Review

Review: Droid Razr

The Droid Razr is a phone that is using a name that helped to define Motorola in the mobile phone segment. By taking on this branding, Motorola is betting big that this device will not tarnish the name that the original Razr established. The Droid Razr retails for $649.99 or is $299.99 on a two year contract.

Specs:

Hardware:

The Droid Razr comes in at 7.1mm and it definitely feels like a slice of mechanical joy that the original Razr first introduce. Coming in at just over a quarter inch thick, you begin to realize that this phone is pushing the boundaries of how thin a device can be and still retain the quality that doesn't make it feel cheap in your hands. One thing did become clear during our review, design was placed over functionality for this device. Does the device turn heads? Yes, but is that always a good thing?

Just because a device is thin, does not mean it isn’t wide. The 4.3 inch device has a bezel that makes the device feel as if the screen is larger than 4.3 inches. With the extended bezel, the device does feel rather wide at times and those with tiny hands may not be able to firmly grasp the device.

The one thing that does separate this phone from other Android devices but does link it closer to that of the iPhone, is that the battery is not user replaceable. For some this may be a deal breaker for others, it’s a non-issue. For us, it goes both ways as if you compare it to an iPhone, it’s not a big deal but then again, in the Android community, user replaceable batteries are rather common.

Display:

Motorola is packing in the goods with the display as it comes in with a resolution of 960 x 540 Super AMOLED display which allows you to make the most of the 4.3 inch real estate provided by the Droid Razr. The screen is beautiful, but one thing to note is that it’s not the best display that we have seen as there is something awkward about how text is handled when scrolling as it becomes a bit jaded when compared to other devices.

For the average user, most will not notice the small imperfections of the screen and it does work well on this device. Those who are overly sensitive and notice the finer things in life may get annoyed with some of the blurring of text when scrolling but it is far from a show stopper.

Software:

Victory! Motoblur is not on this device, well, at least the naming of the skin is not. For the most part, a lot of Motoblur has been removed from the skin but elements of the theme are still hidden in the cracks and can still be found when using the device. There are also many free apps that come on the device and Verizon is pushing its free NFL mobile app for those on 4G for the 2011 season. There are the usual other apps such as Vcast, Blockbuster and a few others. Motorola also includes Motocast which is similar to the iCloud service.

Another interesting and useful app is the "Smart Actions". These location based tasks are clever and quite useful. You can set them up to turn specific features on and off depending on many different metrics. You can have it adjust device settings when at work, turn off certain features when the battery hits a denoted percentage, or even automatically silence the ringer in certain locations such as the office (it can change settings based on location). They take some time to setup, but once done, they reduce the amount of times you have to change particualr settings in your daily routine.

Battery:

Motorola made big claims when introducing the phone that the battery would not be short sided in use, but we have yet to use a 4G device that doesn’t kill the battery when pulling down data. We can’t give a full breakdown of battery usage yet as we have limited time with the device but it does have a 1780 mAh battery. We noticed, as one would expect, that heavy use of 4G does impact the battery, but in a single day we made several calls, checked email, and of course, browsed the web.

The battery appeared to be standing up to this punishment but we were not exactly heavy on the 4G use either. 

Camera:

Not surprisingly, Motorola is using an 8 megapixel shooter in this device. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Motorola has been using this same camera in the Bionic. There is also a 1.3 megapixel camera upfront that and as you have guessed, is used for video calling.

Overall we were generally pleased with both of the cameras. The rear camera was modest in its color reproduction and focus time was acceptable to the point that it should not impede use. It was not the fastest focusing camera we have ever used on a mobile device but it is far above the worst we have seen too. It’s well above average, especially in well lighted areas but low light pictures did begin to show noise at even modest darkness.

Video capture is above average as well. The device comes pre-set to 720P but you can bump it up to 1080P. We might suggest that if you require high quality 1080P video to purchase a dedicated device, but for a cell-phone, it does reasonably well. Personally, we will keep it at 720P as 1080P video will fill up your internal storage rather quickly.

Performance:

The device feels great in use, but is far from perfect. Actually, the only time we really saw a slowdown with the device was occasionally while browsing the web. Quadrant came back at 2700 on average over a series of tests during the day which puts it in company with many other high end smartphones.

If you were thinking that it’s really thin and that Motorola must have sacrificed on the performance to get it this thin, you were wrong. However, if you are watching a movie or any other intensive action, the device does get a bit warm.

Call Quality:

The Droid Razr is an average performer in this category. Sure, calls were easily heard and understood on both ends but definitely had a tint of tin to them. The same can be said for the speakerphone; it’s clear the thinness of the device plays into quality but it doesn’t render the device unusable, far from it. 

Conclusion:

The Droid Razr is a device that will turn heads but also makes a few sacrifices to get the job done. It is by far one of the best looking devices on the market with its sleek profile and Kevlar back plate. But to get that thin profile, the device is rather light and almost (almost!), feels cheap and the display does leave some room for improvement.

What Motorola has done proves that it can compete in the design game and produce a fantastic looking device. If you need a gorgeous device that runs Android but cuts only a few corners, this is your device. But at the same time, with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus right around the corner that will also be on Verizon, it makes the decision a little bit harder. 

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Apple class action settlement offers MagSafe replacements to MacBook owners

Next Story

Nokia N9 PR1.1 update released today

26 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

It's just me, or the Android version 2.3.5 on the Razr has a lot of similarities with Android 4.0 (ICS) ?

2 of them easy to notice: It has rotating screen animation, launcher looks a lot like the one on the ICS.

The display probably has "small imperfections" because it's a Pentile display. That's something it would have been nice to note in the review.
Super AMOLED = Pentile
Super AMOLED Plus = not Pentile

Simon- said,
Maybe to the American market it looks quite attractive? To me it is a really ugly phone

It's ugly in America too.

This phone and the droid X suffer from the same terrible design choice of having a lop-sided back. I hate that. I will never buy a phone that has a case like that.

Oh, don't worry about the cons of this phone. Next year, they're gonna bump up the screen to 1280x720, reduce the bezel, improve on the camera even more, and call it Droid RAZR2! Voila!

Looks horribly ugly. They should adopt the Metro UI. After all, Google has been stealing the Metro UI in all of its products lately -- like Google+, Gmail, Google Reader etc.

england_fanboy said,
Looks horribly ugly. They should adopt the Metro UI. After all, Google has been stealing the Metro UI in all of its products lately -- like Google+, Gmail, Google Reader etc.

http://www.google.com/support/...=5a14d4898b83412c&hl=en
People hate the Google Reader redesign:
monochrome icons (it's not 1985 where people only have grayscale screen), too much whitespace, lack of color, texts replacing icons, lack of visual clues - all can be said about the Metro interface.

england_fanboy said,
Looks horribly ugly. They should adopt the Metro UI. After all, Google has been stealing the Metro UI in all of its products lately -- like Google+, Gmail, Google Reader etc.

How do they look Metro? Can you show me a comparison, because I don't see it.

farmeunit said,

How do they look Metro? Can you show me a comparison, because I don't see it.


Apparently anything without gratuitous gradients and faux-metal and leather is now "copying Metro"
I personally love Google's new design ethos. Minimalism is beautiful.
God forbid monochrome icons! Anything but that!

" the device is rather light and almost (almost!), feels cheap"

Its weight is 127 grams. It's pretty average if you ask me. The most devices are in the +/- 10 grams range with the exception of 4G/LTE devices which weigh considerably more.

So I think Motorola did an amazing job by giving us a power house which isn't heavy. Had its weight been 170+ grams, ppl would complain how heavy it is.

Arceles said,
Meh, Superamoled may look better but I say LCD FTW.

Once you use an AMOLED device (let alone Super-AMOLED), there's no going back to LCD. LCD just looks terrible to me, not even Super LCD is that good compared to regular AMOLED.

tsupersonic said,

Once you use an AMOLED device (let alone Super-AMOLED), there's no going back to LCD. LCD just looks terrible to me, not even Super LCD is that good compared to regular AMOLED.

I tried a Samsung Galaxy S II in a shop, its screen was nice but I didn't think it was better than say the LCD the iPhone has. It was just bigger. Not better.

Vice said,

I tried a Samsung Galaxy S II in a shop, its screen was nice but I didn't think it was better than say the LCD the iPhone has. It was just bigger. Not better.

Are you kidding me? The SII's colors are way better than the iPhone. 100.000:1 contrast dude.

Anooxy said,

Are you kidding me? The SII's colors are way better than the iPhone. 100.000:1 contrast dude.

Wrong. SGII is too bright and lacks clarity.
Plenty of comparisons on the net that will back that.

I believe the Droid Razr is the first step in merging with Google. They are trying to reclaim their popularity they had with the original Razr. With less and less Motoblur, Motorola will have a more stock Android look, right on time for ICS too. One thing I think will make the deal for many is Samsung's Super AMOLED technology is in this phone, because I know I would NEVER move away from my Super AMOLED.

But yeah, this could be a whole new lineup of upcoming phones from Motorola. Just like Samsung's Galaxy lineup of Android phones. I can definitely see Google and Motorola working on a Motorola Razr Nexus. Personally I would never buy a Droid, that's just some lineup of Verizon Android phones, it is not unique to Motorola.

I hope that with Samsung selling their Super AMOLED technology in other phones than their own - that they focus on Windows Phone a little bit more. Right now the Galaxy lineup is extremely important to them. By allowing Motorola to use their Super AMOLED on their phones, they could work on improving the Windows Phone ecosystem and competing with Nokia. They could migrate platforms seamlessly, and still get profit from selling their Super AMOLED screens in other phones.

Sionic Ion said,
Personally I would never buy a Droid, that's just some lineup of Verizon Android phones, it is not unique to Motorola.

This makes no sense. You want something unique? You do know there is no such thing as unique. Do you mean unique to the manufacturer? Well then that is just silly. Why does a name matter so much if the phone is good?

UndergroundWire said,

This makes no sense. You want something unique? You do know there is no such thing as unique. Do you mean unique to the manufacturer? Well then that is just silly. Why does a name matter so much if the phone is good?

Clearly I meant unique as in the lineup is not something owned by Motorola, it's a Verizon lineup of Android phones. How can that throw you off so much...mind-boggling.

Sionic Ion said,

Clearly I meant unique as in the lineup is not something owned by Motorola, it's a Verizon lineup of Android phones. How can that throw you off so much...mind-boggling.

What throws me off is how naive someone can be saying they would never buy it based on the name. I even addressed that if you know how to read. That boggles my mind.