Motorola Razr review: Motorola Razr

Like every other Razr, there's no flash with the camera.

Though the Razr V3xx's 1.3-megaixel camera is an improvement over the Razr V3, we were hoping for a 2-megapixel shooter on such a media-centric handset. In all seriousness, as high-resolution camera phones proliferate, 1.3-megapixel models are becoming the new VGA. We're also disappointed that unlike the Razr V3x, Moto's V3xx didn't include a second interior camera for future use with video calling. You can take pictures in four resolutions and choose from a variety of editing options, including three quality settings, an 8x zoom, six lighting conditions, a self timer, seven color effects, and three shutter sounds plus a silent option. The video recorder shoots clips with sound in three quality settings and a choice of similar editing options. Clips meant for multimedia messages are limited to 16 seconds; otherwise you can shoot for as long as the available memory permits. And while we're on the subject, you get a healthy 60MB of shared internal memory but you can always use a microSD card slot (up to 2GB) for more space. Picture and video quality are improved over the Razr V3's, with distinct edges and colors. At times, however, the images are washed out, and since there's no flash, darker conditions aren't ideal. Video quality is about average for a 1.3-megapixel camera phone.

The Razr v3xx has decent photo quality.

You can personalize the Razr V3xx with a variety of wallpaper, screensavers, color themes, and alert sounds. You can always get more choices from the carrier's MediaNet application and the wireless Web browser. You can buy more ringtones as well, but sadly, you won't be able to use downloaded MP3 files for your calls. As for gaming, the Razr v3xx comes with demo versions of four Java (J2ME) tiles: EA Air Hockey, Midnight Pool, Platinum Sudoku, and Tetris. You'll have to buy the full versions for extended play.

We tested the triband (GSM 850/1800/1900; HSDPA) Motorola Razr V3xx in San Francisco using Cingular service. It's disappointing that the phone is not fully quadband like the Razr V3. As such, it won't have as much coverage outside of the United States. It's a baffling change to say the least, and one that makes the phone significantly less consumer-friendly.

Call quality was very decent with strong audio clarity and signal reception. Voices sounded natural and there was little static or interference. Even better, the volume level was much improved over previous Razr models. Low volume had been a recurring problem since the original V3. Callers said we sounded fine and didn't report any significant problems. Also, voice recognition systems (like when calling an airline) could understand us. Our only complaint was that voices sounded tinny from time to time. It wasn't a bother, but it was noticeable just the same. Sound quality also can diminish in noisy environments but it wasn't a deal breaker either. Speakerphone quality was loud enough, but not unexpectedly, voices sounded more muffled. On their end, callers had trouble hearing us over the speakerphone unless we spoke close to the phone. Lastly, Bluetooth calls were decent.

Streaming video quality was quite sharp on the whole. There was very little pixelation, and videos suffered from almost no choppiness or color distortion. We did have to rebuffer a few times (mostly when inside interior rooms of a building), but it wasn't too bothersome. Sound quality was good as well and voices matched the speakers' mouths. Music quality was serviceable but nothing special. There was a tinny quality at times, and we'd prefer stereo speakers.

Due to the strong HSDPA connection, we had a strong wireless Internet connection without any major hiccups. Individual Web pages loaded in an instant, while moving backward to cached pages was even faster. In all, it's a satisfying experience that involves none of the usual waiting that comes with mobile Web browsing. Downloads were also painless--we were able to download a game in just 8 seconds. Just be warned that the strength of the HSDPA connection will waver outside of urban areas.

The Razr V3xx has a rated battery life of three hours talk time and 12 days standby time. Three hours is quite low for a GSM phone, but 12 days is about average. We eked out a talk time of 3 hours, 30 minutes in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Razr V3xx has a digital SAR rating of 1.21 watts per kilogram.