Motorola RAZR2 V9m Review
Sprint’s V9m runs the required uiOne interface, and unfortunately Motorola is still having a hard time with it. When the UI is working as it should it is quick and we have no major complaints, but as with the V3m and K1m, the RAZR2 suffers from menu lag, pauses, lockups and features downright not working. The phone has the same 12 main menu options you will find on any Sprint Power Vision device. By default the icons are arranged in a 3x4 grid, with each item corresponding to the key it mirrors on the dialpad. This view can be changed to list or tab view as well. Both of these also offer keypad shortcuts to the 12 items, but the order is changed from what they are when in grid view and the items are not numbered and are not all displayed on one screen in these two views the user must become very familiar with the phone if they want to use keypad shortcuts.
This issue is further complicated in the submenus in any view mode. The options are again unnumbered, but in some menus they can be selected with the keypad and sometimes they cannot. There is no rhyme or reason as to when the items can be selected with the keypad, and in the end users would be better off just scrolling through to select it. Another unnecessary complication is that menu items can be redundant. For example, Themes are available both under My Content as well as Settings -> Display.
Yet another quirk in the system comes with item selection. When a user is asked a question and given a list of items to choose from (for example, after downloading an application the user is asked if they want to run it or continue shopping) one can scroll through and highlight the different items with the d-pad. However, unlike any other phone, the V9m requires the user to press the center button to choose the radio button on the highlighted option and then must press the left soft key in order to actually select the item. If the user simply highlights the item and chooses select it will select the non-highlighted item with the radio button selected, and those used to simply pressing the center key will wonder why the phone is not doing what they want it to do. In our opinion the abundance of quirks like this is unacceptable acts to only complicate the user experience and ultimately frustrate the user.
The phonebook on the V9m is very good. It can hold up to 1000 entries, with up to five numbers and an email address each. Each contact can have a custom picture ringtone, and be assigned to preset or user generated groups. All that is pretty standard, actually most allow you to hold up to two email addresses, but the RAZR2 goes further by allowing users to store a website, memo, birthday, job title, company and address as well. This is a very positive step that users have been asking about for years, and something we hope will catch on with other handsets and manufacturers.
You can search the phone book by name, and unlike some previous Motorolas you can search by more than just the first letter which is a welcome addition. The left softkey allows the user to directly send a message of any type to the highlighted contact, while the right brings up a full options menu including edit, sending contact (via Bluetooth,) select multiple contacts and a few other options. This is similar to Samsung and Sanyo phones on Sprint, and much better that the LG phonebook.
For a standard phone the calendar is good. It comes preloaded with many holidays, and allows the user to set appointments. These can be single or multi-day appointments, and can be set as a one-time incident or repeating occurrence. The user can set up to 10 custom alarms, and the calculator offers an advanced mode that handle certain features like square roots, percentages and memory.
The V9m includes a tip calculator and world clock, as well as a stop watch, currency and unit converter. The currency converter, like the tip calculator, is a single-function calculator and simply allows the user to input the amount and exchange rate. If there were an option to automatically pull the current exchange rate for several popular world currencies it would be a nice feature, but as it is doesn’t offer much. Much like the stop watch, these applications are nice to include, but the usefulness of them is questionable. On the other hand, the unit converter is a nice addition and users can convert just about any measurements from the fields of area, energy, force, length, mass, power, speed, temperature and volume.
Motorola again utilizes the excellent VoiceSignal for their speech recognition software. As with most phones using VoiceSignal you can use it to not only voice dial numbers and contacts, but also to check the status of items such as signal and battery and to initiate text and picture messages. It does not have dictation software however, so the user must type out the message using the keypad.
The V9m has 67MB of useable onboard memory which is not partitioned. Users can free up system memory by storing items like pictures and videos on the external card. The V9m supports microSD cards up to 2GB.
So why in your review of the Sprint version of this handset do you repeatedly rant about menu lag, and fail to mention the customizable themes? In my experience, the different themes improve the lag issue substantially. Also, in the review of the Verizon V9, you ranted about their lack of menu customization options, and yet the overall score of the phone is substantially higher and the only real negative listed is the occasional lag. You guys Verizon Fanboys or what? Objectivity anyone?
While customization is nice, the bottom line is VZW's software works better even if it doesn't offer as many options. Lag is one thing, but the phone in my experience has been unstable, requiring multiple restarts and even having to pull the battery. It's only as pretty as it is useful