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Motorola Slvr review: Motorola Slvr

Motorola Slvr

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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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5 min read

overview
6.6

Motorola Slvr

The Good

The Motorola Slvr L7c for Verizon offers a sleek design, EV-DO support, and decent battery life.

The Bad

The Motorola Slvr L7c for Verizon has a low-grade VGA camera and lacks stereo Bluetooth. The phone's EV-DO performance was a tad slow and call quality was shaky on our end.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola Slvr L7c for Verizon undoubtedly offers style, but missing features and uneven performance hold it down.

Though Verizon Wireless was the first carrier to score the Motorola Razr V3c and Krzr K1m, it was a bit slower on the uptake of the Moto's CDMA Slvr, the L7c. Rival carrier Sprint was first to market with the thin candy bar phone, and Verizon now follows with its own model. Except for a color change, the Verizon Slvr L7c is indistinguishable from its counterpart, and it also comes armed with a VGA camera and EV-DO support but it lacks a stereo Bluetooth profile. Call quality wasn't the best but it's a decent phone if fashion is your main concern. Verizon's Svr L7c is $69 with service.

Design
Like Sprint's L7c and the GSM Slvr L7, the Verizon Slvr looks like a bit like a Razr that's been hammered flat. The trim profile (4.5 inches tall by 2 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep) will appeal to thin phone enthusiasts who are partial to the candy bar design, and the lightweight (3.7 ounces) ensures easy portability. The Slvr has a solid feeling in the hand but it's difficult to cradle it between your head and shoulder. We weren't crazy about the bland silver color scheme; we much prefer the dark grey hue on the Sprint handset.

Unfortunately, Moto went for a lower-resolution display on the Slvr L7c. While the Slvr L7 model offers a full 262,000 colors on its display, the L7c taps out at 65,000 colors. Some users may not notice the difference as the display is perfectly serviceable for most uses. Yet, it's the inconsistency that bothers us. We don't see why our CDMA friends have to suffer. On the other hand, the 1.9-inch display is large enough and you can change the backlighting time and the brightness. The Slvr L7c uses Verizon's standardized menus, which aren't an improvement over Moto's clunky interface.

The navigation array is almost unchanged from the Sprint phone. There's a four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, and the Talk and End/power buttons. You can set the toggle to give one-touch-access to four user-defined functions but Verizon slightly altered the remaining controls. A Back button replaces the Clear key while a camera/camcorder shortcut replaces the dedicated speakerphone control. The flat keypad buttons are a bit cramped and, there's little separation between the individual rows so users with large digits should give the phone a test drive before buying. The keys are brightly backlit for dialing in the dark.


You have to remove the Slvr L7c's battery to access the memory card slot.

A volume rocker sits on the left just above the Motorola "smart" key. This control doubles as the speakerphone key when you press and hold. The Mini USB charger ports rests on the right spine just above a control that initiates voice commands and starts the voice memo recorder. The camera lens is on the back of the phone without a flash or self-portrait mirror while the microSD card slot is crammed rather inconveniently behind the battery.

Features
The Slvr L7c's phone book holds 1,000 contacts, each of which can take five phone numbers and two e-mail addresses. You can assign contacts to caller groups, pair them with a picture for photo caller ID, or assign them one of the 20 polyphonic ringtones. Other features include a vibrate mode, voice commands and dialing, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a voice recorder, a calculator, a world clock, an alarm clock, PC syncing, instant messaging and e-mail, speakerphone, and a notepad. Bluetooth is on board as well but unlike the Sprint handset, it does not support stereo (A2DP) and most object exchange profiles.


The Slvr L7c's camera doesn't include a flash.

We've grumbled about the VGA camera on the Slvr L7c before and we're going to grumble about it again. It's just disappointing that a 3G multimedia-friendly handset such as this goes so low rent when it comes to a shooter. The camera takes pictures in just three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 160x120), and comes with a self-timer, adjustable brightness and white balance settings, an 8x zoom, three color effects, 10 fun frames, and three shutter sounds (there's also a silent option). Unlike its Sprint cousin, the Verizon L7c doesn't offer image quality settings but it does come with a multishot mode. The camcorder shoots 13-second clips with sound, while the Sprint L7c offered double the recording time. Editing options for videos are similar to those of the still camera. Photo quality was unchanged from other Slvr models--colors looked a bit washed out, and objects were fuzzy. Videos weren't remarkable either, with a lot of jerkiness. Here again you're allotted just 18MB of internal memory to store your work, but you can use a microSD card for more space.


We weren't impressed with the Slvr L7c's photo quality.

As an EV-DO phone, the Slvr L7c supports the full range of Verizon's 3G services including the V Cast video service and the V Cast music store. The music player's interface is identical to those on other Verizon phones. You also have the option to purchase a variety of Verizon applications including VZ Navigator and ChaperoneParent.

You can personalize Slvr L7c with a variety of alert tones, display themes, wallpaper, screensavers, and banners. You can always buy more options if you're dissatisfied with what comes on the phone. Unfortunately, the phone does not come with any games besides a demo version of Pac-Man.

Performance
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) in San Francisco using Verizon service. Call quality was somewhat disappointing on the whole. Though we had no trouble finding a signal, there was noticeable feedback on our end, and we had trouble hearing our callers if we were outside. On the upside, there was enough volume but it just didn't compare to the other Slvr models we've reviewed. On their end, callers didn't report as many problems. Voices sounded natural but they encountered a lot of wind noise.

Speakerphone calls were decent but we recommend resting the phone upside down to give the rear-facing speaker maximum exposure. Call quality was a tad more muffled but that's not unusual with a mobile speakerphone. Bluetooth calls were fine overall, and we encountered no interference from other electronic devices.

Music quality on the phone was about average. Though the Slvr L7c lacks stereo speakers, the volume was quite loud. Like with the Sprint phone, the output was a bit bass-heavy, especially at their volumes. Downloading music was a trickier proposition. It took about four minutes to download a 1.5MB song and the EV-DO connection was a bit shaky. We never lost reception but it remained slow throughout our test period.

The Motorola Slvr L7c for Verizon Wireless has a rated battery life of 4 hours talk time and 18 days standby time. Our tests revealed a talk time of 5 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the Slvr L7c has a digital SAR rating of 1.23 watts per kilogram.

overview
6.6

Motorola Slvr

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 6
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