Ross Catanzariti PC World
If you can live with its large size and sometimes awkward feel, the Motorola RAZR is one of the best Android smartphones released this year. It combines a brilliant and vibrant screen in a unique frame, and tops off the package with slick and intuitive software that aids the user experience.
Motorola RAZR review: The RAZR is back and it's thinner than ever
It's the thinnest smartphone in the world and is constructed from premium materials like diamond cut aluminium and Kevlar fibre. In a nutshell, that's Motorola's sale pitch for the RAZR, the company's latest flagship Android phone. The RAZR is an excellent smartphone with outstanding build quality, but it's quite a large phone that can be uncomfortable to hold if you have small hands.
Motorola RAZR: Design and display
If you're wondering why the name RAZR sounds familiar, that's because it is. The Motorola RAZR was originally a flip phone that sold over 130 million units worldwide in a five year period from 2004-2008. The RAZR lost its sharpness as the world moved to smartphones, but Motorola has decided to bring the brand back in a bid to boost sales. The return of the RAZR name seems like a good decision, as it's a brand many consumers can easily identify with.
Previous RAZR phones were known for their industrial design and the new RAZR is a great example of that. The phone is just 7.1mm thick at its thinnest point — over 2mm thinner than the iPhone 4S and thin enough to claim the title of the thinnest smartphone in the world. To be fair, the RAZR isn't 7.1mm thin all the way along: at the top of the phone is a bump that sticks out at the back and houses the camera lens, LED flash and speaker, as well as the HDMI-out port, micro-USB and headphone ports on top. This bump makes the RAZR a little top heavy, so it feels a bit awkward to hold.
The awkward feeling you get when handling the Motorola RAZR also stems from the fact it’s a very large phone. It's slightly longer and wider than the Samsung Galaxy S II despite the two phones sharing the same sized screen. The RAZR has a fair bit of wasted space surrounding the screen due to its wide bezel, so users with small hands may find its size a little too big. Its particularly tough to move your thumb to the edge of the screen if you are holding the phone with one hand. Adding to the RAZR's awkward feel is its industrial looking design: the RAZR has squarish, sharp edges that can dig into your hands.
The RAZR may be a little large but its fit and finish is amongst the best we've seen on any smartphone to date. Motorola says the phone combines a diamond cut aluminium frame and a case that's made from Kevlar fibre. The Kevlar backing is soft to touch and really gives the RAZR a distinct look and feel. We much prefer it to the etched plastic backing of the Galaxy S II, which does feel a little cheap. A downside to the RAZR's thinness is that it has a non-removable battery. It also uses a micro-SIM card rather than a full sized SIM card. The SIM slot is housed on the left side of the phone, next to a microSD card slot and behind a plastic flap.
The Motorola RAZR has a splash-guard coating that makes the phone water-repellent. Motorola says both the phone itself and many of its internal components have been coated with the splash-guard material, so it is expected to hold up well to the elements. Unfortunately, our review unit was not coated in the splash-guard treatment, so we couldn't test it. We did, however, see it in action at Motorola's media launch and can confirm it definitely works as advertised and is genuinely impressive. The water beads then slides off the surface of the RAZR very easily. It looks very similar to water beads rolling off a car when it's just been polished and waxed. Keep in mind the coating makes the phone water-repellent, not water-proof, so don't expect to take the RAZR swimming with you.
The Motorola RAZR has a 4.3in Super AMOLED display with a qHD resolution of 540x960. The screen is excellent: it's just as bright and vibrant as the Galaxy S II, but its higher resolution makes text crisper and details finer. The screen is responsive to touch and has excellent outdoor visibility: it's very bright even directly in the hot Aussie sun.
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