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Motorola RIZR Z3 review: Motorola RIZR Z3

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The Good Decent 2-megapixel camera. Loud, clear speakerphone. Extensive voice recognition options.

The Bad Menu graphics need an update. Glossy screen accumulates smudges. Some features and settings difficult to locate.

The Bottom Line The featureset is a little basic, and the menus need an update but the RIZR is a snazzy-looking slider phone with all the essentials in place.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

Review Sections

We've had multiple RAZR flavours interspersed with the SLVR and the KRZR; now it's time to meet the RIZR. Motorola's first slimline slider, the RIZR, or Z3, shares the whippet-thin profile and laser-cut keypad of its predecessors.

Design
Motorola has come up with some truly odd names for its handsets of late, but this time the title actually relates to the form and function of the phone. (We're still trying to figure out what "KRZR" means -- maybe it's meant to drive potential buyers "krazy" with gadget lust?) The RIZR does indeed rise; the top section slides up with a springy click, revealing a metallic laser-cut keypad similar to that of the KRZR, but with a gentle curve.

Typing texts on the keys is easily done one-handed, but the fact that the numbers are all cut into the same sheet of metal (with no separation between the buttons or raised surfaces) means you'll need to develop some thumb precision to avoid errors.

At 46mm by 16mm by 106mm and 115 grams, the RIZR is a little bigger and heavier than its KRZY counterpart, but still a decent, pocketable size. The front surface is a glossy fingerprint farm, whereas the back of the phone has a matte finish. A ridge below the display allows you to access the keypad without having to sully the screen with your filthy fingers. It's a nice touch, but you'll still need to give the screen a clean after taking a phone call -- face-grease on your phone doesn't make for a sleek look.

We complained about menu graphics when reviewing the RAZR MAXX, and the same applies here: the icons look dated and blocky compared to the oh-so-pretty menus of phones from LG, Sony Ericsson and Nokia.

Features
In contrast to the recently released RAZR V3xx and RAZR MAXX, which have both focused on the fast downloads and streaming video available via HSDPA, the RIZR is a more modest quadband GSM model with a pared-back feature set. There is a Web browser, but this is not a phone for the heavy Internet user -- the lower download speeds and smaller display would make for frequent frustration.

A 2-megapixel camera with 8x zoom, music player, two games (the ubiquitous Sudoku and a cricket title) and some basic calendar/calculator functions round out the RIZR's features. Connectivity-wise, you've got Bluetooth (A2DP) and USB for all your data transfer needs, and GPRS/EDGE for Internet connection.

If you've got plans to store more than a handful of songs or videos, you'll need to pony up the dosh for a higher-capacity microSD card -- our review phone came with a 128MB microSD card, but the RIZR will accept up to 1GB of extra storage to tack on to its meagre 20MB of internal memory.

Voice recognition has been given star billing, with a dedicated key on the right side of the phone taking you directly to a voice commands menu. We've never been big on the "talk to dial" concept -- unless you're in mortal danger, is it that difficult to press a few buttons? However, if you're a devoted user of voice dialling, you'll be pleased with the RIZR's accurate recognition of names and the provision of a shortcut key to tweak your set-up.

Performance
Unlike the KRZR, which let us down in the photo-taking stakes, snaps captured on the RIZR were quite sharp, and didn't suffer from the washed-out colouring often seen in cameraphone pics. (To see some shots we took with the RIZR, take a look at photos 12 and 13 in our PS3 launch gallery.)

The MP3/AAC music player is hard to locate (it's hidden in the Games & Apps menu option), but it functions quite well, organising songs by title and artist and allowing for playlist creation. It also offers basic shuffle and repeat playback options.

The speakerphone deserves a mention -- it was loud and clear, and didn't suffer from distortion at higher volumes.

Battery life was decent at around four days between charges.

The RIZR should appeal to those charmed by Motorola's RAZR releases, with its similar stylings being squeezed into a slider shape. The phone does suffer from the KRZR's beauty queen syndrome though -- lacking a standout feature, it is primarily relying on looks to try and win over an audience.

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