In terms of looks, it's taken Motorola over two years to come out with a 3G version of its original and popular RAZR phone. While the V3xx's predecessor the V3x was Motorola's first attempt at a 3G RAZR, its 20mm chunkiness and drab case were a bit naff. The V3xx is a bit thinner at the more pocketable size of 103 by 53 by 15mm, which is just slightly bigger than the original RAZR. If, like us, you're growing tired of the RAZR, Motorola has been busy releasing other fashion phones called the SLVR, KRZR and RIZR.
The V3xx comes in either a "licorice" or "vibrant copper" metallic case, which when flipped open reveals an etched silver keypad backlit in blue almost identical to RAZR V3. A flat, four-way directional pad, two softkeys and a selection key beneath the screen take care of navigation. There are also shortcuts for recent calls, music, camera and volume adjustment. The keys are well-spaced out and the screen readable even in direct sunlight.
With HSDPA providing download speeds up to 3.6Mbps on HSDPA-ready 3G networks, the RAZR V3xx loads Web pages in a flash, and buffers songs and video clips over the air in a couple of seconds. We tested the V3xx on 3's network, although strangely it isn't offered as an X-Series handset for mobile broadband. Bluetooth 2.0 finishes off the Razr V3xx's wireless capabilities, with support for Bluetooth stereo headphones (the A2DP profile) and streaming music to other devices (AVRCP).
Motorola includes a rudimentary media player on the V3xx which can handle MP3, AAC and MPEG-4 files -- no Windows Media or Quicktime, we're afraid. There's a 1.3-megapixel camera that sits near the hinge of the two halves of the phone, and the position is such that the lens can easily get blocked by your fingers when you're trying to take a picture. Video can be captured with the main camera and there's a secondary VGA camera under the screen, both of which can be used for video calling.
Included in the box is a charger, a stereo headset, a Motorola software CD (Windows only) and a USB cable. A standard mini-USB connector is used to charge the V3xx and connect it to a PC -- much better than the proprietary ports manufacturers like Nokia and Sony Ericsson persist with on their phones.
Motorola's bundled headphones packed a decent punch during our tests and were reasonably comfortable to wear. If you're looking for a phone to double as a music player, though, we'd recommend a Sony Ericsson Walkman phone, not only because you get a better set of headphones, but they come bundled with large memory cards. Although the V3xx has 60MB of internal memory, you'll need to buy a microSD card if you want to store more than 15 songs at a time.
Almost all of the photos we took with the V3xx came out blurry, even in bright, fluorescent lighting. There is also a noticeable shutter lag before the V3xx captures an image. Videos also came out small (176 x 144 pixels) and jittery.
The HTML browser on the V3xx does a good job for occasional Web surfing, but the screen is too small for most Web sites.
The V3xx performs excellently as a phone; calls can be heard without a problem, ringtones are adequately loud and we had no reception issues. Battery life is also quite good for a 3G phone -- we got at least three days with average use between charges. Motorola rates the V3xx battery good for up to 400 hours of standby or five hours of talk.
Perhaps we're a little jaded having seen about 10 RAZRs so far. In our eyes the interface and the design of the V3xx are dated and in need of a major refresh. Motorola's text input system is a pain to use, especially when adding new words to its memory. HSDPA connectivity is one of the only things that saves the V3xx from being a flop.