Motorola Droid RAZR Review

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The Motorola Droid RAZR, the latest flagship phone on the Verizon network, is also the thinnest smartphone to date. Don’t let its thickness — or lack thereof — fool you. This phone is durable and very well constructed!

Back in 2004 Motorola introduced the original RAZR. It was thin, stylish, and with it’s Tron-esque, back-lit aluminum keys, it looked really, really good. Unfortunately, its durability was questionable and battery life was not that great.

Fast forward to today and the RAZR has been reborn, this time running Android and following in the footsteps of Motorola’s insanely popular Droid family. Luckily, any of the problems with the old RAZR aren’t present in the Droid RAZR. This phone is fast, has decent battery life, and is very durable — it even has a Kevlar back panel!

BOX CONTENTS

What can you expect to get when you pick up your very own Motorola Droid RAZR? Let’s take a look inside the box!

razr thin


Pay attention to the pictures on this protective film to help you install your micro-SIM (the 16GB class 4 micro-scard comes pre-installed).



First off we’ve got a few manuals, a standard microUSB cable, and a very interesting USB power adapter. This wort is a small cube with fold-out prongs, which makes traveling with it easier. While that’s cool, it also has not one, but two USB ports!

HARDWARE



Since the RAZR is an LTE smartphone you’ll need a SIM to get on the 4G network (2G/3G data is still CDMA). To save space, the RAZR uses a microSIM, similar to that used in newer iOS devices.

Some reviews have been critical of the RAZR’s qHD display, with both the HTC Rezound and the Galaxy Nexus boasting full 720 HD screens. While those observations may be warranted, nothing about the RAZR’s screen deserves negative marks. Colors are bright and vivid. Blacks are deep and true. Response times are fast and outdoor readability was above average. The screen is nothing short of beautiful.

Battery

1780 mAh

12.50 hours Talk time

204 hours Stand-by time

Dimensions

5.15 x 2.71 x 0.28 (130.7 x 68.9 x 7.1 mm)

4.48 oz (127 g)

Display

4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display

540 x 960 pixels

Processor

1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor

Memory

16GB Internal

16GB Samsung Class 4 micro sdcard (pre-installed; user upgradeable)

1GB RAM

Wireless

Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR

Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)

4G LTE

CDMA

Connectors

HDMI-out

microUSB (data and charging)

3.5mm headset jack

SOFTWARE



On first use you’ll notice just how fast the phone boots up — especially the very first boot which typically takes longer than the rest. As soon as you’re booted up the waiting begins. Like most CDMA devices, the RAZR has to activate itself with the network. In this case activation took an annoyingly long two or three minutes. After that you’ve got to wait for another reboot, but once that’s done you’re on your way again. Luckily, you’ll only have to endure that once.

razr front 2


The pre-installed apps include several from Google, a few Verizon apps, and a couple NFL apps and games. In short, with Motorola’s customizations, everything you need to get started is already installed on the RAZR — without very much bloat.

Benchmarking

With its dual-core processor and ample amounts of RAM, the phone is very fast with hardly any lag.

Quadrant: 2662

Linpack Pro Single Thread: 49.547 MFLOPS, 1.69 seconds, 5.68 Norm Res

Linpack Pro Multi-Thread: 70.988 MFLOPS, 2.38 seconds, 3.24 Norm Res

CAMERA



The camera app comes pre-configured for 720p video without image stabilization turned on. That can be bumped up to a full 1080p with image stabilization. When shooting close up, image stabilization isn’t your friend. Turn it off unless you’re shooting distance.



As far as still images go, the RAZR defaults to 8MP, but you can set it down to 6MP widescreen if that’s more your thing. Images were sharp and colors true. Shutter speed wasn’t all that quick due to the camera’s auto-focus, but pictures were fast enough for quick snaps.

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CALL QUALITY AND NETWORK SPEED

Voice

Voice calling on the Droid RAZR was always crisp, clean, echo-free, and no dropped calls were experienced.

2G/3G

Data coverage in my area was always good, being within one or two bars from “full bars”. During testing I experienced a few unexpected outages that lasted anywhere from several minutes to several hours, but this was the exception, not the rule.

Speeds were consistently 2Mbps down and 1Mbps up with ping rates around 150ms. While that’s not terribly fast, it was fairly consistent regardless of location. Speeds on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network in the same locations were about twice as fast, but speeds varied significantly.

LTE

LTE in my area isn’t all that fast. Even with full bars 4G speeds maxed out at 2Mbps down, and slightly more up. Others are reporting LTE download speeds in excess of 16Mbps. Your speed will depend greatly on your location and Verizon’s LTE coverage.

Wi-Fi

Connecting to my Comcast home network over 802.11n was nothing short of astounding: 17Mbps down, 5Mbps up with ping rates in the low 20s. Testing on my T-Mobile G2 on the same network, in the same room resulted in 4Mbps down, 1Mbps up with similar ping rates.

These ridiculously fast speeds made movies on Netflix flawless, and high bit-rate audio on Pandora was stunning. Unlike the Droid Bionic, no audio problems were experienced.

razr bump


BATTERY LIFE

The 1780mAh battery nestled inside the Droid RAZR had no problem making it through my day — but just barely. The screen, typically the largest power consumer on a smartphone, sipped down the power. When connected to Wi-Fi at home and at the office my run times were extended. Turning off Wi-Fi seemed to use up the battery approximately twice as fast.

My daily routine evolved into charging the phone overnight, and charging in the car on the way to and from work. Charging during the day helped keep things topped off, but wasn’t necessary.

razr back


The power-adaptor that ships with the RAZR has two USB ports rather than the usual one, and charges the phone very well. Older chargers and charging through a powered USB hub weren’t able to keep up with the phone, and gave the impression that the phone wouldn’t charge past 50%. Switching to the included charger fixed the problem immediately. While this isn’t a problem with the phone itself, it’s worth mentioning in the review since some users will likely have another USB charger on-hand, and may be met with confusing results if it doesn’t pump out enough amps.

PROS

+ Remarkably thin

+ Very lightweight – yet still durable

+ FAST!

+ 1080p video recording

+ 8MP Camera

CONS

Video camera image stabilization doesn’t work well close-up

– Older power adapters may not supply enough amperage to charge

– LTE coverage isn’t everywhere and 3G CDMA isn’t as fast as some competitors

PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY

The Motorola Droid RAZR is available now for the Verizon network from $111 to $299 on contract.

CONCLUSIONS

It’s our feeling that the form-factor of the Motorola Droid RAZR will become the new industry standard.

It’s thin, lightweight, durable, fast, and has a beautiful screen. The phone is a little wider and longer than most smartphones available today, but fits comfortably in-hand and carries well in a shirt pocket. The RAZR comes with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, but thanks to Motorola’s commitment of timely upgrades, it shouldn’t be long before the RAZR gets an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

We rate the Motorola Droid RAZR a strong 4.5/5.

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About The Author
Joe Levi

Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple’s Newton, Microsoft’s Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow’s “Android Guy”.

By day you’ll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you’ll probably find him writing technology and “prepping” articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.