My RAZR lies

Filed under: thoughts,useless @ 15:51

I’m convinced that my Motorola RAZR cellphone does not tell time accurately.

The phone has a little external LCD panel that displays the time and other pertinent information so that I don’t have to flip the phone open to check on things. Normally, this panel is not backlit in order to conserve energy, but there’s an easily accessible button on the edge of the phone that lights up the screen. When I hit the button to check the time on my phone, about forty or fifty percent of the time the digital clock ticks over to the next minute.

That’s very odd; I’m not looking at the screen for more than two seconds (max). That means, I’d expect to see the minute change about once every thirty times, assuming the times at which I check the time are uniformly randomly distributed within the sixty second interval between minute digit changes. One out of thirty is not even four percent; there’s an order of magnitude difference between the expected and observed values. I must have checked the time on with the phone more than five hundred times by now, so this is definitely statistically significant. This discrepancy leads me to the following hypothesis.

My RAZR is programmed to change the minute digit on the display when I click the button if its internal clock is within a twenty or thirty second window around the actual time at which the seconds should roll over back to zero.

If true, it’d have to have been a deliberate design decision. Perhaps people remember the time better after reading a digital clock if they see the digits change and Motorola is just helping me out? I haven’t yet thought of a different explanation.


    gv 12.08.2005 @ 20:39

    Oh so you think it was “intelligently designed” to do that huh? Why is it that every time you people see something you can’t explain you think some higher being (engineers at Motorola in this case) designed it that way? That’s not science, that’s just superstition. Unless you can confirm that engineers at Motorola designed it to be like that. Then I guess it’s kind of like science.

    Adam 12.08.2005 @ 20:43

    It’s possible that your phone has a cheap, crappy internal clock (to cut down on cost) and that activating the backlight resynchronizes the clock with the nearest cell tower. After all, your cell phone is periodically in contact with the towers whenever it is on, not just when you’re making a call.

    Here’s a suggestion. Take a digital camera with a video function and record your phone’s behavior when you turn on the backlight a few times. That should give you some definitive proof.

    MDA 12.08.2005 @ 23:33

    After some more thought and conversation, I’m of the opinion that when not backlit, the screen refreshes only every ten or fifteen seconds (for whatever reason) and when lit, it refreshes at some higher rate.

    HAA 12.09.2005 @ 12:30

    My guess is that the Moto engineers think that its target customers are always running late and that if they see the clock rollover they’ll be spurred to hurry. It may even be collusion between Moto and big business: “Hey Moto — I need my employees to feel more paniced all the time, what can you do for me?”

    Of course, you could always stick it to the man and disable the external clock. Just don’t be surprised if you’re labeled a terrrorist or something. After all, those guys are always worried about what time it _really_ is, right?

    aB 12.19.2005 @ 21:37


    Paul 12.23.2005 @ 19:35

    I have noticed the same thing with my RAZR. It makes absolutely no sense to me as to why they would design it that way. It seems to do it at least 50% of the time, yet it keeps very accurate time… its always in sync with my other clocks.

    Frank 01.06.2006 @ 13:57

    You’re lucky. I just got a V3c and often the clock is half an hour late! It’ll be 1130 and when I check the external screen it says 11! What’s worse is if I flip the phone open it still says 11. Then if I make a call or use the global clock function, it will update to 1130…then I check the phone 5 minutes later and it’s still at 1130…grr!

    Charles 01.09.2006 @ 07:51

    Why don’t you take a digital camera with a video function and record your phone’s behavior when you turn on the backlight a few times. That should give you some definitive proof.

    Ming 01.23.2006 @ 14:03

    When I read the title, I thought we had the same problem. After reading yours, I’d same your problem is not a problem for me at all.
    Here is my problem with my RAZR v3c. It does not sync at minutes at all. It shows 4:40pm right now, while it is actually 5:03pm. I need to press a few bottons or make a phone call so it will sync. This is the second phone I got, which has exactly the same problem.

    Colette Becker 01.30.2006 @ 13:13

    I was really disappointed with the clock on my v3c….now I turned off the “Battery Save” (at the bottom of the “initial setup” screen) and my clock seems to work just fine now!!!

    does this mean my battery performance is going to be limited just because I want to be able to see what time it is??

    Matthew Weathers 02.02.2006 @ 19:13

    My V3c has the same problem with the clock, where it can be many minutes late. My guess is that pushing a side button to light up the screen just wakes up the screen and not the rest of the phone, so the time still just says what it used to last time it was awake.

    Colette says turning off Battery Save fixes this, but it also always leaves on the keypad backlight, even if there is enough ambient light. Here’s what the manual says about that Battery Save option:

    Your phone includes an ambient light sensor and battery save setting to extend battery life. When this feature is activated, it automatically turns off the keypad backlight when it detects that enough ambient light is available. Inhibiting or covering the sensor can cause intermittent backlighting.

    It doesn’t say anything about the clock.

    Matthew Weathers 02.02.2006 @ 19:16

    Oh… forgot to mention… for me, turning of Battery Save did not fix the problem.

    Anonymous 02.05.2006 @ 08:59

    I’ve been having the same problem with my razr. I called verizon tech support, and the woman said this was a common glitch in the phone…it’s not a design decision. She also said they should have a patch out to fix the problem within the next few weeks.

    Anonymous 03.03.2006 @ 20:20

    Thanks! I’m having this exact problem. Finding this thread at least confirms my thoughts and gives a “glimmer of hope” Verizon will fix it.

    Ron Mihok 03.04.2006 @ 15:13

    Try turning off the phones battery save feature, this should fix the problem

    Jack C 03.05.2006 @ 09:39

    I just received a new Razr and had the same problem. I called Verizon and they gave me Motorola’s number 1-800-657-8909. It is a known issue. Motorola asked me to set the battery save feature to off, but that did not work. They had me do a master reset and that fixed the issue.

    Anonymous 03.06.2006 @ 16:53

    I just did a master reset, and it actually completely screwed up my phone. It didn’t allow me to send or receive text messages at all and gave me a fatal error. So I’d just suggest waiting until they come out w/ the patch, which they said should be in a month or so. It sucks, but i guess we just have to wait.

    Anonymous 03.08.2006 @ 11:32

    Same issue with the clock delay on my razr. If you open the phone, hit the menu button and then the end call button, it will update the clock, but not permanently. This only updates the clock, not a fix to the overall problem. Tried the battery save in the off setting and this did not work. Guess we all need to start wearing a watch?

    Tyler 03.10.2006 @ 11:52

    Verizon kept telling me to dial *228-option2 to fix the clock problem. Ofcourse it didn’t work. Then I read this page regarding the battery-save. That didn’t work either. Then I tried both, battery-save-ff first then *228-option-2. That seems to have worked.

    mh 03.12.2006 @ 11:44

    The clock never tells the time when the phone is closed, Verizon (a store full of idiots) told me “it’s designed that way.” Good luck, I just traded mine in for the e815, which is a lot better compared to the RAZR V3C.

    stu 03.13.2006 @ 10:49

    I had the same problem and fixed it this way:

    1. Turn off the battery save
    2. Turn phone off
    3. Turn phone on
    4. Check the clock to see that the screen updates each minute
    5. Turn on the battery save
    6. Turn phone off
    7. Turn phone on

    Seems like some bit needs to be twiddled otherwise the screen doesn’t update frequently enough. Just fiddling with the battery save didn’t do it. Nothing changed until I cycled power on the phone.

    Hope this helps.

    TC 03.13.2006 @ 20:19

    Just got the RAZR today, and was shocked to find this problem!?!?!? Verizon customer support knew nothing about it, but I think I fixed it by following Stu’s advise (#21 above). Thanks.

    JM 03.14.2006 @ 11:30

    Stu’s advice (#21 above) worked for me as well.

    Thanks Stu.

    Chris 03.14.2006 @ 13:34

    I just got my v3c thursday and was noticing this same thing. It was showing the time I last used the phone. I did what was suggested above and it worked!

    CP 03.14.2006 @ 14:21

    Stu advise worked for me as well!


    Rick 03.15.2006 @ 18:35

    I just got our razr v3c today and had the time problem. Stu’s answer fixed it. Thanks Stu.

    RJ 03.17.2006 @ 16:44

    Stu, you rock! I had the same problem as post numbers 7, 9, 11, etc., and your advice worked.

    S 03.18.2006 @ 05:02

    I bought 2 razrs last week. One of the phones had the problem with the time (would not update) so I went in and exchanged it. Exchanged phone did the same thing.

    Salesman at verizon store couldn’t believe that I would get 2 phones with the same problem (whats the chances right?) so he called tech support…they never heard of this problem. Then he called someone else, and they told him it was a known software problem and that a patch would be coming shortly. When the patch is ready you will have to take your razr to a service tech to get it applied.

    The other phone wouldn’t connect to download ringtones. It kept stating that there was a fatal error.

    I exchanged both of my razrs for a different model all together. Glad I did, razr cool phone but has too many problems.

    do 03.18.2006 @ 05:08

    Thanks Stu, this worked for me as well. Just goes to show you how awesome the internet is.

    Guy 03.18.2006 @ 12:16


    Wayne 03.18.2006 @ 23:59

    I was so worried that my phone was JACKED! The clock on my phone would not update unless I looked at something on my phone. Only when I got back to the main screen would my time update. I looked on the internet and tried so many different methods to make my blasted Verizon V3c work, but nothing worked, that is until I used Stu’s method. My phone’s time is perfect now and updates like it should. Thanks again Stu!!!

    MDA 03.19.2006 @ 00:04

    Stu, you are a true hero. Never let it be said this site has contributed nothing to the world. Go ahead and say that I’ve had nothing to do with it, though.

    Rock on, Stu. Rock on.

    DJ_MaLLU 03.19.2006 @ 14:17

    omg .. am havin the same problem.. i took it to verizon .. and they gave me a new razr.. same shit happenin again.. am happy to knw.. i aint goin crazy.. lol.. appreciate the tips..

    DJ_MaLLU 03.19.2006 @ 14:28

    oo yea.. anothr problem.. its makin a creepy voice.. when the razr is not in use.. and sometimez durin use.. a high pitch.. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ..ZZZZZ… :-s

    Randy 03.19.2006 @ 18:19

    I bought two Razors yesterday 3/18. One had the clock problem-one didn’t. Called Verizon-they said they heard of the problem and I would have to bring it in for exchange. Tried Stu’s method above and it worked so far. Thanks Stu.

    John 03.22.2006 @ 17:48

    is it possible that this is a verizon problem?

    I’ve never seen another v3c that does this type of crap

    BTW I have the same problem, thats how I found this.

    m@ 03.23.2006 @ 17:05

    Stu … you rule. Thanks for posting that fix – I’ve been trying to fix it for a week now.

    Thanks for this blog … excellent stuff.

    KN 03.24.2006 @ 22:36

    haha..Stu, your awesome. Been trying to figure out this crappy waste of money and your advice works! =) thanks a bunch!

    ML 03.26.2006 @ 23:05

    Thanks! The clock on my phone wasn’t accurate after but 1 day, but thanks to Stu, it’s all good!

    Shawn 03.27.2006 @ 07:51

    Stu you saved my life! I just got this phone this past weekend and thought it was useless, but thanks to you I feel better about my purchase. Thanks!

    Greg 03.27.2006 @ 15:22

    Thanks so much. The clock thing was driving me crazy.

    katie 03.29.2006 @ 19:21

    My Razr is awful…I have had it replaced once and the new phone is doing the same thing. It will not let me make out-going calls, and then will automatically shutdown and restart after the 4th or 5th attempt. Verizon thinks I’m crazy. I’m getting mad. Anyone else have the same problem?

    kerri 03.30.2006 @ 09:28

    so, i want to trade in this POS .. I just got it on 3/28 and it’s already more than a problem .. i’m taking pictures of the clock thing right now compared to my other clocks.. and hopefully going to get a new RAZR or else a new phone all together

    Soach 03.30.2006 @ 17:48

    Does anyone have a problem with the alarm clock? I have it set for Monday – Friday and it still goes off on Saturdays. I need to know how to fix if anyone knows! Thanks.

    Sarah 04.01.2006 @ 11:35

    OMG thank you so much for writing that. I thought I was going crazy being that mine does the same thing.

    aaron 04.02.2006 @ 13:25

    My provider is cingular and I have this problem also. This problem is with the phone, not the provider. Cell phones send and recieve data in packets through the use of time division multiple access (TDMA). This allows hundreds of phones to communicate at the same time through one cell tower. These packets of data have a time stamp. For some reason the phone is not finding/decoding this time stamp.

    David 04.02.2006 @ 17:28

    You’re an idiot. The people who build cell phones are not. They know how to make a clock that works. Holy Shit, don’t you own two clocks? Why don’t you try comparing them at different times through the day. I have a razor phone and it does the same thing. It refreshes the time when you check it. You are not traveling through time faster than anyone with a nokia. Idiot.

    kt 04.02.2006 @ 18:12

    Stu, thank you so much for your fix. I was going to go Office Space on my phone until I tried your solution. My hero.

    robert 04.03.2006 @ 02:06

    Same clock problem, and a sucessfiul fix from Stu!

    I am more worried about 1)the whine/buzz when the backlight is on; 2) does one of the outside buttons work as “Snooze” when the cover is closed?

    robert 04.03.2006 @ 02:08

    David: obviously yours didn’t have the problem. like others, my phone did not update at all. It could be hours off, not seconds, unless you used oter buttons.

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