Motorola Droid RAZR Review

Motorola has awoken a brand that back in 2004 was an iconic handset. The RAZR was a very popular handset and Motorola rode that wave for a while. Then it just ended. Fading into oblivion. Never to be seen or heard from again except by those who missed their RAZR’s.

Then Motorola slowly starting to come into success again with the iconic Droid and Droid X2 however the Droid stamp is stuck with Verizon. So the only way Motorola can be back on the forefront they needed to resurrect the RAZR name. Now did Motorola do what they intended to do? Did they make a handset worthy of the RAZR namesake? Let’s find out shall we?

UPDATE –  Verizon Wireless has a page devoted to all of the Droid phones they offer on their site, so I thought I’d write and let you know, so you could include it in your piece for your readers’ information.

 

The Droid phones page is:  http://www.verizonwireless.com/droid.shtml

 

 This URL will take visitors directly to the phones, without asking them for zip codes or attempting to set cookies, etc.



Hardware

First thing I want to talk about is just how crazy thin this device is. At 7.1mm thick is is miniscule to look at. The Galaxy S II measures in at 8.9mm. Remember how many people were talking about how thin that was…and THIS BEATS THAT! However don’t let the skinny frame fool ya. Motorola packed a ton of features around the body to prove it.

One thing you will notice is that the Droid RAZR for being so skinny did have a bit of a bulge at the top but that is so it could accommodate its 8 megapixel camera with flash. That certainly won’t make you think this phone is bulky by any means just goes to show how a slight bump out brings happiness.

Around the edges you got a HDMI and micro-USB jack, 3.5mm headphone input, the power key, and the volume rocker. Around the left edge is the ever so clever hidden SIM and microSD slots. To say that the door is a bit tricky to open is an understatement. I made a video review of this device and needless to say I was frustrated. The device comes with a 16GB card pre-installed that is on top of the 8GB internal storage which is delightful.

Now the phone itself is a mix of few different ingredients. You have aluminum, Kevlar and Gorilla Glass, for those who want to keep their faceplate scratch resistant. The overall feeling of the handset is that it is top quality in material however a few people felt it to be a bit TOO big. It could make trying to type with your one thumb quite uncomfortable. It is just that slight downfall for some people who held it to pass on it.

Now the back of the camera has the 8 megapixel camera and the front brings you a 1.3 megapixel camera for video chats. Under the Gorilla Glass you have the 4.3” 960 x 540 qHD Super AMOLED Advanced (you see they spared no expense). The display itself is quite crisp however at lower light settings a slight greenish hue would become all to apparent. However it is still a PenTile display, meaning that no matter how great the quality it will still have a bit of a grainy look to it.

You also can get some fancy accessories in the form of a Lapdock 500 or Lapdock 100. They can turn your RAZR into a portable computer running Webtop. I didn’t get that luxury so I have no clue how well it runs.

Call Quality

The call quality on this phone is quite nice. The caller comes in crystal clear and the speaker phone is well not very good. Callers would come in choppy at times or muffled. Not what I call a killing point but after all you get to look at and touch you end up with sub par speakerphone.

Performance and battery life

The dual 1.2GHz mobile processor inside the Droid RAZR is more that capable of handling all of your smartphone demands. It isn’t the best processor on the market but for the average to nerdy smartphone user it is more than adequate to handle running your Angry Birds apps, Pandora radio, and iMobster game.

The touchscreen was quite responsive to the touch, very eager to have you touch and swipe and move around the screens. So that is a nice little touch a phone eager for you to touch and how quickly it responds to that touch.

The real question is the battery life. Now Motorola decided to go with the non-removable battery pack. I know it seems like it could be quite scary and I can understand. Motorola says the battery is capable of handling 8.5 days of standby time with 12.5 hours of talk, however in my testing I got slightly above 5 hours in a rundown test. For the heavy users out there, pack the charger! For the moderate user, just checking messages, Facebook, texting and the slight call you can probably go the whole day. You will need to recharge at night.

Camera and Video quality

As stated before you have an 8 megapixel camera capable of shooting 1080p video with a single led flash. Daylight photos were passable some of the colors didn’t come out so vibrantly. Indoor lighting fared well enough. This camera has a very short shutter lag so snapping off a rapid fire succession of shots is very easily done. The downside is the autofocus had trouble focusing and lots of time you would get blurs or fuzzy snaps.

Taking videos was a breath of fresh air. Great quality at decent file size. The image stabilization is a good feature for those of you without a steady hand but still had some work to do to be a great feature. You can also configure the microphones to get you the most useful production value. So that is a detail that Motorola looked into for the growing popularity of cell phone videos. Great now we get crystal clear videos of guys getting hit in the nuts with their skateboards with excellent sound quality as well. So we can really hear the moment of impact…Thanks Motorola!

Software

Well if you have gotten your hands on any Android skinned phone you know what you are getting, an Android skinned phone with the manufacturer putting on a coat over that skin. Luckily Motorola’s isn’t as over bearing as the Sense, however if you like your customizations plain jane you are out of luck. Lots of animations that don’t really add to the experience rather they take away from them. There is no denying that you can see the OS as Android and it sticks to the Gingerbread parameters well.

Then we come to the worst part. The part where both Verizon and Motorola think they want you to have on your phone. With little to no way of getting rid of them. Except you can get rid of a few of them. Blockbuster and Let’s go Golf 2 can be uninstalled, which is a bonus, however if it is branded Motorola or Verizon they are here to stay. RAZR of course comes packed with QuickOffice, Citrix and MOTORPRINT, however Motorola slid something extraordinary in there. Smart Actions, allows you to do a handful of actions that you set rules for and they automatically trigger. For example, you can turn off your ringer at a certain time of night. Other examples I have seen is shooting off a text message if you go into a certain neighborhood, great for those who are forgetful and get yelled at for not saying “hi” when you are around.

Also there is a very unique feature is called Motocast.  This allows you to stream, files, photos, music, and movies from your work or home computer directly to your phone.  All on the Verizon 4G LTE network.  It worked flawlessly for me and the setup was very simple and quick and it is easy to add more files for you to stream.

Final Results

In the beginning of this piece we asked the question, did Motorola make the RAZR a great device again? Why yes they did. In many ways from form and function to quality material, all around a solid great phone. Are there some downsides? Sure are, it might be to big for some users, and it can be a bit slippery at times. However that all pales in comparison to the quality of materials used to create the device, you got Kevlar, Gorilla Glass and diamond-cut aluminum. No other handset on the market can claim that.

 

Running down the specs of the phone, 1.2GHz dual core processor, 8megapxiel camera, LTE radio, 1GB of RAM plus the option of getting Android 4.0 when it becomes available makes this phone more than capable of being a top-tier phone. Despite the battery life and few display issues can’t really find to many faults with this phone. So with that said and it’s great price at $199.99 ranks it right there with the Rezound and Galaxy Nexus. Now it is time once again to go to our super secret testing facility and see how it measures up in the Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama on the Buy It, Flip It or Skip It scale the Motorola Droid RAZR is a solidly endorsed BUY IT! A great quality phone that can only get better with updates and tweaks, great job Motorola.

 Article first published as Motorola Droid RAZR Review on Technorati

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