Motorola Rizr Z3 preview

The Rizr strays from Motorola's classic clamshell design: it's a slider phone. Fortunately, it still retains Motorola's eye for style and comes with a decent all-rounder feature set -- a 2-megapixel camera, an MP3 player, expandable memory and stereo Bluetooth support

Andrew Lim
3 min read

The Motorola Rizr Z3 is one of Motorola's latest phones and was announced in July alongside the very popular Motorola Krzr K1, V3xx and Maxx. The difference, however, is that the Rizr strays from Motorola's classic clamshell design: it's a slider phone. Fortunately, it still retains Motorola's eye for style and comes with all the usual Motorola details.

The Motorola Rizr Z3 feels solid for a slider phone and has a spring-loaded slide mechanism that smoothly pops open. The Z3 comes in an attractive dark blue and will also come out in black and red at a later date. The casing feels satisfyingly rubbery and provides enough grip that it won't slip out of your hand.

Fortunately, unlike many slider phones, the bottom of the top section is angled inwards so that there's a little more space to press the top three keys, although it's still more squashed than on a candybar phone.

At 16mm thick, it's only 3mm thicker than the original Razr V3 and it's much narrower, measuring only 45mm wide, which means it will fit in most pockets. There's a 2-megapixel camera on the back with an LED photo light that lets you take photos or shoot video, and a dedicated shutter button makes accessing the camera very easy.

Another feature is the MP3 player, which supports AAC, AAC+ and AAC+ enhanced, so you can use the Z3 to listen to your favourite tracks. There's also an expandable microSD slot that will store up to 1GB of music and photos. You can listen to music using the proprietary headphones or using stereo Bluetooth headphones, as the Z3 supports A2DP.

Other useful features include a Web browser, email client, calendar, calculator, alarm clock, Java games and applications, MMS messaging and speakerphone mode.

While the Z3 isn't a huge handset, we're slightly disappointed that it's not thinner. The original Razr V3 was, at the time, incredibly thin and this handset doesn't have the same wow factor. Another issue with its design is that the lip at the bottom of the keypad gets in the way of properly accessing the *, 0 and # keys, but veteran Razr users will probably be used to this.

It's a shame that the camera isn't hidden behind the slide mechanism as this means it's vulnerable to scratches. Another issue we have with the camera is its low-end feature set: there's no autofocus, and the lack of a flash means that shots taken in low light come out blue when the subject is close and dark when it's far away.

The lack of a 3.5mm adaptor is also disappointing, as you won't be able to plug in your own headphones when you take the phone out of the box. Stereo Bluetooth is a nice bonus, but using it all day will quickly drain your battery. Finally, the screen is rather small, measuring only 30mm wide by 37mm tall, compared to the Razr V3's 35 by 43mm screen.

The Motorola Z3 looks good and feels solid. It's an all-rounder phone that dabbles in a little of everything. The problem, however, is that the Z3's feature set looks slightly lacklustre against some of the competition.

Neither the lack of autofocus on the camera nor the screen size had us jumping out of our seats. If, however, you're looking for a Motorola-flavoured slider then this is definitely worth a look. It's currently available for free on a monthly contract, or for around £200 SIM-free online.

Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide