When first getting started, the Motorola Droid RAZR was a bit slow out of the gate in terms of subjective feel, but it quite quickly improved to the point where it no longer felt like the Motorola customizations are slowing the device down, which is nice. After a little bit of that feel on the Droid Bionic and the Droid 3, we’re back to a cutting-edge, speedy smartphone.
It sports a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. In Quadrant standard benchmarks, the Droid RAZR scored an average of 2700 over several tests, making it the fastest smartphone I’ve personally tested. This gives it a little edge over the 1GHz dual-core chips in the Droid X2 (average benchmark of 2660) and Droid Bionic (average benchmark of 2400), although not by as much as you might expect given a 20% bump in processor speed.
Overall when it comes to the specs, there’s not much you could really complain about with the RAZR. Aside from a speedy processor, out of the box it packs in a very comfy 32 GB of storage capacity — 16 GB internally, and a pre-installed 16 GB memory card — and all the trimmings like GPS, HDMI, and 4G. It’s in every respect a fairly cutting-edge smartphone, even if its only major improvement over the last couple of Motorola’s high end devices is its slim design and its AMOLED screen.
Just as it says on the label, the RAZR comes with full support for Verizon’s 4G LTE network, providing real-world internet speeds in the 10 to 20 megabit range. If you’re not in a 4G area, you’ll have to “settle” for 3G speeds — slower, but far from slow, with the smartphone clocking around 1.5 megabits down and 750 kilobits up on 3G. Realistically, the only things that you can do with 4G that you can’t do with 3G is certain high-end video apps like HBO Go — streaming HD or near HD quality video in real time. So no matter where you go, you’re pretty well served by Verizon’s network.
As always, your Internet access comes with a cautionary tale: high speed wireless makes it easy to blow through your data allowance. In fact, a couple hours after I’d gotten the RAZR, just from downloading a few essential apps and letting the phone update what it came with, I had chewed through 125 MB. The RAZR tries to counter this by now encouraging the user to connect to Wi-Fi when opening up any apps which require Internet access.
Fortunately to back up your 3G and 4G data, you’ve also got Wi-Fi for data at home, office, and hotspots, as well as Bluetooth for your other miscellaneous connections.
The Motorola Droid RAZR appears to do the absolute bare minimum for those seeking productivity — aside from stock email and personal information management apps (such as Calendar and Contacts), the RAZR comes with Quickoffice for word processing and the like, as well as the (free) conferencing app GoToMeeting, and that’s it.
The rival Droid Bionic features quite a few more business-oriented apps pre-loaded, but most of these are available for free on the Android Market if you really want them.
Here, the RAZR got a little more attention in the apps department. In addition to the stock music and video players, the smartphone also comes loaded with the Kindle app, Netflix, Slacker, YouTube, and Blockbuster. Of course all of these are free on the Android Market, and most need paid services to be useful.
Curiously, the RAZR doesn’t come with a pair of headphones in the box, as pretty much every other high end device does. Feels a little bit stingy on their part for a $300 gadget.
As is standard these days, the Droid RAZR has two cameras: a rear facing 8 MP camera with LED flash, and a front-facing 1280 x 720 camera for video conferencing. In an interesting departure from normal, it can actually record video from either of these, not just the rear camera, although that one will provide far superior quality as well as being the only option to record 1080p video.
Through the main camera, there’s no doubting the RAZR’s image quality. Even snapping a photo of a freak snowstorm, you can actually see the individual white tracks of the snow. Like most mobile cameras it performs increasingly poorly in low light, but this isn’t exactly unusual, and the flash does its best to compensate.
Despite being thin, the RAZR packs in a good sized battery, which it needs to be able to handle 4G. Overall, I’d characterize the battery life as being average to good.
I think that Motorola’s AMOLED screen isn’t quite as light on the battery as Samsung’s models yet, but there’s always room for improvement. One thing I did notice while using the RAZR is that it seems to drain faster on standby than maybe it should, possibly because it’s searching for Verizon’s 4G service in the area where I was testing it. Even so, you can pretty much count on getting through even a tough day as long as you’re not doing something extreme, like streaming a lot of video over 4G.