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(Pocket-lint) - With the RAZR now getting on a bit, Motorola is hoping that the equally named KRZR (pronounced "krazer") will offer a Motorola alternative to the glut of fashion phones hitting the market, but has Moto got what it takes to win the battle? We get phoning to find out.

While we don't normally go to great extent to describe the unboxing of the product here on Pocket-lint, it's something that we are becoming more and more aware that manufacturers are spending more and more time on. First there was LG scenting the LG Chocolate phone boxes with, that's right, chocolate and now Motorola has attempted to jazz things up with a funky piece of box design.

Here Motorola has devised a sliding box that resembles a ladies jewellery box and rather than battle your way through recycled cardboard or an impossible to crack plastic shell the sliding mechanism is likely to get plenty of ooohs in the office (sad I know).

Small, compact and very shiny, from the outside the MOTOKRZR impressed everyone we showed it to. People liked the reflective front similar to the Z610 from Sony Ericsson and the fact the 2 megapixel camera with its 8x digital zoom was hidden discreetly under its shell rather than a massive bulbous attachment on the side.

Build quality is good with a weighty solid feel and unlike the Z610 the MOTOKRZR comes across as a complete product rather than one that is purely focused on the front with little care for the back.

Open the slimline clamshell up and the Motorola fans will be in familiar territory with the iconic flat RAZR metal keys that glow from behind and a rather small screen above them. The base, which is raised in a similar way to the Samsung SGH-D900 clamshell houses the phone's speakers and unlike the D900 doesn't get in the way of the keypad.

Sounds perfect doesn’t it? And then you start using the phone and the Moto interface seems to let it all down again. While some effort has been put into improving the interface, Motorola still have a long way to get to reach the usability of Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung.

Graphics look like something seen on the Windows 3.1 operating system back in the early-90s before Windows 95 and there is no real dedicated music or camera buttons, so you are left fumbling around the menu system trying to find them. In fact we only eventually found them by wrongly pressing the d-pad.

At least Motorola has updated the camera to 2 megapixels over the previous outing's poor VGA offering and the KRZR can take memory support up to 1GB, although you have to remove the casing to access it.


If you are looking for a phone that is just that, then like the RAZR this will fit the bill nicely. The 2 megapixel camera will easily offer most snappers decent enough pictures on the move and the inclusion of an MP3 player (including Stereo Bluetooth to share your music with devices like the Parrot Sound System speakers) is good enough if you don't want to carry around a separate player with you any more.

On the downside, the interface is a bit rudimentary compared to others from competing manufacturers, but by no means impossible to use.

When the RAZR was launched 2 years ago, it was at the cutting edge of design and turned around the fortunes of Motorola. Two years on and Motorola has become stuck on a design that is starting to look like just another variant on the RAZR.

A safe upgrade from the RAZR this is, a radical departure forging new ground, it isn't.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 31 October 2006.