It would be hard to overestimate the importance of the iconic RAZR model and all its incarnations to Motorola. The first version, the RAZR V3 launched in 2004, unleashed a consumer frenzy — the phone blazed past the 50-million mark within two years and the Motorola RAZR became a household name. Its revolutionary design continues to influence and inspire Motorola’s comprehensive portfolio of mobile handsets, from the Motorola SLVR candy-bar line-up to the Motorola Q series of business phones.
Gold standard: The luxury phone comes with a snakeskin pouch and suede cleaning cloth.
But, truth be told, Motorola had been riding on the ever-so-slender shoulders of the RAZR far too long. That’s why RAZR’s successor — RAZR2, introduced in 2007 — was more than welcome and we oohed and aahed over it in this very column. Built on a new software platform called LJ (LinuxJava), and offering better multimedia features, the RAZR2 has been selling quite successfully for a while now.
Motorola seems to have learnt its lesson with the original RAZR — which dropped drastically in price over its lifetime, much to the chagrin of the early adopters — and decided to take pre-emptive steps to keep the RAZR2 prices from plummeting. Motorola’s rather elegant solution is the Motorola RAZR2 V8 Luxury Edition: Just add some cosmetic changes and minor improvements to the base model, toss in precious metals in its production and position the handset as a luxury/prestige item, where cost doesn’t really matter. The result is a really sharp device that should go down well with the fashion set and aspiring Vertu owners who haven’t quite scaled Vertu salary territory.
The RAZR2 Lux is not only expensive, it looks expensive with bold, blingy, yet sophisticated details — 18- and 24-karat gold accents glittering against a glossy black, ‘vacuum metal’ finish. Demure pinstripes adorn the exterior of the front surrounding the large 2-inch external display and built-in lens, while the golden shoulders of the clamshell hinge peep out on top. The back is upholstered in a soft faux snakeskin texture and the gold sideband has an engraved diamond-cut pattern. Opening the clamshell is still a two-handed operation, and once open, the RAZR2 Lux unfurls its blingy glory with an abundance of gold plating. From the etched navigation wheel to the chassis, antenna housing and even the keypad, which hasn’t changed from the original RAZR, they all get a small dose of the precious metal.
As a phone, the RAZR2 Lux is almost identical in most ways to the RAZR2 reviewed earlier, although there are a few differences. This special edition mobile device features a full suite of features, including Crystal Talk technology, EDGE-only quad-band technology, a full HTML Opera browser, and a 2-megapixel camera with 8X digital zoom, video capture and playback, Windows Media Player 11 and a large, 2-inch colour external screen where one can read and respond to texts and manage one’s music with touch-sensitive music keys that give a vibrational response — all without opening the flip. There is no SD card slot but the 2GB of on-board storage should be more than enough for most users’ music, videos and images.
It would have been nice to have a few upgrades, though. The included music player is quite ho-hum, with no equalizer or proper sorting functions. It also uses Motorola’s proprietary headphone jack rather than a standard 3.5mm port, meaning you’re stuck with the bundled sub-par earphones. The included camera is 2 megapixels and comes with an 8x digital zoom, and anyone concerned about image quality should look elsewhere. The battery life of RAZR2 Lux is Motorola’s Achilles heel: The most you can expect is two days of usage, and if you use it actively, you will need to charge the phone every day.
The Motorola box contains quite a few goodies. It includes the phone, battery, battery cover, a snakeskin lanyard, a swanky snakeskin carrying pouch, a suede cleaning cloth, charger, miniUSB to microUSB adapter, Motorola H680 limited edition Bluetooth headset, desktop charger for headset (with gold trim around charging base, of course), USB headphones, microUSB cable, and a couple of other things!
Motorola RAZR2 V8 Luxury Edition is perfect in its role as a highly desirable fashion phone. It is pleasant to touch and hold in your hand, looks excellent, and attracts attention — one of the main reasons why you would buy a phone like this one. What’s more, it does not lack any area of functionality; despite all its sparkle, it’s still a full-fledged modern phone. My wife has fallen in love with it and I have been gently reminding her that this is a review unit and sadly, in the near future, it will have to be returned — but her eyes keep glazing over. Perhaps I’ll just show her the sticker price of Rs25,999 to jolt her back to normalcy. But then, guilty pleasures like the RAZR2 V8 Luxury Edition put colour in life — and who are we to deny ourselves?
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