"RAZR2 V8: Page 2/2"
On the highlights, we found the Bluetooth 2.0 performance. It maxed out in file transfer at 95 KB/sec, it worked great with two A2DP music headphones we had around, plus a mono voice headset. Speaking about audio, the included headset is one of the best we've seen included with cellphones. I have smaller ears than most people so I have difficulty using earphones, but V8's fitted fine -- for the most part. Audio quality was top notch, while voice was good too: the headset has a answer/hangup big button too just like in the iPhone.
The 2MP camera is one of the better ones we've seen on phones, albeit without flash (sample pictures here
). It has a night mode, but even without it, it performs well on low-light. A funny thing was that on the first ever boot of the phone, it would refuse
to snap a picture for us, but after a reboot it never exhibited the same problem again. A cool feature is that if you open the camera application and then close the phone, you will see yourself via the camera in the external screen, like a mirror (although you unfortunately can't snap a picture or video in this mode). The phone won't zoom-in when on 2MP mode, but it will zoom-in up to 4x when on video or VGA/QVGA picture mode. The only bummer is, the phone is not capable of recording video in QVGA format, but instead only in QCIF one (176x144). More over, it will refuse to playback 30fps QVGA mp4 files, as it already drops frames with 15fps ones. Video performance was always very poor on Motorola's Linux phones, either when they used to come with RealPlayer, or their current video player. The music portion of the phone offered us a better experience with MP3 and WMA, and especially with its external screen support.
Now, regarding the actual software: the phone is running on the MotoMAGX platform instead of their previous one called EZX. While EZX used exclusively a 2.4.2x kernel, the V8 uses a 2.6.10 one. When the native SDK will be released next year, there is a good chance that this phone will be supported. Problem is, you will have to wait a whole year before -- and if-- you get any native applications to install in it. Until then you can only install Java applications and so this phone must be called a "feature phone" rather than a true "smartphone" as of yet.
While under the hood the MotoMAGX platform has changed significantly over the EZX, the actual user experience hasn't, compared to the previous non-touchscreen Linux devices from Motorola (e.g. the Z6 or the ROKR E2). I still have the exact same problems as I had last year, and the year before that: the inaccurate battery reading, the artificial inability to boot without a SIM, the 12 clicks you need in order to turn ON/OFF Bluetooth, the low video playback performance, its inability to both vibrate and ring at the same time (this feature is actually implemented in the software, but was again artificially removed as Motorola for some reason usually does for most of its phones) and more. The only application that seems to be somewhat rewritten is the camera app.
One funny bug we noticed is that when you boot the phone, the "Options" menu in the front-screen is normal and your modified user settings have *not* loaded correctly by the phone, but if you then close the phone and the external display's configuration data is loaded, and then you re-open the phone, your user settings are now active and the "Options" menu has now reloaded with new data (we know that because there is a typo in the second set). Finally, it is not yet a good phone to hack on with Linux, and it probably will never be as the rumor at LinuxWorld Expo had it that the API prohibits full access to the system (the native Linux apps will be somewhat restricted, just like Java apps are).
The way I see the user interface of MotoMAGX is that is lacking compared to the usability of Symbian S60. There is no copy/paste, the UI feels disconnected and not well-thought. To be honest, I think that older Motorola users who used the old Moto OS, will absolutely love the new Linux UI. Why? Because it is a definitive upgrade for them! It's so much better than the old OS. But users who are already on Symbian S60 or on a touchscreen-based smartphone, they won't be easily lured away no matter the good hardware looks of the V8.
Overall, this is a great upgrade for existing Motorola users, or for users who want a sleek-looking phone. Its industrial design makes justice to carry the name "RAZR", and the software is a step-up from the previous RAZR offerings. However, while this is one big step for Motorola as they announced that 60% of their phones will be Linux-based in the future, they still need to make more steps (and quickly) to properly compete with Nokia and the other smartphone players in that market. Get it at PureMobile
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