The Droid RAZR HD is Motorola's follow up to last year's super slim Droid RAZR, featuring more screen, more speed, and more battery power. Does it outshine the competition? Brighthand takes a hands-on look.
The RAZR HD sticks almost exactly to the footprint of the original Droid RAZR; while it adds another millimeter or so of height and width, you're not going to be able to notice that. Which is impressive, when you consider that the RAZR HD has traded its predecessor's 4.3-inch screen for a much more substantial 4.7-inch one.
Meanwhile the device has also gotten a little thicker, which you probably will notice if you knew the original RAZR very well, but it's for a good reason: the RAZR HD packs an almost 50% larger battery than the older device, while still managing to stay just 0.33 inches thick.
Motorola still promotes the RAZR line as having a back casing infused with Kevlar, although the truth is that that won't really do much for durability -- a thin layer of Kevlar infused plastic isn't going to be much stronger than regular plastic. But the back of the device's casing does have a wonderfully smooth yet gripping rubbery finish, and they've dropped the claim the original RAZR had that the casing is "splash resistant." Either because someone pointed out to them how meaningless that statement was, or perhaps too many people were thinking that was the same as "water resistant." (Pro tip: it isn't.) Much more important though is the Gorilla Glass touchscreen, which is everything that it's made out to be in terms of protection against damage, as well as contributing to the overall sturdiness of the device.
Overall I really like the design aesthetic of the RAZR HD. It's clean, simple, and it feels really good in the hand. Despite the large screen and large battery, the size isn't overwhelming, and the weight is actually pretty light for everything that's in there.
It even has some of the nice little touches that you don't notice until you need them -- for instance, a second microphone on the back of the device, that serves both for video recording, and to help run the RAZR's noise cancellation system, so that you can be clearly heard on the phone even in a noisy environment. Or the big, bright LED notification light hidden right above the earpiece, which offers a great visible reminder that you have messages or missed calls waiting, without being so bright that it's a distraction in a dark room.
The RAZR HD has great usability, but more than that, it's a phone that you genuinely enjoy using.
The screen is basically where everything comes together for the RAZR HD. It features a 4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 AMOLED touchscreen. If you're not familiar with AMOLED displays, it's the same basic technology used in Samsung's cutting-edge Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II models, and which is quickly making inroads into smartphones of every stripe. Devices with AMOLED screens feature higher contrast, true black as opposed to the muddled grey of LCDs, and better color definition. Overall, the difference between AMOLED and conventional LCDs could be analogized to the difference between a photo printed on glossy paper instead of matte; it just makes everything look better.
At 4.7 inches, the RAZR's 720P display gives it a pixel density of 312 DPI -- a little higher than the Samsung Galaxy S III, a little lower than the Apple iPhone, but close enough that you're not going to notice the difference. Especially since 300 DPI is roughly the limit at which the human eye can no longer perceive improvements in quality...that's why Apple calls their 300+ DPI screens "Retina" displays, because that's roughly the resolution of the human retina. And the RAZR HD lives up to that sort of standard, and then some.
The overall experience is a display that's big, beautiful, and combined with the processor speed, is luxuriously fluid in everything.
Other Buttons and Ports
The bottom left corner holds the traditional micro-USB and micro-HDMI connectors.
A little above that, there's a tiny hole which is the key to accessing the memory card and SIM slot. To do that, you have to poke in the metal tool that's included with the phone, since the hole is too small for even a normal sized paperclip. This also shows off one of the RAZR HD's few real design flaws; to access the MicroSD card, it requires you to eject the SIM card, which automatically disconnects you from the network. Here's hoping you don't need to do that too often. Fortunately, if you want you can simply slip one of those dirt cheap 32 GB microSD cards in there, and forget about it, other than the fun of having roughly 40 gigs of storage.
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