Motorola needed to redesign the menu as the old UI is becoming very outdated. The V8 uses a Linux-Java interface which is also used in handsets like ROKR Z6 and MOTO U9.
The home screen displays the battery life, signal strength, time, network, connections, and myFaves. It can be customized but it’s limited to the theme, myFaves settings, and clock.
The main menu is laid out in a 3x3 grid and very plain but at least all the icons are easily distinguishable thanks to their sizes and animations. It can be customized but about the only things that can be done is the rearrangement of the icons, display it as either a list or grid, and to create folders and move icons into them to organize them.
Most of the options fall within their own groups but there are a few that feel out of place. One such example is the location of the text settings. To access this menu, one has to go to main menu -> settings -> phone settings -> text entry. There is no need to bury it so deep and it should be found within the messaging menu instead.Phonebook:
The layout for the phonebook is very simple. All the contacts are listed in an alphabetical order displaying only the name, although this can be changed to view by name and number. To differentiate the phone and SIM contacts, there’s a little icon to the right of the name. A filter can be set to see just friends, family, or last called.
When adding a new contact, SIM allows only the regular name and number to be stored. If phone is chosen, then there are near limitless possibilities. The contact’s fields include multiple numbers and addresses, personal image/ringtone, and other information. The name, number and address fields store the main contact information. Notes take care of almost anything else from work information, anniversaries, all the way up to zodiac signs and even just notes.
One of our biggest gripes is that the screen just seems so small when adding a contact as only two fields are visible at a time. Think of turning the resolution all the way down on your computer and you get the same effect.
Contacts can be copied to and from the SIM, making management that much easier. If you wish to move only certain ones over, it’ll be disappointing to hear that only SIM contacts can be copied over in that way.
The calendar can be viewed in the traditional month view, by day, or by week. If day view is selected, it can be viewed either by hour or the tasks for the day. Week view lists all of the days, times, and appointments and can be setup to show 5, 6 or 7 days. The start day can be set as well as the start and end time. So that it is more or less detailed, the time increment can be at ½/1/2/3 hours. Even management is easy as events can be deleted after a set age, 1/2/4/8 weeks or never.
When adding a new event, there are four menus to select: General information, notes, attendees, and repeat. General holds the main information like location, time, subject, and type. The notes and attendees fields are similar except that under attendees, there are two options (show time as and sensitivity.) The final menu is repeat which by default is set to off but can be change to daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.
The calculator provided is just a basic one. If anything except the number or action (add, subtract, etc) needs to be selected, options has to be opened and the list will provide the functions. A world clock is there with three regions that can be set.
As expected, task list and notes are here. The note only has an entry field and a flag note option. The task list, on the other hand, allows a due date to be set, mark if it’s completed, assign a priority and subject , and finally an entry field for any notes pertaining to the task.
The alarm can be set through the options on the home screen or through the office tools menu. Once opened, there are three options: 30 minutes, 1 hour, or a specific time. Under specific, a maximum of three alarms can be setup on the handset. In a new alarm, there is the time, volume, repeat (just once/everyday/weekdays/weekends/custom), snooze (maximum of 99 minutes), and the volume.
The V8 lacks a memory card slot but this is made up by 2.0 GB (for the T-Mobile variant) of memory that is built into it compared to the original RAZR which had only 5.5MB of memory meaning that the new one has over 350 times more storage space! Still, it would be nice to see a microSD slot available as too much available memory never hurt anyone.
Motorola made it easier for users who send SMS and MMS messages quite often by combining the two. If there is just plain text, the message will be considered an SMS. Once any graphic is added, however, the handset automatically changes the message to an MMS without warning. iTAP is standard here and it’s quite useful and easy to get accustomed to.
One nice feature is that you can even text using the front display. Alright, well it is limited due to the lack of a keyboard and it’s more of a way to simply read and reply to messages than it is to actually text someone. It is accomplished with the use of templates that can be edited through the text menu. These are shown in a list when replying so that the appropriate one can be sent.
The IM client allows you to add an AIM, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, or Yahoo! Messenger account. The client is very simple and easy to use. Actually, it’s almost identical to that of the one on the Samsung Blast.
It’s nice to see an e-mail client that is outside of T-Zones with a great selection of providers: AIM, AOL, Yahoo Mail!, Comcast, Compuserve Earthlink, Gmail, HotPOP, Juno, Mac, NetZero, and Verizon. All messages are shown in pages of 10 and ordered by the sender with brief description once it is highlighted. Drafts and sent messages can be viewed to but only the ones that have been sent from the handset.Connectivity:
As stated earlier, the RAZR2 V8 is a quad-band GSM/EDGE handset. If you are looking for a 3G version, then look more towards the V9 instead. For those that use Bluetooth headphones, you will be pleased to hear that it is equipped with A2DP.
The V8 comes with Opera 8.50 but it has to be accessed through T-Zones. Speeds were quite impressive considering that this is an EDGE device. Once the page is opened, it is reorganized in many ways. First, there is no side-to-side scrolling which may seem nice but once you get a long page, be prepared to do a lot of scrolling down. Sadly, there is no option to change the view to desktop view. Next, any photos and pictures are shrunken down so that they fit to the screen but they do manage to keep their sharp image. All of this makes for an easy, but possibly long, experience.