Four of the Five RAZR2s Reviewed (Verdict: What a Difference a Carrier Makes)

Sascha Segan at PC Mag just worked his way through testing the AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Alltel RAZR2 models. Though all RAZR2s have similar specs—"luxurious metal-and-glass design," 240-MHz processor, roughly 100 MB of memory, a 2-megapixel camera and "the biggest, most beautiful external screen you've ever seen on a flip phone"—each carrier treated this differently. We gave you a nice run-down of feature differences, but here's how the actual user experience differs from carrier to carrier:


• Best call quality thanks to CrystalTalk active sound-quality management during calls
• Best web experience because of Opera browser
• Free built-in e-mail
• Worst battery life
• No video sharing
• No Napster/Yahoo! DRM music
• A dedicated button for Cellular Video, a VOD service that "absolutely no one uses"

Sprint V9m
• Obigo HTML web browser works well
• Can view video on external screen
• Start camera from external screen
• No e-mail option

Verizon V9m
• Start camera from external screen
• Very good sound
• Best for basic Windows Media users
• WAP browsing (which sucks)
• E-mail for extra pay

Alltel V9m
• View text messages on external screen
• Best for experts and iTunes lovers
• WAP browsing (which sucks)
• No e-mail option


T-Mobile V8 (which Segan did not review)
• Linux-based OS
• CrystalTalk active sound-quality management during calls

Bottom line: All this variation represents carrier control, not freedom of choice. Says Segan: "We're stuck with the mediocre choices picked by our carrier overlords for us—and if you want something different, no soup for you!" I hate to say I told you so, but I freakin' told you so.
[PC Mag summary and individual reviews of each carrier's RAZR2]


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