Two years ago top designers at Motorola began
a secret project - to develop a phone the size of a credit card
featuring all the latest multimedia features including a camera,
video recorder, and MP3 player.
After months of refinement it was released last
November accompanied by a furious barrage of ad campaigns;
outperforming Motorola's initial sales estimate of 750,000
units. Two months later and over 2 million RAZRs sold, Motorola
had wasted little time designing the next family of RAZR-like
This fall, the SLVR L7
(Pronounced Sliver, not Silver) hits the market, a block form
factor phone with similar RAZR-thin characteristics. Hoping to
achieve the same golden touch it did with the RAZR, Motorola
gives an alternative to clamshell-averse consumers.
on the RAZR-thin popularity, Motorola designed the SLVR at a
remarkable 114 x 49 x 11.5 mm in size. Narrower than the size of
a credit card (86 x 54 mm), albeit 50% taller, the SLVR is even
slimmer than the revolutionary RAZR's 13.9 mm profile.
Functionally, due to its thinness, an all
plastic casing would have been too fragile. Therefore a hybrid
glass-filled body was created for stability and rigidity;
durable enough to withstand everyday wear and tear and the
occasional bump or drop.
Featured on the front, a 262K-color LCD screen
displayed images at up 176 x 220 px in resolution. A 5-way
navigational keypad is surrounded by Menu, Send, Power / End,
and Left and Right soft keys. While the numeric keypad allows
for iTAP predictive text messaging.
Due to the design of the SLVR, conventional
raised keys could not have been used since it would have
increased the thickness significantly. To bypass this, Motorola
instead covered a keypad in nickel-plated copper-alloy,
chemically-etching numbers and symbols into an
electro-luminescent strip and finishing it off with a metallic
spun finish. The result, an innovative wafer-thin keypad that
illuminates a light glow in the dark.
Turned around, the back contains the lens to
the 0.3-megapixel VGA camera. Although the lens is always
exposed, Motorola has used hardened glass instead of a lens
cover to avoid any scratches that may occur.
Created for the image conscious consumer, the
Motorola SLVR also features chrome-plated Volume and Voice Keys
along the left and right sides. Along the right a mini-USB
connection is included, doubling as the charging port when an
adaptor plug is attached. Located below, a TransFlash memory
card slot provides expandable storage up to 512 MB in size.
Activating the built-in camera converts the
LCD into a camera viewfinder, with the lower portion of the
screen displaying available memory and user settings. Featuring
a 0.3-megapixel camera, the SLVR's built-in camera is rather
disappointing. Being similar to the RAZR's camera, released last
year, other camera-phones have progressed beyond 1-megapixel to
2-megapixels and above.
Capturing photos at up to 640 x 480 px in
resolution, consumers shouldn't expect to use the SLVR as a
replacement for a digital camera. But it still works as novelty
item for taking photos of impromptu moments.
Photo quality can also be adjusted between QQVGA
(160 x 120 px) and QVGA (320 x 240 px) resolutions, however
consumers will probably opt for VGA since approximate image file
sizes are 50 KB for VGA, 16K for QVGA, and 3 KB for QQVGA;
virtually insignificant when compared to the 5.0 MB of storage
Using the directional keypad, users can
control the 4X digital zoom (Up / Down) or adjust brightness
levels (Left / Right). While, not providing true zooming
capabilities as optical zoom would, like all camera phones, the
SLVR merely enlarges by increasing picture size much like
editing images on a PC.
Bundled with additional camera settings and
effects, features include Effects (Color, Black and White,
Antique, and Negative), Contrast Adjustments, and Self-Timer.
And for times when photos just won't do, the SLVR also supports
MPEG-4, H.263, and AMR Audio formats; recording and playing back
up to 30 seconds video at sizes of Sub-QCIF 1 (88 x 72 px), Sub-QCIF
2 (128 x 96 px), and Full QCIF (176 x 144 px) resolutions.
Being released for Cingular Wireless, the
Motorola SLVR L7 is built on a quad-band GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 /
1900 network, allowing it to be compatible in GSM networks in
most North American, European, and Asian GSM markets, provided
the phone unlocked.
Motorola rated the SLVR's 820 mAh Li-Ion
battery at an impressive 6.33 hours and 420 hours of talk and
standby times respectively. However, those are under optimal
conditions. When manufacturers and carriers list talk and
standby times, they usually include disclaimers about variable
performance and often refer to the times they publish as maximum
times. Actual talk and standby times are lower.