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Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review

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Interface:

Mororola’s Synergy UI powers the V9, and anyone who has used the UI in the past several years won’t find much different. There have been add-ons to the interface such as Cellular Video and AT&T Music, but the basic premise is the same and we can’t help but feel that the system hasn’t evolved since our nearly five year old T720.

Main Menu - Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review

Main Menu

Home Screen - Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review

Home Screen

The menu is arranged into nine top level icons: AT&T Music, Messaging, Recent Calls, MEdia (sic) Net, AT&T Mall, Cellular Video, My Stuff, Address Book and Settings. They can be displayed in Icon (3x3 grid) or List view, and rearranged by the user. Menu items must be selected with the d-pad, keypad shortcuts do not work on the V9. There are several personalization options, including the d-pad and smart key shortcuts from the home screen, although soft keys cannot be reassigned from their Options and Main Menu default.

For years the Synergy UI has been criticized for simply tacking new features onto the interface rather than integrating them or even rewriting it all-together. The V9 is a perfect example of this, as the system is downright bloated. My Stuff is pretty much a catch all for multimedia items that don’t get their own main icon, but thrown in there with the Camera and Games submenus is Tools. Honestly Cellular Video, AT&T Mall, AT&T Music and MEdia Net could all fall under one category. The Settings menu is a mess of dislogic (what, you’d expect backlight to be under Initial Setup and not something like Display?) and there are 15 (!) submenu items under it. Synergy is nice and customizable, which was our complaint about the Verizon V9m, and the it is plenty stable and quick, our main issues with the Sprint V9m, but honestly we’re not too happy with any of the three. The 3G-less V8 runs Motorola’s new JUIX Java/Linux platform, and perhaps that will be the holy grail UI we’ve been looking for. One can only hope.

One major complaint we have with the V9 is that it will not allow you to grant network access to unsigned Java applications. While this may be an extra level of security, it means that every time programs such as Google Maps attempt to send data you will have to grant network access. This is annoying, to say the least, and makes even staple programs almost unusable.


Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review
Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review
Phonebook:

The V9 phonebook
can hold up to 2000 contacts. Each entry can be assigned a personal ringer and/or picture and has room to accommodate 7 numbers and two emails, and has room for extras such as nicknames, websites, postal address and notes. The phonebook can be sorted in many ways, such as by assigned groups or entry type (email, etc.)

By default contacts are stored to the phone, but in the options users can change that to the SIM card, or individually transfer a contact to the SIM. The options menu allows the user to send a message (SMS, MMS) to a contact, as well as send them a voice message. In typical Motorola fashion send message and send voice message are two separate menu items, even though a voice message is simply an MMS sent without a picture. One nice feature is that the user can send a contact via Bluetooth or MMS, or just a single number from your phonebook via SMS.


Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review
Messaging:

The RAZR2 V9 allows users to send SMS and MMS messages. There is nothing groundbreaking here, and predictive text is done via Motorola’s iTap. The V9 has a decent built-in email client. It offers quick access to Yahoo, AOL, AIM, Windows Live, AT&T Yahoo, BellSouth, Comcast, Earthlink, Juno, MindSprint and NetZero email accounts. However, the user cannot configure other email accounts such as Gmail and Road Runner accounts. If you have one of the supported email services the client works well, alerting the user of unread mail and giving the option to reply and compose messages. It’s a nice though, but we’d like to see support for any POP3 or IMAP account.


Organizer:

The calendar is a basic calendar, not quite as nice on the one found on the V9m. It allows the user to add appointments and set them to repeat daily, weekly, monthly or yearly if desired. Holidays are not preloaded. The alarm only allows for five alarms, and they cannot be set to repeat at any interval. Like the calendar and alarm, the calculator is dummed down as well and only offers basic functionality, as well as currency conversion.

Calendar - Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review
Calculator - Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review
Alarm Clock - Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review
Motorola RAZR2 V9 Review

Calendar

Calculator

Alarm Clock

 

Another disappointment was the voice command software. Although it utilizes VoiceSignal, the software is old and out of date. Instead of simply saying “call Ginger Sling mobile” or “call 2 1 2 7 5 9 5 5 5 5” the user must preface the request with “name dial” or “digit dial.” Motorola has been utilizing the newer VoiceSignal software in their CDMA handsets for years, so we’re really at a loss as to why it doesn’t find its way into their flagship GSM unit.


Internet and Connectivity:

The RAZR2 V9 utilizes HSDPA 3.6 for high speed data on the 850 and 1900MHz bands. The phone was tested in an area that is, according to att.com, blanketed in 3G, but we could not connect to the 3G network with the exception of a few times it indicated 3G then went to EDGE just after a power up. Our data experience with the phone was ok, WAP browsing was speedy enough, but we’d be lying if we said it was frustrating to be crawling along at EDGE speeds. Web browsing is handled via Opera 8.0 for Synergy, which means that HTML pages are rendered well.
Bluetooth was a much better experience . The phone supports the latest 2.0 +EDR standard, and has support for the HSP, HFP 1.5, DUN, FTP, OPP, A2DP, AVRC, BIP and BPP profiles. While pairing with a non-audio device wasn’t as straightforward as we’d like it to be, we were able to freely transfer all types of files via Bluetooth.

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Display2.2 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (182 ppi) TFT
Camera2 megapixels
Size4.05 x 2.08 x 0.52 inches
(103 x 53 x 13.3 mm)
4.40 oz  (125 g)
Battery950 mAh, 3.4 hours talk time

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