Motorola Razr M review: Motorola Razr M

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Typical Price: $600.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Small footprint doesn't mean low powered. Great AMOLED screen. 4G. Splash resistant.

The Bad No HDMI, like Razr HD. Camera image quality could be better. 8GB storage might not be enough for some.

The Bottom Line If you want a screen that is a little bigger than the iPhone 5's, but you don't want a handset that requires a briefcase to transport it about, the Razr M could be that 'just right' sized Android phone you've been looking for -- with 4G to boot.

8.5 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice Nov '12

In so many respects, being small or smaller isn't considered a great thing in our society. We live in a time of upsizing, plastic surgery and SUVs. Bigger is better, biggest reigns supreme. And then you have the Razr M, a perfect example of where smaller means a better fit and better performance.

Design

On paper, the size difference between the Razr M and the Razr HD may seem insignificant, but in the hand, the HD does feel much larger. It is both taller and wider, which is obviously necessary to accommodate its larger screen. The Razr M makes better use of the size available, with a thinner vertical bezel, which Motorola is calling it's "edge-to-edge" display.

The Razr HD and Razr M, side by side.
(Credit: CBSi)

This screen is 4.3-inches diagonally, or the same size as the screen in last year's Razr revival. It is even smaller than last year's Razr, though, and feels great to hold as a result. The screen itself is a beauty, with a Super AMOLED panel delivering a rich, colourful image. It's qHD resolution screen (540x960 pixels) may not sound like it is up to scratch next to the displays in the larger phones, but on this slightly smaller screen, we think it is sharper and crisp enough for any smartphone use, including games and movies.

It has a boxier shape than other Android phones from Samsung and HTC, but we quite like this more business-like appearance. Like the Razr HD, the M has the same epaulette design across its "kevlar strong" battery cover, which is really attractive, even if you won't be looking at that side of the phone very often.

Yes, it looks like a little bit like the scales on a blue-tongued lizard, but in person, this design is quite attractive.
(Credit: Motorola)

One of the key differences between the Razr M and HD, besides the size, is that the M lacks an HDMI out port on the handset. This is a feature that has been common to many Motorola phones over the last couple of years, and it may be enough to have some users turn to the larger HD version.

Overall, it is a more thoughtful design than last year's Razr, and while thicker, we'd argue that it feels better to hold on to. The power button is positioned where your index finger would sit when you hold the phone in your left hand, which is a nice touch. Also, Motorola has made this handset splash resistant, so it should survive a quick drop in shallow water.

Connectivity

With 4G phones flooding in to the Australian market, the Razr M faces stiff competition in this space from the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S3 4G and its own bigger brother. 4G performance was great for us in Sydney's CBD, with peak download speeds hitting about 65Mbps on the Telstra network.

In addition to 4G, the Razr M also supports dual-channel Wi-Fi, which is wireless performance that is available in only a small number of phones at this time. NFC is also available for sharing and pairing with compatible devices.

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