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Motorola Razr2 review: Motorola Razr2

Motorola Razr2

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Kent German
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Kent German

Senior Managing Editor / Features

Kent is a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and has 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).

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8.0

Motorola Razr2

The Good

The Motorola Razr2 V9x retains the slim and eye-catching Razr2 design while adding new features to an already impressive assortment of goodies. It's a good performer, too.

The Bad

The Motorola Razr2 V9x lacks a speakerphone shortcut and its memory card slot is located behind the battery cover. Also, watching videos on the external display is a tad cumbersome.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola Razr2 V9x adds welcome improvements to an already excellent phone.

Editors' note: The Motorola Razr V9x is almost identical to the Motorola Razr V9, but it offers additional features. This review will concentrate on the differences between the two devices.

When Motorola introduced AT&T's Motorola Razr V9 last year, we were pleasantly surprised. Instead of a simple revamp of the original Razr, which it had done many times already, the V9 was practically a new phone. Inside were expanded features, a sleeker profile, a nifty external display, and redesigned controls. As even now the V9 continues to have a good run, Moto has decided squeeze yet more life out of the Razr family. The new Motorola Razr V9x, also for AT&T, offers several new features including GPS, a refined external display, and more memory capacity. The result is an attractive handset that performs well, even if it relies on a design theme that's almost five years old. You can get it for $199.99 with service or $349.99 if you pay full price

Design
Except for a new black licorice hue, the V9x shows no differences from the V9. It's the same shape and size (4 inches by 2 inches by 0.5 inch; 4.1 ounces) and has the same camera lens and external speaker. The exterior controls are also the same, and they feature the haptic feedback that we liked before (for a full description see our original Motorola Razr V9 review). The external display is equally big, gorgeous, and bright but it offers access to more feature through the onscreen touch controls. Besides accessing the music player and AT&T Mobile Music, you also can access your photos, the AT&T Cellular Video feature, incoming alerts and messages, and the GPS application. Also, you even can redial missed calls without opening the phone. We've always loved the Razr2's external display, but the V9x makes it even better.


On the Razr2 V9x, you can access streaming videos through the external display.

Inside the device there are no modifications. The internal display has the same 262,000-color display resolution, so it's just as easy on the eyes. The main menu remains mostly easy to use, though we maintain that Moto needs to tweak the way it organizes options in the Settings menu (why are "Personalize" and "Initial setup" two different options?). The navigation controls have the same shortcuts for the Web browser and Cellular Video. That's not a bad thing, but we wish Moto had added a dedicated speakerphone key this time around. The keypad buttons are unchanged--though they're flush, they're also spacious with large numbers and a bright backlighting.

Features
The Razr2 V9x has everything that you'd find on the Razr2 V9, while adding new offerings. For the purpose of this review we'll concentrate on what is different. The most notable addition is the AT&T Navigator GPS service. Powered by Telenav, AT&T Navigator offers voice-guided directions, a points-of-interest database (searchable through voice commands or the keypad), and maps and traffic. As mentioned previously, you can display maps, guidance, and information on the external display, though you must open the phone and activate the application first.


The Razr2's 2-megapixel camera takes lovely photos.

Other changes include a YellowPages.com Mobile app and the Talking Phone feature that we first saw on the Motorola Rokr E8. Talking Phone reads out contacts, menu choices, dialed numbers, e-mails, and text messages. As we said on our Rokr E8 review, the feature is quite effective, but make sure you really want to use it since it can get annoying after a while. The MicroSD slot on the Razr2 V9x now can accommodate cards up to 8GB (as opposed to a maximum of 2GB on the Razr2 V9, but you still must remove the battery cover to access the card slot.

Performance
We tested the Motorola Razr2 V9x in San Francisco using AT&T service. Fortunately, call quality was almost unchanged from the Razr2 V9. Voices sounded natural, the signal was clear, and the volume was loud. At times there was a very slight background hum--because of the "GSM buzz," no doubt--but we didn't notice the echo that we heard on the Razr2 V9.

Multimedia quality was satisfactory as well. As you might expect, video quality was slightly diminished on the external display. It wasn't a big deal, though, and we like that the video is displayed in a landscape orientation. The only annoying thing is that once you start a video, there's no way to stop it midstream and go back to the main Cellular Video menu. Instead, you must wait for the clip to end.

The Razr2 V9x offers an improved battery life over its predecessor. Rated 3G talk time is 3.25 hours and promised GSM talk time is now 5.42 hours. In our tests we got a little more than three hours of 3G talk time. Rated standby time is now 13.3 days, instead of 12 days. According to FCC radiation tests, the Razr2 V9x has a digital SAR of 0.61 watt per kilogram. That's slightly higher than the V9's SAR of 0.52 watt per kilogram.

8.0

Motorola Razr2

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8