Product review: Motorola KRZR

13 Dec 2006

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is a reason why Motorola went from a flagging position amongst the world’s mobile makers to being world number two. One word sums it up: relevance.

While some manufacturers actually dandy about with expensive materials to make expensive phones that appeal to the social aspirer, Motorola simply learned to be relevant.

It used to make phones that only cosmic engineers would understand, now it makes phones in cosmic blue.

The KRZR is the latest in a style departure for the company that results in stylish-looking phones that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

What’s more, the phones boast a functionality that all the rest have too. In recent weeks I reviewed a metal-clad phone made by a certain manufacturer that costs €1,000.

The KRZR, at a starting price of just €29 from O2, Vodafone and Meteor, has all the same features, is three to four times lighter and is full of the same technology. Go figure.

Has it got a camera? Yes, a pretty average 2-megapixel one. Has it got Bluetooth? Yes, in stereo too! Is it capable of net surfing and transmitting high-speed data? Certainly, it has EDGE. What kind of memory has it? Up to 20MB internal and up to 1GB external.

It’s simply bursting with all the functionality you need and expect from phone makers today.

Appearance-wise it is completed in a shiny (cosmic) blue reflective glass and is half as thin as its big brother, the RAZR.

The downside? There’s always a downside.

I like where Motorola are going in terms of jazzing up the appearance of their phones. However, despite the considerable advances in terms of Motorola’s operating system (remember, I said only engineers could work the things) I have to admit a minor sense of disappointment every time I switch the phones on.

While the phones look fine they are all the exact same. The OS, I’m afraid, is pretty jaded and I want to see Motorola do new things. They have an edge; the question is can they maintain it.

The camera at only 2-megapixels was very underwhelming. In recent months I reviewed a Sony Ericsson K800i with a 3.2MB camera. I said at the time that it was the only camera phone out there that could call itself a camera. I have stills from that camera phone that I will always treasure.

This is the direction Motorola needs to go in. It is making great looking, affordable phones with all the right features except the camera on their phones are now old school. Motorola’s doing fine, but it could do better.

It have been winning on relevance but seriously risk being eclipsed due to their camera technology.

Handling: ***
Features: ***
Performance: ****
Value for Money: *****

By John Kennedy