07
Nov
Motorola-Droid-RAZR-012

Oh, the DROID RAZR - the very name RAZR brings back memories of the turn of the century (we can say that now, right?) - flip phones and cheap, unlimited data. Those were the good 'ol days. But let's talk about the here and now, Motorola's latest Android phone is the company's most ambitious handset to date, and the general consensus? It's good, but... [insert complaint about battery life or width / Galaxy Nexus is coming comment here.]

In all seriousness, one great thing about rounding up a number of reviews in one place is finding out what numerous sources agree upon about a particular piece of hardware, and more interestingly, what they don't.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo likes the RAZR - even with its flaws. In fact, Brent Rose claims that the RAZR is so impossibly thin that it makes "the iPhone 4S and Droid Bionic run crying to Jenny Craig." We all know the RAZR is super-thin, and the review goes on to say that the phone "feels great to hold, and is just simply killer hardware."

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Image via Gizmodo

Giz also claims that the RAZR is significantly quicker than the BIONIC, and LTE is still fast. Not-MOTOBLUR is still annoying, battery life is questionable, and the Super AMOLED Advanced display is still pixelated; though, Gizmodo thinks it still looks significantly better than Moto's qHD LCD displays found on the BIONIC and ATRIX.

Other noteworthy improvements that Giz commented on came in the camera department, particularly with increased shutter speed (the BIONIC's camera is crazy-slow).

The Verge (aka ThisIsMyNext)

Nilay Patel over at the The Verge wasn't so impressed with the RAZR, and appears to have succumbed to a bad case of Galaxynexusitis in his review. Patel absolutely hated the RAZR's display and claims that the BIONIC's LCD qHD looks better than that of the RAZR. While we know PenTile causes high-resolution pixelation, this claim seems dubious in our minds, with every other review lauding the RAZR's display as being vastly superior to Motorola's previous efforts.

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The Verge liked Motorola's Smart Actions, which allow you to make location, action, and time based scripts to launch apps or enable/disable battery-sucking features, a major built-in convenience for a power-hungry LTE phone. Again, The Verge echoed sentiments of other reviews indicating the RAZR was definitely speedy, although not quite Galaxy S II-fast. Battery life was in line with other recent Verizon 4G LTE devices - not great.

Patel also found holding the RAZR to be annoying, in the sense that while the phone is super thin, it's super wide as a result, even for persons with large hands. Unlike Giz, The Verge didn't like the RAZR's camera, and still felt it was slow and was easily outmatched by the cameras on the iPhone 4S or even the HTC Amaze.

The Verge hesitated to recommend the RAZR to anyone with the almost-as-thin Galaxy Nexus on the way later this month, and even though we like the RAZR in theory, we'd have to agree that it might be worth waiting to make your purchase decision.

BGR

BGR absolutely loved the RAZR, and that's summed up in their review's concluding statement that "[t]he Motorola DROID RAZR has replaced Samsung’s Galaxy S II as the best Android device I’ve ever used." Doesn't get much clearer than that.

BGR liked the display, the design, the thin profile, the battery life (really), and the performance. However, complaints about the phone's width remained, as well as the inherent display pixelation that comes with PenTile remained.

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BGR's almost unabashed praise of the RAZR left us a little suspicious, particularly in their remarks on battery life - an aspect no other review came close to complementing as anything but no worse than other 4G LTE phones out there, and maybe marginally better than the BIONIC.

TechCrunch

TC seemed to enjoy the RAZR for the most part, if finding that is battery life was substantially lacking, like every other review except BGR's. Crunch also felt that the RAZR's extreme lightness actually made the phone feel cheap, something Motorola probably isn't going for on a device that's going to be retailing for $300 on a 2-year contract. There were also a couple complaints about the phone's size, something we've seen in every review so far.

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Image via TechCrunch

Oddly, TechCrunch found no faults with the 4.3" qHD AMOLED displays whatsoever, heaping on the praise with a rather abbreviated two sentences of description. Compared to the other reviews we've read, it sounds like TC's reviewer either doesn't see too well, or has kind of low standards.

One thing that TC mentioned that we found interesting was the RAZR's propensity for heating up under heavy processing loads. The phone's extremely thin profile made me concerned about this from the day it was announced, and TC's review leaves me wary about the RAZR's ability to dissipate heat properly when in a pocket or playing a visually intensive game. They even went so far as to say that as the heat increases, the phone's performance actually starts to suffer. Yikes.

Overall, though, TechCrunch generally complimented the RAZR, though the "cheap" feel and lackluster battery life were major turn-offs.

Engadget

Engadget had a pretty positive spin on the RAZR, saying "the handset is just physically stunning. It's thinner than almost any phone on the market and makes no sacrifices to attain its slim physique." Aesthetics are clearly a big part of the RAZR, and Motorola has obviously worked hard to get this phone as thin and sleek as possible, and the result is something every review we've read has been very impressed with.

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Image via Engadget

In consort with most other reviews, Engadget didn't think the qHD AMOLED display was all that great, owing in large part to PenTile's pixelation. Battery life was another source of grief, but we all sort of expect that with Verizon's 4G LTE phones at this point. Engadget was equally impressed with the device's performance, and was optimistic looking forward, with Moto's confirmation that the device will be receiving Ice Cream Sandwich at some point.

Engadget found Smart Actions to be a great addition to the RAZR, as well - in fact, everyone seems to have liked it. Probably because it helps reduce the RAZR's appetite for those lithium ions trapped underneath its non-removable back cover. Again, concerns about the device's size in terms of width were raised, and also that the kevlar on the back of the RAZR was quite slippery - a potentially deadly combination of unwieldy factors.

Overall, Engadget was left with a very positive impression, saying "the RAZR looks to be a perfectly viable alternative when considering the similarly-pricey Rezound and Galaxy Nexus."

Conclusion

What have we learned today? Well, the RAZR may be thin, but it's still big, and very wide - even for large-handed individuals. Battery life, predictably, still kind of sucks. Thank Verizon's 4G LTE. However, Motorola's Smart Actions are a great way to mitigate some of that juice-sucking. Performance was generally good enough not to yield major complaints. Also, PenTile, even with Super AMOLED Advanced, can still look pretty grainy and pixelated.

Finally, it was uncontested that the RAZR is an absolutely stunning phone, and we'd have to agree, this thing's gorgeous. We'll be getting our review unit soon enough, so you'll be hearing what our thoughts are some time in the next week or two.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Arjun Y

    Is there even one reason to get this over the nexus prime?

    • scott

      Impatience...? Having the newest phone for 3 days? Rezound, on the other hand will give you a full week of having the newest phone...

    • Vindicator

      One reason? I can think of plenty, actually.

      1)SD card slot
      2)Motorola's vastly superior build quality
      3)The radio/signal strength is a top-tier
      4)Don't quote me on this, but some reports from "insiders" reported that the Galaxy Nexus has battery life that's worse than the Bionic when utilizing LTE
      5)

      • Jeff

        Devil's advocate:
        1) GN will have 32gb internal storage (that's a lot)
        2) Reviews here say the phone feels cheap; we don't know the build quality of the Samsung yet
        3) We don't know the radio/signal strength of the GN yet
        4) Again, no confirmation of battery life of the GN, but I would guess that with no bloatware and no manufacturer skin (motoblur/sense/etc), I would hope the battery won't drain as fast.
        5) Even battle here.

        • George C

          +1'd

          We won't know which phone is truely "the best" until the phones actually release to reviewers.

      • george

        superior build quality?? That is one big laugh. Seriously.

        • JAG

          Even if dont agree and dont like it, motorola has the best quality amount cell phones.

          Take a look by yourself.

          Superior quality is the word!!

      • jeremy

        it's not a Nexus.... done.

    • miann

      Is there one reason to even get the galaxy nexus? They have a history of having old hardware from the beginning... I dont see this iteration as any different. bring on CES

      • Iambeast

        Is there any reason to get the Rezound, Nexus, or the Razr? They all have old hardware. Bring on CES!

  • Arjun

    Is there even one reason to get this over the nexus prime???

    • JAG

      Well, I would the beautifulness of this baby!!

  • MedioGringo

    As you can see from the reviews, different people have wildly different views on this phone, even when it comes to things that should be relatively objective.

    Conclusion: ignore the reviews, go try one for yourself.

  • L boogie

    Galaxynexusitis; David that's just too funny right there though there's a legion of victims at the moment ....... I've always wondered why moto decided to implement a non-removable battery on this phone especially with the possibility of heat issues among other factors. Sounds like a hot phone to pick up after the various reviews (minus the Verge) but I'm gonna wait to see the Nexus review then head to Verizon for my new phone to see if it's this phone, the Rezound or most likely, Nexus.

  • zach

    I have a question...
    If the phone has a non-removable battery then what are you suppose to do if the phone bootloops/locks up/stops responding ?

    • Jeff

      Hold RESET while you power off.

      This is the NES forum, right?

      • deuces

        That trick wouldn't work in some situations, like when my Bionic completely froze. Even the hardware buttons were unresponsive, volume rocker, power button, EVERYTHING. Only thing that saved me was a battery pull.

  • Alessandro

    What I would like to know is how the Razr measures up against the iPhone 4s. I am due for an upgrade now and need to choose between the iPhone and one of the newer Androids. Is it worth spending $299.00 for the Razr or should I save my money and get a 16GB iPhone 4s for $170.00? I will look forward to seeing how these devices compare to one another.

  • J

    I would imagine the PenTile issue won't be a problem for the Nexus Prime. qHD vs 720x1280.

  • http://kylepreuss.com Kyle

    hmm. the width and pixelation complaints are rather unsettling, as well as the heat dissipation comment.

    I'm planning on getting the nexus but I'm severely disappointed by the lack of external storage. maybe i'll just wait for the next flagship device. it couldnt be more than 6 months, right?

    • miann

      I would wait. Samsung and SE shold have their next flagship out by march, both dont but much bloatware and upgrade android quickly... samsung focuses more on extreme hardware wile sony is more for style..

  • STiK

    You can put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig. Samsung hardware sucks no matter what software you put on it. I'll wait to see what CES has to offer.

    • Drak

      +1

      Samsung loves their cheap plastic.
      Samsung and LG are tied for first place on my list of companies that I'll never buy another phone from.

      I don't care if it came with Android 5.0 Jelly Bean and offered a 3D Heads Up Display. It's not like other companies won't have ICS soon enough.

    • jeremy

      please go get the Razr then.... to me, samsung is nice and sleek. better looking than Moto for sure...

  • Vinny

    Good looking phone with great specs. The Verge doesn't like any phone that doesn't have the word I-Phone on it. That goofball Nitell or whatever his name is should look for a real job, he is about as useless as tits on a bull.

  • MicroNix

    If the RAZR follows in the D3's footsteps, the performance of the camera is really really gonna blow. I've lost all faith in Motorola. They make "ok" hardware (even though the digitizer on my D1 failed right after the 1 year warranty was up) but their software just isn't up to par. They are rushing so many phones to market that before they fully fix the first one, they are onto quick fixes for the next. Totally done with Motorola at this point.

    • jeremy

      yeah.... Moto is..... really really meh.... saw Razr in person... super wide and ugly IMO.

  • Anthony

    I was really excited about it until I played with it at Verizon. It is all plastic and a little. Bit of "Kevlar" it feels super light and cheap. And the huge amount of dead space on the front is very ugly. Also didn't seem to perform any better than any other current gen phones. The attic 2 feels, and looks better imo

    • Dr.FadOoO

      So you think that the build quality doesn't live up to the hype??

  • http://mobile-egadget.blogspot.com/ sunny

    Hello friends,

    The new Motorola Razr Droid, available Friday through Verizon Wireless for Dollar 300 with a two-year contract, it echoes the slim shape and good looks of his ancestor. It has many features, including a large touch screen and the ability to use high-speed 4G...

    Full detail avaiable here:

    http://mobile-egadget.blogspot.com/2011/11/new-motorola-droid-razr.html

  • davidtb

    Well then, It's settled..
    Motorola WILL build the next Nexus!!
    The solutions to these problems are WAY too simple..