After the Motorola Razr made its debut and found fame in almost every carrier's lineup, Sprint remained the lone holdout. As competitors capitalized on the Razr mania, Sprint struck its own path by introducing Razr alternatives such as the equally slim (and better) Samsung MM-A900. But now it appears Sprint's Samsung loyalty hasn't been great for business; analysts recently attributed a bad 2006 to the carrier's Razr phobia. So a full two years after Moto launched its trendsetting handset, Sprint now offers the Motorola Razr in gray and in a special-edition red version. Sprint's V3m is largely similar to its Verizon Wireless counterpart, save for a few look-and-feel differences. At full price, it's a wallet-stretching $289, but you should be able to get it for as low as $89 with service.
From the exterior, the Sprint Razr V3m is nearly identical to Verizon's Razr V3m and to previous incarnations of the phone. It has the thin profile that sparked a cell phone design revolution but also the same boxy appearance when viewed from the front. Of course, Razr devotees will know that at 3.9x2.1x0.6 inches and 3.5 ounces it shares the same dimensions as the Razr V3c, which makes it marginally larger and heavier than the original Razr V3. The other exterior features are unchanged form the Verizon model as well. You get the same 65,000-color external display with the camera lens just above. The camera shortcut sits on the right spine, while the voice recording button and the volume rocker sit on the right spine. We're still not in love with the placement of these controls on the front flap instead of the rear, but we're used to it by now.
Inside the phone is the familiar 2.25-inch internal display. We still can't understand why the Razr V3m and the Razr V3c use a 65,000-color display (the Razr V3's screen shows 262,000 colors), but it's perfectly serviceable for viewing most features. In a welcome move, Sprint ditched Moto's stodgy menu interface in favor on its own design that is becoming somewhat standard on most of its handsets. The animated icons are much more appealing than Moto's menu design and light years beyond Verizon's tedious interface. And in another change, the Sprint yellow is all over the phone. On the downside, only the screen's backlighting time is changeable.
Unfortunately, Sprint's Razr V3m inherits the Verizon phone's awkward placement of the Micro SD card slot. You have to remove both the battery cover and the battery to pry it out, and even then, you'd better ready your fingernails. We realize there aren't a lot of places you can stash a memory card slot on a thin phone like the Razr, but surely Moto could have done better.
The navigation array shows a few changes from the Verizon Razr V3m. Instead of a dedicated camera shutter control on the left side of the four-way toggle, Sprint chose to feature a dedicated speakerphone button instead. It's a nice change, as you can still use the spine-mounted camera button when the phone is open. Also, the button to the right of the toggle is labeled Back rather than Clear. Both controls do just about the same thing. Otherwise, the overall design and functionality of the toggle, soft keys, and keypad buttons is unchanged. It's worth saying again that we like the increased texture the V3m has between the individual rows of buttons.
The Sprint V3m's feature set is slightly different. There's a 1,000-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, a Web address, and notes. You can save contacts to groups and pair them with a photo and one of 20 (73-chord) polyphonic ring tones. Other features include a vibrate mode, voice dialing and commands, text and multimedia messaging, a voice recorder, a calendar, an alarm clock, a calculator, and a world clock. There's no notepad (at least on our review phone), but that's not a huge deal. As for high-end offerings, there's the aforementioned speakerphone, e-mail, PC syncing, and USB cable support.