Motorola RAZR V8 review

Reviews 18:07, 10 Nov 2008

The original V3 defined mobile phone style in 2004, but is it enough to compete with the competition of today? We review the Motorola RAZR V8

The original RAZR V3 with its sleek clamshell styling was the original ultra slim phone in 2004. The RZR2 V8 has come a few years later, and comes with a similar look but with some improvements - a next generation V3 as it were. But is it enough at a time when Motorola is fading as a force in mobile phones and these types of phones have become mass market?

The Motorola V8 is still very thin, and has that glossy solid metal frame and build-quality which made the original V3 such a head turner. It feels strong, and there is confidence that it will stand up to a beating, but it does have an annoying habit of picking up fingerprints, which is probably a consequence of the hard glass finish.

The large 2-inch external display is pretty impressive and offers touchscreen capability, especially useful when listening to music on the go, which is of reasonably decent quality. The internal 2.2 inch screen is impressive as well, offering a 262,000 colour QVGA screen.

Set below the display is the distinctive flat and thin keypad which is wide apart enough for big fingers, with the pressed etched letters and numbers keeping the size thin and touch very comfortable. There’s also a funky glow effect which goes well with sleek metal styling. After a while it soon becomes second nature to text.

A criticism levelled at the original V3 was its clunky Linux based operating system, but the usability of the V8 is simple with regular menu driven functionality which anyone with even a crude understanding of mobile phone operation will be able to cope with easily.

Downloading is also pretty much a breeze, although its lack of 3G does cost it a few points when it comes to web browsing. It’s not speedy, but pages do look rich and reasonably impressive due to its decent quality screen and Opera web browser. It also has a decent email client and office tools, but nowadays most would regard that as a given.

The V8 features a two-megapixel camera with 8x zoom and video capability which is nothing particularly special. It’s disappointing that so much work has been done with the styling but basically nothing special has been done with this functionality, especially as many similar priced phones offer a lot more.

Talk time is very decent with a quoted 500 minutes talk time and 280 hours standby time. Regular daily use is absolutely fine with the V8 – it is unlikely you’ll be caught short when it comes to battery, although regular use of the camera, video and internet browser does cut short this by quite a large extent.

Talk quality is great – loud and clear even in noisy environments. Quad band technology also makes it good for using out of the country as well. It also has always useful Bluetooth technology, but again you’d expect that for a phone in this price range. The ability to synchronise with Windows Media Player is also handy, but users may just as well drag and drop tunes onto the phone using the supplied USB connection.

Memory is a problem however. The review model features 512 MB of internal storage, but one with 2GB is available. However you won’t be able to get any more than this because there isn’t any option for a memory card expansion, which means once you go over this storage you’re going to have to swap between the phone and a computer. This means you’re unlikely to get a decent music, game or image collection going on unfortunately.

The RAZR V8 is a beautiful phone and still turns heads to a certain extent, but the sense is always there that you are paying for build quality and styling rather than features and functionality. This is especially evident in the time of the stylish, multifunctional iPhone and other, much more stylish clamshell competition.

The Motorola V8 just hasn’t changed enough from the original RAZR phones, and in a sense just looks dated. It’s still a fine looking phone and still great to use- but its not enough to make it any more than average.

Motorola RAZR V8 Info

Typical price: From free with contract

Latest Motorola RAZR2 V8 Prices

Distinctive RAZR styling
Colourful display
Good usability

Lack of stand out features
Too similar to the original RAZR V3
Poor storage

Verdict: The RAZR models always stand out, but it’s not enough in these days of better clamshell competition and feature-rich phones


More info: Motorola website

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