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Motorola Slvr L7 review:

Motorola Slvr L7

Typical Price: £190.00
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The Good Above average music playback; sleek lines; nice (if small) screen.

The Bad Too little built in memory; poor camera; amazing propensity to pick up grease from fingers.

The Bottom Line Motorola's flat keyboarded, thin, black design gets another outing in the Slvr -- we've seen it before in the Razr and Pebl. Amazingly good looking, the SLVR has a feature-set which is average in most respects, though good quality music playback is a highlight worth drawing attention to

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CNET Editors' Rating

7.5 Overall

Review Sections

Remember Motorola's Razr? A thin flip phone that wowed us all when it first appeared and which has been spawning progeny (such as the pink V3 and the beefed up 3G V3x) at a rate of knots.

The Slvr is essentially a candybar format of the Razr. Similarly middle of the road in terms of features, with distinctive styling and a very waif-like overall format, the Slvr is appealing if you don't need state of the art capabilities from your handset. Note there are two versions of this handset, the black Slvr L7 and a silver version, the L6 or Slvr L6, which is slimmer, but doesn't have the memory-card slot.

You can get the Slvr from Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2 for free on contract prices as low as £20 a month, and upwards of £119 on pay as you go with Orange and O2. If it's just the handset you want, be prepared to pay around £190.

Design
If you are looking for slim, sleek and light in a handset you could do a lot worse than give the Slvr a once over -- that is precisely what its design is all about.

Indeed, if it wasn't for Motorola's earlier slender handset, the clamshell Razr, we'd have been absolutely stunned by the Slvr. As it is, Motorola is something of a victim of its own success -- 11mm is quite thin, but couldn't they have broken the 10mm barrier? Even the slightly less well-specified Slvr L6 only gets down to 10.9mm.

But this criticism seems a bit churlish when the Slvr is actually sitting in your hand, where it feels great. Importantly, it shades under the magic 100g barrier, too.

Homage is paid to both the Razr and the Pebl in the design of the number pad, which is not made up of separate keys but rather comprises a single flat space, with raised markings separating the area dedicated to each key.

The number pad looks the business, even if we've seen it before, and, importantly, we find it no more difficult to use than a standard pad. The same goes for the softkeys, menu key which sits directly beneath the screen, and for the Call and End keys. The navigation button is another matter though. It too is small, and we found fingernails were needed to get it to do our bidding.

The screen, at a shade under 50mm diagonally, is small, but it does deliver 262k colours and a reasonable resolution, which makes it look pretty sharp, as well as bright.

Challenged for space on the edges of the handsets Motorola has nonetheless managed to find room for some buttons and, on the right edge, a slot for one of those tiny microSD (formerly TransFlash) memory cards. Protected by a rubber cover, this slot can be used to accommodate the 64MB card Motorola provides or a higher capacity card -- they are currently available at up to 512MB. On this edge you'll also find a mini USB connector for attaching the provided headphones.

The right edge also has a button which launches the built-in camera and drops right into video mode shooting as set up for MMS messaging. On the left edge is a button which launches the camera in stills shooting mode, and a volume rocker.

Before moving on to look at the Slvr's features, we have to raise the issue of fingerprints. The beautifully sleek, shiny black-and-silverness of the Slvr will be marred the very first time you pick it up, as greasy fingermarks get left on the casing -- especially the screen.

Features
This is a quad band handset, which means it should be able to accompany you anywhere in the world. There's Bluetooth, of course, but once you start to delve into the specifications you begin to see that, generally speaking, what's going on is pretty average.

Take the camera for example. Design-wise it is handy to have separate launch buttons for video and stills, but stills shooting is limited to a maximum of 640x480 pixels. You aren’t going to be doing much more than taking snaps to MMS or email to others.



Furthermore, it is easy to twiddle the exposure using the navigation pad, and to use the 4x digital zoom with the pad, but there's no flash which makes shooting in low light conditions, including indoors, hit and miss.

When it comes to music, ignore any rumours that the Slvr has the iTunes software installed, because that is certainly not the case in the UK. There is a music player though, and it sent reasonable quality sound to the handset's speaker and good quality sound to the provided stereo headset -- just as well as its mini USB connector means you can't use your own favourite headset.

When music is playing, the navigation pad lets you pause/resume and flick through songs. The main irritation is that the moment you switch out of the player to access another application playback stops. When you take a call playback manages to stop and start again automatically.

Storage of tunes and pictures relies on microSD cards, as there is an extremely meagre 5MB of built-in memory.

As for the rest of the features, an address book, diary, calculator, alarm clock, email support and picture viewer are included, as well as a couple of games and a Java application which will backup over the air. These are all fine as far as they go, but with no out of the box ability to share information with your PC, some of them, for example the diary and contact book, might take a bit of initial setting up.

Performance
We had no real issues with the Slvr in terms of performance. Once you understand that this is not intended to be a leading-edge handset, it does a good job. Sound quality during calls was perfectly acceptable, and during music playback was impressive.

We got away with three days of average use before needing to recharge, though if you like to use a Bluetooth headset you'll need to recharge the battery more frequently.

Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield

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