Recently, Android hardware reached a point where I felt you didnít have to buy the fanciest phone in order to be happy. While the HTC One X is a great phone most users will be happy with the One S, that sort of thing. I recently reviewed the Motorola ATRIX which is another fantastic device. Turns out the ATRIX has a smaller sibling the RAZR V XT885. Is the RAZR V good enough?
The first thing I noticed about the RAZR V is that it fit much better in my hand. Turns out last yearís RAZR is noticeably wider though it is slightly thicker.This makes the RAZR V fit much better in my hand.
microUSB, headphone jack, power button
regular sized SIM and microSD card slot
I donít normally criticize power button placement. Some people like it on top, otherís prefer the side. Personally, the bigger a phone is, the more I prefer it to be on side. In the case of the RAZR V I hate the power button because itís hard to press. It needs to stick out more. I guess given the size of the screen a side-mounted button makes more sense too.
Design wise, the V follows the same language as last yearís RAZR. The theme has change a little so that now, itís a little easier to hold. Itís narrower and thicker plus the edges are very slightly tapered. On the back the exposed Kevlar weave now has a different pattern plus it expends all the way to the camera/speaker module. I love the Kevlar back, metal and plastic are so boring next to it.
The camera module is noticeably thicker which disappointed me at first. After a while though, I didnít notice it.
Interestingly, the V uses a regular sized SIM card. Last yearís RAZR took a microSIM.
The screen looks great. Itís bright with very good viewing angles. Itís a LCD display so it lackís AMOLEDís deep black levels but it is noticeably better out in the sun. I notice that I could sometimes see horizontal lines when I held the RAZR in portrait orientation. It was distracting at first but after a while I couldnít see them.
The V lacks physical menu buttons. Instead it uses on-screen buttons like the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7. For better or worse theyíre here to stay on Android and Iím guess theyíll only become more and more popular. On the V I donít mind them though Iíd trade them for physical buttons in a heartbeat. I also find that on-screen buttons look better on AMOLED displays because their deep blacks.
Iím not a fan of the camera software. While it allows you to shoot video and take pictures simultaneously, pictures are only captured at 2368x1348 (3MP) instead of at max resolution (8mp). I wish it had the shutter and record buttons on the same screen like the HTC One X. There is a burst mode but you have to go through the menus to turn it on. Instead of taking rapid fire shots as long as you hold the shutter button like the One X and S III, the V takes 5 shots at 2592x1458 (4MP) in rapid sequence regardless of how long you hold the shutter button for.
I wasnít impressed with the cameraís performance. I found it struggled with focus a lot. While it is capable of taking sharp photos I ended up with lots of blurry photos because of the dodgy autofocus. Video quality is a little better - it does a decent job of capturing audio.
If you read my review of the Motorola ATRIX HD I posted a few days ago the Vís software is nearly identical. The only difference I can see is that the V lacks the ATRIXís swipeable home screen icons and vehicle mode.
Compared with last yearís RAZR the V is far less customized. Except for the home screen and some light skinning of the built-in apps most of the RAZR is stock.
MOTOCAST, DLNA support, Picasa Integration, MOTOBLUR are all gone.
Some Motorola extras Iíve noticed are a file manager, FM Radio, todo list and printer support for the built-in programs.
As far as text entry goes, the V comes with both SWYPE and regular keyboards. I prefer the regular keyboard though SWYPE has many fans.
One interesting extra is Motorolaís Smart Actions program. With Smart Actions you can activate rules depending on what youíre doing. For example, you can set up a sleep rule that automatically runs at night which disables emails, lowers the screen brightness and turns off your ringers. Probably the coolest thing about Smart Actions is that itís location aware. So you can set up a work action that runs automatically whenever you get to work.
Bell also preloads some extra Bell software: Bell RDM, GPS Navigator, Mobile TV, Self Serve and a Sympatico link. Since the V is running Android 4.0 you can disable (but not remove) these Bell programs from the apps option in the setup menu.
Out of the 4GB of built in storage, there is about 2.1GB free. You can add more storage using micro SD cards.
I compared the Vís performance with the Huawei Ascend P1 and HTC One S. I also threw the ATRIX in to see what you get if you spend more.
SunSpider (lower is better):
Motorola RAZR V 1852.2
Huawei Ascend P1 1521.6
HTC One S 1528.1
Motorola ATRIX 1246.6
The Vís processor is clocked about 25% lower than the P1 and it really shows here.
Vellamo (higher is better):
Motorola RAZR V 1402
Huawei Ascend P1 1588
HTC One S 2456
Motorola ATRIX 2380
Vellamo is a suite of benchmarks designed to test a browserís performance. Here the Snapdragon S4ís powered HTC One S outclasses the OMAP 4430 in the P1 and RAZR.
GL Benchmark (on screen, higher is better):
Motorola RAZR V 4988
Huawei Ascend P1 4763
HTC One S 6528
Motorola ATRIX 5063
GL Benchmark is an OpenGL gaming benchmark. The One Sí more powerful processor outclasses the V by around 30% here. The ATRIX has the same GPU as the One S but scores lower because it has a higher resolution screen.
You can still compare these scores because games on the ATRIX will run at its native resolution (1280x720) whereas the other phones run games at 960x540. One way to increase gaming performance is to lower the resolution.
Basemark (higher is better):
Motorola RAZR V 14.34
Huawei Ascend P1 16.58
HTC One S 46.17
Motorola ATRIX 30.09
Basemark is another OpenGL 3D gaming benchmark. This time the One S, creams the competition scoring around 300% higher than the V. Again, despite having the same graphics processor the One S the ATRIXí lower scores are due to itís higher resolution display.
AnTuTu Tester (Battery, higher is better)
Motorola RAZR V 333
Huawei Ascend P1 408
HTC One S 607
Motorola ATRIX 578
The V does quite poorly in AnTuTuís battery tester.
Along with AnTuTu battery tester, I measure battery performance using my own test. I charge the phone, max out the brightness, turn on airplane mode and play a video until the phone shuts off.
Motorola RAZR V 299
Huawei Ascend P1 279
HTC One S 190
Motorola ATRIX 210
Here my results completely contradict the AnTuTu battery tester scores. My real world experience tells me that the RAZR will probably make it through the day.
As a Phone:
Sound quality is quite good. Itís similar to the ATRIX I just reviewed but a little cleaner sounding. Earpiece volume is adequate. RF performance is good.
Maximum speaker volume is average.
left to right: Motorola RAZR XT910, Motorola RAZR XT885
At a glance, the RAZR V is more or less identical to last yearís RAZR. However, there are a couple of differences between the 2. Last yearís RAZR is thinner but wider plus it has a Super AMOLED display instead of the RAZR Vís LCD. The XT910 has 16GB of storage (8GB available for storage vs 4GB (2.1GB available). The XT910 also has a microHDMI port and support for Motorolaís Lapdock accessory.
While they appear very similar I think of the RAZR V as the value version of last yearís RAZR. Really, if you already own a RAZR XT910 thereís no reason to get the new RAZR unless you want Android 4.0 now. Last yearís RAZR on Rogers is still stuck on 2.3 with an Android 4.0 upgrade due later this year.
When it comes to competition, the first phones that come to mind are the Huawei Ascend P1 and HTC One S. The P1 is slightly thinner and narrower but longer than the V. For all intents and purposes theyíre about the same size. Both have the same processor but the P1ís is clocked at 1.5Ghz vs 1.2Ghz on the V.
The P1 also supports pentaband HSPA that works at up to 21mbps, so besides working on Bell/TELUS/Rogers, an unlocked one will also work on Wind/Moblicity whereas an unlocked V runs up to 14.4mb/s and will only work on Bell/TELUS/Rogers.
Both have the same screen resolution though the P1 has a Super AMOLED while the V has a LCD. While the RAZR works better outdoors I prefer the P1ís display.
As far as software goes theyíre both quite different. Iím not a huge fan of eitherís camera software but otherwise both are pleasant to use. Neither is overly customized so Iím hopeful theyíll receive more updates.
There is a difference in price. At $349.99 no contract vs $399.99 for the P1 the RAZR is an outstanding deal. Really it boils down to whether you want to pay $50 more for penta-band HSPA support and more performance. This is a tough call.
For $499.99 no contract, the HTC One S sports superior specs. It has a faster processor, 16GB of storage and support for 42mb/s HSPA.
One area where the V really lags behind the One S is the camera software. The One Sís is much faster and has both record and shutter buttons on the same screen so you donít have to wait for it to switch between modes.
While the One Sí processor is faster, the difference in everyday usage isnít as noticeable as the numbers indicate. At least not yet. Still, being faster makes it more future proof. On the other hand, its 16GB of storage is not expandable so you may find it getting cramped if you store a lot of videos on it/take lots of pictures. Like itís brother, the One X, I canít really recommend the One S to anyone unless youíre sure you can live with non-expandable storage. If you can live with the storage situation thereís also the price to consider. The One S is priced at $150 higher than the RAZR. I donít think the faster processor and radio are worth the extra money.
At $349.99 no contract the Motorola RAZR V is good value. For now, it represents itís the most affordable phone thatís Ďgood enoughí.
- RF performance
- interesting design
- Same basic specs as last yearís RAZR in a thicker package