REVIEW: Motorola SLVR L7 Mobile Phone

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Date: Sunday, February 26th, 2006, 23:50
Category: Mobile Phone

motorola-SLVR-2.jpgI’ve had the opportunity to test drive the Motorola SLVR L7 the second phone to integrate iTunes into the mobile phone experience. The SLVR is a quad band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz) mobile phone with support for international roaming.
The SLVR includes built-in stereo speakers, integrated hands-free speakerphone, 262,000 “vivid color” display, illuminated etched keypad, VGA camera with 4x digital zoom, and video capture and playback. The SLVR L7 ships with extra ring-tones, Java support for games and applications, AOL/Yahoo!/ICQ instant messaging and Bluetooth connectivity.
The SLVR is the replacement for the Motorola ROKR, which I reviewed in January 2006. Although this is the second generation of the iTunes phone you can still find the ROKR for US$99. This makes sense in the big picture because this new Motorola phone is so different from the ROKR in terms of appearance and feel, even though the interface is almost identical.
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motorola-SLVR-2.jpgI’ve had the opportunity to test drive the Motorola SLVR L7 the second phone to integrate iTunes into the mobile phone experience. The SLVR is a quad band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz) mobile phone with support for international roaming.
The SLVR includes built-in stereo speakers, integrated hands-free speakerphone, 262,000 “vivid color” display, illuminated etched keypad, VGA camera with 4x digital zoom, and video capture and playback. The SLVR L7 ships with extra ring-tones, Java support for games and applications, AOL/Yahoo!/ICQ instant messaging and Bluetooth connectivity.
The SLVR is the replacement for the Motorola ROKR, which I reviewed in January 2006. Although this is the second generation of the iTunes phone you can still find the ROKR for US$99. This makes sense in the big picture because this new Motorola phone is so different from the ROKR in terms of appearance and feel, even though the interface is almost identical.
My first impression of the SLVR was disbelief in how thin the phone is and yet still very functional. It has a very solid feel, the black exterior is sleek, it is very flat when stored in a pocket. It is a direct competitor to the RAZR and really is elegant for a “candy-bar style” phone. It is less than half of the thickness of the Motorola ROKR and it inherits the laser-etched keyboard from the RAZR.
I’m not a big fan of the keypad, as the center keys are offset downward to make room for the larger directional pad. However, I am willing to compensate for the numerical keypad because I really like the functionality that I have gained with the center button and directional arrows of the large directional pad in the center of the phone. The ROKR did not have that feature, it uses a joystick to navigate the interface.
The Motorola SLVR allows the convenience of listening to your iTunes music and keeping a calendar with you on the go. The interface is almost exactly the same as the ROKR, yet it feels faster. The iTunes integration is still almost identical to the RAZR, including for the 100 song limitation. Cingular includes a 512MB micro SD card which is inserted into the side of the phone and allows for storage of songs, photo, and video.
The SLVR has a built-in VGA camera with 4x digital zoom tha allows video capture and playback. The brilliant 262k color TFT display is bright and easy to view and very legible with nicely magnified numbers and text.
One of the differences with the Motorola SLVR is that the connection for charging and the headset and for syncing data to your computer via cable all use the same connector – mini-USB. This is different from the ROKR. One advantage is that while you are syncing music or contacts to your phone via cable, the phone is also charging. Cingular includes an adapter to connect a pair of standard headphones to the mini-USB connector.
Cingular includes a combined stereo headset with mic for listening to music and answering calls on the go. I tested the functionality and it seemed to work perfectly. When receiving a call to the phone, the music pauses and you are able to take the call, then once the call has ended, pressing play resumes the music. The sound quality in the new SLVR is also much better. The speakerphone audio quality is great, as well as the Bluetooth headset audio quality.
The Bluetooth works well, I had no problems making a connection to a Bluetooth headset or using Bluetooth to sync contacts to my Mac. I also successfully used the included cable to transfer contacts to my computer.
Motorola has eliminated the vibe lights that were in the ROKR – a feature I enjoyed. The SLVR does not react to its environment with pulsating color, but the battery life is tremendous. With such an elegant brushed metal exterior, I would expect that the SLVR is more sophisticated that the white painted plastic of the original model.
The Motorola SLVR L7 is available from Cingular for US$199.

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