capsule review

Motorola Rizr Z3

At a Glance
  • Motorola Rizr Z3

    PCWorld Rating

    This well-designed multimedia phone focuses on user satisfaction, though its keys are a bit sticky.

If you're tired of carrying around a music player, a digital camera, and a cell phone, the Motorola Rizr Z3 can help you consolidate. This midnight-blue cell phone is the slider-style cousin of Motorola's popular Razr. It's available from T-Mobile for $150 (with a two-year contract, as of March 23, 2007) and has a magnificent screen, a 2.0-megapixel still-and-video camera, and a digital music player. Oh yes, and it works well as a phone. But be forewarned: With the phone's plethora of features and the software required to run them, you'll need quick access to your manual for the first week or more.

The Rizr is small--2.75 inches wide by 4 inches tall with slider closed, and just over 5.5 inches tall with the slider open. At 0.5 inch thick, it's also quite slim, and it's comfortable to use when making long phone calls. Call quality was good though not exceptional; battery life was great. The phone pulled down 10 hours of talk time in our lab tests--the maximum length we test for. On the other hand, the keypad and the navigation controls--while extremely easy to access with my small fingers--were stiff, which made entering phone numbers, commands, and data tougher than I would have liked.

Still, the Rizr has many appealing features. One is a slot that can accommodate a microSD Card with up to 2GB of storage space. Unfortunately you must remove the battery door to get the memory card into the phone--and you'll have to spring for your own card, as the Rizr doesn't ship with one. T-Mobile sells a 1GB microSD Card for $60.

You can drag and drop music files onto the card after connecting the phone to your PC via the included mini-USB cable. And in the Rizr Z3's airplane mode, you can listen to your music without activating the cell phone while flying. Audiophiles take note: The phone may not play files whose bit rate is above 128 kbps. When played over the external speaker, songs sounded quite tinny.

Taking digital photos with the Rizr Z3 was a snap. While the phone's slider is closed, you can shoot only in landscape mode; but you can also use portrait mode when the slider is open. The shutter control is nicely situated on the right side of the phone in thumb range. Though snapshots looked sharper than photos I've taken with other camera phones, they often looked dark and a little murky.

Many phones are now three-in-one devices, but the well-thought-out design and easy handling of the Rizr Z3 as a phone, camera, and music player make it a multimedia device I'd be happy to put in my pocket.

Anne B. McDonald

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This well-designed multimedia phone focuses on user satisfaction, though its keys are a bit sticky.

    Pros

    • Screen is easy to see, even outdoors
    • Includes great multimedia functions

    Cons

    • Keypad is hard to press
    • Phone is a bit hard to quickly master
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