Motorola DROID RAZR HD Review
No surprises here, since there aren’t any major changes with the camera interface over previous Motorola phones. Naturally, we're bummed about it, but hey, it is what it is. Compared to other devices out there, it lacks the depth of manual controls and special effects to make it more compelling and fun to use.
Outside images captured with the 8MP camera look good enough for a “point and shoot” camera, as there is plenty of detail, yet the edges are rather soft. The problem that we found is that Motorola is still having issues with the auto white balance, as some images have a “cool blue” look to them, while others have oversaturated colors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get better when taking indoor images, as the colors look unnatural, and there is plenty of visible grain. When using the LED Flash, we noticed it really isn’t bright enough to illuminate an average size room, as anything further away than 10 feet was not bright enough to see.
Videos are able to recorded at 1080p resolution and at 30 frames per second, which allows for smooth playback. Quality is good enough for capturing on-the-go recordings, as it has automatic exposure and good detail, though the tap-to-focus isn’t the fastest and doesn’t always work on the first try.
Motorola DROID RAZR HD Sample Video:
Both the DROID RAZR HD and the DROID RAZR M rely solely on Google’s Play Music app for its music player – with no option for Motorola’s own player. The Play Music app does work well in our opinion, as it employs a good balance between functionality and visual presentation. Pumping the volume to the maximum level, it produces tones that are pleasant to the ear, but nothing commanding for us to take notice as its outputs is average through the rear speaker.
Showing its close ties to Google, gone is the Gallery app we’ve seen countless times from Motorola, and instead is relying on Google’s usual offering. We’re not upset by the move, but it’s quite evident that Motorola is increasingly embracing Google’s presence with its devices.
In addition to supporting a wide variety of codecs, like DivX, H264, MPEG-4, and XviD, playback is flawless as it’s able to play all our test videos, including ones encoded with DivX at 1920x1080 resolution. Of course, it’s the saturated look of the display that keeps our attention affixed on the smartphone as we’re playing the video. And if you’re looking to playback a video on a larger screen, you can use the microHDMI out, or DLNA over Wi-Fi.
Making an appearance once again, though not surprisingly considering we've been seeing it on all new Motorola devices as of late, the SMARTACTIONS feature is available with the DROID RAZR HD as well. Beyond having the ability to customize certain triggers, it comes in handy when it deals with battery management – enabling users to get the most from its battery. We won’t get into the specifics regarding its function, since we’ve covered it extensively in our original Motorola DROID RAZR review, but its value is found mostly with users who actually take the necessary time to customize everything from the top to bottom. Indeed, they will appreciate the total control it has to offer.
Out of the box, the handset is preloaded with a lot of bloatware apps – including Amazon Kindle, Color for Facebook, Modern Combat 3, NFL Mobile, QuickOffice, Real Racing 2, and Slacker Radio. Naturally, Verizon’s presence is established heavily on the handset with the Verizon Apps Store, My Verizon Mobile, Verizon Tones & Video, Visual Voice Mail, and VZ Navigator.
10. THE-DARK-KNIGHT (banned) (Posts: 18; Member since: 21 Oct 2012)
Motorola listens to consumers!- last year people said that the razr was very thin but very wide for a 4.3 inch phone. This year the razr HD has a big display but is still small for a handset with a 4.7 inch display. The edge to edge work with razr M was also very cool. Buti have to admit, Motorolas future phones will never be as thin as the original razr :'-( anyway, I really wanna buy a quad core razr!!!!!! Hurry up Motorola !!! I can't wait!!!
11. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
sorry for the short effortless comment. my sister typed it.
30. AnTuTu (Posts: 594; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)
I love Moto, its phones and its build quality.
I really loved when Google bought Moto mobility because I knew something awesome is on the way.
2. MeoCao (unregistered)
Take Verizon branding off and it deserves a 9.
4. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
So you mean the logo ate away one point???
3. Nookie4u (Posts: 127; Member since: 13 Aug 2012)
"built like a tank" now that's what I love.
5. sorcio46 (Posts: 390; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
Obnoxious push-pin required for SIM and microSD card access
I can't see this con on the iPhones reviews...Why?
7. Khaled_Toukhi (Posts: 4; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
iPhone Arena... iPhone Arena evry where
29. quickweevil (Posts: 49; Member since: 21 Dec 2011)
Because it's also where you access the microSD card and the pin-hole is too small to use a paperclip. It's incredibly inconvenient.
6. PapaSmurf (Posts: 4196; Member since: 14 May 2012)
8.5? It deserves at least a 9 without a doubt.
Who's FAUguy anyways?
21. Brewski (Posts: 104; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)
If you recognize the statue of Walt Disney on the home screen you've read a review by FAUguy. He's been around for a few years now, he even had to defend himself recently on a review to these exact comments. He doesn't do many news articles like John V or Mike H but he has plenty of time under his belt with Phone Arena.
8. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2800; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
This device would have been so much better looking without that dang Verizon logo on the front. Keep it nice and clean like the sgs3 does but its still just a minor gripe for me.
Tho I would spend the extra 100 for the bigger battery and storage.
9. redmd (Posts: 761; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
Moto build quality is excellent. but their software is meh. really. they haven't come up with a nice camera module either.
13. johnriii (Posts: 216; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I got a chance to hold this phone the day before they released it. I like it, a lot. it is "built like a tank", and I like that. I was holding an S3 at the same time, and the S3 felt so....cheap. I know the S3 is a great phone, but in my line of work, I need something that doesn't feel like it could snap in half by accident while in my pocket. Unless HTC comes up with something similar, I'll be going with this when I upgrade.
14. lzsbleach (Posts: 154; Member since: 20 May 2012)
The Galaxy S 3 mini got a higher score than this lol. I cant believe it doesnt have jelly bean; that is sad.
15. kingpet13 (Posts: 139; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
I can't believe how low this phone scored. I don't see what it lacks from the s3, except for RAM. And it makes up for that with Its better battery and IMO superior build. Also I am yet to see a non nexus with JB out of the box, except for Note II, which is the current king of all phones, and if Motorola had done this fist, it would have angered the OEMs. (because google owns Moto if you didn't know) This phone should get a 9, with the Razr maxx HD getting a 9.3-9.5. Sorry about my rage, I just love this phone. We need KingKurogii in here to defend Motorola.
On a completely unrelated note this is my first comment on the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity.I finally got rid of that terrible iPad. No more ios in my house : )
17. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5427; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
this review was done pretty badly. after all these years talking about how you guys wish you had a closer to stock Android experience and you finally get it you knock it for not having all the bloat from other UI's and you guys should've did the HD MAXX in the same review like all the other sites are doing because the HD and the HD MAXX are the same phone but $100 gets you a bigger battery and more memory just like how $100 gets you more memory on the SIII and the iPhone.
18. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 612; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
8.5 Solid score, just wondering how come the camera and video section were so scant and basically condensed? What's worse is that the reviewer talked about the UI which has been Motorola's scaled back since back on the Droid X, not sure what he means it's not as good as the other OEM UI out there(when they all suck) that doesn't even compute. S-Beam is just Samsung giving their own name to the Android Beam which is also on the Droid Razr HD and it's probably just as clunky to activate and use as on the SGS3.
The cons are interesting, the camera should be better at this price point? Really? Since there are a gaggle of phones at this price point, what on earth does the reviewer mean by such a statement? Camera is a mixed bag would be something to take note of, but not camera should be better, what the hell? That could mean anything, when in your review you state that the camera has auto white balance problems and auto focus doesn't always work on the first tap. That's all fine, sounds like a software issue.
Why on earth is the push pin to remove the sim card and SD card a con? Who on earth removes SIM cards and SD cards that much on a smartphone? Is it because you don't see these devices that much; is that why it's a problem for you? Like you were looking for a con to give the phone to justify your strangely negative but trying to remain objective review.
ICS is a con? Seriously?!?
19. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5427; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
it's real funny considering that the iPhone uses the same push pin card door. xD Jelly Bean is so close that ICS should really be a non-issue. i'm rocking Jelly Bean on my M now and it works perfectly.
32. nyuvo (Posts: 72; Member since: 10 May 2012)
All motorola phones are analysed and given cons for stupid reasons on this site.
Look at the gs3 mini... Look at the explanation on the display portion of the review, they are so optimistic and are trying to talk up something that is bad. They even go as far to say that it is pleasant.
Now look at for example the RAZR i. It has a much higher pixel density with the same display technology yet it just gets slammed to the floor.
They need some sort of moderation on these reviews.
20. Brewski (Posts: 104; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)
I just ordered my Maxx HD yesterday and should get it tomorrow.
I still have the grandfathered unlimited data package and the Verizon salesperson was able to keep the unlimited data by adding a line. This way I get the subsidized price and not have to worry about data consumption, especially on an LTE network which will eat way more data than 3G. The only downside to that is I can't use my new phone as a hotspot without paying an added fee. :-(
23. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5427; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
i might do that after seeing what's coming over the next few days. o:
22. jaheimRakim (Posts: 3; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)
I thought that this was a review?... why are you quoting motorola's talk time, you don't test the battery life yourself? what a joke, you have the most inconsistent reviewing system of them all text sites.
27. FAUguy (Posts: 76; Member since: 09 Apr 2008)
We recently finished the talk time test, and it got 14 hours on a full charge.
36. jaheimRakim (Posts: 3; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)
hows the battery life when browsing LTE?
25. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
So after reading this review here are a few things I must point out:
"This is actually the same processor that is found on the Motorola DROID RAZR M and the Samsung Galaxy S III, through the Samsung does have twice the RAM."
The SIM card slot and microSD slot con(s). There is also an apparent color shift when viewing the phone at "extreme angles".
"Overall it works well, through doesn’t support Adobe Flash, but it can be side-loaded and used with other browser" (no the 's' isn't cut off, knowing when to use the singular and plural variants of the word appears to be very hard for this person)
On top of all that he still found time to complain about the almost complete stock ICS feel that Motorola has been trying to implement, which is strange because I haven't heard a single complaint about it until now since people seemed to enjoy them abandoning MotoBlur or any variation of it. Oh yeah, and a lower score than the SGS3 Mini.
Can we get another reviewer, preferably with a brain, please?
28. Brewski (Posts: 104; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)
I find most of Phone Arena's articles interesting tend to agree with a lot of what they say but if you don't like their review check out this one by Engadget.
26. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3272; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
"Camera quality should be better at this price"
Won't argue with that. Motorola needs to work on their cameras, or just order them from Sony like everyone else.
"Not running Android Jelly Bean out of the box"
How in the world is this a con? I mean, really? I bet if any other manufacturer released a device with ICS at this time you wouldn't have a problem with it. Just because Google acquired Motorola, you think there will be instant results, but that's not how it works. Maybe later in 2013 when Motorola moves to using stock Android that will be the case, but not now.
"Obnoxious push-pin required for SIM and microSD card access"
Oh, you mean like almost EVERY other phone without a removable back plate has? The iPhone, One X, and Optimus G(?) have that, but they weren't docked points for it.
This review was a bit unfair. The Razr HD deserves a 9, just dock a point for the lackluster camera; otherwise, this is a GREAT device.
Excellent build quality
Good spec count
Great signal strength/call quality
Overall, a very well rounded device that should make anyone satisfied.
31. spoily (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Oct 2012)
This phone is not perfect. However, it is unique and innovative from the standpoint of materials and battery life.
What really puzzles me is of the few things the phone is critized for, PhoneArena critizing the sim tray. I had to go back to old iPhone reviews to check if this was consistent, unfortunately I was very disappointed.
The next complaint about Jelly Bean is also maddening. Come on guys, we know the OS update cycle is broken in Android but you can't apply that negative assessment to the manufacturer, even one owned by Google. It takes time, but as always, it is worth the wait. There is nothing dated about ICS compared any competing OSes like iOS and WinPhone 8.
Being critical of Moto's camera implementations is more than appropriate. Concern over form factor/ergonomics is reasonable. I think this review missed the mark.
33. enGet (Posts: 23; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)
Ugh... I was considering this until I saw it has an amoled screen... no thanks.
34. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5427; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
what's wrong with having an AMOLED display? i like it even if only for the deepest contrasts you can find on a display except for maybe Sony's display, i've forgotten what it's called but it's impressive too.
35. SupermanayrB (Posts: 93; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)
uFck what the review says, this phone to me is bangin! I went to the store & looked at it & the Maxx HD & was ready to drop the full retail price on the Maxx HD right then & there. I'm still tempted to do it, but after reading Brewski's comment, I might add a line myself so I can save some money.