Motorola Razr review
Motorola has revived the Razr name with a wafer thin smartphone that hopes to repeat the success of its predecessor.
A few years ago Motorola’s hero device was a flip phone called the Razr which, at the time, was incredibly thin and became a runaway success the company.
Since then Motorola has struggled to repeat that glory but the company has decided to go back to the future and revive the Razr brand for its next big hit.
The Motorola Razr circa 2011 has some incredible features to back up the name with a head-turning design and intelligent and useful features.
Across the board the Android-powered Motorola Razr is quite an impressive device from the way it looks, to the way it behaves, the way it performs and right down to the way it feels in your hand.
It is available exclusively from Optus from early November.
Industrial design was something that stood the original Razr apart from the competition when it was at the height of its popularity around 2004/2005.
But the latest Razr makes that older model look prehistoric and overweight.
The new Razr is just 7.1mm at its thinnest point and 10.1mm thick at the top edge of the device where the antenna is positioned.
The wafer thin product drew the same reaction from anyone we showed it to – wow!
It has an amazing feel in your hand which is due not only to the rail thin design but also the material used.
That material on the back panel happens to be laser cut Kevlar fibre which makes it as strong as steel but five times lighter.
That’s the same Kevlar material used in bulletproof vests but we stopped short of firing a gun at it but it’s a safe to say it’s quite sturdy.
Another feature that adds to this strength is the stainless steel core so despite the Motorola Razr being skinnier than a 90-pound weakling it’s certainly got the strength of Mr Universe.
The front of the Razr is dominated by an incredible 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display with a resolution of 960 x 540 which is covered by scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass.
It even has a splash-resistant coating outside and inside so incidents, which may prove fatal to other smartphones, can be easily wiped clean.
The Motorola Razr isn’t just all about looks. The device can match beauty with brains and brawn.
For start it’s fast and that’s due to the 1.2Ghz processor with a generous 1GB RAM that also makes it a great multi-tasker.
The Razr is running Android version 2.3.5 and has an excellent software layer on top which allows users to their important widgets on up to five home screens.
One of our favourites was the way we could extend our favourite contact tiles at the top of the main home page into full screen view simply by sliding our finger down on them.
Other nice touches include the cool animations when transitioning between screens or arranging widgets.
We also liked the way we could unlock the device or swipe to the right instead to activate the camera and even set the Razr to silent in the same screen.
The Razr is a sealed device – like the iPhone – which means users can’t pop open the back to replace the battery or insert a sim card. We suspect this was to keep the design as thin as possible.
The sim card and a microSD memory card, to add to the onboard 16GB memory, can be inserted beneath a panel on the left side of the device.
The 8-megapixel camera on the Motorola Razr is excellent. It shoots sharp and accurate images that are warm and vibrant.
It can also easily create panoramic shots simply by moving the device left to right or right to left and automatically capturing the images and stitching then together with surprising accuracy.
On the video side users can also capture impressive full high definition video through the rear camera and also through the front 1.3 megapixel camera.
Having a great design and good performance is only part of the picture – you need to back that up with features and the Motorola Razr ticks this box as well.
One of the standout features is Motocast – a preloaded app that lets users stream their own content from their PC or Mac in the home or office.
Now there are already services in existence like this today but they are cloud-based products where your content sits on a server on the internet.
Not with Motocast – users stream their content directly from their own computer whether it’s music, pictures, videos and documents.
The other advantage of Motocast is not having to carry all your content everywhere. Now the Motorola Razr is your gateway to that content from anywhere.
Smart Actions is another clever additional feature aboard the Razr which allows users to set up various triggers and actions.
For example, when you arrive home it’s possible to program the device to set the ringer to silent, turn on wi-fi, turn off Bluetooth and change the wallpaper.
You might want to also set up a scenario when you arrive at work with the Razr turning off your Bluetooth and set your ringer volume to low automatically.
There are other Smart Actions which can be set to adjust the Razr for use in your car, in the gym and at night.
The biggest benefit of Smart Actions is the battery extender which can dim your screen’s brightness, turn off GPS, wi-fi, Bluetooth and background syncing to get even more life out of a single charge.
Plus the actions of automatically turning off wi-fi and Bluetooth in the other Smart Actions all add up to leaving more life in your battery.
This feature alone added another half a day to the battery life during our review to took us to nearly two full work days.
For users who choose to buy the Motorola Razr on the Optus $0 upfront on the $79 plan will also receive a Work, Play and Drive Kit.
It includes a wireless keyboard, mouse and HD multimedia dock so users can connect the device to a monitor, HDMI and 3.5mm cable, car cradle and car charger.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
The feature that will attract users – the large 4.3-inch display – can also work against it at times.
We love the display and watching movies and browsing web pages on the Razr is amazing. But when you try and use the device with one hand it can be difficult trying to reach the other side of the screen.
That’s why many believe Apple will never produce an iPhone or iPod with a screen larger than 3.5-inches.
A larger screen goes beyond the radius of your thumb’s reach and this was the case with the Razr.
One feature that caused a little inconvenience was the fact that the touch sensitive buttons below the screen weren’t always illuminated so it was a bit of a guess where the menu, home, back and search buttons were.
The backlight activates in low light conditions but we found there were times inside where we couldn’t make out the buttons.
Of course it’s not hard to remember where these buttons are but the Razr’s low-light sensor could be better.
The Motorola Razr is one of the best Android smartphones we’ve ever used and will be a real challenger not only for Samsung’s Galaxy S II but the iPhone as well.
Motorola has intelligently combined eye-catching design, performance and useful features to come up with a compelling offering.
The Razr is back.
Price: $0 on a $59 Optus plan over 24 months.
Four and a half stars (out of five)