About the same time it (finally) picked up the Motorola Razr, Sprint followed through with its own version of the Motorola Krzr K1m. Similar to the Motorola Krzr K1m for Verizon Wireless, the Sprint Krzr K1m is 10 times prettier than the Razr, while retaining the same thin design that made its predecessor so popular. Sprint's Krzr K1m also offers a comparable feature set with goodies such as Bluetooth, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and 3G EV-DO support. You can get it for $199 with service or $399 if you pay full price.
The Sprint Krzr K1m shares the same dimensions (4.05x1.73x0.67 inches; 3.6 ounces) and the same basic design as its Verizon counterpart. As previously stated, it's much more appealing than the Razr--we especially like that it's narrower when measured across the front face--but the plate of hardened glass continues to attract its share of fingerprints. In a major change, Sprint chose to color its Krzr in black on both the front and rear faces and the chrome strip at the handset's bottom end. We like the black color scheme better but it's all a matter a taste, of course.
The external music controls show the same positives and negatives as on the Verizon handset. We like that they're only usable when the player is on, so you can't start music accidentally, but we found them a bit too sensitive when we were listening to music. The camera lens and external display are unchanged as well, but the spine-mounted controls show a few variations from the Verizon phone. The single control on the right spine now starts the camera, while voice dialing has been moved to the "smart" button just below the volume rocker on the left spine.
Sprint did add a few changes to the interior of its Krzr K1m. Though the internal display's size and 65,000-color resolution is the same as on the Verizon K1m, the menu interface is typical Sprint. Yellow abounds but you can choose from a grid, list, or tab design. The navigation array also is slightly different; instead of a dedicated camera key, the Sprint K1m features a speakerphone shortcut. Yet on the other hand, the five-way navigation toggle, soft keys, Talk and End/Power buttons, and dedicated back control are the same. The keypad buttons are similar as well, except they are black instead of silver.
Unfortunately, Sprint's Razr V3m inherits the Verizon phone's awkward placement of the Micro SD card slot. You have to remove both the battery cover and the battery to pry it out, and even then, you'd better ready your fingernails.
Though Motorola managed to significantly improve the Krzr K1m's design over its predecessor, the company didn't pull any new feature tricks out of its hat. Both the Sprint and Verizon phones have the same set of offerings, albeit with a few slight distinctions. The 1,000-contact phone book on Sprint's Krzr K1m has room in each entry for five phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, and notes. You can save callers to groups and pair them with a photo or one of 22 polyphonic ring tones (two more than the Verizon Krzr K1m). Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, voice dialing and commands, an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, and a world clock. We couldn't find a notepad on our review phone, but you might have one on yours. For more demanding users, Sprint slightly bests Verizon by including an integrated Yahoo e-mail application and the ability to instant message, in addition to the expected Bluetooth, a speakerphone, USB support, and PC syncing.
The 1.3-megapixel camera lets you take pictures in three resolutions (Verizon's Krzr K1m has four choices); you also can choose from three color effects, a digital zoom, brightness and white balance controls, a self-timer, three fun frames, and six shutter sounds (plus a silent option). You also get a choice of three quality settings, which aren't available on the Verizon Krzr K1m. The camcorder records 30-second videos with sound, while offering a similar set of editing options. Integrated memory is slightly more than 16MB of shared space, so we suggest using a Micro SD card (our review phone came with a 64MB card). Similar to the Verizon Model, the Sprint Krzr K1m photos were slightly blurry with dull colors. We expect a bit more from a meagpixel camera.
As an EV-DO phone, the Sprint Razr Krzr K1m is compatible with the carrier's Power Vision streaming video service and its Sprint Music store for music downloads to the onboard digital music player. It also supports Sprint's On Demand service and the carrier's new NFL Mobile application Power View feature for watching full-length movie on the handset (though we're not quite sure why you'd want to do that). And if that isn't enough, there's also special programming from its comedy channel and trials of AccuWeather Premium and TeleNav Navigator. In our opinion, Sprint beats Verizon when it comes to the breadth of EV-DO programming.
You can personalize the Sprint Krzr K1m with a variety of screensavers, color themes, and sounds. You can always buy more options and more ring tones from Sprint with the WAP 2 wireless Web browser. The phone comes with demo versions of only four Java (J2ME) games (Zuma, Midnight Bowling, Pac-Man, and Tetris). You'll have to buy the full versions for extended play.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) Motorola Krzr K1m in San Francisco using Sprint's service. Sound quality was quite satisfactory with only a trace more static than the Verizon Krzr K1m. Reception was sharp as well and callers said they didn't have any trouble hearing or understanding us. Overall, we've been more pleased with the sound quality of the Krzr than we were with the Razr, and we like that the volume is somewhat louder. Speakerphone and Bluetooth calls were on par with the Verizon Krzr K1m, which is to say sound quality was decent if a bit hollow.
Music quality was perfectly acceptable for short stints despite some metallic and bass-heavy effects. On the other hand, we vastly prefer music phones with stereo speakers so the Krzr K1m doesn't help the situation by sticking its sole speaker on its rear face. You should use stereo headphones for a better experience. Video streaming was fair, with less pixilation than on Sprint's Razr, but the display's small size caused a bit of eyestrain after more than a few minutes. Also, we didn't love the muffled sound.
We couldn't help but notice Sprint's Krzr K1m was relatively sluggish when responding to commands or transferring between applications. We had the same problem with the Verizon mode, but it was exacerbated here. For example, when we opened the camera there was a few seconds lag between when we opened the camera and when we pressed the shutter button. Accessing the music store also took longer than expected, considering the EV-DO connection.
The Krzr K1m for Sprint has a rated talk time battery life of 3.5 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the Krzr K1m has a digital SAR rating of 1.03 watts per kilogram.