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Motorola RIZR Z3 Hands On Redux

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Crumpler Geek Travel Contest Update

T-Mobile sent me the RIZR in a plain envelope with no note or box. I slid it out and half-expected Morpheus to call me and warn me of impending Agent encroachment. No such luck.

What I did find out, however, is that Motorola still hasn’t lost its mojo and can still pump out a cool phone.

To be clear the RIZR Z3 isn’t a smartphone or anything remotely resembling a smartphone. Like the RAZR, the RIZR is a fashion phone at best and a standard “talkin’ to the boyfriend” phone with IM at worst. It is available now for $99 with a two year contract, so that kind of tells you the audience — these are the same folks who walk into the store looking for a RAZR, see the RIZR, and say, “Eh, same difference.”

I enjoy using the RIZR, which is not something I often say about cellphones. After a SK3 addiction that nearly tore my life apart, I like whipping out a tiny phone, making a call, and putting it back. The RIZR also supports AIM, ICQ, Windows Live, and Yahoo! Messenger and even includes a silencer so you don’t have to suffer the bleeps and bloops of incoming messages. This is actually a big deal because many out of the box IM clients have no way of modifying the notification settings, resulting in madness and hair loss.

The standard Motorola complaints — crappy UI and slow hardware — are partially present here although the UI is so simple that there’s really no way for it to be crappy. You have nine menu items, including IM and settings, and it supports Java app downloads. There’s not even a calculator on here that I could find.


The Z3 has Bluetooth and runs quad-band GSM, so you can take the phone with you to sunny Greece, if you decide to travel. The screen is bright but fairly low res and it supports MyFaves.

The phone is quite well made and opens and closes with a solid clunk. There is a two megapixel camera with flash and the battery lasts about two days without Bluetooth enabled. The design is quite clever and understated and the materials feel well-thought-out and carefully built.


Complaints? If you have big fingers, this bugger is going to be impossible to text on. The first row of keys hides under a wee metal overhang that makes them hard to reach. I could text, even with my meat-hooks, but just be aware that your speed SMSing days are over.

So there you have it: the Motorola RIZR Z3. Little, blue, not so different, but great for the sub-smartphone consumer.

Product Page

I don’t care what people think. I liked my video.

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