SLDR". All we know at this point is the code name: "Capri".

The overall feel of the phone is excellent. It's a nice size and weight, and the construction quality is quite good.

Like on the RAZR, the housing is mostly metal. Our unit had a "soft touch" rubberized finish. This finish not only looks and feels great, but also resists fingerprint smudges and makes the phone much easier to grip.

The slide mechanism is spring-assisted, so it "snaps" open and closed. Our prototype unit had a very powerful spring action.

One design element borrowed from the RAZR is the antenna bulge at the bottom. This makes the phone difficult to open compared to most other slide-style phones. Since you can't just push on the bottom edge to slide it open, you have to use the raised ridge directly below the display. Unfortunately doing this usually leaves a nice big thumb-print on the bottom of the display, and takes quite a bit of effort due to the powerful spring that holds it shut. To avoid smudging the display, I found myself pushing against the side of the phone to slide it open. The rubberized finish makes this feasible, although it still required quite a bit of effort.

It should be noted that our unit was pre-production hardware, so the slide action could be improved by the time it reaches store shelves.

Regardless, the good news is that this phone certainly won't open by accident in your pocket, something that can be an issue with other sliders.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Like the RAZR, the keypad looks pretty, but also looks terribly unergonomic. Looks are deceiving though, because - just like the RAZR - the keypad is actually a joy to use. Compared to the RAZR keypad, the closer key spacing and fewer rubber dividers don't seem to hinder ergonomics or usability one bit.

Yet another technology carried over from the RAZR is EL (electro-luminescent) backlighting behind the keys. Unlike standard LED backlights that are notoriously uneven, EL technology provides perfectly even light. While the RAZR keys have a blue glow, this phone switches to a cool white color, which looks even better.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The metal battery cover is released via a small button on the top. Just like on the RAZR, you can easily release the battery cover and pull it away in one motion using a fingernail.

The microSD memory card slot is located under the battery cover. It is hot-swappable, so you can swap cards without turning off the phone.

Like all phones currently on the market, this phone has a flaw that prevents it from fully supporting 2 GB memory cards (like the SanDisk card shown above). Like most current phones, you can use a 2 GB card if you format it in the phone, but then the card only works as a 1 GB card.

If this phone properly adhered to the SD card specification, it would work fine with 2 GB cards, but they made an error in implementing the firmware that limits the memory card to 1 GB. It's hard to blame to Motorola for this, since every other manufacturer has made the exact same mistake. This issue affects all current phones with either a microSD or miniSD memory card slot.

While Nokia is committed to fixing the issue and supporting 2 GB cards in all new phones shipping in Q3, other manufacturers are taking longer to address the problem. Motorola plans to start supporting 2 GB cards in some phones by the end of Q3, but it's not clear if this model will receive that fix before it ships.

The good news is that this phone does have FOTA (firmware over-the-air), so even if it doesn't support 2 GB cards at launch, that could (theoretically) be fixed in a update delivered automatically over the network.

Whenever Motorola and other manufacturers finally start shipping phones that support them, SanDisk is ready to start shipping 2 GB cards immediately. They're ready to go (as you can see) - just waiting for phone support.

The SIM card fits in a slot under the microSD card.

This phone also has a standard mini-USB port. This port supports just about everything you might want to do with USB, including charging, data to a laptop, direct printing (PictBridge), and mass storage mode for direct access to the memory card from a PC.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Above the display are two LED indicator lights. A green one on the left lights up with a battery icon when charging. The right one is blue, with a Bluetooth logo, and shows Bluetooth activity. Both are invisible when not lit.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Measuring 17mm thick, it's 3mm thicker than the RAZR, but that's to be expected given the extra room needed for the slide mechanism that runs most of its length. It's also 14 grams heavier than the RAZR, but I still wouldn't call it heavy, and the extra weight keeps it from feeling cheap. There was a slight amount of wiggle in the slide mechanism when open, but I didn't notice it until I checked for it; in everyday use the mechanism feels very well-constructed.

The phone is quad-band GSM. It seems to have EDGE as well. That's our assumption, at least, based on the little "E" icon that frequently appeared at the top of the screen.

It would have been nice to see a larger, QVGA display on this baby, but the 176 x 220 pixel display it does have is quite good. It is very bright, with great color, and looks great indoors and out, even in direct sunlight. Motorola has also tweaked the fonts to look a bit nicer and use a bit of anti-aliasing for a smoother look. Our only gripe about the display is that it seems to be 65,000 colors instead of 262,000. That's not a big deal in most cases, but there was the occasional photo where you could see some banding.

Motorola recently signed a deal with David Beckham for the soccer star to be a "brand ambassador" for the company. Given the timing of World Cup, we thought it would be appropriate to use a Beckham wallpaper for our photo session. However, as of this writing Team USA is still in the running, which is why we used a flag as a backdrop in the photos above - to show support for the home team. Go USA!

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Comments

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Subject Author Date
since the z isn't coming to cdma anyone know if this will? warrentotheg Jun 24, 2006, 6:59 PM
When is it coming out? S9D3 Jul 30, 2006, 5:35 PM
The Z or Capri.... motoBOY Jul 21, 2006, 2:35 PM
Rich- do your homework, new phonebook has been out for a while kuskus Jun 26, 2006, 2:55 PM
Name? cingular25 Jun 22, 2006, 10:56 AM
  • Re: Name? by pauldg   Jun 22, 2006, 11:06 AM
    • Re: Name? by cingular25   Jun 22, 2006, 11:29 AM
    • Re: Name? by cingular25   Jun 22, 2006, 11:39 AM
      • Re: Name? by sbbram12   Jun 28, 2006, 11:05 PM
    • Re: Name? by SilverJack   Jun 22, 2006, 2:43 PM
      • Re: Name? by pauldg   Jun 22, 2006, 3:48 PM
        • Re: Name? by pm-325 rox   Jun 23, 2006, 11:32 AM
    • Re: Name? by disturbed1   Jun 22, 2006, 4:56 PM
    • Re: Name? by SB2002   Jun 27, 2006, 8:01 PM
I don't understand.. EnsRedShirt Jun 22, 2006, 12:58 PM
2GB Card problems DanteUnreal Jun 23, 2006, 3:24 PM
i've seen and felt the phone first hand falla830 Jun 22, 2006, 1:53 PM
Carrier for the Capri Drsabroso Jun 22, 2006, 1:34 PM
Great News about the UI improvements! raulr Jun 22, 2006, 10:35 AM
3g??? darrenmcg4 Jun 23, 2006, 7:46 AM
awwwww eric Lin Jun 22, 2006, 11:05 AM
come on!! what is under the tape!! dayvan cowboy Jun 22, 2006, 10:34 AM
hot-swappable card tmp Jun 22, 2006, 11:31 AM
Is the screen 176x220 or QVGA??? hitechy Jun 22, 2006, 1:18 PM
Sometimes I wonder... JABACAB Jun 22, 2006, 1:30 PM
Comparable to T809/D807? tuolumne Jun 22, 2006, 11:55 AM
RAZR.. no big deal... however otsego Jun 22, 2006, 11:23 AM
 
 
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