We have been big fans of Motorola cell phones ever since they came out with the StarTac. When we saw the RAZR, we knew we had to check out this phone. The RAZR has gone in a different direction from the other "clamshell" Motorola designs we have had in the past (T-720, E815, MPX220). Moto is going thinner and wider rather than thicker and rounder.
The RAZR is a much thinner phone...almost half the thickness of older designs. Some of the space saving is derived from the new keyboard. The keys are not separate buttons, but a flexible sheet of thin metal.
The RAZR is a little wider than the older phones. This may be so they can use a larger LCD. It also allowed the engineers to spread out the electronics instead of piling them on top of each other.
Unlike the T-720, there is no protruding antenna. Like the MPx 220, the antenna of the RAZR is integrated into the design of the phone.
The RAZR opens flatter than the older phones. We are not entirely sure if this is a step forward from a usability perspective. There is a natural curve between the ear and the mouth. It was one of the reasons why we never really liked the "candy bar" approach to phone design.
The RAZR uses a standard mini-USB connector for charging and other I/O needs. This is a good design choice since it makes the connector do double duty...saving both space and complexity. The RAZR also has a nice built-in speaker at the rear of the unit.
We expected the user interface between the two phones to be different, but were surprised to find physical differences between the phones as well. The first difference between the T-Mobile RAZR and the Verizon RAZR is the integrated camera. The T-Mobile (silver, left) captures images in VGA resolution, while the Verizon 3G RAZR can capture images in higher megapixel resolution.
The color screen in the front of the phone is a nice touch. It displays the current phone status (time, who's calling, signal strength, etc...) It also doubles as a view finder in camera mode with the top closed ...for self portraits.
The keyboard of the phones from T-Mobile and Verizon are also different. There were keys on the T-Mobile unit which were not on the Verizon one.
The biggest difference between the two units is the battery compartment. To access the battery area, press on the release button (blue arrow) and pull back on the cover. No...the batteries were the same...but the T-Mobile unit has a slot for a SIM card and the Verizon unit does not.
This has HUGE implications for folks who want to upgrade their phones but don't want to lose/re-enter their contact info. With a SIM card, you just pop out the card from the old phone and plug it into the new one...done. For Verizon customers, the store will transfer the data for you, but then you have to actually interact with a person :-)
We mentioned previously that the RAZR port now uses a standard USB connector, so headphones that use mini-plugs will not work with this phone. Wired headphones must have the mini-USB type plugs (rather than the standard mini-plug) in order to be compatible with this phone. We have a few wireless Plantronics Bluetooth headphones, however, and they should work with the RAZR just fine.
In the FirstUse review, we'll compare using the T-Mobile RAZR and the Verizon RAZR around the city of Boston. We'll compare the photos and videos taken with the cameras. We'll also do a quick rundown on the user interface of both services to see if there are any notable features from either vendor.