VZW's MOTORAZR² V9m: 2 Wrongs Don't Make A Right
Fresh from over 2 years very pleasant experience and satisfaction with my MOTORAZR V3, it's taken just 2 months to be thoroughly disgusted with my choice in its replacement; the MOTORAZRÂ² V9m from Verizon Wireless.
A combination of issues, part phone, part service provider; and together they're a real disappointment. First, the phone itself:
Primarily, the V9m surpasses the original RAZR V3 in just 2 areas: bigger display screens and a bigger price tag. Slightly shaving down the already slim profile, the V9m is also minus that "just enough" undercut on the flip that allowed it to be opened with one hand, the thumb neatly slipping in to raise the display; it can still be done but not without some added dexterity and conscious effort. And while the external smart keys have now been made flush, I find myself activating them all too easily in trying to open the phone or in conflict with each other. The new micro USB charging/connection port has been neatly concealed ....behind a small cover on an awkwardly designed plastic tether that's not likely to survive long considering it must be opened frequently for battery charging, PC and headset connections.
While the external display face does sport a more rugged covering with a chemically treated glass window, the glass and the entire shell can be seen as nothing short of a giant fingerprint magnet. No matter how clean your hands, you'll be polishing the V9m every time it's touched if you don't care for the "greasy stove-top" look.
And then there's the extended memory feature. The V9m's memory can be increased by up to 4GB with a microSD card, giving you extra, flexible space for your music, video clips, etc. Nice, yes? In theory maybe, but you'll soon think otherwise after a few times of removing/replacing the battery each time you need to retrieve the SD card to load files from your computer. Not only is this inconvenient, I've had continued problems with the phone recognizing the SD card properly; requiring the card to be removed/replaced over and over before its seen, and of course each time also means in & out with the battery... and this has been the case with TWO V9m's- returning the first one only to find the replacement also has the same problem. In reporting this 2nd occurrence, I'm now informed that the recognition problem is a software issue, which Motorola is now working to correct.
The Verizon User Interface tops off my disappointment in the V9m by its handicapping to the versatility and function that I had in my V3 (ATT/Cingular), and know the V9m is also capable of. Personalization of key functions is near non-existent by comparison, allowing the user to set only the four points on the main navigation key, and then only from a limited set of selections.
The ample LCD displays are wasted in terms of text, being denied the ability to change the size of text display. Numbers as they are being dialed are large & bold, but incoming Caller ID and text messages are all far too small/fine where no size option is offered.
Menu structure is, well....unstructured and random. Erase/Erase All functions are not in the same location from one menu to the next, i.e. Erase is submenu option #3 in Recent Calls, but in Messages it's the left soft key. Features such as Alarm Clock, Calendar, and Calculator are only made readily accessible by setting on the navigation key. Your Contacts, the names/numbers in your "address book" cannot be set on the navigation key; they are fixed on the right soft key.
If you take too long to finish an entry or make a choice and the display goes dark, lookout; pressing anything other than a volume key won't just re-light the screen, it will also act upon it.
For some strange reason you are only allowed to create 3 alarm clock settings, period, whether active or not, and you must go to a submenu if you want to see a different month of your calendar without scrolling day by day.
Where I previously would receive a tone notifying me of a new email, I find at Verizon this comes in the form of a text message....tacking on 15Â¢ a pop if you don't have a text package.
If you're already a user of the Motorola Phone Tools software, be prepared to do some really creative restructuring if you want to have use of all MPT functions on a Verizon phone; Verizon would much prefer you get all your ringtones and music from their Get It Now service and attempts to curtail your doing otherwise. When I first ran into this issue and brought it up to a VZW representative, I was told "This is Verizon's phone, therefor I should be using Verizon's tools, not Motorola's." Excuse me???? No. This is MY phone, paid for outright and in full. It was MANUFACTURED by Motorola, and MARKETED by Verizon, but it is MY property and you do not have the right to limit where the content I choose to put on it comes from when it does not pertain to the safety and function of the service you provide.
My feeling overall is Motorola has made a grave mistake in agreeing to provide the V9m under Verizon's outline, and should have insisted the phone retain more of the features/flexibility that brought it here in the first place. As it is, it makes Motorola look bad. And Verizon should wake up and realize that cramping the versatility of the V9m only means less features they could market the phone with and draw in consumers. As for myself, it's going to take an improved showing of performance by Verizon in the near future to prevent my buying out the contract and moving on.