Motorola's Razr was a vast worldwide hit thanks to its undeniably sharp design, but those that delved deeper than the superficiality of its look found the specifications somewhat lacking.
Unsurprisingly, Motorola has kept the Razr brand alive, refreshing the basic handset and launching others after its likeness, includingand versions. One such is the Razr V3x, a 3G variant with generally improved specifications all round.
Fatter than the original Razr, exclusively 3G network 3 is still able to call the Razr V3x its thinnest handset to date, an indication of how well Motorola has managed to pack in the hardware.
Vodafone and Orange also have this phone available. You can get it for free on various tariffs, some under £20 a month, or SIM-free online for around £300.
If you've seen a Razr you have the general idea of what the Razr V3x is all about -- a clamshell design with front screen and smooth looks. The finish on the front of the casing of our review model from 3 had a similar black, smooth feel to that on the bar-of-soap-like , but we also had a V3x from Vodafone with a gunmetal silver finish that we felt didn't share the same panache.
Although Motorola has done well to cram all that's needed into the hardware, we still feel the Razr V3x is on the large side all round -- slightly taller, wider and fatter than we'd like. With the clamshell opened up you are looking at a handset just shy of 180mm tall.
In one way, Motorola has done itself proud in using a single mini-USB connector for mains power, headphones and connecting to a PC (you get both a cable and Motorola's Phone Tools software for the latter job). It means the handset is not peppered with slots. But it also means you are stuck with the provided headset for wired hands-free use.
As far as the rest of the edges of the Razr V3x are concerned, there are a couple of buttons on both left and right. On the right edge one of the buttons launches the camera, the other the voice-dialling software. This can be used to dial people in the phonebook or make calls by speaking a number, and it will also take you to voicemail. Oddly it can also be used to launch the camera by voice -- hardly necessary given that the camera button itself is right next door.
The left edge is where you find the volume rocker and a button that launches the camera in video shooting mode. We really like this handy shortcut as it makes shooting footage exceptionally quick, so that you miss fewer candid movie opportunities.
These buttons are all pretty sensitive, and unfortunately we found ourselves accidentally hitting the voice command button when picking the phone up, which was irritating. At least all bar the camera button are inactive when the clamshell is closed.
With the clamshell opened up you are greeted by a vast inner screen, which is extremely clear and bright, and pin-sharp. The number pad is designed in typical Razr style, which is to say it is flat, with keys separated by raised sections. Everything is large and so easy to find. An inner camera caters for 3G video calling.
One of the things Motorola is emphasising with the Razr V3x is its surround sound. You won't get to appreciate this through the single speaker on the back of the handset, which outputs to a reasonable volume but doesn't deliver much by way of depth.
Plug in the provided headset and the aural complexion changes completely, as you would expect. Volume is still only reasonable -- you might find it an issue in places with a lot of ambient noise. But bass levels are good and the stereo is fine. The 3D surround system, 'Spatial Audio', won't appeal to all, but we found it added a little something to playback.
What's annoying is that while you fiddle with the Bass Boost and Spatial Audio settings sound output is turned off -- how much nicer it would be to hear the effect of choosing between levels 1 to 7 for each of these as you fiddle, instead of having to go back to the player's screen to hear the effects.
The 2-megapixel camera shot images of decent quality. Colours weren't quite a sharp as we'd like, but we've definitely seen worse. There is a switch to macro mode just below the main screen. This makes close-ups possible, but you have to ensure a steady hand to stop things from blurring.
There is a light rather than a flash, and you turn this on and off using a menu. It takes five clicks to turn it on, another five to turn it off -- and it won't go off automatically. The good thing about the light is its brightness -- it'll double as a torch very easily.