Review: Motorola SLVR Apple iTunes mobile phone ‘an incredibly slick gadget with some shortcomings’

“On the heels of creating the first revolution in cell phone design in years, Motorola has finally released a follow-up to the 10-million-selling RAZR. Its new non-flipping cousin shares the thin profile, the laser-etched keypad, and the silly four-letter vowel-deficient naming scheme: meet the SLVR,” Jim Puls writes for The Tartan Online. “Marketed in the U.S. with Apple’s iTunes music player as the SLVR L7, the phone is an exclusive with Cingular Wireless and can be had for the price of $200 plus a two-year contract. I took the plunge and bought one…”

“While its looks may be enough to satisfy most fashion-conscious users, the brains inside the phone are where it really begins to shine. In addition to all of the standard features you’ll find on any phone, you can sync up to 100 songs between the iTunes library on your computer with the phone. The limit, imposed regardless of how much free space there is on the phone, makes sense: Apple isn’t about to encourage people to replace their iPods with one of these phones,” Puls writes. “For an incredibly slick gadget, though, there are some shortcomings. First and foremost is the ridiculously slow speed of music transfers. The phone uses USB 1.1, a standard at least five years out of date, and it’s limited to 12 megabits per second. Transferring 100 songs — an already small number by most standards — takes nearly an hour, compared to two to three minutes on a real iPod… A second shortcoming is the lack of integration between the iTunes player on the phone and the rest of the phone’s software. iTunes is, very literally, an add-on program to this phone.”

“People who want a nice phone that can secondly play small amounts of music, however, will find it hard to go wrong with the SLVR L7. This phone, despite its shortcomings, adds very nice functionality to an almost unbeatable physical form,” Puls writes.

More in the full article here.

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17 Comments

  1. If this phone had a decent (ie. 2MP) camera, and was 3G/EDGE/GPRS then I’d buy one in an instant. In their time-honoured way, Motorola have critically crippled the phone by going light on the features. 100 songs I am perfectly happy with; a crap camera and lousy connectivity I am not.

  2. I know people take pictures with their phones. I’ve seen them do it. But does anyone actually save those? Or use them more than a day or two after they took them?

    I know it’s just me, but I don’t get the whole phone-camera thing.

    Agreed, back on topic, that USB 1.1 is inadequate on any device that actually depends on significant data transfer. It’s okay for mice, not for music.

  3. It looks better and is thinner than the ROKR.

    Other than that, how is it any better?

    I find it weird that there’s been a much better reception of this phone over the ROKR. I have the ROKR and my top complaints are:
    1) USB 1.1
    2) Crappy camera
    3) Can’t use regular headphones without an adapter. Also since the phone detects when headphones are plugged in, the device won’t work at all with another device that detects when it’s receiving audio (I have portable speakers that do this).
    4) It’s not podcast aware.

    The 100 song limit really isn’t an issue compared to those above.

    I’ve seen the SLVR and I don’t like the keypad, the positioning of the camera lens, the lack of camera flash or mirror. Also, the built-in speakers don’t seem as robust.

    Apple, come on, please, release your own phone.

  4. I would get the phone/camera thing, if, and only if, Verizon didn’t feel it was worth charging me for the privilege. As it stands that feature sits on my phone unused until the day I need a camera in an emergency. I have a real camera for other occassions. That’s a barely worthwhile feature for the money.

    I like flip phones, my pockets shred other phones.

    USB 1.x is just plain stupid.

    And I will never switch to Cingular. I like my phone service to work.

  5. It takes nearly an hour to load 100 songs on this phone? Why? I have a 2G Nano and I can load the whole thing from scratch in about 15 minutes and my Mac only has USB 1.0.

  6. The phone looks great but I will not buy a phone because of iTunes. Unless it’s a full iPod and phone together. Motorola should just focus on making great phones and leave the iTunes to Apple. However, Apple could make a phone and it would with no dought be the best phone on the market. But it’s just not going to happen. Get a phone but then get an iPod shuffle or nano for size.

  7. Motorola should release a version of this phone without…
    • music player
    • camera

    Use the extra space for a BIGGER battery.

    I don’t know about other people, but I prefer to use devices that do things WELL. All the superfluous add-ons that this phone has seem to do NOTHING really well.

    If I want to listen to music or podcasts, I’ll carry an iPod.
    If I want to take pictures, I’ll carry one of my cameras.
    If I want to yack on the phone, I’ll use… a PHONE!

    Whatever happened to just a decent phone!?!?!

  8. I’d like to be wrong, but I don’t see Apple getting into the phone business. It’s one thing to get there first and set the standard, and really commit to the development of a successful product line. It’s something else entirely to enter a bloated market like the cell phone business (how many hundreds of models are currently out there? or thousands, even), and be able to support it, develop it, and have it be successful. Especially when that market has already become so perverted by marketing attempts as to be ludicrous (camera, game player, ringtones, etc.).

    Apple won’t be able to compete with this industry, and would be foolish to try. I just WISH (MDN Word) they’d announce that they aren’t interested, so I don’t keep waiting for them.

  9. The SLVR sucks.

    Sony Ericsson makes the most Apple-friendly phones, hands-down and the W600 is the best phone out there for Cingular-Apple users. Third-part apps and scripts allow for ITunes integration with the Sony phones. Motorola sucks.

  10. Grrrilla – I’m with you regarding your confusion about the practicality of having a camera built in to one’s phone. Having a good speakerphone is much more practical for me.

    I’d like to expand on your question, do people use the cameras built-in to their phones?

    Most phone manufactures are putting cameras into their latest and greatest models. Unfortunately for me, my place of employment (which does a lot of work for the US Government) bans cell phones with cameras. Cell phones without cameras are allowed. This relegates me and my fellow employees to the lower-end models (that is if we want to take a cell phone to work).

    Based upon all the posts asking for better built-in cameras, my guess is that my place of employment is rather unique with it’s ban of cell phones with cameras.

    Thanks.

    Peace.

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