The aforementioned front screen can display incoming text messages, which is not unusual. However, because it is so large it is possible to see almost all of a full 160 character message. You can scroll through messages that don't fully display using the left side mounted rocker that doubles as a volume button, and combining this with another side key can send a quick reply using one of several predefined texts without even opening the flip.
But there is more…
When you are listening to music the outer screen provides some touch controls designed to help you manage playback. You can pause/play and go back and forwards through tracks. When you tap a touch-button the phone delivers an ever so slight vibration to let you know you've made contact. It is a little thing, but useful. The feedback is almost like pressing real keys.
The music playing capability of this handset is probably its main selling point. It synchronises with Windows Media Player and the phone has 512MB of built in memory for tunes storage. There is nothing wrong with playback quality, which I found to be fine for a mobile. It'll also send tunes to a Bluetooth stereo headset.
But all is not rosy. At its website Motorola claims the phone will deliver approximately 11 hours of music. My test got about half way there with a little more than five hours of music played through the phone's speaker from a full battery charge.
I should point out that my review unit was an engineering sample, and things may be better on an in-store version of the handset, but given that Motorola was happy for me to review the sample they sent me, I'm not sure how much better you can expect battery life to get.
Something that an updated, in-store version won't deal with is the lack of flash memory card support. This means the phone is maxed out at that 512MB, which is shared across all data types - not just music. As well as limiting memory the lack of a flash slot means that to get tunes onto the RAZR2 V8 you have to either download them over the air or connect the handset to your PC.