Motorola RAZR2 V9m Review
The V9m features a 2mp camera, an upgrade from the original VGA camera on the V3 and the 1.3mp camera found on later RAZR variants. The camera took good pictures, especially in outdoor conditions. Under natural sunlight colors were bright and vivid, but under artificial lighting colors were a bit washed out.
The camera has digital zoom up to 4x, even at the highest resolution, and has a self timer option. It takes about 2s to load the application, and 1.5s to capture the image which gives us a speedy 3.5s for the process. To take a second picture the user must hit the back button so it takes around 3s in between pictures which is still good. The phone does have a multishot mode, and users can take 2 or 4 pictures in succession. Other options include fun frames, color tones and image controls for resolution, image quality, brightness and white balance.
Videos can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 320x240, and were overall good for a phone. The RAZR2 will not be knocking the Nokia N95 off of its perch anytime soon, but then again that is not what the phone set out to do.
The phone will display all the applicable song information, including artist, track title, album and the album art. Below the song information is a small time progress bar and the play/pause and track forward and back buttons. There are no visual cues to alert the user of this, but when you press up or down on the d-pad you are able to scroll through your music and select another track while the current one plays. With its massive external display the V9m does display the album art with the flip closed, something we have not found on previous phones. The three touch sensitive areas on the external display act as play/pause and track forward and back buttons. The player can also be launched from the outside display via the Music Store shortcut key on the display.
The Music Store player has support for playlists as well as shuffle and repeat features. Songs are sorted by title, artist or genre. Unfortunately there is no text based search for the player and it can be cumbersome to find songs that are buried at the bottom of the list. The V9m has a capable music player that users will find convenient for music on the go. While it won’t replace your iPod, it serves as an excellent alternative to an iPod shuffle.
is handled either by the native media player (for user generated videos) or Sprint TV for carrier provided content. Sprint TV sports the new interface meant to mimic an onscreen guide, and works well. Compared to the older version this new interface is very user friendly and finding content is much easier. Sprint TV offers a mix of live content and video clips from various providers, including ABC, NFL Network, The Weather Channel, Comedy Central, ESPN and many others. As always, Sprint Radio is perplexingly found in the Sprint TV application. Sprint TV can also be launched and controlled via the outside display.
While both Sprint TV and the Sprint Music Store can be launched from the outer display, the V9m has some software bugs that can make the experience maddening. When the application is running holding the multifunction button on the left of the phone will close it. However, after closing either application in this manner neither application will launch again and the phone must be power cycled. This is yet another instance where we wish Motorola had put more focus on the software design then on the physical appearance of the phone, as looks can prove to be deceiving.
Like every Sprint phone the Motorola V9m utilizes the Java platform for games and applications. Users can download content directly from Sprint, but the phones are also open to third party content as well. Sprint offers a wide variety of games from classic arcade to the latest in mobile FPS games. Applications also have a wide range as well, and you can find anything from diet trackers to instant message clients to GPS navigation. We did have some issues however, and there were several times where after downloading an item the phone would hang on install. We would have to restart the phone and re-download the item.
GPS is handled through Sprint Navigation, which is a re-branded offering of TeleNav. The application works very well and also runs on the outside display. The user is guided through the route by voice prompts, and the application automatically checks for and re-routes the user around traffic. There are many other useful features, such as the ability to find nearby businesses by category and check gas prices in the area. Due to its robust feature set we feel that TeleNav is the best GPS solution on the market today.
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