Motorola RAZR2 V9m for Sprint

While it shares its lineage with the famed RAZR models of the past few years, the new Motorola RAZR2 V9m is a completely different device. It is better looking and more solidly, as well as thoughtfully, designed. The 120g (4.2oz) phone has many lovely details on it, including etched buttons that look quite pretty on the gnarled sides of the lower half of the clamshell. The rear of the device uses a new flush mounted battery cover that is coated with Motorola's grippy soft touch paint. The loudspeaker is located on the very bottom of the device, in the same 'chin' that is the home of the built-in antenna. The speaker has ports on the back and slanted bottom of the RAZR2, which helps ensure that it is unobstructed.

The front of the device, when closed, is where the new 2", QVGA resolution 65k color external display is located, directly beneath the lens for the 2 megapixel camera. The external display is huge when compared with most other handsets on the market. Its 3 touch sensitive buttons that are used in conjunction with the volume and smartkey buttons on the left edge of the phone allow users to control many features with the phone closed, including music playback and the Sprint TV service. The touch buttons are very easy to use thanks to vibration haptic feedback when they are pressed, but the display itself is lacking in color saturation. It is worth noting that the camera, smartkey, and volume buttons located on the edge of the V9m also provide vibration feedback when pressed.

Opening up the V9m reveals the large main QVGA resolution display, the flat RAZR-style keypad, and the massive metal hinge that is located between them. The main 2.2" display is capable of the same 65k colors as the external display, but it is far brighter and colorful. The display really shows off the improved look of the device's user interface. The keypad will be familiar to anybody who has used a RAZR or one of the many RAZR-clones on the market: it consists of a single flat metal panel with slightly raised rubber key separators. It works very well in spite of its ultra-thin design. Located above the alphanumeric keys are the two softkeys, dedicated back and speakerphone buttons, the green and red call controls keys, and a perfectly flat, 5-way d-pad controller. All work very well.

The large metal hinge in the middle of the device is one of the reasons that the RAZR2 design is so tough. I've seen Motorola reps slam them on tables, and had been told that they had even contemplated making a climbing wall out of them to demonstrate their strength. That same hinge, along with the V9's 103mm x 53mm x 12mm (4.1" x 2.1" x .47") dimensions, also make it a bit top heavy when opened up. The fairly strong spring in the hinge seems to slam the phone closed a bit harder than I would normally think prudent. The top of the flip appears to miss the thin rubber bumper that is located below the keypad during closing, which might account for the sense one gets that the phone is slamming shut. In any case, it certainly seems tough enough to take it.