Motorola Slvr L7
At a Glance
Motorola Slvr L7
The skinny cousin of the Razr imports and plays your iTunes tracks, but the syncing process is laborious.
There's a lot to like about Motorola's Slvr L7, the company's latest cell-phone/iPod hybrid. It's pretty, sleek, and fairly easy to use for making and receiving calls; and its integration of iPod features is a great extra. Unfortunately, it doesn't excel as a music listening device.
The Slvr L7's slim, easy-to-hold, candybar-style case feels sturdy. The $200 (as of April 7, 2006, with a two-year contract from Verizon Wireless) phone is also fairly lightweight--it weighs 3.4 ounces--so it's comfortable to hold while on a call. It's fairly easy to use the keypad to dial, but I felt that I had to press a little on the recessed backlist numbers in order to get them to activate. Maneuvering through menus and settings was fairly intuitive and straightforward, and saving settings proved easy. Other buttons and controls ring the sides of the phone, and lie within easy reach.
The included VGA (640 by 480) resolution camera can take still shots and video, both of which produce decent-quality photos--about what you'd expect from a camera integrated into a phone. The phone ships with a 512MB MicroSD memory card for storing files and music.
A few bonuses: The Slvr L7 is versatile enough to let you send text messages and instant messages, and to let you send e-mail via POP3 accounts. The phone includes integrated Bluetooth for use with a hands-free headset. In lab tests, when the cell phone's battery reached our test center's 10-hour ceiling for talk-time battery life, it was still going strong.
And now for the drawbacks: Though it is nice to have one device that can serve two purposes, the Slvr L7 doesn't work terribly well at playing music. Connecting the device to a PC to integrate it with iTunes follows the same steps as a normal iPod, though syncing music to the phone can be laborious. Moving through the iPod menus on the phone wasn't as smooth as on an iPod either, but using the scrollwheel proved easy.
The phone can store only 100 songs, a fraction of what most iPods can accommodate. The phone has just seven volume levels, and making fine-tuning adjustments at the lower levels was difficult.
An included dongle with both a USB connector and headphone jack enables you to use standard headphones, but you have to unplug the dongle to answer the phone--an inconvenient compromise
Aside from those drawbacks, it is nice to be able to play music and make phone calls with the Slvr L7. And as a phone, the Slvr L7 is easy to use and easy to carry. Still, if I wanted an iPod I'd buy one; and if I wanted a phone, I would choose a separate device.