Motorola RAZR V3

2 Dec 2004

Product: mobile phone
Price: €659
Never before has the market been flooded with so many multi-option phones. Phones these days are about lifestyle and manufacturers are searching for the niche within the niche just as they have been unswerving in their aim to be seen as hip and cool.

Motorola is one of those manufacturers that comes up with moments of brilliance and creates phones that become conversation starters rather than just conversation enablers. Six years ago anyone that had the StarTac phone from Motorola would attract stares of envy. Two and a half years ago the handset maker did it again with a swivel-bevel type phone that appeared both classical and futuristic at the same time. In the interlude we’ve seen Motorola return to its mode of staying in the lead posse of market leaders without actually standing out. Until now.

The RAZR V3 is unlike any phone I’ve ever reviewed. Apart from doing the normal phone stuff, this nifty clamshell phone doesn’t feel or look like a phone at all when closed, but more like a credit card-sized camera. Upon opening it you are treated to a shimmer of metal that resembles a platinum object on a rock star’s wall and a lighting display between the keys that resembles the outfits in the classic Eighties sci-fi movie, Tron. Just 13.9mm thick, the RAZR V3 features a combination of metals such as aircraft-grade aluminium on a chemically-etched keypad. The phone’s thinness and lightness became apparent when I almost left it in a pair of jeans destined for the washing machine.

Simply put, this is a beautiful phone. I was initially disappointed, however, that the phone didn’t contain any additional features and the operating system (OS) was exactly the same as any Motorola phone that has come out in the past two years. As brilliant as the design was, I eventually recognised Motorola’s clever ploy.

The phone contains all the state-of-the-art features that most contemporary phones boast. In the case of the RAZR V3, however, the extras are more subtle and fit with the look and feel of the product. The OS features more use of colour and the existence of a 3D phone book for managing your contacts gives a useful indication of where Motorola, indeed, mobile phone technology, is headed.
The camera on the RAZR V3 is so well integrated into the phone as to be almost hidden and the quality of the pictures is as sharp as the device’s name suggests.

Ultimately, Motorola has had another moment of brilliance and has thrown down a new gauntlet to the design-hungry mobile business. The phone is a triumph of design and technology and marries sophistication with subtlety. The product is available on the market SIM-free for €659 and currently from O2 for €509 for first-time customers. It should prove to be a winning stocking filler this Christmas, and will potentially set the tone for phone design in the New Year.

By John Kennedy