• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

It’s a while since Motorola has really made the headlines when it comes to mobile phones. Both it and Nokia have been overshadowed by the likes of Apple, along with HTC and Samsung in recent times. But it seems both of them have come out fighting – Nokia with the Windows Phone 7 handset the Lumia 800, and Motorola with the Razr.

Now, you may remember the last RAZR's, which were of the clamshell variety way back in 2004. Take a look at this beauty and you won’t confuse the two. Its aptly named – razor-thin at 7.1mm, it puts to shame the slimmest handset until now, the Samsung Galaxy S II, which is positively obese in comparison, being 1.5mm thicker! The RAZR does have a wedge sticking out at the top of the reverse side, presumably for the external speaker and snapper lens. It’s also lightweight at 127g

Get connected

Around the edge of the handset, you’ll discover a micro HDMI, which allows you to connect the handset to a HDTV, a micro USB, for connecting it to a computer, and a 3.5mm audio jack, for connecting you to your favourite music. There’s a power/standby key on the right of the handset and then an interesting surprise on the left.

Lurking under a pull-down flap is a pair of slots. One is for a micro SD memory card – this lets you add another 32GB of storage to the onboard 16GB. The other is a Micro SIM slot – something usually only found on iPhones and more recently, the Nokia Lumia 800. Perhaps Nokia and Motorola both have plans to lure away iPhone users?

One of the problems with such a thin handset is that it is not that comfortable to hold, as its edges stick into your hands. It’s pretty wide too, which is an issue if you have smaller hands. We guess you could remedy this with a soft case if necessary, although the chassis is so strong it doesn’t actually warrant a case. The back is actually made from the same stuff they use in bulletproof vests (Kevlar fibre), while the display is covered in Gorilla glass, so should prove resistant to scratches. Motorola has also seen fit to coat the whole handset (including its inner workings) with its ‘Splash Guard’ nanotechnology. This doesn’t make it waterproof, but should mean it won’t stop working if you need to call a cab in the rain. Besides, putting the Razr in a case is going to disguise its big selling point – how thin it is.

Sitting below the display are the usual four Android buttons. These touch-response keys are for Home, Back, Menu and Search. The screen itself is a big, bright upper Super AMOLED Advanced qHD display measuring 4.3 inches. With a resolution of 540x960, which gives a ppi of 256, it's not up there with the iPhone 4’s 326ppi, but does outshine the Samsung Galaxy S II’s screen (217ppi) and is on a par with the HTC Sensation and Sensation XE.

The display offers great colours and doesn’t fade when viewed at an angle – it also manages to deflect light well. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t cover the whole of the handset – instead there is a wide bezel around it. Motorola either could have put in a bigger screen, or made the phone smaller, especially as it is rather wide for those with smaller hands.

A 1.3-megapixel front snapper sits above the display should you wish to make video calls or take self-portraits.

Hidden power

Under the hood there is plenty of power – a massive 1GB of active RAM, plus a 1.2GHz dual-core chip – so performance is impressive and you’ll find you can speedily navigate the OS, open several homepages and run multiple apps simultaneously. Motorola has produced a real multitasker here – and it’s amazing that it has managed to squeeze such power into such a slim device.

It’s just a pity that the RAZR is running Android’s Gingerbread version – the odds were on the Razr getting first go at the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but no, it has to make do with Gingerbread 2.3.5.

There are plenty of homepages ready to be customised with your choice of shortcuts and widgets, and with all Android handsets, once you have logged into Gmail you’ll be able to choose from half a million games and apps, set up push-email, Google Maps, web browsing and Motorola’s own social networking app, that aggregates your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter activity (in the style of HTC’s Friends Stream). There will be an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade sometime in 2012, but until then, Motorola has seen fit to add some of its own software to delight you.

Act smart

Smart Actions, for instance, lets you set up the phone to perform certain actions in specific ways – it means you will be able to optimise battery life, because your phone will dim its display when you hit a certain battery level, or you can set the ringer to be quieter during certain hours (maybe at work, or at kids’ bedtimes). You can set it up to launch Maps when you get in the car, and only turn on Wi-Fi at your chosen locations. We were stunned by the amount of customisation possible – we even got it to launch Angry Birds when we plugged in headphones. We reckon this will be a big draw to iPhone users who have little of this sort of control over their handset.

Then there’s MotoCast, Motorola’s answer to Apple’s iCloud. Rather than getting you to upload your images, tunes and movies to an online server, MotoCast streams them to your Mac or PC, wherever you are located. It’s really easy to use – decide what folders on your computer you need to share and you’re off. Setup is simple and it means that your storage is instantly increased to the size of your computer’s hard drive. Of course, streaming music and photos is okay with a 3G connection, but for movies you’ll need a good Wi-Fi connection.

MotoCast also allows you to get to spreadsheets and documents – they can be edited using the onboard QuickOffice app. If you’re using your phone for business, you’ll also be impressed by Citrix Goto Meeting, which is a nifty video conference app.

So there’s plenty to impress you from the Moto Razr. Its 8 megapixel snapper does a good job (although images did suffer from faded colours and some noise, even in decent light conditions, and also offers 1080p video recording,

Our conclusion

The Motorola RAZR is out to impress, with its slim, strong yet light body and under-the-hood power. Motorola has included some impressive software, too, and it would have got a higher score if it wasn't for the uncomfortable grip and the fact that we feel HTC and Samsung have already delivered most of these features six months ago.

Specifications

Specifications

Type of phone: Smartphone
Style: candy bar
Size: 130.7x68.9x7.1mm
Weight: 127g
Display: N/A colours
Resolution: 480x800
Camera: 8 megapixels
Special Camera features: auto focus, LED flash
Video recording: Yes
Video playback: Yes
Video calling: Yes
Video streaming: Yes
Music formats played: WAV, WMA, AAC+, MP3
3.5mm jack port: Yes
Handsfree speakerphone: Yes
Voice Control: No
Voice Dialling: No
Call records: Practically unlimited
Phonebook: Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Ringtones customization: N/A
Display description: Super AMOLED capacitive touch-screen
Website: www.motorola.co.uk
SAR: N/A
Portfolio: N/A
Standard color: Black
Launch Status: Available
Ringtones: MP3
Radio: N/A
Operating system: Android
Connectivity: MicroUSB, WLAN, miniUSB, Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth
Announced date: October 2011
What's in the Box: N/A
RAM: 1GB RAM
International launch date: November 2011
Battery life when playing multimedia: N/A
CPU: 1.2GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, TI OMAP 4430 chipset
FM Radio Description: Stereo FM radio with RDS
Internal memory: 16GB storage
Memory Card Slot: microSD
Messaging: Email, SMS, MMS
Internet Browser: HTML
E-mail client: Push email
GPS: A-GPS
Java: Yes
Games: Yes
Data speed: HSDPA
Frequency: Quad-band
Talktime: 540 minutes
Standby: Up to 304 hours
Display size: 4.3 inches
Keypad: QWERTY
Audio recording: Yes

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