March 06, 2006

Razr Redux

It has been over two weeks since I acquired the Motorola Razr v3i and I guess it is time for a review of sorts. At Rs. 14,500 the phone is not what can be called as cheap. Since the Motos don't have even half of the resale values that the Nokias have, you can expect both the retail and second hand prices to fall drastically over the coming months. If you are going to invest heavily in a new phone, wait it out for another couple of months, you can probably pick up the same phone for at least a grand knocked off the price I picked it up for.

The negatives: Don't buy this phone for the iTunes player. It is dreadfully sluggish and you are much better off saving the songs directly in the memory card and playing them one-by-one. Besides, the transfer rates are abysmal, making syncing the damn thing a horrible pain. The screens scratch quite easily and the keypad touches the display, when the flip is closed, leaving marks on it even when you painstakingly keep it free of your ear and thumb impressions.

The camera is quite okay for still images, but it is quite lousy if you have to record video. If you want to either with any decent quality, you are much better off buying a proper digital camera. And most importantly, if you have fat fingers this phone is just not the thing for you. I have already lost countless text message replies after accidentally pressing the abort button trying to press the auto-complete button.

The positives: It looks quite snazzy and feels quite robust, though I have not given it the 'drop-it-five-times-a-day' acid test yet. The battery life is pretty decent and the unified socket means that I can get the phone charged at the same time as when I am using it to browse the Internet via GPRS on the laptop, without requiring an additional cable or a power outlet. But I have to say the bundled hands-free kit is the cheapest of the lot and a downer for the price you pay for the handset.

The address book plays real nice with the office Exchange server via the Motorola PC Suite and syncing that at least is not a pain. There have been no lock ups or other issues while using it as modem for the GPRS connection and even when it has been slow, the connection's been much more stable than the lousy cable-based Spectrasmart nightmare I normally use at home. If you are using Airtel GPRS do make sure that you select Service Type 1's option as WAP than HTTP.

All said and done I am quite pleased with the phone. It does most of what it says it can do without ceremony or hassle. And that is about it.

There is no fun like ignoring your own flaws and picking at the ones that the competition provides you. After their previous two flawed attempts at providing RSS feeds to the discerning audience, has made a third go at doing the same. The registration part has now been taken off and the feeds are now provided without any form of authentication. That is where the good news ends and the bad news begins. The feeds don't validate anymore, since the tags are messed up beyond belief, and the <link> element in each of the item (which points to individual stories) is now empty, leaving the users with no way to read the story straight off the aggregator. What fun!