Hands on with the Motorola RAZR V3i | iLounge Backstage


Hands on with the Motorola RAZR V3i

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2006
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We’re more than just iPod fans at iLounge—we’re gadget freaks. This editor has had a couple Sony Ericssons, a Palm Treo, and a Motorola RAZR (the latest) all within the last 12 months. I recently got fed up with the lack or storage and the horrible camera on the RAZR and decided to get my hands on the new RAZR V3i, an updated version of the popular super slim flip-phone that everyone knows.

Motorola’s V3i has a slightly refined design, a 1.23-Megapixel camera, Bluetooth, a microSD (TransFlash) card slot, and dual color screens. The phone’s “Spun Metal? design, as Motorola calls it, is supposed to be a gun-metal gray with a brushed-aluminum look. However, it looks more purple than gray in person. Also, the company really needs to take another look at its color matching process. The metal portion of the phone is one color, the plastic bottom and back a slightly different color, and the battery door yet another variation of the gray/purple. The V3i’s flat black trim is the only shade that looks right.

The external screen is slightly tweaked and now has a glowing blue Motorola logo, whereas the original RAZR only had a plain silver logo. Menus appear to be identical, but may be a bit snappier. There are a couple of other little details that are different, but nothing worth noting. However, I will note the worst part of the phone—the camera. I didn’t have high hopes for it, but I figured it would be at least good enough for flickr and a ton better than the original RAZR’s VGA camera. The V3i really let me down. The first picture below, believe it or not, is the original RAZR’s picture, and the one below it is the one taken by the V3i. While the RAZR’s original pixel size is small (click both pics for actual sizes), it is much clearer with deeper colors and better details.

Original V3 (640x480)

V3i (scaled to 640x480)

Now we get to the point where the phone actually relates to a publication covering the iPod and iTunes. Because this GSM phone is not yet available in the U.S., I had to order it from a handset importer. And because of this fact, I didn’t get to check the phone out before Captain FedEx handed it to me at the door. I was hoping it had the mobile version of iTunes on it, as was originally announced back in November. That is not the case, however. It only comes with Motorola’s built-in audio software, and unfortunately the “Digital Audio Music Player? is a joke. You’d have a better experience playing your MP3s with just your thumb and a Mountain Dew bottle.

After figuring out I needed to change some obscure storage settings before use, I was able to get the phone to mount on my Mac’s desktop and transfer a couple songs over. A 6MB MP3 took about 15 seconds to transfer over via USB. My phone came with a 64MB MicroSD (TransFlash) card, which holds only a handful of tunes. In my view, this import model’s transfer and storage limitations are simply not bearable. If you’re looking for a music phone, the RAZR V3i without iTunes is not the one to get.

It’s not clear whether the V3i will be released in the U.S. as an iTunes phone. According to a note posted on Motorola’s website, the V3i is only being sold now with iTunes in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Turkey, South Africa, Rest of Africa, North Africa, Israel, Thailand, and Middle East; “additional markets may be added at a later date.” That’s probably for the best. The V3i is a fine phone—great reception and sound, excellent industrial design—and you’d probably be tickled with it if you’re upgrading from an older phone. But if you’re a dedicated RAZR user and drop the cash for the V3i, at least, the import version of it without iTunes, you’ll more than likely be sorry.

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There has been many rumors and its expected to be released for cingular in March i believe? I have both this phone and slvr for about 2 months now i like the slvr more because the unique style is different.You can get itunes on your v3i just got to know the right people hehe.

Posted by Chris on February 7, 2006 at 8:34 PM (PDT)


I guess I’ll stick with my Ericsson then.

Posted by Joshdude in Long Beach, CA on February 8, 2006 at 12:58 AM (PDT)


I wish you would have asked me about this phone before you bought it for testing. I made a post earlier about some of them coming with Motorola’s Digital Music Player and others with iTunes. As for transfer speeds, the MDMP is actually quicker than iTunes, so no luck there. Also, apparently, at CES they made an announcement that Cingular will carry the V3i with iTunes.

Posted by the4starish in San Diego on February 8, 2006 at 2:21 AM (PDT)


  What happened to the Treo 650?  The Treo is bigger, but for a “gadget freak” the Treo is the way to go.  I’ve had a ppc6700 for a few months now and I’m very happy with it.  Given that it has EVDO, internal storage doesn’t matter, I can access my complete music library with orb.com, lets see the razor do that.

Posted by __redruM in Gaithersburg, MD on February 8, 2006 at 9:40 AM (PDT)


I was thinking of grabbing an unlocked V3i myself. I was wondering if the V3i has an mini-USB/EMU to 3.5 stereo headphone jack converter like the SLVR L7 iTunes for Cingular has.

Posted by liquidmojo on February 8, 2006 at 10:38 AM (PDT)


So many jump on the bandwagon to be “cool” and have what everybody else has. Buy it for the camera(you NEED it) buy it for the downloadable ringtones ($2 for a ringtone is a BARGAIN!) and buy it because it comes in PINK! (SWEET!)

Just dont pay any attention to how the phone itself actually performs…..CRAPPY! Doesnt anybody care about sound quality? Ill never buy a Motorola phone again after 3.They all sounded like I was talking to someone underwater while I was in a echo chamber bathroom. People with RAZRs look like idiots.

Posted by EZNutts on February 8, 2006 at 11:30 AM (PDT)


why are there pictures of mr. potatoe head dressed as a storm trooper here?

Posted by josh on February 8, 2006 at 12:51 PM (PDT)


I got one with iTunes from wirelessrush on eBay for $369 with a transflash card and HS820 headset.  It’s AWESOME with iTunes.

My experience with the camera is that it’s far better than the V3 cam.  If your phone doesn’t have iTunes or SCREEN3, it’s a super-early one, and I believe there have been several software improvements.  I had one of these, and hated it.  I got an iTunes version, and it’s AWESOME.

Posted by dizzle on February 8, 2006 at 2:24 PM (PDT)


i think he was trying to show the picture quality (one taken with original v3 phone vs. the new v3i phone) the latter has a better quality camera (although I cannot tell tbe difference between the 2 spud-trooper pictures!)

Posted by LFCali on February 8, 2006 at 2:26 PM (PDT)



1. For once something in Australia is better than in America. We’re normally struggling to catch up…

2. I have a Sony Ericsson K608i and although it doesn’t have iTunes it does play mp3’s well, the sound quality in conversation is good, the camera is pretty damn good, and best of all: I CAN CONTROL MY MAC WITH IT! Yeah, it’s totally bizarre, but I can use it to control the mouse, control iTunes and even control FrontRow!

Posted by mondayne on February 8, 2006 at 2:27 PM (PDT)


actually the version of v3i i have is great the menus are faster then v3 i have the call quality is nice and loud just like my slvr L7. I love motorolas they have very styles and soo moddable. I always adjust the gain table and have mod the hell out of it and i think this phone is great. the camera is good but not as good as my v635. LOL i have way to many motorola phones and iPods.

Posted by chris on February 8, 2006 at 4:00 PM (PDT)


How in the world did you get the phone to dock over USB? I thought no Motorola phones could dock on the desktop over USB.

I have a Moto V220 and I’ve been trying for months to get it to appear on the desktop. Motorola, as far as I know, does not make software or drivers for Mac, and you can only browse Moto phones that have bluetooth (like the Razrs) but you docked over USB?

HOW?! For the love of God, tell me!

Posted by cleanup on February 9, 2006 at 1:17 AM (PDT)


If you are considering a RAZR, SLVR or waiting for an iTunes compatible phone, I’d recommend the Sony Ericcson W600i instead. http://www.sonyericsson.com/spg.jsp?cc=us&lc=en&ver=4000&template=pp1_loader&php=PHP1_10296&zone=pp&lm=pp1&pid=10296
This phone with its endless list of features blows the RAZR line out of the water! Sure the RAZRs are pretty to look at, but thats all they are. Very basic phone that is actually awkward to hold since its so light and thin. I have another Motorola model that I got about 1 year ago for free that has the same phone interface, software as the RAZR, very plain jane, no frills or surprises. totally overhyped phone. best described as a ferrari with no horsepower underneath the hood. for the same price right now thru 2/14 you can get the the W600i for the same price after rebates from cingular.com ($149 online/ $199 in-store) Give it a try you will love it. (by the way, for those turned away b/c of the orange color, which I actually think is very unique and cool, it comes with a dark blue (almost black) optional faceplate that you switch out.

Posted by GoinBack2Cali on February 9, 2006 at 1:28 AM (PDT)


I have a RAZR V3C and have had no problems or issues with dropped calls or voice quality from the earpiece, speakerphone or headphone.

I bought the phone for its metallic durability, its thinness / lightness and its functionality / keypad.  I don’t need the bells/whistles—I have a real iPod for that.

Posted by mflat5 in USA on February 9, 2006 at 9:01 AM (PDT)


I think whoever wrote the review could have wrote it without even looking at the phone. He had set out just to put it down. this phone is so much better than the orginal, and maybe the reason why the camera looks worse is because you didnt take it in megapixel mode. Anyway, this review is highly biased, and by no means should anyone not buy this phone because of this review.

Posted by Meister on February 9, 2006 at 11:06 AM (PDT)


Meister, buddy, try looking at the V3i picture above, then cut + paste the url into your browser. The picture is full 1.2mp resolution and still sucks by comparison with the v3’s .3mp picture. Get your eyes checked dummy.

Posted by Pay attention on February 9, 2006 at 12:06 PM (PDT)


Why is this cell phone being reviewd on iLounge?  I can understand why the SLVR is reviewed (as it has iTunes capabilities).  This one is just a phone, no music capabilities…  I thought this site is dedicated only to ipods, itunes, and their accessories.  This was my fear after the name change of the site….that it would just be an i-Site (for any gadget).  As time goes on, this site is doing just this, more and more. :(

Posted by Jing on February 11, 2006 at 4:43 AM (PDT)


As for this phone, I had the V3 (not “i”).  The V3i is virtually identical in features.  I had it for 1 day (literally) and exchanged it for the Ericsson w600i. (not for the music features, but i do use the 256mb mem for data).  The phone is beautiful, but the feature set makes you conform to the phone, instead of the phone conforming to you.  My phone before this one, was the ericsson t610. smile

How this phone handles contacts, too, is horrible best.  if you have a friend, and she has an office #, cel, and home.  you will end up with 3 (yes 3!) contacts, instead of one.  you can ‘hide’ the others, but still it is a waste.

Posted by Jing on February 11, 2006 at 4:48 AM (PDT)


The phone is being reviewed here because there is a version which has iTunes. I bought mine yesterday in NYC on 45th and Vanderbuilt. I LOVE it. The iTunes software pretty much functions just as an ipod, just a bit less fluid. iTunes is a cool feature, but what I really like is the obeymoto feature where you can voice command the phone. Awesome.

Posted by David Martin on February 11, 2006 at 12:02 PM (PDT)


Jing- Actually i think if it doesnt come with any iTunes it will come with the stock Motorola Digital Audio player. I would rather pick the Moto Digitial player because of the amount of songs. But i have both on my v3i and i love it. v3i has mp3 capabilities and there is some real strong info that says that the v3i will have itunes.

Posted by Chris on February 11, 2006 at 6:45 PM (PDT)


I just bought a v3i and it says Itunes capable does this mean I can buy itunes software? anyone know?

Posted by tim on February 17, 2006 at 2:30 PM (PDT)


ill stick with my razr…. what a rip off
my 5g ipod and razr work just fine.

Posted by Becca on February 21, 2006 at 7:53 PM (PDT)


I have the razr v3i with itunes and it owns all.

Posted by Brian on March 30, 2006 at 6:22 PM (PDT)


I had V3 when they came out and in the past year alone i have had to be sent 3 of them, cingular is now sending me the L7 and i am hoping to see some improvements on that phone from the V3 but i doubt it, if this doesn’t work i am going to sony.

Posted by Kristen Clark on April 21, 2006 at 2:27 AM (PDT)


i got a Razr v3 now, im very happy with it!

Posted by bob on February 13, 2007 at 11:47 AM (PDT)


I’m very happy with the phone but it does not have voice comand like my old v3 c well nothing is perfect

Posted by Gabriela on March 25, 2007 at 1:20 AM (PDT)


I have the Motorola RAZR V3i (U.S. Version with iTunes) under Cingular Wireless (now The New AT&T) and it is pretty cool!
The Motorola RAZR V3i is now available here in the U.S. (a Cingular/AT&T exclusive).

Posted by Manuel Alvarado on May 19, 2007 at 9:59 PM (PDT)


I have a Motorola V3 only the POWER button works, all the other buttons dosnt work.

dose anyone have any solutions for this problem

Posted by milap on May 27, 2009 at 11:57 PM (PDT)

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