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Motorola SLVR L7


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 handsets.

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.


Motorola SLVR L7 FrontExpanding 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 space available.

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.

Basic Features

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.

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