10 years on: Still an icon

The Motorola Razr V3 made its debut 10 years ago this week when then-CEO Ed Zander displayed the handset during an investor's conference.

Not since Moto introduced the StarTac in 1996 did the company, or any manufacturer for that matter, sweep the world with such a hot and trend-setting mobile phone. The never-seen-before design drew long lines and sparked the thin phone revolution that swept the industry. A thousand imitators followed, and even today in the age of the smartphone, a passion for trim handsets persists.

Motorola would go on to ride the Razr wave longer than it should have by painting versions in almost every color and introducing subsequent upgrades that added features and tweaked the profile. The company even carried the thin theme over to candy-bar (the Slvr) and slider handsets (the Rizr) while dropping vowels in the process. Finally, after the iPhone and Android hit their strides, Moto would change course and instead apply the Razr name to its flagship line of Android smartphones. such as the Droid Razr Maxx.

Ten years later, the Razr V3 remains a striking example of industrial design and one of the defining phones of the past decade. Join us for a tour through the Razr V3's history.

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The original silver model

The one that started it all, the original silver V3 didn't go on sale until the third quarter of 2004. And even then, it was only at Cingular (now AT&T), in the United States. Price with service? A princely $500.

From the beginning, the real appeal of the Razr V3 lay its its design. Though angular and wide from the front, it was just a half an inch thick and weighed 3.3 ounces. Sure, the flat keypad was new and a bit weird, but you got used to it quickly. And despite its trim stature, the metal skin made it durable.

Inside the V3 had midrange features for its time -- just about everything you needed, but it was far from one of the year's powerhouse handsets. Features included a VGA camera (without video recording), Bluetooth, MP3 file support, voice dialing, and a speakerphone. The display was quite sharp and call quality was good, even if the volume was too low.

Though I was as excited as anyone to review the Razr v3, I have to admit that I didn't quite anticipate just how popular it would be. As the years went on, I was surprised.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Back in black

After that first model, a black version was the second color available. It had a smoother finish than the silver phone, but it shared the same features.

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A pink party

Pink was a very popular Razr color, so much so that multiple shades of pink were created.

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Yet more pink

This pink version was in a slightly darker shade.

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Really, it's just magenta

Sometimes called pink, this version was officially magenta. Yes, it came to to T-Mobile (called the V3t).

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Going gray

By 2005, the Razr V3 arrived at more US carriers, and it landed in other countries. More versions came, as well. The V3c was for CDMA operators, while the V3i upped the camera resolution to 1.23-megapixels and added a microSD card slot.

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Fire red

Made for CDMA carriers, the V3m has an MP3 player that was compatible with iTunes. Battery life was longer, as well.

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A blue period

There also were several blue editions of the V3. This version had a dark color with a shiny metal skin while other models sported a soft-touch material in a lighter baby blue shade.

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Purple (or violet)

Purple phones were in fashion when this version appeared.

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Or maybe maroon

Just be glad it's not another shade of pink.

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A Razr for the runway

You knew the Razr trend was getting ridiculous when this bright gold Dolce & Gabbana version appeared. It came in a bright gold box and included several accessories like a D&G logo phone dangle and a signature leather pouch. And on the campy side, it said "Dolce & Gabbana" when your turned it on.

You could also get a gold version without Dolce's stamp.

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A Razr for charity

The Product Red version was one of a series of products created to raise money for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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Green (if you can find it)

I barely saw the green version in the wild, but it did exist.

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Rhymes with orange

Orange (or maybe it was Pumpkin?) also was a rare color.

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Cherry Blossom

One of several themed Razr V3s, this version was called Cherry Blossom.

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Dragon

For a darker theme, you could choose Dragon.

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Razr V3x

Announced in 2005, the 3G-capable V3x had a slightly thicker design with a new keypad, a better display, two cameras (including one with a 2-megapixel resolution), a camera flash, and a faster processor. The V3xx, which followed the next year, had stereo Bluetooth, an Opera Web browser, and improved call quality.

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Razr Maxx

Debuting in 2006, the Razr Maxx tweaked the design still further and added external music controls. It was 3G as well, and shared the V3x's features. The updated Razr Maxx Ve came the next year.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

Razr VE20

The VE20 was a CDMA version with a rounder design, a touch-capable external display, 3G, and yet more features.

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CNET Editors' Rating
3.5 stars Very good

The Razr2

The Razr2 arrived in 2008, just as the smartphone era was beginning. It had an ever sleeker design, GPS, a refined external display, and more memory capacity.

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CNET Editors' Rating
4 stars Excellent

Where to Buy

Motorola Razr V3 (AT&T)

Part Number: 93011XQBSA
Low Price: $69.00 See all prices

Where to Buy

Motorola Razr maxx Ve (Verizon Wireless)

Part Number: CNETMOTOROLAMAXXVE
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Where to Buy

Motorola Razr VE20 - silver (Sprint)

Part Number: MOTVE20KIT
Pricing is currently unavailable.
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