Meet the Lara Croft of the Droid family. With seemingly impossible proportions, the Motorola Razr comes dressed in Kevlar and stainless steel while packing serious hardware ready for action: a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB RAM, Verizon's 4G-LTE network, and a Super AMOLED 4.3 inch display.
Engadget’s Terrence O’Brien calls it a "slim slab of sexy."
At 4.5 ounces, its light weight defies its 5.15 x 2.71 x 0.28 inch dimensions. Though it bulges at the top where the camera resides to .42 inches, it is still impressively slim and is the thinnest LTE smartphone to date.
The Razr's construction is solid, thanks to the Kevlar, stainless steel and Gorilla Glass components. A water-repellent nanocoating should make it reasonably splash-proof to coffee -- or sweat if you're raiding tombs collecting mystical artifacts.
The Razr's width, which stretches well beyond the touchscreen, has not appealed to everyone, especially those with small hands. Rachel King at ZDNet faults its size calling it a "mans phone."
One of the best features has been drowned out by the design buzz. The device runs a Motorola-skinned Android Gingerbread 2.3.5, which is fairly standard. But the Razr introduces Smart Actions, which are automated actions that are kind of smart.
With Smart Actions, a user can set the phone to perform actions triggered by a variety of rules including GPS, battery state, and others. You might use GPS detect when you are at home or work to turn on Wi-Fi or adjust ringer volume. Your media player can be launched by connecting an audio cable. You could automate a text to be sent to certain contacts if you miss their call. There are several sample Smart Action presets to get users started. This should amuse geeks immensely.
Streaming media app MotoCast has evolved from the app that appeared as Zumocast on prior Motorola devices. Your personal media that can be streamed or downloaded appears in the gallery app -- and MotoCast does the work for you, provided you install the client on your desktop. It is fairly transparent. MotoCast can also sync with iTunes, iPhoto and Windows Media Play via USB.
Verizon's LTE network serves streaming media with ease. My speed tests here in the Triangle were blistering at times exceeding Big Red's claim of 25 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up.
The 4.3 inch Super AMOLED display is very good, but it does use a PenTile pixel arrangement which can make text slightly jagged. While I think most won't care, PenTile screens tend to irritate tech bloggers. You'll have to decide for yourself. The Verge has decent visual comparison that illustrates the differences.
Of course it has dual cameras: 8 MP at the rear and 1.3 MP on the front. Images were good, but not up to high standards set by the likes of the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II.
I found the Razr's battery life reasonable. It still had charge left at the end of each day with moderate use. If you tether, you'll need a power source at some point. There is one odd observation I'll share: Left unplugged overnight, the Razr seemed to discharge more rapidly than any other device I've tested, even other LTE devices which are more power hungry than 3G gadgets. In hindsight I'd try disabling LTE overnight to compare. This could be a handy Smart Action.
The Razr gets virtually unanimous praise of its design, but like many devices it has attributes we technophiles must agree to disagree on.
- Engadget’s Terrence O’Brien did quibble over the display, but calls it a "slim slab of sexy" and says its "solidly constructed from premium materials." He deemed the PenTile matrix display good, but short of expectations.
- TechCrunch's Jordan Crook said its lightweight made it feel cheap, but praised the design, display, and built-in media streaming support.
- PCWorld’s Ginny Mies joined in with approval for the design, but depleted its battery pretty quickly.
- PCMag's Sascha Segan also thought the phone felt solid, but he said the camera fell short of other top competitors.
- ZDNet's Rachel King faults its size calling it a "mans phone."
Everything thing on the device performs well, but not always best in class. It really is of more a "sum of the whole is greater than the parts," especially if the built-in features like Smart Actions and MotoCast appeal to you.
Like Angelina Jolie, the Razr commands top dollar. It currently tops the Verizon Wireless marquis at $299, but that also gets you 16 GB of internal storage and a 16 GB MicroSD card which puts it on par with devices of similar capacity. Verizon is also sweetening contracts with a double-data offer on qualifying 4G LTE smartphones.
- 1.2GHz dual-core processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 4.3” Super AMOLED display with Gorilla glass
- Android Gingerbread 2.3.5
- Camera: 8 MP, 1.3 MP P2P Video, LED
- Measuring 7.1mm at its thinnest point
- Stainless steel and Kevlar design
- Water-repellent nanocoating
- 4G LTE connectivity
- Able to watch HD Netflix movies
- Government-graded encryption of emails, contacts and calendars
- Compatible with Motorola’s Lapdock 500 Pro/Lapdock 100
- 1780 mAh Battery
- Storage & Memory: 1GB RAM x 16GB ROM, 11.5GB user available internal memory, 16 GB microSD card preinstalled
- WLAN 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
- Connectivity: 3.5mm, BOTA, Corporate Sync, DLNA, MML, Phone Portal, HDMI, USB 2.0HS
The Motorola Razr and service was provided at no charge for the purpose of review. This of course would never influence a recommendation.