Editor's note: The review of the black RAZR is based upon our review of the original Motorola RAZR V3.
What can we say but wow! Motorola has outdone itself in terms of the V3's design. Even before we got to the handset, the packaging of the V3 -- aka Razr -- screamed sophistication. Giving us a taste of what's to be found inside, the box the V3 comes in is a brushed-metal contoured case featuring a port hole through which we could see the pearl inside.
The Motorola V3 is all about class. From its anodised airplane-grade aluminium case to its chemically-etched keypad, Motorola has spared no expense ensuring this mobile is one smart looking handset. Its most talked about and noticeable feature is its svelte design -- the V3 is only 13.9mm thick.
The front of the phone houses the V3's VGA camera and a 260K-colour display that shows the time on top of a picture of your choice (which can be photos taken with the camera). The external display can also be used as a viewfinder for taking self-portrait shots.
Flipping open the ultra-thin folder reveals the V3's beautiful 2.2-inch TFT display, which is capable of displaying up to 260K colours. The flat keypad is etched out of a single sheet of nickel-plated copper-alloy and its curvy details glow an electro-luminescent blue, which looks akin to the race scenes from sci-fi classic Tron.
Keys on the V3 are sufficiently large and spaced out, even for the big fingered among us. Two softkeys and the menu key sit at the top, and underneath you'll find a flat five-way navigation pad, answer and reject keys, message shortcut, WAP key and of course, the numerical section.
Tipping the scales at 95g and measuring 98 x 53 x 13.9mm, the Motorola may be considered too wide for some. However, we find that these dimensions and weight make this phone one of the most comfortable to hold and use. The slightly large width seems to sit perfectly in your palm and with the V3's internal antenna at the bottom of the handset, the phone is not top heavy like some clamshell mobiles.
The bundled software CD contains Motorola's mobile PhoneTools, an application through which you can establish an Internet connection through your phone, manage e-mail, transfer multimedia files, and synchronise your calendar and contacts.
Being a quad-band phone, users can use the handset practically anywhere there is a GSM network. Bluetooth is onboard so you can talk wirelessly via a Bluetooth headset and transmit data without cables.
Included in the box is the icing on the cake; the stylish Motorola Bluetooth Wireless Headset HS810. Initially, the headset takes about two hours to charge, after which you can press the button on the side of the device and flip down the stub boom mic to pair with the V3. Alternatively, calls can be heard audibly through the hands-free speaker.
Other bundled accessories include a standard hands-free earpiece, a leather pouch and belt clip for the V3, USB cable for PC connectivity, mains power charger, Bluetooth headset power adapter and a Motorola keychain.
Polyphonic ring tones for incoming calls can be set quite loud and we found 48 choices in the V3's memory.
For entering text, the V3 supports the old multi-tap method but for predictive text it deviates from T9 and instead implements a system called iTAP. While it will take T9 aficionados some time to familiarise themselves with the nuances of iTAP, we believe it works just as efficiently. Similar to T9, one keypress equals one letter in iMAP and the handset will look for common words with matching letter combinations. iMAP goes one step further in predicting the word you are typing and ghosting the rest of the word on the screen. Pressing up when a word is ghosted fills in the rest automatically. We like this aspect and how the V3 remembers newly typed words but we found adding punctuation very fiddly (eg. trying to enter a full stop always brings up the number '1' instead with punctuation marks as alternative options).
Powering the V3 up for the first time prompts you to personalise your phone, taking you to a menu where you can: choose the layout and features for the home screen; alter the menu display (icons or list) and order the items.
Battery life Motorola V3 is good considering the bright screen it powers. We averaged about three days in between charges. Even though the handset uses a mini USB cable for PC connectivity, we could not get the V3 to charge through it and had to rely on the power adapter.
We've given the Motorola V3 an Editors' Choice award as it has a lot of substance to back its great looks. It is a superb handset that goes unnoticed in your pocket but certainly attracts attention when you pull it out in a crowd.