Nice review and agreed on the lackluster battery life.
To me, there's no phone that defines a company like the RAZR does for Motorola. To me RAZR represented Motorola’s peak. Everywhere I went people where using their RAZRs.
Here’s the new Motorola XT910 - the RAZR. The one I’m reviewing is on Rogers. It’s a 14.4mbps HSPA device with a dual core 1.2Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage (of which 8GB is available), 8mp camera, 2mp rear facing camera and 802.11n support on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. It’s running Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread).
You’re probably wondering what’s so RAZRy about the RAZR. To my eye the hump located on the back which houses the camera, flash and speaker is the most striking connection.
The thickness - or should I say thinness of the new RAZR is identical to the of the old one when it was opened up.
Another aspect is the material/finish on the back. I remember how different the original RAZR’s metal body felt compared to everything else on the market at the time. These days a lot of phones have some metal on them so Motorola has to try something different. Parts of the new RAZR’s body are made from a kevlar fiber. The back has a very matted, non glossy finish which makes it easy to grip. It sort of feels like rubberized paint but there are some differences.
Size-wise the RAZR has a pretty big footprint. It’s actually wider than the HTC Raider even though the RAZR has a slightly smaller display.
That said, I thought the RAZR was a pretty easy phone to hold. On the other hand it’s definitely too wide for me to use with just one hand.
As far as input goes there’s the default Android keyboard along with a SWYPE one. I must say, the blacked out keyboard looks really cool.
On the right side are the power and volume buttons.
On top are the micro HDMI, micro USB and headphone jack. The RAZR is compatible with Motorola’s lapdock and home theater dock accessories.
The micro SIM and micro SDHC card slots are located on the left. They’re hidden behind a door. The door has a gasket on it to help keep out dust and moisture.
The back houses the 8 megapixel autofocus camera with an LED flash and a speaker. Notice the pattern on the back.
In front are the 2mp camera and 4 capacitive buttons.
The screen is slightly recessed so the phone is easy to use without accidentally pressing the menu buttons. Indeed it’s very difficult to accidentally press the menu buttons regardless of how you hold it.
The screen measures 4.3” with a resolution of 960x540. What makes it special is that it’s a super AMOLED display. The same technology used in last year’s Samsung Galaxy S. Super AMOLED is known for having super deep blacks and amazing viewing angles which work well in direct sunlight. It’s quite good for being a pentile matrix display which isn’t as sharp as a regular LCD of equivalent resolution.
Side-by-side the RAZR’s display isn’t a carbon copy of the Galaxy’s. When the displays are off or showing 100% black the Galaxy’s has a grey-ish blue tinge to it. The RAZR’s has a more distracting purple tinge to it. The Samsung has much whiter whites. On the RAZR they’re slightly gray.
While I prefer the colour on the Samsung, the RAZR isn’t THAT far behind. Where the display really differ is the viewing angle. While the RAZR has an awesome viewing angle, whites tend to shift to a slight green off angle.
It sounds bad but keep in mind I’m comparing the 2 displays side-by-side. While I have a lot to say about the display, for me I’m not bothered by the display’s shortcomings - it’s not that bad.
Like the Galaxy the subpixels in the RAZR’s display are arranged in a pentile matrix. Basically what this means is that the RAZR’s display isn’t as sharp as an LCD screen of the same size and resolution. It also means that some solid colours for lack of a better world look ‘dottier’. Anyways, if you liked the original Galaxy S’ display then you’ll like the RAZR’s. If you were bothered by it then try something else.
There’s 8GB of built in storage. I transferred a 400MB video file back and forth with my computer and observed write speeds of 9.3MB/s and read speeds of 16.9MB/s. I popped a 16GB class 10 microSDHC in and observed write speeds of 13.8MB/s and read speeds of 16.7MB/s. So we have very good speeds for both built-in and external storage.
The rear facing camera has a resolution of 8mp while the front one has 2mp. The rear one can record 1080p video while the front 720p.
I didn’t take measurements but to my eye I’d say the camera has the same field of view of around 35mm on a 35mm camera.
Outdoors colours are slightly washed out but otherwise it’s quite good. Indoors the camera relies on the flash more than I’d like to see. It focuses quite quickly outside. Indoors focusing is slow (most phones are like this) but what really drove me nuts is that sometimes it won’t focus at all and just takes blurry pictures.
Video is pretty good. Audio recording is also okay - people sound pretty good but there’s a strange rushing sound that I can hear in the background.
Though it’s not as good as the HTC Raider or iPhone 4s the camera RAZR is a huge step up from previous Motorola phones. Hopefully Motorola will keep improving their cameras.
There’s an Account app that allows you to enter login information for a variaty of sources including: Exchange servers, POP and IMAP servers, Facebook, Flickr, Google, LasfFM, LinkedIn, MotoCast ID (formerly BLUR), Photobucket, Pciasa, Twitter, Yahoo! Mail and YouTube. The information you enter here is used by many of the built in Motorola apps including the Gallery, Social media apps, that sort of thing.
The gallery app has a lot of functionality. Besides allowing you to view pictures stored on the phone and your Picassa galleries, you can also view your friend’s Facebook galleries, Youtube, Photobucket and Flickr. The default view is of your friend’s new pictures.
The coolest thing about the Gallery app is MotoCast. MotoCast allows you to view pictures and videos stored on your computer. All you have to do is install the MotoCast software on your home computer and then login with your MotoCast account (I was able to log in with my BLUR account).
Here are 2 huge differences with MotoCast over other similar programs. Firstly, MotoCast allows you to view your content remotely - not just over WiFi. The second and more import difference is that MotoCast WORKS. I was able to view various mkv, avi, wmv, mp4, mpg, m4v in various resolutions going all the way up to 1080p. The only file formats I couldn’t view were mov and AVCHD files (mts, m2ts, etc). Just remember, the file quality depends on how fast your home computer is and how fast your home connection’s upload is. Video quality is not as good as if you had copied the file to the RAZR but it’s watchable. I got better results when I was connected with WiFi than remotely because my Bell Fibe connection only gets 1mbps upload (even though it’s advertised as 7mbps).
I have a large collection of videos at home so MotoCast is one of the coolest features ever. It allows me to carry my entire video collection with me wherever I go without the hassle of having to transcode anything or having to copy anything to the device. With MotoCast I can throw up my memory cards.
Once you’ve installed MotoCast on your computer you can also use it to sync with your iTunes library.
The social networking program appears to be an aggregator showing updates for various sources including: Exchange servers, pop and impa, Facebook, Flickr, Google, LastFM, LinkedIN, MotorCast ID, Photobucket, Picasa, Twitter, Yahoo mail and YouTube. There is a widget to go along with the program.
Social Location is a location based aggregator. You can view what is close using multiple sources including Yelp, Foodspotting, Meetup.com, etc. It’s a good idea. There is an accompanying widget, however, only one source is supported per widget - meaning you’ll need to make 2 widgets if you want to use booth Yelp and Foodspotting. This is probably to save battery life.
The cloud integration with the built in apps is impressive but there is one big caveat: they’re really hard on the battery. Even though the RAZR somewhat generous 1720mAh battery is no match for these apps. Don’t forget that the RAZR’s battery is not removable. So, while I think the apps are fantastic it’s a case of the battery not being able to keep up. If you use them keep a spare charger at work and consider bringing around a portable charger when you’re away from an outlet.
There’s a full copy of QuickOffice included with the RAZR. I like how QuickOffice has support for many cloud-based services like Google Docs, Dropbox, box.net, huddle, SugarSync and mobileme.
There is a messaging application with a universal inbox. Annoyingly you can’t create a shortcut to the universal inbox on your home screen - only the messaging application. That means there’s a minimum of 2 presses to get to the universal inbox.
Smart Actions is probably the most interesting extra on the RAZR. Remember how Nokia phones have profiles? You’d have a meeting profile which would reduce or silence the ringer, disable key sounds, that sort of thing. Well the RAZR’s smart actions take this to the next level. Each action consists of a trigger (or triggers) and an action (or actions).
Here’s a list triggers:
And here’s a list of triggers
Send Text Message
Play a Playlist
Here are some examples:
Trigger: When I connect to my Bluetooth headphones Action: I want to launch my favorite playlist.
Trigger: When I connect to my car’s Bluetooth Action: I want to launch Maps and disable the screen timeout.
When forum member madlor gets home his RAZR automatically turns off Bluetooth and cellular data plus it lowers the screen brightness. Whenever a Smart Action is active there’s an icon in the notification area. You’re probably wondering what happens when the trigger is no longer true. Well in the case of the car’s Bluetooth once it disconnects the icon in the notification area disappears and the screen timeout goes back to the default.
Other extras include: Alarm & timer, Citrix, GoToMeeting, MOTOPRINT and Music.
I really enjoyed using the included Motorola software. A lot of it is genuinely useful. My only complaint, and I know it’s probably just a matter of personal preference, is that some of the apps aren’t very nice to look at. It’s a minor complaint but it’s something I noticed.
Since this RAZR is from Motorola you’re probably wondering what extra programs Rogers has included that you can’t remove. There’s My Account, Ringbacks, Ringtones, Rogers Live, Games, Shop and UrMusic.
Incoming sound quality has a little bit of background noise but otherwise it’s excellent. Outgoing sound quality wasn’t as great - I found it a little fuzzy sounding. RF performance is amazing - I tested the RAZR against the iPhone 4s. In areas where the iPhone 4s was cutting in and out the RAZR was solid.
As I mentioned earlier the RAZR ships with a 1780mAh non removable battery. It’s somewhat generous for the RAZR’s class of device. Battery life really depends on what you do with the RAZR. If you use all the built in social media apps don’t expect much in terms of battery life. You definitely won’t make it through the day so keep a spare charger handy.
Now you’re probably wondering why you should get a RAZR when it only supports 14.4mbps HSPA. To compare the HTC Raider supports 75mbps LTE and 42mbps HSPA. The Galaxy II X supports 42mbps HSPA and a whole bunch of other phones 21mbps. To me honest it’s not a big deal. The iPhone 4s only has 14.4mbps and it’s plenty fast when I’m out. After around 10mbps you get diminishing returns. The big problem right now is that there aren’t a lot of applications which require much more than 10mbps. Let’s not forget that most data plans aren’t unlimited these days so it’s not like you can get a LTE phone and max it out all day long.
The high end Android market is moving at a breakneck pace - Samsung and HTC and really raising the bar with their offerings and the RAZR is able to keep up and then some.
I really love the RAZR. It’s got a nice display, it’s fast, has excellent RF performance and has some well thought out software - particularly MotoCast.. Let’s not forget the body which is slick as hell. While I doubt the new RAZR will have same affect on the market that the first one did this one is certainly a worthy successor.
easy to use
strong RF performance
fast microSDHC performance
lousy battery life
has a large foot print
only 8GB out of 16GB available
the original RAZR V3 came out 7 years ago - I’ve still got a V3, V3i, V3c, V8, V9 kicking around somewhere.
New Infinity Blade character
My iPhone 5 ringtone: Bah, Bah, Black Sheep.
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Nice review and agreed on the lackluster battery life.
Phones now owned: Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, iPhone4, iPhone, Blackberry 8310 Curve, Motorola Razr. Past: Samsung Galaxy S II LTE, Samsung Galaxy Infuse 4G, HTC EVO 3D, Blackberry 9810, iPhone 3G, Blackberry 9700, HTC Dream, Blackberry 9000 Bold, Sony Ericsson Xperia X1a, Apple iPhone 2g, Samsung D807, Blackberry 8300 Curve, BB 8700r, BB 7290(X2), SE S710a, Samsung X426, SE T610, Motorola V600 and lots of old stuff
Nice review.. I picked up the razr on launch day and i'm pretty satisfied.. the one thing that really bugs me about this phone is the power/sleep button!! man, what a horrible place to put it and it shoulda been protruding just a little bit more, it's too flush now..
I'm disappointed it's not a flip phone, I may be the only one in the world who still prefers flips over all others but IMHO if it's not a flip phone it can't rate above a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Nice phone but it does NOT deserve the name!
It's me again...
I have this phone yesterday ... the phone is very great ...
i like the strong RF performance and call quality ... and no bug like so many motorola! ...
oh yes ... i have see one bug ... my rogers razr is unlocked by code ... and with my telus micro simcard when i place a call ... the phone end the call ... ( but not really end ... ) and after 2-3 ... the call with the number appears ... tried many many situation and have this problem only with others simcard ... ( not rogers sim )
Great review Howard! Love the RAZR!!
Does the phone have LED notification?
Go Leafs Go!!!!!!!
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