Motorola RAZR i Review

The Motorola RAZR i may not be the first Android smartphone worthy of bearing the "Intel inside" logo, but it is the first to come from one of the big boys on the smartphone market. Are you getting the feeling that you've seen this handset somewhere already? Don't be surprised as the RAZR i has adopted the visual features of its Snapdragon-powered cousin – the Motorola DROID RAZR M, which we recently reviewed, starting with the impressively slim bezel and going all the way down to the KEVLAR-made layer of armor on its back.

But under the hood, it is a totally different story. The Motorola RAZR i is powered by a single-core Intel Atom chip ticking at the once-unthinkable 2GHz. But is the seemingly high figure something we should be impressed with? Would the performance of Intel's mobile chip be up to par with what multi-core ARM-based handsets are capable of delivering? These are the burning questions we are eager to find the answers to, so join us as we give the Motorola RAZR i a thorough review treatment. 

The box contains:
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Wired stereo headset
  • SIM card and microSD card retrieval tool
  • Quick start guide and safety information


Just like us, you'll probably have a hard time believing that a smartphone so compact and easy to handle packs a screen of such size. Although the Motorola RAZR i is approximately as wide and tall as the iPhone 5, it comes with a respectable 4.3-inch display – quite an engineering feat, we must admit. Yet dimensions like these aren't witchcraft. It is just that the bezel surrounding the handset's screen is extremely slim, which shaves quite a few millimeters off its width. Don't be fooled, however, as slim does not necessarily equal fragile – the inner frame around the display is made out of aircraft grade aluminum for exceptional rigidity, although the outer frame is just plain old plastic.

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

From an aesthetic standpoint, the smartphone isn't going to win any beauty awards, but it has an appeal of its own – an appeal that the geeky by nature would probably appreciate. Just like all the other members of the RAZR family, the Motorola RAZR i sports the typical KEVLAR back, which looks quite fancy, although it is quite prone to collecting finger smudge. The entire handset has been treated with a special coating that repels water droplets, so one can use it on a drizzly day without worrying about water damage.

All of the RAZR i's physical buttons are located on its right side – a metal-made lock key on top, with a 2-button volume rocker beneath it and a single-stage dedicated camera shutter. We are happy to say that all of them are well pronounced, which makes them very easy to operate. On the left side resides the microUSB port for battery charging and connecting the device to a computer. Right next to it are the slots for microSD and Micro-SIM cards, protected by a flap cover.


Without a doubt, the most interesting thing about the screen on the Motorola RAZR i is the bezel around it, or the near absence thereof, to be more specific. Having a frame as thin as this just looks so cool! But other than that, we are dealing with a typical AMOLED panel, along with its strengths and weaknesses. For starters, the 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display on the Motorola RAZR i has a resolution of 540 by 960 pixels (qHD). That seems more than acceptable on paper, but in reality, a certain amount of pixelation is present in text and detailed graphics throughout the interface since a PenTile pixel arrangement is in use and the pixel density is average at 256 ppi. When watching photos or videos, that does not bother us much, but when reading text or browsing the web, for example, it is annoying to see that letters are so fuzzy. 

Then there's the color representation. If you're a fan of bright, punchy colors, then you'll surely like the RAZR i's display, but to us some hues appear eye-burningly bright, and there is no way of adjusting their intensity manually. There's no denying, however, that the deep blacks and wide viewing angles delivered by the screen are a considerable advantage. Outdoor visibility is okay – thanks to the low amount of glare, the handset is still mostly usable even when the sun is shining at its screen.

Motorola RAZR i 360-Degrees View:



27. oneeoe

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 25, 2012

Hello eisenbricher. nice to see that u are well imformed about smartphone tech systems. Pls, i have some questions if you can help clear my doubts. However any other guy out here can help me as well. i want to get either this phone, Mototorola RAZR i or it's sibling, the Razr M (not Maxx). My questions are specifically about web browsing, Call reception signal, audio quality on the loud speaker and not those frivolities like fotos, videos etc. 1.0 HTC's are noted for automatic page reflows once it is zoomed. Is it same with Razr i or Razr M? yes or no. 2.0 Also in htc's, after a page reflows on zooming, double tapping the same page makes page reflows again hence making the text font larger. is same with these RAZRes? 3.0 Is the screen readable in direct sunlight? 4.0 Finally, can i quite converse with someone when put on speaker (i.e hands off)? My main reasons for wanting either of the RAZRs is their shear smaller size and acceptable battery life. My best would have been RAZR XT910 but IT IS EXCEPTIONALLY LARGE. THANKING YOU IN ADVANCE. HOPE I GET A REPLY SOON.

25. tom_underscore_ell

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 31, 2012

Perfect form factor and excellent battery life. Despite being a bit of a geek, this was the first smartphone I've bought, because it ticks all the boxes that no other smartphones have so far. Unfortunately there is a flaw in the handset that completely lets it down for me. The problem is high levels of hiss / interference when a speaker is connected to the 3.5mm jack while audio is not playing. There is also an unpleasant thump when the audio output turns on (i.e. immediately prior to playing audio) or off (a few moments after audio output is stopped). The hiss/EM interference noise reduces significantly immediately before and after playing audio i.e. seems to go down to an acceptable level once audio chip is taken out of 'sleep' mode. This happens regardless of whether the device is connected to wall socket. I tried various things - temporarily disabling MusicFX app and doing a factory reset – no luck unfortunately. I have had the issue now with two handsets, both from Handtec (who have been excellent in terms of dealing with my return promptly and fairly). Currently I suspect this is an issue affecting all Razri handsets, unless someone can confirm otherwise? I am sending mine back for a full refund. If Motorola fix the issue and someone is able to confirm that it's been resolved, I'll buy it. If you are one of those people who would never connect your phone to anything except cheap earphones, and you're not fussed about audio quality when playing through speakers/decent headphones, I can strongly recommend this phone.

23. cretinick

Posts: 148; Member since: Jan 25, 2011

I get the impression of that screen is not REALLY 4.3"... The virtual Buttons area is a dead area. Even in the fullscreen video playing, the area is dead. In the side by side image, the usable area is much smaller than the HTC One S. And is pretty the same as the iPhone 5.

15. heheh00

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Hi, does this phone will work in countries outside US and Europe, like Philippines? Thanks

22. Jurdiales

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

It's the GSM version of the RAZR M, but i guess the Droid RAZR M has global-gsm capability... So, my answer is... yes, if you have a GSM carrier.

26. cretinick

Posts: 148; Member since: Jan 25, 2011

It is available in Brazil (since mid-October). I think it works in any country who has the basebands supported by the phone. GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz UMTS: 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Design wise, SONY looks the best out ov all phones! Big let down by single CPU, tho it's multi-threaded, Quad-core and the design of the RAZR, i would'ev bought this phone.

13. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

Matter of personal taste.... I agree sony's interface looks sophisticated than the others. Kind of suitable for business lifestyle. But still a little dull for me. I like the live tiles of WP! Again I should remind.. just a matter of personal taste.

7. Jurdiales

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

I don't understand why the UI is a Con, is almost stock, lots of people complained time ago about custom OEM launchers and interfaces, and now is a bad thing the "stock look"? Damn... And I guess it deserves an 8 of 10 because it doesn't have an Apple logo on its back... The good thing for thing phone is the unlockable bootloader :)

3. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I really hate it when people try to say that a 250+ppi is not acceptable in real life. SRSLY? we don't use our phones with microscope in our eyes. we use it not that close enough to notice these pixelation we're talking about. and saying a thing like "a resolution of 540 by 960 pixels (qHD). That seems more than acceptable on paper, but in reality, a certain amount of pixelation is present in text and detailed graphics throughout the interface since a PenTile pixel arrangement is in use and the pixel density is average at 256 ppi." I think that you're talking the other way around. It's acceptable in reality but not on paper. Sure, an HD screen is better than this, if you really look close enough to see the difference. But that's just being ridiculous. They should have not invented the zoom function if that's what we really care about, a readable small text. But all in all, good review. +1

6. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

It's not acceptable either way. I was thinking about getting the One S which has a similar screen but cannot stand the fuzzy images, text, or icons. 256ppi wold be great but I'm quite happy with my 480x800 4" display (233ppi) on my phone which seems way sharper than a pentile display. You may like it, but there are those who hate it as well.

2. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

I want the M... But which one is better? I'm not really sure now. And it's really a disappointment that a 2Ghz core is being beat by a 1.5Ghz core... Shows that Intel still has to work that brain.

5. iamfury

Posts: 78; Member since: Oct 07, 2012

"And it's really a disappointment that a 2Ghz core is being beat by a 1.5Ghz core... Shows that Intel still has to work that brain" thats because Razr M has a dual core with 1.5Ghz which makes up for 3.0Ghz straight collectively, whereas the Razr i has a single core with 2.0 Ghz.

9. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

You got it wrong buddy...both cores work together to hit the 1.5ghz mark. It don't mean a single core has that much clock-work... You remind me of me when i didn't know much about dual cores working together, lol.

12. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

You both got it wrong... There are so many performance deciding components inside a CPU, like bandwidth of data pipes, memory interface, scheduling, multi-threading logic, codec support, addressing... and much more. What I'm trying to say is, please don't compare CPUs purely on freq. Only tool that can compare is a wide set of benchmarks. And if the platforms are different then that's the absolute necessity.

14. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Agreed...just googled about it. Misunderstood it very much...thank you sir! +1

16. iamfury

Posts: 78; Member since: Oct 07, 2012

Thanx to both of you for correcting me :)

24. mobilefuture

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

I want to know more about processors so tell me something. According to what you're saying, one core on the HTC ONE X runs at 375MHz?

18. AppleHateBoy unregistered

That's because there is much less support for x86 than there is for ARM. P.S. Apple A6 with 1.3 GHz processor equals Qualcomm Krait with 1.5 GHz processor. Qualcomm Krait performs far far far better than Dual Core Exynos. So, as you can see it's not always about GHz.

19. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

Man.. again this isn't a comparison. OS performs equally imp role on this as well. Yeah, but if we can run benchmarks after installing a same OS on both platfoms then we can definitely judge the power of the chip.

1. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i actually got a Droid Razr M as a warranty replacement for my Droid Razr. it'll be here Friday. ;D i love how the Razr M and the Razr i reviews differ merely by having different people review them.

4. Mightymack

Posts: 74; Member since: Jul 16, 2010

Im just excited for the intel. I hope this is the start of new phone technology

17. AppleHateBoy unregistered

ARM:- Great Architecture (ARM v7-A), Average Process (32 nm with 1st Gen HKMG)(or 28 nm without HKMG) Intel:- Average Architecture (x86), Great Process (22 nm FinFET with 3rd Gen HKMG) I really wish we could have best of both worlds. Imagine Qualcomm S4 Pro on Intel's 22 nm FinFET Process (popularly called "3-D Transistor").

20. champ_vl

Posts: 44; Member since: Aug 31, 2012

Me too !! Too bad most of the readers won't understand what you said and can't agree also

21. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i understand just fine but i'm not gonna be a smartass about it.
  • Display 4.3 inches
    960 x 540 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    0.3 MP VGA front
  • Hardware Intel Atom, 1GB RAM
  • Storage , microSDHC
  • Battery 2000 mAh
  • OS Android 4.4.2

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