Wednesday 11 November 2015

Motorola RAZR V3i (2005)

Announced November 2005

Back in 2004, Motorola announced one of the most iconic mobile phones ever – the Motorola RAZR V3. It was an ultra-thin folding phone, elegantly designed in precision cut metal and with a hefty price tag attached. It was a huge hit, but it had one major problem. Underneath the elegant exterior, it was awful.

Motorola had a sort of 3G version of the RAZR which they had announced in the summer of 2005, but it was quite big and 3G phones weren’t very popular at the time. So, developed in parallel was the GSM-only Motorola RAZR V3i.

The V3i addressed several weaknesses with the original RAZR. Firstly, the 1.2 megapixel camera replaced the woeful 0.3 megapixel one on the original and it could now record videos, it came with TransFlash (microSD) expandable memory, had a proper music player (with iTunes support optional) with stereo output, and the whole look of the phone had been subtly reworked to make it look smarter and fresher. Over its lifetime, the V3i was produced in a wide variety of colours including silver, pink, purple, black, blue, green, red, violet and gold.

Although the hardware was more capable and the physical design more appealing, the biggest problem was still the software. The user interface was old-fashioned and difficult to use, and anyone who was hoping for something better after struggling with the original RAZR would be sorely out of luck. Compared with Motorola, the Nokia phones of the same era were much easier to use.

Despite its flaws, the V3i was quite a successful device, but even by 2005 the RAZR as a fashion item was beginning to look a bit stale. Unfortunately, Motorola found itself in a rut with the RAZR design.. they kept churning out phones based on the same concept, but consumers had lost interest and by 2007 Motorola’s mobile phone business were losing money at a huge rate. The rest is history.

Today, the V3i is a commonly available and popular device with prices for a good condition one ranging from £50 / €70 to around £100 / €140 or even more for the gold D&G edition. Despite all its flaws, the elegant V3i has plenty of “wow” factor and the design is certainly an antidote to the slabby smartphones of today.

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