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Motorola Krzr K1 review: Motorola Krzr K1

The Motorola Krzr K1 for T-Mobile is an ideal choice for the midrange cell phone user who wants a stylish handset.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kent German
5 min read
Motorola Krzr K1 for T-Mobile


Motorola Krzr K1

The Good

The Motorola Krzr K1 for T-Mobile offers good call quality and comes with a stylish design and a decent array of features.

The Bad

The Motorola Krzr K1 for T-Mobile has low internal memory, and the exterior face attracts smudges and fingerprints.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola Krzr K1 for T-Mobile is an ideal choice for the midrange cell phone user who wants a stylish handset.

Motorola's Krzr cell phone began making the carrier rounds last year. After landing at almost every major wireless provider (including Alltel and US Cellular) in one form or another, the GSM version of the phone--the Krzr K1--completes its journey by arriving at T-Mobile. Though vastly similar to Cingular's Krzr K1, the T-Mobile handset features a silver color scheme that's somewhat less desirable than the cool blue hue on the Cingular phone. The T-Mobile Krzr is $149 with service. To find ringtones and accessories for this phone, plus advice and tips on how to use it, check out our Cell phones ringtones, accessories, and help page.

The T-Mobile Krzr sports the same svelte design as the Cingular Krzr and the CDMA Krzr K1m. As an evolution of the popular Razr line, the Krzr resembles its predecessor in some ways, but we think it's much more attractive. At 4.05 inches long by 1.73 inches wide by 0.67 inch thick, its narrower shape makes it much more stylish, and though it's the tinniest bit thicker in profile it still captures the thin phone trend that shows no signs of dissipating. It's also more comfortable to hold in the hand, and its slightly heavier weight (3.6 ounces) gives it a more solid feel.

The K1's memory card holder is located behind the battery.

T-Mobile's Krzr also features the sheet of hardened glass and the chrome plating on the bottom end, but the silver color scheme was disappointing. Sure, it can double as a mirror, but it reflects too much light and it attracts fingerprints by the ton. We constantly had to clean it and even when we did so, we had to rub it a few times to get out the streaks. It's also disappointing that the K1 lacks the external music controls of the CDMA K1m. Yes, we realize T-Mobile doesn't have a music service, but the phone does have a rudimentary music player. And in any case, it would just be nice to have these controls for possible future use.

The 65,536-color (96x80 pixels) external display, the exterior controls, and the somewhat poor location of the MicroSD slot behind the battery cover all are unchanged from the other Krzr K1. Yet due to the reflection from the silver face, the external display was a tad harder to see than on the Cingular K1. The placement of the camera lens is the same as well, and here again it lacks a flash.

The internal display supports 262,000 colors and measures 1.9 inches (176x220 pixels). The menu interface is standard Moto; it still looks dated and rather dull. The navigation controls and keypad buttons are also unchanged from the Cingular Krzr K1 except that they reflect the silver color on the phone's exterior. There's a four-way toggle with an OK button in the center, two soft keys, a dedicated Web browser button, a Clear key, and Talk and End/power buttons. The controls are flat against the surface of the phone but tactile ridges give them some definition. Also, we like that the toggle and OK button are set apart with slightly different colors. The keypad buttons are also separated by tactile ridges, and though the numbers on the keys are a tad small, they're lit by bright backlighting.

The K1's phone book holds 1,000 contacts, with room in each entry for five phone numbers, three e-mail addresses, a Web address, three street addresses, and a birthday (the SIM card holds an additional 250 names). You can organize contacts into groups or pair them with a photo or one of 30 (24-chord) polyphonic ringtones for caller ID. Other basic offerings include a vibrate mode, a voice recorder, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, and instant messaging. On the higher end, there's a speakerphone, voice dialing and commands, USB connectivity, e-mail, full Bluetooth, and PC syncing. The T-Mobile Krzr comes with only 12MB of internal memory but the Micro SD card slot gives you more room. A 128MB card should come in the box.

The K1 has a 2-megapixel camera, which is an improvement over the 1.3-megapixel shooter on the CDMA K1m. You can take pictures in just four sizes (2-megapixel, 1.3-megapixel, 640x80, and 320x240) and you get a selection of three quality settings. The camcorder shoots clips in two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96) with sound; editing options are similar to the still camera. Photo quality was decent but not quite what we expected from a megapixel camera. Images were bit blurry, and colors weren't always sharp.

The Krzr had average photo quality.

Unlike the Sprint and Verizon phones, T-Mobile's Krzr K1 doesn't support 3G networks, but that's hardly an issue since T-Mobile doesn't offer a 3G network anyway. As previously mentioned, the K1 offers a generic Motorola music player. It's not exactly optimized for music--the interface is minimalist and the features are limited--but it plays MP3, AAC, and AAC+ just the same. You must load music on the phone via Bluetooth or a USB cable or use the MicroSD card.

You can personalize the T-Mobile Krzr K1 with a variety of wallpapers, screensavers, menu styles, and color skins. If you want more options or more ringtones you can always download them via the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Gamers get two Java (J2ME) titles: World Poker and Gameloft Hits.

We tested the (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS; EV-DO) Motorola Krzr K1 world phone in San Francisco using T-Mobile's service. Sound quality was comparable with Cingular's Krzr K1 but there was a slight increase in static at times. On their end, callers said we sounded fine but they had they had about the same amount of trouble hearing us as they did on the Cingular phone. Speakerphone calls sounded a bit hollow but had enough volume, and Bluetooth headset calls were satisfactory.

The Motorola Krzr K1 for T-Mobile has a promised battery life of 3 hours talk time and 8 days standby time. Curiously, both rated times are lower than the Cingular Krzr K1. Our tests revealed a talk time of 3 hours, 30 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Krzr K1 has a digital SAR rating of 1.07 watts per kilogram.