Verizon Wireless Razzle Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

When the Verizon Wireless Blitz came out a year ago, we weren’t that impressed by its quality and features (or lack thereof). Now that its replacement, the Verizon Wireless Razzle has been released, we’re interested in seeing if the new model is more competent and better equipped, though it does have touch competition from other messaging devices, such as the Samsung Intensity, Alias 2 and LG enV3.
Included in the retail box in the Razzle phone, 920mAh battery, wall charger, USB data cable, 1GB microSD memory card, and user guide.


Design:

The Razzle remains teen friendly, but loses the blue “toy” look of the Blitz and instead comes with an all-black exterior. Overall build quality seems to have improved, as the Razzle doesn’t feel as flimsy. Both devices come with a similar 2.2-inch 220x176 resolution TFT display, though images do appear slightly better on the Razzle, we would have preferred a higher-resolution QVGA display instead. Directly below it is the d-pad, which is still rather small, but is now circular in shape, and other function keys. On the sides are the volume rocker, proprietary USB port, 2.5mm headset jack, camera and lock key, and microSDHC memory card slot with 16GB support.



You can compare the Verizon Wireless Razzle with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Unlike the Blitz, which uses a sliding keyboard, the Razzle has a unique 180 degree rotating bottom: one side with the QWERTY keyboard and the other with music controls and speaker. When the QWERTY keyboard is rotated and on the same side as the display, the keyboard is given a slight angle, thus making it more comfortable to hold and type messages with. Unfortunately, the keys remain quite small and are best suited for teen-sized fingers, as adults with larger hands will make more typing mistakes. If you feel that you need more room to type, then look at the Samsung Intensity, Alias2 or LG enV3. When the bottom is rotated the other way, it is no longer angled and is flat, with the music control buttons and speaker on the display side. It is a pretty neat design but we can’t help but wonder if the rotating mechanism will hold-up over time with normal daily use.



Verizon Wireless Razzle 360 Degrees View




Software and Features:

The main menu hasn’t changed and still has categories for media center, messaging, contacts, recent calls, and settings & tools. Thankfully there are four themes included: Foliate, Transparent, Urban, and White, but they only change the background image of the main menu and have different colored icons. You can also choose between tab, list and grid view, as well as change the locations of items on the grid.




The phonebook is still very basic and allows up to 1000 contacts to be stored with their name, 5 phones numbers, 2 email addresses, picture, ringtone, IM screen name, and physical street address. We are glad to see the Razzle has 500 speed-dials locations, where the Blitz only allows 21.



The camera on the Razzle hasn’t been updated and remains 1.3MP resolution and still lacks a flash. Images taken outside during the day didn’t have the purple hue that we saw when using the Blitz, but the overall quality is still lacking, as images have poor detail and soft edges. Pictures taken inside look even worse, with a lot of fuzziness and grain being shown. The camera still remains a novelty on the Razzle, so if you want better quality pictures you’d be better off with the Alias 2 or enV3.





Since the Razzle is not a PDA, standard messaging is limited to Text and Picture. You can download the Mobile Email program from Verizon for a fee, which will allow you to send and receive standard email messages (not HTHL) using your email account (POP/IMAP). But this does not come close to the more advanced email programs used by Windows Mobile Smartphones or BlackBerry devices. Also, we’re also not sure why, but the MobileIM program is missing on the Razzle. This is standard on most Verizon phones, as it connects to AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo message. Hopefully this will be made available to download.



The music player has been much improved, as one would hope, and the Razzle includes a 1GB microSD memory card. There are 6 sound settings (normal, rock, jazz, classic, pop, and bass) and 3 player skins (red, violet, and yellow). When a song begins playback, it will show the skin with the album art on the display, and you can use the dedicated buttons to rewind/skip-back, play/pause, and fast-forward/skip-ahead. We were surprised that music can also be played in the background, so you can send or receive messages at the same time. Overall music quality was pretty good, as we didn’t have the background distortion like on the Blitz. One thing we noticed was even though the Razzle looks to have stereo speakers, it is merely a design in the plastic, and in fact only has one mono speaker on the left side. You can also listen to music through 2.5mm wired earbuds or by using a stereo Bluetooth headset.



Mobile Web 2.0, VZNavigator, and Game downloads are possible, but unfortunately the Razzle (just like the Blitz) does not support EVDO, which limits its data to the slower 1x network. Because of this, the Mobile Web home page takes 15 seconds to load, instead of 6 seconds or less on EVDO devices. Larger web sites can take up to a minute on the Razzle, but since the browser is not HTML, they are not properly rendered. Also, VZNavigator operates slower, since it takes longer to download maps and directions.



Other include tools include voice commands, calculator, tip calculator, appointment calendar, e-diary, 3 alarm clocks, stop watch, world clock, and notepad.



The Razzle comes with 52MB of internal memory, where the Blitz only had 28MB. Only 8MB is used out of the box, leaving 44MB available. Because of this, we’re glad to see a 1GB memory card included for storing music and pictures.

Performance:

Unfortunately, the Razzle doesn’t fair better than the Blitz when it comes to signal reception and call quality. When testing the Razzle in strong coverage areas, we only got 0-2 bars (1 bar average) showing on the display. We were able to place and receive calls around south FL without a problem, but some did eventually drop when going into fringe areas. Call Quality also wasn’t great, as it had a bit of a background “buzz” distortion if the volume was turned up past medium and was also noticeable when using the speakerphone. People that we called, who were using a landline, said that our voice sounded shallow and they could easily tell we were using a cell phone.

The included 920mAh battery is rated to provide 4.7 hours of talk time or 15 days of standby time on a full charge. Our testing revealed 4 hours of continuous talk time on a full charge, which is the same as the Blitz. Both the enV3 and Alias 2 were able to get up to 5 hours of talk time and Intensity got 4.5 hours.

Conclusion:

The Verizon Wireless Razzle is a minor update from the Blitz, as the most noticeable change is the new rotating bottom with QWERTY keyboard and music controls. The Razzle continues to have fairly mediocre reception and call quality, which is a concern if you plan to use it mostly for phone calls. The overall design and style of the Razzle is teen friendly, and the low price does help if it’s accidently damaged or lost, but the Samsung Intensity is in the same price range as the Razzle, yet it offers better reception and still comes with a QWERTY keyboard.



Pros

  • Rotating QWERTY keyboard and music controls
  • Teen friendly design and easy to use
  • Music player can be used in the background

Cons

  • Reception and call quality are lacking
  • Poor camera quality
  • Lack of EVDO

PhoneArena Rating:

5.5

User Rating:

6.3
14 Reviews

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