Motorola RAZR VE20 Review

Introduction and Design
This is a CDMA phone offered with  Sprint

After being left behind on the original RAZR, Sprint has snapped up exclusivity on the latest incarnation, the VE20.  With a narrower form factor and upgrades to the keypad, display, camera and multimedia functions the VE20 is a noticeable step up from the V3m.  Motorola continues to put a premium on design and materials and it shows; it is sleek and modern in appearance, though its bloodlines are unmistakable.  Scarlet accents give some personality to the phone, though with its two tone silver housing the VE20 is a buckeye leaf away from a special edition.  The RAZR line has placed form over function to a fault though; will the VE20 finally break this mold?

Included in the box you will find: Li-Ion battery, MicroUSB AC adapter, 256MB microSD card


If a K1m and V3m spawned a child that was raised by the V9m it would be the VE20.  It is narrower than the RAZR and shorter than the KRZR, but retains the infamous chin hump.  The KRZR’s hidden music controls are replaced by a touch sensitive strip on the large outer display and the internal screen is QVGA, both features lifted directly from the V9m.

You can compare the Motorola VE20 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

All three of those phones were noticeably dark however, whereas the VE20 can only be described as bright.  Even Verizon’s silver V3c was darker than the VE20, and its materials reinforce the brightness.  The front is mirrored, the back is milled aluminum and there are no dark accents throughout the phone.  It has a few strategically placed scarlet red accents to break up the silver monotony, but they don’t do enough to dampen the brightness of the VE20.  The silver housing is actually two-tone, with the chin hump and rear housing being grayer, and the battery door, flip and inside housing being silver.

The design is minimal and understated, with clean lines and premium materials.  The mirrored front produces flawless reflections, though it greatly hampers visibility of the outer display.  It also collects fingerprints, which is exacerbated by the touch sensitive controls on the display.  The milled aluminum battery door is nearly as light as paper.  The main housing on the front, back and flip, is constructed of high quality plastic that is smooth but not slippery.  Overall the VE20 feels great in the hand and build quality is generally good.  However, there are a few concerns we had.  There is some play in the flip when closed, and the side Smart and Camera keys felt a bit loose.

The outer display is smaller than the V9m, but is still a healthy 1.6” and 120x160 in resolution.  In darkness it is easily readable, but when light is introduced into the equation it becomes cloudy due to the mirrored front.  The internal display is similar to the 2.2” QVGA one found on the V9m, but upgrades to 262K colors.  This makes the LCD much crisper and Motorola’s excellent collection of preloaded screensavers look fantastic.  It is easily readable in even direct sunlight.

The keypad is similar to the KRZR and RAZR2, with raised printing instead of laser etching.   The keys are aligned with a slight curve to the rows, similar in principle to a BlackBerry keypad.  The letters are positioned underneath corresponding keys and separated by a line, which can be a bit disorientating at times as it appears that they belong to the number underneath as opposed to above them.  It’s hard to describe without using it, but the keys don’t feel like they move at all when pressed yet there is a very reassuring tactile click to them.  The keypad has a light sensor and lights up in an attractive white when needed, or in a orange/red when the camera is active.

The side keys- volume rocker and Smart Key to the left, Camera to the right- are too shallow for our tastes, but this is offset on the left side by haptic feedback when they are pressed.  The touch sensitive front display also offers haptic feedback, just like the V9m.

Overall the VE20 is a well built phone, but at the same time we can’t help but feel it is a bit off.  It’s one of those things we can’t place our fingers on, but we get the feeling that six months down the road things won’t be quite so tight.  We do applaud Motorola for including not only a microUSB charging/data port but also a 3.5mm headset jack, but aren’t too happy about the microSD slot being under the battery…again.  They have always done well with pushing standards and continue to help lead the way.

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