Motorola RAZR - Keeping it Sharp

Motorola RAZR - Keeping it Sharp

Keeping it Sharp and Thin 

After Motorola's foray into Xoom-s, Atrix-es, and Defy, it is back to square one with a familiar namesake, the RAZR. The current RAZR holds some similarities with its past iteration; off the bat, there's a lot of effort placed into making the phone look good but otherwise, this new family member shares more similarities with its top-end Android Atrix siblings.

 Motorola RAZR

  Key highlights of the Motorola RAZR

  • Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi hotspot
  • 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced touchscreen / 540 x 960 pixels
  • 8-megapixel camera / LED flash + 1.3-megapixel HD webcam
  • 16GB + microSD expansion(up to 32GB)
  • 1780mAh battery
  • 127g
  • 131 x 69 x 7.1mm
     
  • Price and Availability: S$888 (available from November 11 2011)


There are no physical buttons on the smartphone, relying on four well-spaced touch controls below its huge screen. The RAZR's qHD and Super AMOLED Advanced touchscreen looks amazing in person, with brilliant color reproduction and clear details. We played with the phone's touchscreen for some time and it seemed responsive and fast. According to Motorola, they have also coated the phone with splash coat, which reportedly makes the phone less susceptible to accidental spills (how effective this is, we can't say for now).

Motorola waxed lyrical about "precision machine stainless steel core, laminated construction for enhanced rigidity, and laser-cut woven Kevlar fibre" and we must say, it shows on the smartphone. The back feels smooth and scratchproof (and best yet, does not attract fingerprints). Another thing to note about the construction of the phone is that it is slightly tapered at all four corners, making it easier for a comfortable and firm grip.

A close-up of the 8-megapixel shooter. Noticeably, there's only a single LED flash.

As the phone's battery is unremovable, the microSIM (yes, you read that right) and microSD card holders have been relegated to the bottom left of its profile. A simple hatch has been constructed to protect these from external elements and we are glad to say that it isn't a chore to open it.

Notice the attractive silver-accented button at the top of the right profile? Yes, that's the power/sleep button. Slightly below it, you can find the volume controls. While these buttons are flat, they are relatively easy to press and are responsive. The volume controls could do with a little more length, but this isn't a big complaint on our part.

The top has cleverly been assigned to house all the ports that the RAZR has - 3.5mm audio jack, MicroUSB port, and the mini-HDMI port.

Apart from having a sturdily-built body, the RAZR is really thin (save for the slight protrusion at the top) and light. It is about 2mm thinner than the iPhone 4/4S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Here's the iPhone 4 below it for a cursory comparison.

Hardware aside, the RAZR has a few tricks up its sleeve in the software aspect of things. One of the more talked about feature is its new MotoCast app, which allows you to host your files on your own personal cloud and provides secure remote access to content  on your PC. Sounds familiar? The MotoCast app will be available on future top-end Motorola handsets as well as on the Atrix 2 (sadly, the original Atrix doesn't get the same treatment); for the latter, representatives have been tight-lipped on when it will happen although they did mention that they were considering whether to make it available as an app in the Android market. The RAZR also comes well-balanced with productivity features, including a GoToMeeting app pre-installed.

There's no icon for the MotoCast app or central place for you to view your streamed content; instead, they are spread over three places - Files, Gallery and Music (seen below).

Here's what you see when you get into the Music app with content streaming.

The MotoCast option is demarcated clearly as one of the options on entering your Gallery app.

The same goes for the start-up page for the Documents app.

Also precluded is a Smart Actions app that helps save battery life or create profiles that enable better productivity (one example given was allowing your phone to turn down the ringer when you are at work).
 

How Motorola's RAZR Compares with the Competition
Specifications Samsung Galaxy Nexus Motorola RAZR iPhone 4S
Operating System / User Interface
  •  Google Android 4.0
  • Google Android 2.3.5 / Motorola RAZR UI
  • iOS 5
Processor
  •  1.2GHz dual-core 
  • 1.2GHz dual-core
  • Apple A5 Dual-Core 1GHz
Built-in Memory
  •  1GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 512MB RAM
Display
  •  4.65-inch, 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED Display
  • 4-3-inch, 960 x 540 Super AMOLED Advanced Display
  • 3.5-inch, 640 x 960 TFT capacitive IPS touchscreen 
Camera
  • 5-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash / 1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • 1.3-megapixel for Video Call
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash / 1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • 1.3-megapixel for Video Call
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash /  1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • VGA front facing camera
     
Storage
  •  16/32GB (no storage expansion options)
  •  16GB + microSD expansion (up to 32GB)
  •  16/32/64GB (no storage expansion options)
Battery
  •  1750mAh
  •  1780mAh
  •  1432mAh
Dimensions
  • 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm
  •  131 x 69 x 7.1mm
  •  115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm
Weight
  •  135g
  •  127g
  •  140g

As you can see, it is a close fight between the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola RAZR in terms of key hardware specifications (1.2GHz dual-core, 1GB RAM, Super AMOLED screen) with the major differences lying in the software and physical features of each phone. If you prefer the look of the RAZR and want a 8-megapixel camera, it is probably important to know that the Android 2.3 device will not get the ICS update anytime soon and only possibly early next year. We haven't had the chance to play with the Galaxy Nexus yet, but it is apparent that both phones are vastly different in appearances.

If you are looking for a phone outfitted with a bigger screen with higher resolution (Galaxy Nexus - 4.65-inch, 1280 x 720; RAZR - 4.3-inch, 960 x 540) and the latest Android 4.0 OS, there's absolutely no question on which to purchase especially if both smartphones are almost head-to-head in terms of prices (Galaxy Nexus - around €649, most likely with VAT inclusive; RAZR - SGD$888). Of course, as per experience, phones with similar specs often show different performance results when you put them to benchmarking and battery tests, so do keep in mind that our observations here are based on the specs list and only scratch the surface of things. Stay tuned as we bring you full reviews on each of them real soon.

The Motorola RAZR is set to hit Singapore from 11th November onwards at all three local telcos with a RRP of $888 (including GST). The smartphone is compatible with a select number of accessories including the new Lapdock 100. Prices of these accessories are not available as of yet but the good news is that they will definitely be retailing in Singapore.