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Motorola RIZR Z3
The RIZR marks the Motorola’s entry into the world of slider phones, dominated largely by Samsung at the moment. Sliders are nothing new, so what does the RIZR have, to make up for the long absence from this form factor?
The phone is a bit thicker than the RAZR when kept side by side, but it’s a lot narrower, though not as narrow as the KRZR. The length is almost the same as the RAZR, just a wee bit longer.
The phone has very typical Motorola styling and it also appears just like a clamshell to many eyes. It applies RAZR-like styling to slider phones. Ever since I heard about this phone being called the RIZR, I’ve just been smiling at the aptness of the name.
It has a little ridge below the display to facilitate the slide process on the otherwise smooth phone. This ridge tends to accumulate dirt around itself very quickly and in a few weeks it’ll look like the dirtiest part of the phone. Also, the ridge is also placed a little too far away from the bottom of the phone, so its actually more convenient to use the navigation pad as a means of pushing the phone open. The slide action is smooth and spring-loaded – just give it a push in either direction and it’ll take it from there. Sometimes the phone tends to open itself while putting it in or taking it our of your trouser pocket.
The phone fits very nicely in the hand and is comfortable to hold up and talk. It feels a little heavier than the RAZR, but it’s still quite comfortable.
It has a soft, smooth, matte, rubber finish all over the phone, unlike the steely look of the RAZR and the glossy, glassy KRZR. This gives it a very sober look, compared to the slightly flashy KRZR.
The display on the RIZR is a very common 176x220 resolution screen, which sounds a little low for a phone released this late, but you have to keep in mind the fact that the phone isn’t too expensive. The display size is also a little small – much smaller than the RAZR – so the low resolution is somewhat compensated for. Pictures look good on the display despite the low resolution. Even in sunlight, the display is readable and doesn’t look washed out.
The Z3 has the standard Motorola P2K UI like the other Motorola phones. Some people like it, some people hate it. I got to grips with it with the KRZR, but somehow, I didn’t enjoy using the RIZR UI too much. Typing SMSes was extremely annoying with the iTap for some reason, and the UI is also a bit slow compared to the KRZR.
The keypad is the same as the RAZR. It is well demarcated and arranged. It is very intuitive to use even without looking at it. The white lines marking out the buttons and also the white numbers and text are very uniformly lit up, making them easy to read in the dark. The keys also offer excellent tactile feedback.
The navigation pad is very well-sized and as a result, very comfortable to use. The center OK button is a little mirror, which seemed a little odd, given the otherwise modest finish of the phone, but the disc doesn’t stand out and as a result, looks just fine. The soft keys, call/end keys are all all conveniently sized and placed. Not once did I click the wrong key by mistake.
On the left of the phone, you have volume controls and a ‘smart’ shortcut key which can be configured to launch whatever you want on the phone, for eg. Bluetooth. The four direction keys and soft keys can also be configured to do specific actions.
On the right side of the phone, you have a voice command key, a camera shortcut/shutter key and the miniUSB slot. The miniUSB slot cover is quite flimsy and doesn’t fit into place very easily. If fit lightly, it’ll keep falling out.
The RIZR unfortunately doesn’t have an FM radio tuner, but it doesn’t lack any of the basic multimedia capabilities. There’s an MP3/AAc media player that can be sent to the background while you use the phone for other stuff. When playing music and using the phone in a closed state, the navigation pad can be used to change the tracks, but there’s no play or stop button. You need to go to the media player application to stop it, which can be a bit annoying.
The sound quality is very good. It sounds very clear and sharp, just the way it should. It’s also loud enough, though the ringtones are somewhat low in volume. Even when music is used as a ringtone, it sounds a little weak and its very easy to miss calls if the phone is in the pocket.
In spite of it being 2007 now and after having launched two phones with FM radio, the RIZR still fails to include one. Millions have wished for a radio in the RAZR, but the KRZR and the RIZR, neither have an FM radio tuner.
The 2.0 megapixel camera takes average quality pictures of objects in a distance, but the quality of objects close by is much better. Color saturation is also better at closer range.
The LED flash is also best use in close range, because, even though it’s powerful, the throw distance is not much. The flash can only be turned on or off; when on, it stays on all the time even when you’re composing the shot. This is fine, but there are times when you’d want the flash to light up only when you click the shutter button. No such luck with the RIZR.
The camera can also record video at 128x96 or 176x144 at 15 fps with sound. The length of the video clips is limited to 10 minutes. Video quality was once again average.
The Z3 is quad-band GSM phone. We usually don’t talk about network reception, because pretty much all the phones work just fine everywhere we try them, but the Z3 kept dropping the network at several somewhat closed areas. It alerts you when it gets on or off the network and I could hear that several times a day.
The phone also has support for GPRS and EDGE as well. Browsing speeds were acceptable, but the browser doesn’t do too good a job of reformatting the web to fit the small screen. After seeing the S60 browser in action, this is what happens.
It has around 16mb of built-in memory, and a microSD memory card slot. The microSD card is hotswappable; it is placed above the sim card.
The phone supports Bluetooth 2.0 along with A2DP stereo profile. It does USB 2.0 and supports the convenient Mass Storage profile so you can just hook it up and drag and drop files in the mobile folder without using any software.
The phone comes with the Yahoo! Go mobile application suite pre-installed, that gives you Yahoo! Search, Mail, Finance, Cricket, Messenger and Tones. These require a GPRS or EDGE connection to work, of course.
I expected this phone to last a little longer, but it only works for around 3 days on average use. This might be affected by the frequent network searching performed by the phone. I didn’t make too many calls, but I did receive a good amount of calls and browsed the web a fair bit.
However, the phone recharges via the standard miniUSB port on the phone, so this will not really be a problem to most of us who are constantly near a PC, be it at home, at work, or on the move with a laptop. It didn’t last me too long, but I never ran out of charge without any means of recharging it.
The RIZR Z3 has been priced well at Rs. 13,500. It offers the same features as the KRZR K1, but it does it for around Rs. 2,500 less, and it also offers a newer form factor.
However, The RIZR is late. Samsung has been making sliders for years and they’ve pretty much perfected the art. Motorola led the way with their slim and stylish RAZR, but they’ve been overtaken in that race. The RIZR offers an alternative to Motorola phone buyers who’ve been wanting to get something other than just another RAZR, but it doesn’t offer much more. The RIZR won’t do to the slider market, what the RAZR did to the clamshell market.