Moto SLVR L7

june 3, 2006

Motorola SLVR L7/V8
I picked up a factory unlocked Motorola SLVR L7 yesterday. It is basically a RAZR V3 with a smaller screen, memory slot, and no hinge -- or a Nokia 6682 with twice the beauty, half the thickness, half the smarts, and a quarter of the megapixels. I am moving away from smartphones. They are too clunky and large -- though, if ever in the future Nokia is able to build a beautiful looking (small) phone like the SLVR that runs Series 60, I'm all for using that smartphone! Until then, I can still live with the semi-ugly Motorola UI and limited expandibility of the SLVR. As long as I can run Opera Mini and have a semi-decent email client, I'm good to go. Do I need to be able to ssh to my server? Nah. FTP? Nah. Read ebooks? Nice, but no. Read Word files? Nah. Read Excel files or Powerpoint files? Nah. It was really nice to have all that functionality, but I never used it daily. Daily stuff? Mostly text messenging. Some calling. Checking email. That's about it. Is convergence all that it is cut out to be? Not yet.
SLVR L7/V8 and Nokia 6682
It doesn't look like much, but the difference in size between the SLVR and the 6682 is pretty noticeable in hand. The SLVR has a very solid feel to it, not too light like a toy, but not heavy to feel like a brick. From what I have read, the SLVR has a glass-filled body that adds weight to the solid heft and rigidity of the body. The keypad is a bit wonky, but nothing I can't get used to -- the wonkiness stems from the middle column of numbers ( 2, 5 and 8 ) being slightly lower than the other two columns. It will take a little bit of getting used to, as most phones have all the numbers in a perfect grid. The keypad itself is much like the RAZRs, so quick texting is not doable. I have read that there are Bluetooth problems with European SLVRs. They do not seem to properly enumerate their services. Because of this bug in the Bluetooth software on those phones, the European SLVRs do not properly work with iSync.  The SLVR that I have came out of Singapore and works great with iSync -- well, almost great, it still has the AddressBook sync problem that the RAZR has (in other words, it loses some contacts!) But, using OnSync, I can get finer control of what contacts gets to and from my phone from the AddressBook. I still use iSync for synchronizing my calendar though. The phone uses Transflash (ie. MicroSD) and came with a 128MB "stick" of memory. That should be way more than enough for me since I do not plan on using the phone as an MP3 player (that's what my iPod nano is for!) Oh, I forgot to mention that the factory unlocked SLVRs do not come with iTunes, not a big loss for me though. Motorola seems to have taken a cue from Apple on how to design the SLVR box. I doubt that the Cingular SLVR comes in such a wonderful box, but the factory unlocked SLVR came in a fantastically designed box. I won't take pictures or spoil the surprise for those of you who make get the phone.  But, opening the box to the SLVR reminded me of the first time I opened an iPod box -- but, it's completely different! Kudos to Motorola for coming up with such a cool box design -- the first impression is most important, right?
SLVR L7/V8 and RAZR V3
The side buttons are now actual buttons now! One the RAZR, the side buttons -- most importantly the volumn controls -- are so thin and indistinguishable that they are very hard to use. On the SLVR they are perfectly sized. I almost picked up the cheaper L6, which would have been fine for me -- even with the lower resolution screen and plastic keypad -- but there were some key missing ingredients: No email client and no PC sync. Yikes. I also looked at Samsung phones. Most interesting was the Samsung T509 that is offered only by T-Mobile. The phone is thinner and lighter than the SLVR L7. But, people complained that the light plastic made it feel fragile and like a toy. The T509 is also missing an email client and Opera Mini does not seem to work correct on the T509. And one last thing about the T509 is that it does not have a industry standard USB connector. The USB connector on the SLVR, RAZR and other Motorola phones make the phones very appealing to geeks (like me) because we don't have to pay top dollar for some special proprietary cable -- which will most likely be outdated when the next phone comes out. With a USB connector, the mod-ability make Motorola phones infinitely customizable. I have had the RAZR longer than most phones that I have owned. Mainly because it looks good, works well, and does what I need. I think the SLVR will be the same way. You might see my Nokia 6682 up for sale sooner or later as that becomes less and less of a phone that I use on a regular basis.