Motorola RAZR2 V9m Sprint Review


After riding the wave of success Motorola found with the RAZR to the very end, they have finally taken the wraps off of the long awaited follow-up, the RAZR2. Bucking the exclusivity trend Motorola has made variants of the second generation RAZR available for all five major carriers, no doubt looking for a boost to their struggling handset division. Sprint was the first to get the model out the door, with their version of the V9m. The phone is about as unique as the name however, and while it expands on the original by upgrading the camera, losing some bulk and most notably adding a huge external screen, overall the user is left feeling that they just dropped a quarter grand on a shiny minor model upgrade. The external display is an unprecedented 2” QVGA display with touch sensitive controls to launch various applications (carrier dependent.) The phone is an attractive blend of stainless steel, glass and soft-touch paint and definitely aimed at those who want to be seen, but Motorola may have put too much time into designing the exterior while neglecting what really matters.

The Spartan contents of the box include:

  • Handset
  • Li-Ion Battery
  • Travel charger
  • 256MB microSD card
  • User manual

PhoneArena's Motorola RAZR2 V9m for Sprint Video Review:


Unlike the original RAZR, whose design was often polarizing, the RAZR2 is a stunning phone to be hold. It blends the impossible thinness of the RAZR with the glassy overtones of the KRZR. The lines are bold, yet at the same time artful. At rest, the front is one large, glossy, reflective piece of glass that effortlessly blends into an equally glossy stainless steel body. With that much gloss comes a plethora fingerprints, and it is quite literally impossible to keep the phone clean unless one is wearing gloves and using a headset.

As has been Motorola’s calling card there are several color variants to the RAZR2, with the Sprint V9m getting a more refined and classy gunmetal when compared with the burgundy of AT&T’s V9 or the two-toned black and silver of Verizon’s V9m. The phone measures in at 4.06" long by 2.1" tall while managing to slim down to 0.47" (103 x 53 x 11.9 mm.) At 4.13oz the V9m is on the heavy end of the spectrum, especially when compared to similar models.

ModelDimension (Inches)Dimension (mm)Weight (oz)Weight (Gramms)
Motorola RAZR2 V9m4.06" x 2.09" x 0.46"103 x 53 x 11.94.13117
Samsung Fin4.06" x 2.04" x 0.45"103 x 52 x 11.53.3595
Samsung SPH-M6103.98" x 2.05" x 0.47"101 x 52 x 123.2893
Motorola RAZR V3m3.90" x 2.10" x 0.60"98 x 53 x 14.53.49100

At the top of the front face you’ll find a 2mp camera which sits next to a hidden status LED. On the left side of the phone is a volume rocker, a multi-function button that launches voice command when the phone is idle and the new microUSB charging port. The right side houses a large camera button that starts the camera with a short press or launches the camcorder with a long one. The outer keys are a bit shallow and it can be hard to distinguish the keys by feel only.

Pressing a side button from rest lights up the 2” QVGAexternal TFT LCD. The display looks much like you will find on the inside, in fact the only wallpaper option is to mirror that of the inside display, and shows the time, date and carrier. At the top you will find the standard set of icons including signal strength, battery status, message waiting indicators, Bluetooth status, and ringer type. At the bottom of the display is a touch sensitive strip overlaid by three adaptive icons. From rest you can launch Sprint TV, the Sprint Music Store and the camera. Each of these buttons provide a small vibration when touched. This is a nice feature, but the vibration has a decidedly spring to it, and the hard keys on the outside also unnecessarily provide this haptic feedback. Since the vibration motor uses some sort of spring mechanism the spring can be felt when tapping the phone in places where there is no control mechanism and when closing/opening the phone. While the user isn’t likely to confuse these with the actual vibration, it does cheapen the feel of the phone to some extent.

Opening the phone reveals an even larger 2.2” QVGA display. Here you’ll find essentially the same icons from the outside at the top, with a few advanced ones like data activity and location status. Favorites and Contacts are the left and right softkeys, respectively, and these cannot be changed. While both the inner and outer displays are large and high resolution, they are only 65k colors instead of an increasingly standard 262k. This is perplexing, and quite honestly takes away from the quality of the displays. Brightness on the external display is lower than the internal, but both are bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight well enough.

On the bottom half is a keypad lifted straight from the KRZR. The only difference you will find is that the camera/video key to the left of the directional pad has been replaced with a dedicated speakerphone button. The rest of the keypad is standard; a left and right softkey, five way d-pad with the aforementioned speakerphone button to the left and a back key to the right, send and end and the standard 12-key dialpad. The keypad itself is the same slippery stainless steel as most of the body, but the numbers, letters, arrows and row separators are all raised rubber which makes it easier to distinguish keys. While it is fairly easy to distinguish the keys from one another, the width of the phone makes one handed operation plausible only when dialing a number and those tapping out a text message will want to two thumb it.

We had some creeks when closing the V9m by pressing the top left (when closed) corner of the flip next to the camera, but overall the construction is good. The stainless steel and glass make for a solid though heavy feel. The back of the unit is coated in the soft-touch paint found on several models, including the Treo 755p and the black and gray versions of the Q. The battery door does not have a mechanical latch, but instead slides on and off for a more seamless look. Unfortunately the microSD slot is found under the battery door, and inserting and removing the card means the battery has to be pulled. The speaker is found at the bottom of the phone, and radiates from two different places: the bottom middle of the back and on the actual bottom of the phone, which is angled to face forward.


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.

Phone Book:

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.


All the messaging options you would expect are present on Sprint’s V9m. Text messaging uses the standard SMS gateway, while picture and video messaging use Sprint’s Picture and Video Mail service which uploads the content to your own personalized Sprint website as well as sending to the intended user. Initiating, composing and sending a message is about as easy as can be. From the contacts menu the user can initiate any of the three messages from the left softkey, or a message can be started from the messaging menu. Once a picture or video is taken the user is given the option to send it immediately.

When a text message is received it is displayed on the massive outside display, a first for a Sprint phone, but unlike the Alltel V9m the user cannot respond to it utilizing quick text from the outside display. Users must open the phone to reply, and when they do so they will be able to use a standard abc mode or Motorola’s iTap predictive text. Compared to T9 used in most other phones, at this point it’s essentially the same thing with a different name.

Unfortunately the new Seven email client found on the LG Muziq is not available for the V9m, though the Sprint Mobile Email client is. While the two serve essentially the same purpose, the Seven client is much more user friendly and efficient. Still, the Sprint Mobile Email client allows users to check preconfigured accounts such as AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail or to configure their own POP3 or IMAP account.


The V9m is an EV-DO rev 0 phone, which means users can surf the web and download content at broadband speed. It features the older Bluetooth 1.2 spec, and allows for PC Sync although a data cable is not included. For Bluetooth the HSP, HFP 1.5, DUN, OPP, FTP, A2DP, AVRC profiles are supported. Headset paring was very simple, the V9m tries to auto pair using common passwords, and it was connected to the Plantronics 510 and Motorola S9 headsets in just a few seconds. With both the mono 510 and the stereo S9 sound quality was good. Music was as rich as can be expected, and since the V9m supports the AVRC profile we could control the music from the headset.

Unfortunately file transfer was not as satisfying. The phone does not allow you to send pictures from the phone, though it does accept them…kind of. We were able to send a picture from other phones to the V9m, but even though it connected with the computer a file transfer failed. Several different file types failed, all of which were sent without issue to two other handsets. The file sent from another handset can only be sent to the internal memory, and can only be viewed via the file manager in the Tools menu. Even when the file was transferred to the external memory via the file manager it only shows up in the file manager and not in the My Albums folder. There has been a trend towards manufacturers including more profiles (Sprint Samsung phones we have tested can freely send and receive these files) and Sprint does not tell manufacturers to leave out functionality (unlike other carriers,) so why Motorola stripped these features we can only wonder but the end result is more user frustration.


The RAZR2 uses the Obgio WAP 2.0 browser found on most other Sprint handsets. It is a decent browser, and the Sprint portal allows for quick and easy browsing to most common destinations such as weather, news and sports. It can handle HTML pages as well, but it doesn’t render them like a mobile browser such as Opera Mini does. Unfortunately, at the time of review Opera Mini could not detect the handset and it ran unstable on the V9m (something we have not seen it do on other phones, even on phones where it could not detect the model.) Given the lack of a QWERTY keypad and lack of a true HTML browser, the V9m is best used to find quick information and a smartphone would be a better choice for those looking for a full featured web experience.


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.


Sprint’s V9m has support for mp3 and aac files, can handle a 2 GB microSD card and all music is played through the player in the Sprint Music Store. As we have noted in past reviews, the Music Store is a capable player, but lacks the polish found on Verizon’s VCast Music player. Music can be either sideloaded to the music folder on the microSD card, or downloaded over the air from the Music Store at just $0.99 per track.

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.

Video playback 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.


Applications generally load quickly, though as we noted earlier they are prone to hang and require a restart. Because of things like this the performance of the phone as a whole was disappointing. The numerous annoying quirks and glitches at times make using the V9m downright exasperating. The very first time we started the phone it hung during the splash animation, an ominous sign that proved to be prophetic. The menu lag from the Sprint V3m and K1m has been reduced, but the user is painfully reminded that it is still there. At times the phone will hang and the user cannot tell if a button press has been registered or not, which results in multiple presses when not needed and added frustration. While the phone acts as it should 90% of the time, the remaining ten percent is too prevalent to overlook and greatly detracts from the overall user experience. When paying $250 for a phone on contract we expect it to work as advertised.

The V9m is rated for 3.7 hours of continuous talk time, and in our testing we were able to achieve a few minutes above this rating. However, during the testing the phone dropped the call twice in a frequent use area where we have had no signal issues whatsoever in the past. The first time we wrote it off as an anomaly, but the second time does concern us. Still, sound quality was excellent, and even when on a Bluetooth headset callers reported that we sounded loud and clear. The speakerphone is loud, and even at the highest level there is little to no distortion.


The MotoRAZR2 V9m from Sprint is a beautiful phone loaded with features, including a 2mp camera, wireless music downloads and a very useable 2” external QVGA display. Unfortunately, its function does not follow its breathtaking form. This ultra slim, ultra sleek phone does a great job at appealing to the fashion conscious crowd, but it fails to deliver as a stable phone for the rest of us. For now the RAZR2 is full of software glitches, quirks and all around frustration that make using the phone a maddening experience.

The ratings below are for the Sprint version of the MotorolaV9m. They may differ from the Verizon Wireless version as the ratings are basedon the way the phone performs, compared to the whole product line of its carrier.


  • Beautiful styling, ultra slim
  • 2MP camera
  • 2 inches external QVGA display that can be used to watch Sprint TV
  • Above average battery life for such a thin phone


  • Poor software design
  • Battery must be removed to access microSD
  • Fingerprint magnet
  • Expensive, but not innovative
  • microUSB connectors hard to find, no headset or adapter included
  • Did we mention the software drives us crazy?

PhoneArena Rating:


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