Alas, Poor RAZR, I Knew You Well

Yetro is something so unfashionable it has yet to be retro—and probably will never be. Example: my RAZR. I've had it for almost three years now. I hate it. Actually, hate is too strong a word. I pity it. My mobile phone with its nauseous blue-painted interface, its ability to change its ring tone to the Motorola theme whenever it feels like it, and its battery, which now gives me about five minutes' talk time before it bleeps like a demented synthetic chicken. In the video above, Jesus and I "reenact" a more joyful time, its original unboxing three long years ago. Today, I'm thinking I should bite the bullet and retire the old boiler. Is the utter demise of the RAZR finally nigh at hand? Not for Gizmodo readers who obviously have moved on long ago, but for trailing edge late adopters too?

In nine years, I've gone through five mobiles. A Nokia brick my dad gave me (left in the back of a taxi), an Ericsson flip T28 (the flip eventually flopped), an Ericsson T68 (honestly, the best phone ever, lasted three years), a cheapo, tiny Panasonic I picked up at Dubai airport for 50 bucks, and the RAZR.

Perhaps its because, as phones have become more sophisticated, they have become more fallible. The RAZR promised so much—and I'm not talking about bumping into Beckham at the supermarket checkout here—and failed to deliver.

As my first cameraphone, it made pictures that looked like something I drew on Etch-a-Sketch a couple of decades ago, but I can live with that. What I can't live with is the sluggy interface. Or the buttons that don't work, with their eerie backlight that just shows up all the hideous detritus that my phone has picked up from being chucked into the black hole-esque dustbin that is my bag. Or the seemingly random volume control. I can't see a thing on the screen when the sun is shining. And I have room for just 13 incoming SMS messages at any one time before I have to start deleting them.


So, let's talk about the good times with my RAZR. *tumbleweed blows across the page* I was pissed off the day I bought it because the shop didn't even have the black one I wanted. I'd liked the look of that when it came out, but by the time my Panasonic gave up the ghost, all that was available was silver. Why did I go through with it? It was small enough to fit into my pockets without making me look like a ladyboy, and I'd heard good things about Motorola from other friends. They're not my friends any more.

I asked myself what I liked about it, and there was one thing: the wallpaper is a picture of Jesus taken the day after he asked me to marry him, and I'll be sad to see that go. But the quality is so shite—honestly, I'd have got better results from a pinhole camera—I know that it won't travel. Plus, for some reason, I can't send photos via SMS.

I can't even lose it, like older more beloved phones. I left the RAZR in a club a couple of months ago, and I'd made it halfway down the block when some guy came running up behind me. "You left this on the bar," he wheezed. (Everyone in Spain smokes, and I'm a fast walker.) As he palmed the RAZR back into my hand, I could swear there was a look of pity on his face.

In truth, this isn't about the RAZR, but what comes after. I bleeding know it's time for a new phone, but which? No prizes for guessing which one Jesus wants me to get. But even when the 3G model of the iPhone eventually deigns to park its arse at an Apple Store near me, I am still digging my heels in over certain issues—internal memory too small, eminently crackable screen for my klutziness, a rather larger size than a closed RAZR, etc etc. I also know that the largest-capacity 3G iPhone would be molto 'spensivo, and I don't know whether I really want to spunk that much on a phone. Pathetic, isn't it?


So here I am, willing but unable to put the RAZR out of its misery. Until it breathes its last, when the ringtone that sounds like J-Lo bellydancing sputters to a halt, as the little screen with the M logo fades to gray, when the buttons lie dull and unresponsive beneath my desperate fingers, that will be the time to replace it. Got any recommendations?

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I've actually had pretty decent luck with cell phones over the years, and I'm only on my fourth one now that I've had since I got one about ten years ago. My previous phones (all on Sprint):

-An old Samsung (I'm thinking it was an SCH-5900, but I can't be sure) that I used for something like five years with no problems before I retired it. It was a fairly high-end phone when I bought it, and it was one of the first WAP capable phones in the US market, if I recall correctly.

-A Samsung VGA1000, which had a camera, but it was a serious pain to use. I ended up losing it about two weeks before the two year agreement expired, and replaced it with

-A Sprint PPC-6700, which I have used for a little over two years. Battery life was never all that great, but since I've been a diehard Windows Mobile user since I got my first Axim X5 (still in use) it was a logical next step. The camera on this one got extensive use for my Blog. This just got retired in favor of my current phone:

-HTC Mogul: I got a great deal on a slightly used one of these, and in almost every way possible this is an upgrade over the 6700, with better battery life, built in GPS, more memory and EVDO Revision A in the latest firmware. About the only thing it doesn't do better is take pictures, since the camera on the Mogul is not so great, but I'm just going to switch to a compact point-and-shoot camera for most of my day-to-day picture taking anyway, so it's not a big deal.

During that time, I also spent a month conducting a product trial on a pre-release Treo 700wx for Sprint, and quite liked that at the time, but Treos tend to be an acquired taste though, so YMMV.