Motorola RIZR Z8 review: Slide and bend

Martin Herodek, 10 January 2008. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
Pages: 123»

Out-of-this-world design, head-turning exterior, non-touch Symbian UIQ, excellent multimedia equipment. We're testing a Motorola kick-slider!

With the RIZR Z8 Motorola is creatively revisiting the realms of Symbian UIQ. Except for Wi-Fi, the handset offers full data connectivity, perfect display and high-capacity memory card support - all packed in a sexy black slider.

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Official photos of Motorola RIZR Z8

A high-end multimedia device, the RIZR Z8 offers a few unique features: it's a UIQ 3.1 and yet a non-touchscreen handset, plus the kick-slide form factor is a true show-off. Almost all is staked on multimedia with this phone, so much so that the improvements offered by the enhanced RIZR Z10 model are limited to the imaging: a 3-megapixel camera and xenon flash.

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Motorola RIZR Z8

Enough has been said about the seductive power of the RAZR's revolutionary design. With a handful of RAZR models already seasoned veterans, Motorola has always been keen to replicate that huge popularity by releasing updated versions and limited editions.

The tempting looks were later inherited by two other Motorola lines: KRZR and RIZR. Rizr is the label of the handset we're testing - the Moto Z8. The Motorola genes to look out for are the trademark chin and the slider form factor, which is the convention in the RIZR lineup. Along with some of the usual Motorola design and functionality solutions, the Z8 brings exciting multimedia power and the unique slide-and-bend action for high-end targeting of both the style sensitive and the tech-savvy.

Slide and bend

The RIZR Z8 is currently available in black only, but market success will surely bring out alternative color versions. To not let the subdued conservative black smother the dazzling personality of this handset, designers chose to perk it up with a fluorescent green trim, which goes well with the interface background.

Luckily, most of the surface is matt - the only troublesome areas are the display and the mirror-like coating on the back. This designer solution would be welcome by many. The slick KRZR is a lovely sight but how long will it stay clean? With the Z8, wiping the screen and the back every now and then will keep it as good as new.

As we already mentioned, RIZR stands for slider in the Motorola language, though with the Z8, sliding has a twist to it and that's not just a punchline. Pioneering a unique form factor, the sliding action in Z8 is coupled with a bend, curving the handset's body inwards. This eccentric design comfortably wraps the handset around your face, but at the same time eats up the headroom for the top row of keys on the alphanumeric keypad.

The peculiar rocker point is a little over halfway up the back part of the slider. The whole area above the break point on the non-sliding part is the battery cover. At the very top, all you have is the lanyard eyelet.

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The slide-and-bend action makes the RIZR Z8 unique

Typical Motorola

On the left side there's a threesome of identically sized and shaped buttons. The upper two are the volume keys, beneath them is the dedicated video-call button. The decent stroke and adequate response hardly make up for the almost zero touch orientation. The keys are flush with surface and even you feel your way to them, it's hard to guess which one is which. Below this three-key layout is the microSD card slot protected by a rubber cover. The RIZR Z8 supports cards of up to 4GB capacity.

"... With the RIZR Z8 Motorola is creatively revisiting the realms of Symbian UIQ. Except for Wi-Fi, the handset offers full data connectivity, perfect display and high-capacity memory card support - all packed in a sexy black slider..."

At the top of the right-hand side - right below the bend point - is the dedicated media player key. Another control on this side is the conspicuous green shutter key. It is right above the miniUSB connector port, which is protected by a thin rubber cap of rather questionable durability given the frequent use of the port (charger, data cable, headphones). The side control layout is quite typical Motorola.

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Usual equipment in an unusual bundle: the sterile headset packaging

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Key layout on the right is better than on the left side

The back of the handset sports a mirror-like strip, which comes out as metal but is actually plastic. The initial feeling of exclusivity and luxury vanishes with the very first touch of its soft and squashy surface. The shiny strip is divided in three segments: the upper is part of the battery cover, whereas the lower covers the SIM card holder. Yes, with the Z8 you can switch SIM cards without removing the battery. The middle section is fixed and houses the camera lens and the LED flash, which serves the dual purpose of a camera tally light.

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Unusually, the battery is at the top

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The extraordinary back of the handset

The location of the camera lens just couldn't have been worse. The most comfortable way of holding the phone to your ear inevitably sticks a finger right onto that lens, which will end up covered in smudges ever too often. Given the form factor it could've been easily placed at the back of the front sliding panel and thus kept safe and clean.

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