Motorola DROID RAZR M Review

Introduction and Design

As we're all well aware by now, Motorola's two upcoming flagship smartphones for Verizon, the Motorola DROID RAZR HD and DROID RAZR HD MAXX, aren't come to fruition until a later date this year. Certainly, there are many people out there saddened by this revelation, but nevertheless, Verizon customers are spared some good news in the near term. Fortunately for them, they can experience another one of the next-generation DROIDs very soon and without the wait.

Although it might not have the commanding presence as its highly esteemed siblings, the Motorola DROID RAZR M is looking to be a relevant device thanks to its compact form factor and impressive, nearly bezel-less display – while still chiming in at the lovable price point of $99.99 with a 2-year contract. In all seriousness, this is one DROID RAZR that's ready to slice and dice the mid-range market.

The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Rapid Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Product Safety and Warranty Information


At a quick glance, there's no arguing that the Motorola DROID RAZR M employs all the characteristic DROID RAZR aesthetics we're all familiar with by now. Simply, it looks like a "mini" version of all the other last-generation RAZRs we've seen, but doesn't have as much of the pronounced angular corner cuts from before, and instead, it's more rounded on the corners. Even though its design isn't necessarily ground breaking, the combination of its uniform chassis and compact form makes it undeniably easy to handle in the hand.

And of course, there's the high-quality materials it's constructed from, which enables it to exude toughness to the full degree. Donning a sturdy plastic body combined with a KEVLAR coated rear casing, it maintains a very clean appearance that does wonders to repel dirt and debris. Throw in some nice accents, like the star shaped screws around the two edges of the handset, and it simply reaffirms to us the precise and thoughtful process Motorola goes through in concocting its devices.

You can compare the Motorola DROID RAZR M with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Like other recent Motorola phones, the DROID RAZR M ditches the usual set of capacitive buttons replacing them with on-screen ones. Meanwhile, above the display, it's almost impossible to make out its earpiece, but surely enough, it's right there beneath the "Motorola" name. Finally, the front-facing VGA camera sits towards the upper right corner all by itself.

Taking a peek around the edges of the smartphone, its buttons, ports, and screws make for one crowded look. On the right edge, we find the responsive power button and volume control – with the former having the more distinct feel. As for the left edge, it's home to the microUSB port, which doesn't feature video-out functionally, and a plastic flap that hides away the microSD and microSIM slots. Lastly, the 3.5mm headset jack is the only item taking up space on the top edge of the phone.

Around the rear, the handset's 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash is flush to the surface, which again contributes to maintaining a uniform body. And nearby, we can spot the tiny speaker grill of the phone. Once again, this is another Motorola smartphone that doesn't offer a user replaceable battery – meaning one will need to send it in for service if it happens to go bad.


And so comes the most exciting and impressive part about the Motorola DROID RAZR M, its 4.3" qHD 540 x 960 Super AMOLED display! Well, it might doesn’t seem like something earth shattering on paper, especially when 720p displays are all the norm for most high-end smartphones, but it's the edge-to-edge nature of its display that's most spectacular. Honestly, it gives us a seek peek of what to expect in terms of future mobile displays – and that's what makes this handset so compelling, despite not being a cutting-edge thing in terms of raw specs.

Come to think about it, we haven't seen something like this before, and therefore, we're uncannily fascinated by it. With the almost bezel-less display, it contributes to make the DROID RAZR M the most compact sized smartphone we've come across to date – for its screen size obviously.

Aside from that, the display is still detailed enough with its qHD resolution, which so happens to employ a PenTile matrix arrangement. Adding to its appeal, its high-contrast, wide viewing angles, and vibrant color production keeps everything seem so charismatically pretty. Looking pass the visual allure, it's still visible outdoors with the sun present – albeit, it doesn't hurt to shield it every now and then for optimum clarity.

Motorola DROID RAZR M 360-degrees View:


You'd think we'd see some love given to the Android experience with this new DROID, but it's entirely the same exact package we saw already first on the ATRIX HD. The handset is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. To Moto's credit though, it's planned to get its Jelly Bean upgrade before the end of the year – still, it would've been nice to see it from the onset. Compared to the other custom Android experiences out there, such as HTC's Sense and Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX, it lacks the comprehensive, complete, and useful functions to make it compete on the same level.

Ultimately, it's nothing more than a skin running on top of ICS – as opposed to be an experience worth gushing over. In fact, the only thing "new" that Verizon customers might notice, is probably the main "Circles" widget on the homescreen, which we've seen already in the ATRIX HD.


Scoping out the handset's usual set of organizer apps, there isn't anything particularly different about them when compared to other Android devices – mainly because it's rocking stock Android organizer apps. Therefore, whether you check out the Calculator, Calendar, or Clock, you won't find anything new with them.

Paying attention to the Email and Gmail apps, they present us with the usual experience, but nevertheless, we absolutely adore the productivity they have to cough up to us. Of course, setup is a painless procedure, as it merely requires only our email address and password for proper completion.

Having enough real estate to play around with, we don't have much problem typing away stuff with its on-screen keyboards. Additionally the responsive nature of both keyboards, the Motorola and Swype ones, enable us to accurately and quickly compose messages without a hitch.

Processor and Memory:

Being a minuscule sized device might make people think that the DROID RAZR M will be packing some old hardware under the hood, but that's not the case. In fact, it's actually competing on the same level like many of its high-end brethren. Specifically, it's tucking away a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 S4 processor with 1GB of RAM – thus, proving itself to be a viable contender. Overall, it performs exceptionally fast with all operations, with very few instances of it hanging up with various processes. Of course, the benchmark scores go on to show its supreme processing power!

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Motorola DROID RAZR M4864671561,3
HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE4383597458,8
Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX2895617836,7
HTC Rezound2490560333,9

At 8GB in size, some might view that figure as sufficient enough, but in reality, it's well under the curve for serious users. Thankfully, the handset is rocking a useful microSD card slot that's ready to accept cards up to 32GB in capacity.

Internet and Connectivity:

So long sweet Android web browser from yesterday, you served your purpose well! Instead, the Motorola DROID RAZR M is the first Android smartphone to come preloaded with Google's very own Chrome browser, which provides for a swell web browsing experience to continue the legacy. Sure, it lacks support for Flash, but nonetheless, everything moves buttery quick – and it helps immensely when 4G LTE connectivity is on board to load up complex web sites in a jiffy!

Testing out its LTE speeds, we were able to get 30 Mbit/s speeds on both the upload and download! Beyond its cellular radios, the DROID RAZR M also features aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, NFC, and mobile hotspot functionality.


No surprises with this one folks, since there are no changes with the camera experience over previous efforts from Moto. Naturally, we're bummed about it, but hey, it is what it is. Compared to some other devices out there, it lacks the depth of manual controls and special effects to make it a compelling show.

Donning an 8-megapixel snapper in the rear, it's surely not a slouch – though, it's overall quality is still far from being perfect. Yeah, its quality is decent enough for us to accept, but don't expect to see professional grade stuff with this one. Taking a glance at the photos we snapped with the handset, it suffers from having soft looking details, but the colors appear somewhat on the neutral side. In low lighting situations though, there's no improvement found with it whatsoever – as instances of noise make detail even lower. Fortunately, the LED flash is effective enough to counteract some of its deficiencies.

Likewise, we can say the same thing regarding its 1080p video recording quality. Moving smoothly at the rate of 30 frames per second, its tolerable quality backed up by its gradual exposure, average details, and clear audio recording. Far from being a market leader, it's something we wouldn't mind using to capture some of the candid moments that somehow pop out of nowhere.

Motorola DROID RAZR M Sample Video:


Interestingly, the DROID RAZR M relies on the Google Play Music app for its music player – with no option for Moto’s very own player. The player is favorable in our opinion, as it employs a good balance between functionality and visual presentation. Pumping its volume to the maximum level, it produces tones that are pleasant to the ear, but nothing commanding for us to take notice; its output is on the average side of things.

Showing its closer ties to Google, gone is the Gallery app we’ve seen countless times from Motorola, and instead, it sticks to firmly 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 nearly flawless as it’s able to calmly play our test video that’s encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080 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.

Unlike some of the previous well respected last-generation Motorola DROID RAZRs, this one actually doesn’t offer the quick and easy function of video-out.


Making an appearance once again, not surprisingly considering we've been seeing it on all new Motorola devices of late, the SMARTACTIONS feature is available with the DROID RAZR M 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 worth 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 stuffed to the roof with a lot of bloatware apps – the listing consists of Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Amazon MP3, Amazon Appstore, Audible, NFL Mobile, Quickoffice, Slacker Radio, Viewdini, and Zappos. Conversely, Big Red’s presence is established on the handset with apps such as Verizon Apps, My Verizon Mobile, and VZ Navigator.

Call quality:

Calling quality with the DROID RAZR M is actually good, as we’re able to comfortably hear voices that are clear and in tone through the earpiece. On the other end of the line, however, our callers state that there’s a tiny bit of distortion – though, it’s not entirely present all the time. Switching to the speakerphone, voices have very little noise or distortion, but its output is simply too weak to use in noisy environments.

On one hand, we didn’t drop any phone calls during our time using the handset, as it manages to maintain a signal strength of -90dBm. However, we did experience some instances when its LTE connection would drop while indoors, and put us back to 3G EV-DO speeds.


Still packing a respectable 2,000 mAh battery within its body, we’re easily able to get through a solid day while running on 3G connectivity. As expected, it’ll require constant charging if you’re consistently running off LTE – though, it should get you by through an 8-hour work shift.


It’s not the fastest, the most chiseled, or most cutting-edge DROID we’ve seen to date. However, when you’re getting an equipped smartphone that’s packing the same processing power as some of its esteemed colleagues there’s plenty to like about the Motorola DROID RAZR M. Of all the lovely things attached with the handset, it’s the edge-to-edge display that’s most amazing, which is made more spectacular when it translates over to being the most compact smartphone on the market with a 4.3-inch display.

Add to the fact that it’s sporting one easy and affordable price point of $99.99 with a 2-year contract, it’s poised to make one successful run that’s sure to etch out a piece of the pie for itself. Even though there are still two other DROID RAZR’s on the horizon for Big Red, this one is undoubtedly a great way for Motorola to establish its presence in the crucial fall and holiday period. So people, the Motorola DROID RAZR M has all the ingredients and execution to be a respected contender – and that’s despite being regarded as a mid-range device. When all is said and done, this actually sets the standard in what it means to be a mid-range smartphone nowadays.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 4.0.4
Build Number: 7.7.1Q-144_SMQ_S136-10
Kernel Version: 3.0.8-00050-g3146a4e

Motorola DROID RAZR M Video Review:

Video Thumbnail


  • Killer $99.99 price point
  • Remarkable compact size, thanks to the almost bezel-less display
  • Fast processing performance


  • Mediocre camera quality
  • Still short battery life with LTE

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