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Friday December 30, 2005 4:33 pm

Gear Live Review:  Motorola RAZR V3c

RAZR V3c ReviewWe just recently got our grubby little hands on a V3c for Verizon Wireless. This is the phone many a cell phone user has been waiting for - a Verizon RAZR that offers EV-DO support that also sports uncrippled Bluetooth with OBEX. What more might you ask for in this day and age? Check out our review after the jump for our impressions of the RAZR V3c.

The obvious starting place for this review is the design, and so, I will start with something far more mundane…the battery life.  Overall, we have been very dissatisfied with the battery life especially with Bluetooth turned on.  At the end of a day where we’ve only made a half dozen short calls, the battery life is down to half.  That is with Bluetooth turned off.  That is hardly satisfactory when we’ve come to expect our phones to last a few days without needing a charge.  Hopefully an extended life battery won’t take long to come to market.

The RAZR V3c also seems to suffer from a particularly annoying defect.  Whether it is a software problem or a hardware problem remains to be seen, but it is persistent.  The problem is that you can clearly hear yourself through the earpiece of the phone.  It sounds like you’re talking in a large empty room.  We find it to be terribly distracting to hear yourself at least as loudly as the person you’re trying to talk speak to.  We received the phone originally from Verizon Wireless Internet Sales, and exchanged it two times to different Verizon Wireless stores in the Boston area.  All three phones suffered from the same problem.  One technician even went so far as to say that that is isn’t a problem at all and it is actually something that is caused by the shape of the phone.  That was his story until I slapped down my GSM Cingular RAZR and asked him politely to try making a call.  And for those who are wondering, call clarity is also excellent…assuming you’re not talking at the same as the person you’re connected with.

Next is the infamous Verizon UI.  While we don’t find it to be the worst thing in the world like some do,  we would prefer to go without it.  Frankly, the lack of customization that is allows is terrible.  For example, you can only program one of the controls on the circle button while the other three are co-opted by Verizon Wireless services.  The standard Motorola UI, while being overly complicated at times, at least allows for a lot of customization. 

As far as reception goes, it you’re just going by the bars on the display, it is horrible.  In practice, we’ve found the reception on this phone to be excellent.  Even with zero bars, we’ve yet to experience a dropped call.  It would appear that this is more of an error in the the way that reception is being reported then an actual problem with the phones reception.

The camera is decent, but since the phone has no flash, picture quality is obviously poor in low-light conditions.  You can also take videos with the V3c.  While not being great, it can be fun. The speaker phone is really very nice on this phone.  We made some test calls and most of the folks we spoke to didn’t even realize they were on speaker phone. 

Bluetooth is Bluetooth….and it is still slick.  Since Verizon decided not to disable OBEX, it is even better then usual when dealing with one of their phones.  Transferring data from computer to phone and from phone to computer could not be any more simple.

In the end, it is a good phone - not a great one.  It isn’t a phone that is meant to replace a digital camera, but it is adequate for those impromptu shots during the day.  It also isn’t loaded up with a ton of features that many phone aficionados clamor for.  All of that said, the RAZR V3c is still a good phone that is (mostly) good at its primary function….making and receiving phone calls.  It didn’t live up to all of the hype it received, but how often does anything?

Uh-oh.  We almost forgot.  The design!  Dead sexy.  ‘nuff said.

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