More on Razr

november 2, 2005


Well, here are some more thoughts about the Razr that I just got. I have had some Motorola phones before: A V120c, StarTac, and most recently a C650. Over the years, the Motorola UI has not changed much (though between the StarTac extra terrible text UI and the current GUI, there has been a dramatic change). The Razr has the same Motorola UI as all current Motorola phones, in other words, it is not that great, but still usable. The Razr is the third Bluetooth enabled phone that I have had. The other two were SonyEricssons (a T68i and T610). The Razr Bluetooth implementation is not as good as the SonyEricssons; the biggest difference is that the SE phones seemed to follow the Bluetooth standard better and worked with software like the Salling Clicker. The Razr works just fine with my old Jabra BT250, actually it seems to work better with my BT250 when compared with the SE phones because the range of the Razr BT radio seems to be better than the SE phones. I found that I can record video on my Razr (something that is not enabled on some versions of the phone). It is pretty cool, though I won't be shooting the next Batman movie with my phone. The camera on the phone is OK, but nothing special. It takes better pictures than my Treo 600 camera, which isn't saying that much, but the colors are a lot more vibrant with the Razr. The JPEG compression is a bit high on the Razr and cannot be changed. The T-Mobile version of the Razr has the email client "disabled" (the menu item is hidden), but if you search around, you can find a quick solution to getting the email client back. The client works pretty well, it supports POP3 and IMAP4. I wish that it could have authenticated SMTP connections though, but having a client in the first place is better than nothing. At least I can send my pictures from the phone to Flickr without any troubles. I do miss the immediacy of push-email, like the combo of Treo 600 + Chatter Email. Update 11/07/2005: The memory on the Razr is partitioned, but I have no idea how. The problem is that the partition of email is pretty small, so if I sent a video and two pictures, then I cannot send anything else until I clean out the messages in the message center. So, if you are having problems sending mail, check to see that your message center (email, SMS, MMS) does not have too much stuff. The trade-off of having a smaller and thinner phone is the loss of my precious chicklet-board on the Treo 600. Typing has gotten a little bit more difficult with the Razr, but I am used to it since I have used previous Motorola phones already. iTap takes a little getting used to since I started out with T9. But, it's not all that bad. Browsing around has really gotten bad though. On my Treo 600 I had a full web browser and could go to any site I wanted, granted I had to live with some funky formatting and slow GPRS speed. On the Razr, it is back to browsing WAP sites again and I can't configure my default homepage because T-Mobile has it locked down to their t-zones homepage. I wish I could configure my default page to My Yahoo! since that has all of my personalized stuff. Oh well, maybe I can find a hack for that. The one thing that is nice about the Razr is that it has no external antenna stub like the Treo 600. The antenna stub on the Treo 600 always bugged me: It was short and poked me on the top inside of my ear when I talked on the phone. I still can't understand why Palm (and Handspring) could not have integrated the antenna into the Treo 600 body. Talking about antennas, the Razr gets damned good reception, pulling in signal where the Treo 600 (which wasn't shabby at all) couldn't. We are in a fringe area of T-Mobile coverage at work, so having a phone that can pull in good reception is a must. My last few phones (Treo 600, C650, T68i and T610) have all been candy bar phones. My last work phone was a clamshell phone, but that phone sucked (it was a Audiovox CDM-9500). I have stayed mostly with candy bar phones because I don't like the joint where the clamshells fold open and closed. That sort of mechanical movement scares me, but I seeing how my wife's clamshells have all survived very well, having the Razr doesn't worry me too much. The phonebook on the Razr is quite bare of features. It is called a phonebook and not an addressbook because it only keeps phone numbers and email addresses -- nothing else. You would figure that a high(er) end phone like the Razr would the ability to keep track of addresses. Of course, if I wanted a smart phone, I'd just use my Treo 600 instead. The calendar on the Razr works as a calendar. It has enough to keep my dates and that is all I care about. The calendar app does seem to have a tendency to reboot my Razr though -- it has happened twice in the last two days already. Both the phonebook and calendar sync just fine with iSync (I believe you have to have iSync version 2.x for Bluetooth syncing to work). One last thing I want to mention is the battery life. I can't believe how incredibly low the battery life on the Treo 600 is. I can have the thing on without anything running from the time I leave the house (9am) to about 11pm at night and the battery will be half gone. That is if I have a short conversation with my wife during the day, check my email and maybe surf the web for a few minutes. If I forget to charge it that night, it would be dead the next morning. If I put the load of having an open GPRS connection on all day long (for Chatter Email), then the battery will be somewhere around 30% by the time I get home from work (around 8pm). I don't keep the Razr's GPRS connection on all day long, but I do have it checking for email every 30 minutes, and today it did not make a dent in the battery. I had a rather long conversation with my ex-boss using my Jabra also. And I did some Bluetooth file transfering and iSyncing. The battery has not drained much since this morning. Well, that's all I have for the time being. I will write more later on. The Razr is a nice phone, mainly for its style and fashion. The internals are all the standard Motorola warez that you will find in all other Motorola phones.