Motorola RAZR V3i Review – Update to a Classic Mobile Phone

Motorola RAZR V3i Review: Released in 2005, the Motorola RAZR V3i was the long-awaited update to the original Motorola RAZR V3 which debuted in 2004. That phone was one of the more significant releases of the modern mobile phone era. At the time, flip mobile phones were rather thick affairs, often double the thickness of a candybar phone. Thus, the razor-thin RAZR design was one of the most eye-catching releases and offered a huge size and weight saving.

One of the downsides to the original phone is that the device was somewhat under-specced as a concession to the design. This was a common trade-off seen in many mobile manufacturers. This was gotten around somewhat with the release of the Motorola V3x, which restored features such as camera flast, microSD card slot and video calling camera in the same design. However, it couldn’t combine this with the same wow factor – at 2cm thick, it was almost twice as thick as the other RAZR, and significantly heavier at 125g.

The V3i was not as powerful as the V3x but offered an upgrade on the V3i in a phone exactly the same dimensions as the first. The camera was improved, memory on board was doubled. The phone also gained the microSD card slot and with Apple iTunes integration made audio playing much easier.

Full specifications here.

Again this phone would prove to be popular as the design was unrivalled at the time. However, this would begin to be unsurped by other models. The Motorola V3xx, which was the successor to the V3x in 2006 finally managed to fit in a high-end design into a thin handset. As other manufacturers caught up, the advantage of ultra-thin handsets began to wear away.

Motorola RAZR V3i Review Pros:

  • The phone featured the same high quality, metallic construction as seen on the original V3. Despite being the same width, this was still some way ahead of the competition at the time.
  • Imaging on the phone had improved and the resolution of the camera had doubled to 1.3MP. There was also a digital zoom feature although this was quite rudimentary.
  • Perhaps the biggest improvement was the addition of the microSD card slot, really opening up the phone to being a music player. The software end was also improved with iTunes integration.
  • The external display was now upgraded and featured 65k colours, making images appear much more vivid.

Motorola RAZR V3i Review Cons: 

  • The internal display on the phone was not improved either in size or resolution – 176 x 220 pixels was not best in class by any means. The external display was just 96 x 80 pixels and with no increase in size was limited.
  • The camera lagged behind many of the better models which by now were 2MP. There was also no flash on this model, limiting shots to the day, nor videocall camera.
  • Customisation of the phone was harder; changing housings was impractical and expensive due to the design.
  • The phone carried a very high premium in cost. The Motorola V3x did not feature the slim design but was a similar flip phone with much higher spec, yet not much difference in price.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects: 

The Motorola RAZR series, and particularly the V3 models are some phones which really helped define phone tastes. The thin design set a trend for other manufacturers to copy. Phones could get no smaller in footprint size, but in terms of width there was some way to go as these phones showed. These phones already have some premium attached to them and is likely to increase in the future.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

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