The VE20's music player is relatively similar to that on Sprint's other music phones. You can access the Sprint Music Store for simultaneous downloads both to your PC and wirelessly to your phone or you can transfer music from a PC using a USB cable. The music player interface is pretty plain but you get album art and the controls are easy to use. We also like the multiple searching options in the online music store. Features are limited to playlists, repeat, and shuffle modes, and you can't use MP3s as ringtones. There is an airplane mode, however, and you can send the music player to the background while you're using other phone functions. When a call comes in, the music will pause automatically and will resume again after you hang up. Finally, we love that the Razr VE20 uses a 3.5mm jack.
With its GPS, you also can use the Razr VE20 as a directional too with Sprint Navigation. Features include spoken driving and visual turn-by-turn directions and integration with Microsoft Live Search for searching for local businesses. The Razr VE20 also uses your location for Sprint's On Demand service, which offers a range of information that includes news headlines, sports scores, and weather updates personalized for your ZIP code.
The 2-megapixel camera takes pictures in five resolutions from 1,200x1,600 down to 120x160. Other editing options are plentiful. They include seven color tones, nine fun frames, a self-timer, adjustable brightness and white balance, a multishot mode, three quality settings and six shutter sounds (plus a silent option). Photo quality was quite good on the whole. Colors were bright and natural, and there was little distortion or image noise. When finished snapping shots you can transfer them off the phone using Bluetooth or a multimedia message. You also can transfer them to a computer or a printer using a USB cable.
The camcorder shoots clips with sound in three resolutions. Editing options are similar to the still camera but you also get a night mode and you can mute the sound. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at about 20 seconds; otherwise, you can shoot for as long as the available memory permits. The VE20 comes with a very respectable 500MB of memory but you can use a microSD card for more storage.
You can personalize the Razr VE20 with a variety of screen savers, themes, greetings, clock types and alert tones. You can download more options and additional ringtones from Sprint's online service using the WAP 2.0 Web browser. The VE20 has demo versions of two games: Wheel of Fortune Deluxe and Monopoly Here & Now. You'll have to buy the full versions for extended play.
We tested the dual-band CDMA 800/1900) Razr VE20 in San Francisco using Sprint's service. Call quality was generally good; voices sounded natural and the volume level was loud. We noticed that the audio has a slight fuzzy quality. It's rather hard to describe but it also sounded as if our callers were a little "breathy." By no means was it distracting, but it was noticeable during our testing period. The signal had the tiniest amount of static as well, but that wasn't a big problem either.
On their end, callers said we sounded fine. Most could tell we were using a cell phone, but it was only when we were speaking in very noisy conditions did some callers have trouble hearing us. A few callers said we sounded tinny, but they were satisfied overall. Automated calling systems could understand us most of the time as well. Speakerphone calls were fine. The volume was loud, and the audio was clear. The speaker faces the back of the phone, but that didn't seem to be an issue. We had to speak close to the phone to be heard, but that's typical for a cell phone.
We were quite impressed with the Razr VE20's multimedia quality, which was some of the best we've seen on a Sprint phone. There was little pixelation and the video even could handle sharp movements. What's more, clips downloaded quickly, and the videos never froze or paused to rebuffer. Keep in mind that it wasn't perfect, streaming video never is, but it was quite satisfying overall. E! was the only channel where we noticed issues with quality.
Music quality was admirable as well. The audio is sharp, and the output of the phone's speaker is impressive. Of course, the audio will lack the range of a standalone MP3 player but it's more than suitable for commuting and ruining errands. Also, the music controls on the external display are a big help. Headphones will provide the best audio experience; remember that you can use your own headphones thanks to the 3.5mm headset jack.