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Motorola RAZR Review

Motorola RAZR

Posted: , posted by Daniel P.

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Motorola RAZR Review
Introduction:

Probably the best phone to come out of Motorola in this new smartphone era that started 2007, is the Motorola RAZR. The thinnest Android phone out there was a title previously reserved for a Japanese handset by NEC.

The company obviously banks on the iconic RAZR brand from times past, which received cult status with its game changing sharp looks and razor-thin profile. The Motorola RAZR of today carries the design tradition with its 7.1 mm waistline, and the exotic materials used for the chassis, like Kevlar.

Are these enough for the Motorola RAZR to lure the spoiled smartphone shoppers, which have an excellent smartphone crop this holiday season? Read on to find out…

This is the GSM version of Verizon’s DROID RAZR and is called simply the Motorola RAZR. It is identical, except for the baseband radio, which allows it to work on AT&T and T-Mobile (2G only) in the US.

If you've read our DROID RAZR review, you wouldn't really need to read this one. Especially if you are in the States.


Design:

The Motorola RAZR flaunts one of the most compelling handset designs in recent memory. Aesthetically, it reminds other high-end smartphones in Motorola's stable, but is able to separate itself from them thanks to its remarkable razor thin construction and the slant corners.

Right off the bat, we're mesmerized by its 0.28" (7.1mm) thickness – making it the thinnest smartphone on the market. However, it's not uniform because of the hump towards the top where the camera sensors are placed. And to complement its svelte appearance, it's by far one of the lightest smartphones in its size category.

For something so thin, some would probably envision it to be frail, but there's nothing to be worried about because it's constructed out of the finest materials out there. Specifically, it's internally strengthened by its stainless steel chassis, which is further supplemented by its Kevlar fiber back cover for reinforcement, and water repellent nanocoating to absorb some levels of liquid splashes - though, it's not completely waterproof. Tell you the truth, this is easily the most solidly built device we've seen put out of Motorola's camp.

The Motorola RAZR flaunts one of the most compelling handset designs in recent memory - Motorola RAZR Review
The Motorola RAZR flaunts one of the most compelling handset designs in recent memory - Motorola RAZR Review
The Motorola RAZR flaunts one of the most compelling handset designs in recent memory - Motorola RAZR Review

Motorola RAZR Review

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

It's not the first time we're seeing a 4.3" qHD (540 x 960) display with Gorilla Glass on a Motorola smartphone, but what's new is the fact that it features a Super AMOLED Advanced panel instead of a traditional LCD one. The cold colors typical for Super AMOLED are present in the RAZR screen, too.

Motorola RAZR Review

Granted that it utilizes the PenTile matrix arrangement, but it's more than capable of producing distinctive details with pixel density of 256 ppi, which, however, is behind those of the upcoming GALAXY Nexus or the Apple iPhone 4S, which clock at 316 and 326 ppi, respectively.

Not surprisingly, we're captivated by the saturated colors it's able to produce, although they appear a tad gaudy for some tastes. Throw in its high contrast ratio, deep black color, and wide viewing angles, and it's well equipped in providing plenty of visual treats to our eyes. Still, we wish it had higher brightness, especially outside.

Typically for an Android 2.3.x phone, we find the same set of capacitive Android buttons sitting beneath its display – with the microphone situated very close to the home button. Meanwhile, the front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera and narrow earpiece are all located directly above the display. The square opening of the front cam is not the most elegant of sights, but the small sensor records 720p HD video of your pretty face while doing video chat. To profoundly exhibit its premium taste, the Motorola name is etched into the diamond-cut aluminum accent.

Android buttons - Motorola RAZR Review
Front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera - Motorola RAZR Review

Android buttons

Front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera


On the left side of the phone sits a plastic flap that hides away the handset’s microSIM card slot and microSD card slot to complement the 8GB of internal memory.

Rather than finding the dedicated power button on the top side of the phone, like most other recent devices, this time around it's positioned on the right edge along with the volume rocker, which we prefer. Between the two, the power button is slightly more raised versus the flat feel of the volume rocker, which is on top of that too short for comfortable operation, and not as tactile as the lock key.

The top edge of the phone claims home to the handset's 3.5 mm headset jack, microUSB port, and microHDMI port. To think that they're all there is indeed impressive for device that's razor thin!

Volume rocker and power key (right) - The sides of the Motorola RAZR - Motorola RAZR Review
3.5mm jack, microUSB port, and microHDMI port (top) - The sides of the Motorola RAZR - Motorola RAZR Review
microSIM card slot and microSD card slot (left) - The sides of the Motorola RAZR - Motorola RAZR Review

Volume rocker and power key (right)

3.5mm jack, microUSB port, and microHDMI port (top)

microSIM card slot and microSD card slot (left)


Finally, the 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash and the speakerphone grill are all stuffed into the handset's hump, which forms the slight bulge. In order to retain its slim appearance, Motorola has opted to keep its battery shut out from the world – essentially requiring you to send it away to get it replaced.

The rear camera with LED flash and the speakerphone grill are stuffed into the handset's hump - Motorola RAZR Review
The rear camera with LED flash and the speakerphone grill are stuffed into the handset's hump - Motorola RAZR Review

Overall, the RAZR manages to escape from the “black rectangular plastic” paradigm of many Androids, via its cut corners, slim waistline, and Kevlar on the back. Still, if you don’t know it’s Kevlar, you’d prefer the cozy feeling of soft-touch plastic, and those touted “metal accents” are mostly just a tiny plate with the brand at the front. The RAZR is slim, but is rather wide for the 4.3” screen it packs,  and some will find it uncomfortable in the hand. 

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Motorola RAZR Review

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Motorola RAZR 360-degrees View:



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Motorola RAZR

Motorola RAZR

OS: Android 4.1.2 4.0.4 2.3.5
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
9Excellent
Display4.3 inches, 540 x 960 pixels (256 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
TI OMAP4430, Dual-core, 1200 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
1 GB RAM
Size5.15 x 2.71 x 0.28 inches
(130.7 x 68.9 x 7.1 mm)
4.48 oz  (127 g)
Battery1780 mAh, 12.5 hours talk time

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