Motorola Krzr K1 review:

Motorola Krzr K1

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars 3 user reviews

The Good Attractive design; new cancel key; improved predictive text; stereo Bluetooth; expandable microSD slot.

The Bad Main screen could be bigger; lack of auto focus and light on camera.

The Bottom Line The Krzr K1 is an attractive phone, but it's also easy to use. Motorola has made some small changes to the original Razr V3's interface that make a big difference. Add to that the camera and music player and this phone is a good all-rounder, and hopefully a sign of things to come

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7.5 Overall

Some reviewers have described the Krzr as an evolved Razr V3, and to all intents and purposes it is part of the Razr family. However, the Krzr represents a significant step forward for Motorola. It has an improved interface and keypad layout that make it much more enjoyable to use.

Our review sample came from T-Mobile, but it's also available from Orange, O2 and Vodafone, free on various monthly contracts. It's not available on pay as you go, but if you hunt around online for a SIM-free model, it'll set you back around £250.

The Krzr K1's mirrored front is a marked change from Motorola's previous designs. Made from a combination of blue hardened glass, metal and reflective plastic, the Krzr shines from the moment you take it out of the box. It also picks up fingerprints like a crime-scene investigator, but that's to be expected from a surface like this.

Measuring 42 by 103 by 16mm, the K1 is narrower and taller than the original Razr V3, but 1mm thicker when folded. It's also heavier at 100g, but as with the original V3, it feels well built and unlikely to break if you drop it.

On the right and left of the K1's hinge there are two gem-like blue dots. Alongside the dimples on the bottom section of the handset, they emphasise Motorola's attention to detail.

The left side of the phone houses a dedicated volume rocker and shutter button, and on the right side there's a softkey that gives you access to the voice-commands menu and recorder. Further down the right side is a mini-USB charging port that lets you connect to a PC via a USB cable and also doubles up as a headphone port.

The back of the phone is fairly bare, aside from a hole for the speaker at the bottom. The back feels rubberised and doesn't show up fingerprints as much as the front, prompting us to wonder why the entire phone wasn't made of the same material.

The battery cover is similar to the V3's, but rather than popping it off you need to slide it upwards. The microSD slot is hidden behind the cover, but you don't need to take the battery out to change it. Still, it would be less fiddly if it were accessible from the outside.

Opening up the K1 is as easy as opening up the V3, because the sides of the top and bottom section are curved, making it simple to slide your finger or thumb between them. Once the phone is open you see strong V3 influences in the K1. The screen keypad and general layout is like looking at a mini version of the inside of the Razr.

The most striking differences are the colour and size. The K1's interior matches the exterior, with a blue border around the colour screen and a flat, blue keypad.

The screen measures 30mm wide by 37mm tall -- a little on the small side. One of the standout features of the V3 was its large screen, and while the K1's screen does display 262,000 colours and is bright, it would be easier to view Web sites if it were as large as the V3's.

The keypad is slightly different to the original because it's much smaller and there's a cancel (or go back one page) button in place of the message button on the right of the navigation key.

The new cancel button is a significant addition, because on the old layout you had to reach for the top-left softkey to delete something in a text or go back one page, making it rather fiddly. The keypad feels strange to use at first if you're used to the size of keys on the V3, but after a while it's actually quite easy to press the keys correctly and it doesn't feel cramped.

There's a tendency with fashion-centric phones to think of style first and substance later. However, the Krzr K1 doesn't disappoint in the features department. One of the most important features is that the interface is more user-friendly than older Motorola phones, which had a reputation of being difficult to use.

One area where you notice a great improvement is in the text-input interface, which now offers a better predictive service. As you press each key it offers you a potential word that you might be trying to type, and with the new cancel button it feels more natural to correct your errors.

The K1 has a 2-megapixel camera that takes still pictures and videos. You can access the camera by pressing the shutter button on the left side. This also works with the K1 shut, using the external screen as a viewfinder.

Once you have taken a picture you can edit it, adjusting the picture's brightness, contrast and sharpness. You can rotate a picture, add a border or mirror effect and then send it to your friends via Bluetooth or MMS.

The music player plays MP3, AAC and AAC+ files, lets you create play lists and search through albums, songs, genres and artists. You can also put the player in shuffle or repeat mode.

Proprietary stereo headphones are provided in the box, but the K1 also supports stereo Bluetooth (A2DP), so you can use a stereo Bluetooth headset to listen to your music wirelessly. Using the expandable microSD slot you can store up to 1GB of songs or pictures, and the K1 comes with a USB cable so you can transfer data to or from your PC straight out of the box.

Other services include calendar, alarm, SMS and MMS messaging, a voice recorder, speakerphone mode, polyphonic ring tones, Java games and you can browse the Web using the WAP browser. It supports T-Mobile's Web & Walk service, too. The K1 has quad-band connectivity, so it will work anywhere that uses a GSM network (ie most of the world).

An interesting but somewhat curious feature is the voice-command service that at the push of a button and a spoken command lets you compose an email, voice memo or text message. This isn't always easy to access, as you need to speak clearly and be in a relatively quiet place. We're also not sure why you would want to use this system for anything other than a voice memo, since the text and email features require you to eventually type on the keypad, anyway.

The audio quality during calls is loud and clear and the speakerphone works as expected. The audio quality on the music player is clear too, but it would have been nice if there was an adaptor for a 3.5mm jack.

The picture quality from the 2-megapixel camera is as expected and great for MMS messages, but without autofocus some shots come out blurry. There's no LED light or flash, so shots in low light aren't possible.

Battery life is quoted at 300 hours standby and 6 hours talk time. We wouldn't dispute this -- we charged it after about two days of moderate to heavy usage.

Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide

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