Motorola SLVR L7 review: Slim style

Jan Horalík, 23 March 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
Pages: 1234»

Here comes the ideal mobile solution for all those who are not in love with clamshells, but do like Motorola Razr's slim design. Motorola has decided to continue the path marked by its popular Razr by launching a new line of slim phones with classic construction. The best equipped among them is the new Motorola SLVR L7.

Key features

  • slim design
  • well elaborated
  • brilliant display
  • memory card slot

Main disadvantages

  • strange keypad layout
  • confusing menu
  • slow response
  • poor-quality camera

It all started with Motorola V3 Razr. Till the moment this model was launched no one would ever even dare think of such a slim mobile phone. The Razr model was a huge success and managed to get on top of the slim handsets. At present, all major manufacturers literally compete in introducing thin-construction devices. There is no wonder that Motorola gets back with 3 new models of the same line.

Apart from clamshells, it has also presented several phones with classic construction. It has already been some time since one of them, Motorola L6, hit the market. However if you find it insufficient in terms of functions, then you may want to try a higher-class model - Motorola SLVR L7, officially presented at CeBIT 2005.

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Motorola SLVR L7

It can hardly be thinner

There is no doubt that the most important advantage of the L7 model is its slimness - mere 12 mm. The other two dimensions are a bit larger than what is acceptable in the group of small phones, but even so Motorola SLVR L7 can be regarded as a very small device. In other words, 114 x 49 x 12 mm. The phone weighs 85 grams. The L7 model is narrower compared to Motorola Razr, due to which it goes perfectly onto one's palm. All areas of the keypad are easy to reach by thumb.

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It is really thin...

Motorola L7 has a perfectly elaborated construction. It would not give out a single creak, even if pressed quite hard. The lock of the rear cover is located at the very top of the back side, above the camera, and is thus very strong. The phone didn't show any spaces or margins during the tests. The construction benefits a lot from the absence of removable covers too.

Could that be aluminum?

The entire phone is made of thin metal plates, except for the keypad and the display. It looks like aluminum but polished in black. Unfortunately, finger prints remain pretty visible all over the device, including the display. The top button line of the keypad is located right below the display, so the chance that fingerprints may be kept away from the display surface is minor. You will have no other choice but to wipe it again and again. In this respect, a special wiping cloth would have come in extremely handy, if included in the original package of the phone.

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The design outlook of Motorola L7 catches the eye immediately. The front side of the device is totally flat. The only elements that bulge slightly are the main control button and the logo of the manufacturer located above the display. The same logo is to be found on the rear side of the phone, which also constitutes the battery cover. The grid of the loud speaker is located beneath the logo. The lens of the built-in camera is seated in a black trapezium with a silver frame in the very top of the rear cover. Btw, it is not protected and will probably get scratched quickly.

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Nearly the entire rear side of the phone is removable • camera lens • speaker grid • with removed cover

Once you have removed the rear cover of the phone you will need to press the silver button situated on the top. A lithium-ion battery of 820 mAh is hidden beneath. According to Motorola, the L7 model is able to manage 310 hours of stand-by work or 250 minutes of calls. In reality, the phone recorded pretty good results, remaining live for three entire days. The SIM card is inserted under the battery and can be replaced easily due to the presence of a small slider.

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Plenty of buttons to be found on the sides of the phone • left side

On the right side of the phone there is a silver button, which activates the camera application. Above it there is a data connector of the miniUSB type, for which Motorola deserves a praise. Thanks to this connector the user does not need to buy an additional special data cable, but can deal with a standard cable, from a digital camera for example. The microSD(TransFlash) memory card slot is to be found in the bottom part of the right side of the device. It is protected by a rubber cap, which is easy to remove and at the same time difficult to loose as it is firmly hooked to the phone. On Motorola L7's left side you will find a pair of volume control buttons and the so called Smart key, whose function is a subject to one's own choice.

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Matters of interest on the edges: miniUSB connector • camera release button • memory card slot

Still excellent

A great part of the front is occupied by the display, which has a surface of 30 x 37 mm. Btw, Motorola designers could have made it even bigger by a few mm considering the black frame around it. There is a second, outer frame, whose color is the same as the color of the keypad. Imbedded in its top area is the manufacturer's logo.

The display of the L7 model is brilliant, even if far from innovative. It is a spectacle for the eye thanks to the active TFT technology, the resolution of 176 x 220 pixels, and the presence of 262K vivid colors. The contrast is excellent. Brightness is possible to adjust in 7 steps, with the highest being so intensive that it will probably remain unused by most customers.

Motorola SLVR L7

Colors remain bright even when the display is looked at from an acute angle. Yet, a few degrees of leaning downwards are enough to make the display go out. The backlighting is brilliant when active. If it is out, the display is completely illegible. In such case any check for received messages or missed calls requires activation of the device.

Zigzags

In order to maintain the slim design of the device, the manufacturer has once again applied a flat keypad in the form of a metal plate with chemically etched keys. If you examine it well, you will see that both the keypad plate and the main control button are grinded with concentric circles.

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Razr-like • navigation key is quite comfortable to use

Motorola L7's keypad is pretty flashy, but quite unpractical. It is not suitable for SMS writers no matter the fact that keys react well or that each press is accompanied by a discrete click. The keys are difficult to distinguish by touch and are thus frequently mistaken. One of the main inconveniences is the displacement of the middle key column by approximately half a key downwards. Orientation grooves provide little help.

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Keys legends as well as orientation grooves stand out slightly above the keypad surface

Apart from standard number keys and the classic pair of a red and a green receiver, here you will also find a pair of functional keys, a key that opens the context menu, and the main four-way control button with a central confirm part. Volume control buttons are located on the left side of the device.

The backlighting of the keypad is intensive and evenly distributed. The keys legends as well as the grooves among them are illuminated in blue. If there is plenty of light around the device, the sensor on its top edge automatically deactivates the keypad backlighting.

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Keypad backlighting is impressive

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