Motorola RAZR V3i Review / Complaint List

Another Unrequested Service, Courtesy of..

DaveSource Consulting //


I went to great expense and difficulty to obtain an early Motorola RAZR V3i before it was available in the USA. It seemed like the "final" phone, the perfect solution that I was looking for at the time. The V3i was similar to the RAZR V3, but with a better camera, microSD storage and supposedly with "iTunes" software. It also has a swanky blue lit "M" on the case.

The V3x is similar, slightly bigger and with a 2M camera and 240x320 display.

Sadly, the V3i didn't live up to expectations. It had so much potential, and it fell short, mostly because of poor software. It's clear that the V3i software is just the V3 software with some crappy MP3 player slapped on (paying off Apple for the "iTunes" label). And furthermore, the V3 software is just some update of some generic Motorola phone software, probably originally developed when cell phones weighed 30 pounds and ran on kerosene.

It's still a nifty phone, it's just frustrating to use in many instances, and people often ask me *why* I find my V3i not so perfect and I tell them the list is too long to enumerate.

I realized that with enough determination that wouldn't be true, and to demonstrate, I shall hereby enumerate the failings of the RAZR V3i. Perhaps this venting will help me emotionally heal enough to come to terms with using this completely handicapped phone.


The hardware is pretty nice and fairly sleek and metallic. Disregarding the weird battery cover closure (see the manual :), the only serious complaint I have about the hardware is that it doesn't have a headphone jack. Seriously, this thing is supposed to be an iTunes device, but the only way I can plug it in to headphones or a stereo is if I order the Motorola OEM USB adapter (which is $20 and very noisy when the phone isn't plugged in) and carry this around with me? I'll gladly take an extra 2 or 3 mm or length to fit a plug on there. And btw, don't bother with the cheap USB->headphone adapters on ebay, they don't work (at least on my V3i).

But that's the only hardware issue - the rest is all software, and should be patchable!


This thing doesn't work on Macintosh. Seriously?! After some hand tweaking of your iSync XML settings and some magical incantations, you can get it to work in iSync over USB. Allegedly it might work over Bluetooth, but I haven't seen it. And forget about using your phone as a modem. No plain Macintosh connectivity. Is that a joke?

In fact, remember how it has "iTunes" software? It doesn't connect to iTunes on a Macintosh. It's like Motorola is playing a big joke on us.

Update: Bluetooth finally syncs with OSX 10.4.7

General Interface

When you have a device that is so input limited (28 input keys) then you want to make sure you utilize as much of the input keys as consistently as possible, and require as few keystrokes as possible.

Unfortunately, nobody mentioned this to Motorola.


Supposedly the RAZR V3i has "iTunes" software. Evidently, if I pay Apple enough money, I could add a memory stick reader to a bucket of lard and slap the "iTunes" label on it.

The mp3 player on the RAZR V3i looks nothing like iTunes and is, frankly, awful.

Hence, for the rest of this article I will hereby refer to the player as "xTunes" instead of "iTunes," since "xTunes" sounds mysterious, and the interface to "xTunes" is exactly that.

Selection Issues

Whenever you need to select from a potentially large list of data (such as ringers, songs, videos, phonebook, etc..) it should be as easy and quick as possible. Apart from the clunky but useful "categorize" feature, Motorola doesn't care about your ability to pick a new ringer from a list of 100.


The Java isn't bad though it has some issues:

Profiles ("Ring Styles")



The phone has a media section for images, sounds and video. The builtin player isn't great.


The builtin browser is a flaming piece of crap. I won't say anything more about it except to recommend getting Opera Mini (though Opera could stand to improve some of it's interface/setting shortcomings as well).

And while we're at it, why can't I redefine that browser button? Right now I have one key out of my limited set of keys that I never use. It would be dandy if I could launch Opera with that.


Voice Records


And yes, I realize that many of these problems can be hacked.

For more info, see: