Just because you may be tired of the Razr, that doesn't mean Motorola is bored of it as well. In fact, Moto has done all it can to capitalize on the success of its famous thin phone by introducing a gallery of new versions for almost every niche. The latest model to fall into our hands, the GSM Razr V3x, made its worldwide debut more than a year ago but never made a formal entry into the U.S. market. And that's a sad thing, as the V3x is the most satisfying Razr we've seen to date, with a several feature and design improvements. The 3G Razr V3x supports only the UMTS band used in Europe, but if that's not an issue, you can get an unlocked model in the States for around $250. A final word of warning though: you may not want to get too excited, as the HSDPA Razr V3xx will be out soon for Cingular Wireless. Razr enthusiasts will notice immediately that the Motorola Razr V3x looks a bit different than the original Razr V3. Though it's also available in a selection of colors (black, silver, pumpkin, pink, and blue) the V3x has a camera flash, a larger hinge, and a slightly more appealing look. We're not sure why we like the design better, but it did catch our eye just the same. At 3.9 x 2.1 x 0.8 inches, it's also a tad taller and wider than its predecessor (3.8 by 2.0 by 0.5 inches), and it weighs a full ounce more (4.4 ounces). Though thin-phone purists may shun the fatter profile, we didn't mind it at all, as the extra girth makes for a much more solid feel in the hand. We also like the rubberized covering on the front and rear face.
The postage-stamp external display is the same size as the Razr V3's, but with a 65,000-color resolution, it's more in line with the Razr V3i's. The display shows the date, the time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID. It goes almost completely dark when the backlighting is off, but a flick of one of the side-mounted controls will activate it again. Alternatively, you can change the backlighting time for a longer shine. Just above the display is the 2.0-megaixel camera's lens in its usual location, but this time Motorola included a flash, a feature that's sadly absent from the other Razr models. Completing the exterior is an arc-shaped LED on the bottom of the front flap that flashes when you receive a call.
Shortcuts for the camera and the voice dialing feature sit on the right spine, while a volume rocker and the Motorola "smart" key are placed on the left. All the side-mounted keys are easy to use, but be advised they can be pressed accidentally while the phone is in a pocket or a bag. Also on the left spine is the mini USB port, standard on all Razrs, which serves both as a data connection point and the charging jack. The MicroSD slot is located somewhat inconveniently behind the battery cover, but we like that you don't have to remove the battery itself as well. Just below the battery cover on the bottom of the rear face is the V3x's exterior speaker.
The internal display shows a solid 262,000 colors and measures 2.2 inches (240x320 pixels). Though some colors appeared a tad washed out, the display did a great job overall of showing photos, graphics, and games. On the other hand, Motorola's outdated menu interface continues to wear a bit thin. You can change the backlighting time and the brightness, but not the font size. Look below the display and you'll discover why the V3x has such an oversize hinge: Situated almost in its center is a second digital camera. Since it's used for video calling, the camera is only VGA, but that shouldn't be a problem. There's also a small macro switch for taking close-up shots using the main camera on the V3x's front face.
As with the more recent Razr models, the Razr V3x has a refined keypad that's easier to use than that of the Razr V3. Though the dialpad resembles one large touch pad, tactile ridges between the individual number keys make it easier to dial by feel. The keys also have bright backlighting for dialing in the dark. The ridges also surround the navigation array which consist of a four-way toggle with a central Menu/OK button, two soft keys, a clear/back button, Talk and End/power keys, and dedicated shortcuts for the Web browser and video-calling functions. And speaking of shortcuts, you can program the toggle to give one-touch access to four user-defined functions. The Motorola Razr V3x offers a powerful feature set that outstrips Verizon's 3G Razrs, including the V3c and the V3m. But before we address the flashy extras, we'll tell you the basics first. The V3x has a 1,000-contact phone book with room in each entry for six phone numbers, three e-mail addresses, three Web addresses, three street addresses, a birthday, a nickname, and notes. You can save callers to groups and pair them with a photo or one of 30 polyphonic ring tones. You also can save a special number for video calls, but keep in mind that feature will work only when you have access to a compatible UMTS network. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calculator, and a date book.