- Very thin
- High-quality screen
- Lots of storage
- Not a major specs upgrade
- No removable battery
A nice enough phone with a very slim design, but it asks a high price for specs not that far beyond its predecessors
The Motorola Droid RAZR is Verizon’s latest 4G LTE flagship, sporting an ultra-slim design, Google’s Android OS, 32 GB of storage out of the box, 8 megapixel camera, and the first AMOLED screen from Motorola.
Priced at $300 with a new contract; is its razor-thin shape worth the cost?
BUILD & DESIGN
The Droid RAZR’s main design quality is pretty self-evident: it’s thin. Really thin. It measures just 0.38-inches thick over most of the body of the phone, with a “bump” at the top (as most of the Droids have) which brings the thickness to around 0.5 inches. This extra thick section plays host not just to the camera and 3.5mm jack, but also the RAZR’s micro-USB and micro-HDMI connectors, putting almost all of the points of interest on top.
One of the compromises the device makes in order to achieve its slimness is the battery. While at 1780 mAh, it’s admirably high capacity for being so thin, it’s also non-removeable. Hence, the RAZR doesn’t even have a back cover, moving the microSD card slot and LTE SIM to under a door on the left side. The RAZR also marks Verizon’s first use of a micro-SIM card for their LTE phones, as opposed to a full size SIM.
Another one of its compromises is footprint. The Droid RAZR is a fairly large device in terms of width and length, even compared to other phones with 4.3-inch screens. In fact, it almost matches the footprint of the Samsung Infuse 4G exactly, which has a 4.5 inch screen. This isn’t a problem if, like me, you have fairly large hands, but others may want to keep this in mind.
Motorola also brags about this model’s “splash-resistant KEVLAR housing.” While the back casing does have a nice texture for traction, the invocation of kevlar is pretty much just a marketing gimmick to convince you that the phone is super tough and unbreakable. Really, the plastic casing isn’t any more durable than most would be. Fortunately, the screen is covered by Gorilla Glass, giving the whole device a very rigid and sturdy feel. But despite its thinness, you’re not at more risk of damaging the RAZR than you are with most phones, I think.
The Droid RAZR is Motorola’s first smartphone to use a Super AMOLED screen. For those who don’t know: unlike LCDs that have seperate parts to create a picture and to light that picture up, the pixels on an AMOLED screen each glow to produce their own light. This makes AMOLED screens lighter and thinner than LCDs, as well as having far better contrast: black is actually black, as opposed to dark gray, and whites are less prone to turning out a little too blue or yellow.
I’m very glad that Motorola is jumping on the AMOLED bandwagon. Samsung has been producing smartphones with this type of screen for quite awhile, and the better displays are one of the reasons that Samsung has been getting a greater and greater share both of sales and critical acclaim. Another benefit of AMOLED screens is power consumption — since you only light up the parts of the screen you need, blacked out areas (like the background of the Android app drawer, most Android menus, etc.) are actually saving you power compared to a conventional LCD. The flipside of this is that the brighter the picture, the more power you’re drawing, but in general, AMOLEDs have a good record for their power draw.
The Droid RAZR’s display has a qHD (960 x 540) resolution. This is the standard for high-end models this year, replacing the previous WVGA (800 x 480). But next year’s cutting-edge smartphones are going to have 1280 x 720 screens.
The improved picture is noticeable immediately on playing with the device; Motorola’s MOTOBLUR interface customizations, which always tended to look rather dark and give the main screen a bluish haze, are sharper and much more appealing visually. Colors are more vivid, and the RAZR still manages to be 20% lighter than the similarly specced Motorola Droid Bionic.