Motorola Canada is reaching out to bloggers through Hill & Knowlton to get the word out about their latest phone, the MOTOKRZR. Motorola has recognized that bloggers are an influential community and also represent the average consumer. I am lucky enough to be consdered for this bloggers program to try out the phone and give my opinion. Also, I want to be completely transparent that this is my opinion and I’m not biased or being influenced by being given the phone to use. I’ve done this previously to review another cellphone and it’s a successful idea to have bloggers reviewing products.
Included In The Kit
- Motorola KRZR K1 (Rogers Wireless)
- music earbuds with microphone
- 512MB mini-SD card
- USB mini-adapter for existing earphones
The Motorola KRZR is designed beautifully. If you’re into industrial design and appreciate really nice looking and feeling technology, this phone captures it all. Shiny blue reflective glass and plastic cover the top. The top clear glass covers the camera lens (no lint on the lens – great idea) as well as a mini lcd screen which displays a clock when idle and can be used to see what the camera is taking a picture of when the phone is flipped closed. All this reflectiveness collects a lot of fingerprints since it’s hard to keep your hands off it, so I’ve had to give it a little rub on my pants to clear it off every once and a while. It’s slim – as slim as the Motorola RAZR, yet not nearly as wide. A much better form factor. Because of this smaller size, the weight is also reduced so it easily fits in a pants pocket without giving unsightly pocket bulge.
Opening up the camera, the lcd screen comes alive. It’s very bright, with high contrast and is so bright you can easily see it outdoors. Very vibrant colours on the screen with a contrasting colour UI which makes for easy readability. After using the phone for a couple weeks, I’m now starting to get faint keypad impressions on the screen. I’d seen this with a previous Motorola I owned and a little cleaning seems to clear it off. A wide recessed opening at the top of the screen is the earpiece speaker. Since it’s wide, you don’t have to be so precise with pointing it into your ear and this ensures good loud sound.
The keypad has rubberized numbers and outlines separating the keys. The key digits light up once pressed, which is great for dialing the phone at night or in dimly lit bars. A circular keypad, common on Motorola phones, controls your directional selection. It’s a flat shape as opposed to the slightly raised edges I’ve seen on Motorola models, so you have to be a little more precise and use your finger tips so you don’t hit the wrong direction or one of the adjacent buttons. There are 2 new buttons that I hadn’t seen on my previous phone – a Back button and a Web Browser button to launch the internet. A small microphone hole is near the bottom of the keypad.
Phone volume is controlled by a rocker switch on the side of the phone. Next to that is the button to activate the camera and take photos. When the phone is flipped open to talk, it’s the perfect distance from the earpiece to the mouthpiece so you can speak and hear correctly without having the mouthpiece in your cheek, like the “candy-bar” style phones.
Overall, it’s a beautiful well-designed phone.
The phone interface is the standard Motorola interface, nothing has really changed here other than some new colours and themes. The opening screen has date, time and your selection of 4 icons to choose from the direction pad. I won’t go too much into depth here since if you’ve used a Motorola phone, you’ve seen this before. One thing I do love about Motorola phones is the iTAP text entry which guesses which word you’re typing, allowing you to autocomplete words and saves a lot of time and typing. Trying to text messages on a phone without iTAP is just frustrating.
As explained above, the wide speaker easily aligns with your ear for clear loud sound. I’ve always have trouble hearing calls on cellphones unless in very quiet surroundings. With this Motorola KRZR, I had a conversation walking down a busy city street and could easily hear the person on the other end. I found it comparible to the sound quality of my home phone. The KRZR doesn’t have the slightly distorted voice sound so common with other cellphones.
Most people don’t care much about the camera in their phone, but I do. Photography is a hobby and passion of mine and I always make sure I have a camera with me at all times. Mostly I carry my DSLR around with me. If that’s too big, I’ll have my Canon A610 point & shoot. If I don’t have room to carry that, I’ll at least have a phone in my pocket with a camera. And there have been times where I’m so glad I at least had a camera in my pocket to capture some important moments. As such, I expect the quality of the image to be very good – likely more than the average person cares about.
The KRZR packs a 2.0 Megapixel camera in it, with adjustable quality and size controls in case you don’t want to fill your memory card. There are also settings to adjust the white balance of the lighting (sunny, cloudy, home, office, etc) which helps the image appearance. As mentioned previously, the lens is under a sheet of glass, keeping it free of dirt and lint after you’ve been carrying your phone in your pocket for a while. Very smart. But missing was a flash for the camera. Many phones now include a small LED to lightly illuminate the subject. A LED flash greatly helps to freeze the image and give a crisp capture. Hopefully Motorola will include this in their next line of phones to make the camera users happy. I’ve taken quite a few shots with the KRZR camera and was slightly disappointed. The images are somewhat grainy and distorted – not the high level I’d expect from a 2 megapixel camera on the highest settings. Again, I’ve got higher expectations for the camera than the average person, so it’s fine for taking fun snaps of you and your friends which is the true purpose.
The KRZR also has video recording through the camera, but I’ve yet to try that out. I’ll likely post some video in the future.
I was impressed with the music abilities. I carry an Ipod(40Gb or Shuffle) with me constantly but I might not need to as much anymore. I loaded the 512 mini-SD card with mp3 files I exported from iTunes and inserted the card in the phone. The phone came with a set of earbuds which also have a microphone so you can use it as a handsfree earpiece as well. The earbuds aren’t as nicely designed as the KRZR phone, but they’re defintely not the worst I’ve seen. Software to play the music is included on the phone and allows you to play by song, artist, genre or playlist. The sound quality of the music was clear and crisp, not metallic sounding.You can also unplug the earphones and play the music through the built-in speaker. I find it sounds best when you rest the phone on a desk or hard surface to bounce the sound.
There’s 2 demo games included on the phone – Tetris and a Pool/Bowling 60second demo. No full version games to play, not even Snake. I’ve bought a few games for my phones and it frustrates me that every time I switch phones, I lose the games. I’ll save my money on game downloads and stick to my Gameboy Micro from now on.
My biggest pet peeve about Motorola phones – there is no freely available computer software to use with your phone. Again, I’m not the average user, so this may not affect many, but I want to be able to sync my contacts and my calendar to my phone. The phone directly connects to my computer to transfer images, video, music, etc. or I can use bluetooth instead of the USB cable. So why not give away software to users to setup their contact list? Who wants to spend hours repetitively programming phone numbers into a phone when it can be done so much quicker on the computer? My previous Nokia phone was bundled with free software to allow you to update your contacts, assign photos to the people, update your photos and videos. And all of this could be done automatically via Bluetooth. Motorola does have additional software to organize your calendar and contacts, but you have to pay for it (approx $40). I had previously bought an older version for my other Motorola, but it wouldn’t work with this phone. Thankfully, Hill & Knowlton quickly supplied me with the latest version.
I’ve tried to get the software working, but have yet to make it happen with either Bluetooth or USB. It won’t synchronize with Outlook, I get communications port errors, and the software hangs in the initialization stages repeatedly. I found this as well with the previous version of the software I bought. Very flakey. I’ll try some more work with it, but for now I’m still left with unorganized contact list and an empty calendar. Thankfully I didn’t have to spend any money on this software. Motorola makes great phones, but the software isn’t up to par. Likely not a problem for most of the users of this phone since they probably don’t want calendar abilities anyways.
In all, it’s a great phone, with very high quality phone features, which is most importantly what you purchase a phone for. The music is great, the camera is good and the design is beautiful.
- amazing looking design, small and lightweight
- great sound quality – the best i’ve heard from a cellphone
- fast text entry for text messagers
- no led flash on camera to help with sharpening images
- no free purchase computer software for extended calendar and contact editing abilities
Who this phone is for?
If you’re looking to have the coolest looking consumer phone on the market today, get this phone. It’s so flashy when I take it out to talk, I feel like I’ve got a luxury item in my hand. If you want a phone for the purpose of using it as a phone, with some additional features thrown in, this phone is also for you. If you’re looking for a phone with crystal clear sound, this phone is also for you. Personally, this phone is not the perfect phone for me as I’d like better camera quality and seamless calendar intergration but that usually comes at the higher price of a smartphone like the Motorola Moto Q or Palm Treo. But the Motorola KRZR is so well designed physically and sounds so good that I can easily overlook some shortcomings.
8.5/10 – improve the camera slightly and include some better software and this phone gets a 10.
What do you think of the Motorola KRZR? What do you think about bloggers reviewing products? Wish you could be a part of the program? Leave me some comments.