Motorola's $199.99 Droid Razr HD takes all the great features of the original Droid Razr and kicks them up a notch. Featuring a 1.5-GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and yes, a massive 4.7-inch 720p AMOLED display, this is the best Razr yet. Even better, the Razr HD packs everything neatly into a chassis a third of an inch thick. Now throw in Android 4.0, Motorolaâs enhanced UI, plus Verizon 4G LTE data, and youâve got one of the hottest handsets of the holiday season. That said, it faces stiff competition from the Samsung Galaxy S3, Apple iPhone 5, and Motorola's own Droid Razr Maxx HD. What also makes the Razr HD tougher to sell is its camera, which lacks killer image quality compared with other high-end handsets.
Measuring 5.2 inches tall by 2.7 inches wide and a mere 0.33 inch thick, the Motorola Droid Razr HD is very pocketable despite its large 4.7-inch display. Itâs a hair thinner, in fact, than the Samsung Galaxy S3 (5.4 x 2.8 x 0.34 inches) but slightly thicker than its predecessor the original Droid Razr (5.1 x 2.7 x 0.28 inches).
The 5.1-ounce Droid Razr HD is also heavier than both the Galaxy S3 (4.7 ounces) and Droid Razr (4.5 ounces) but only slightly so. Thatâs no doubt due to Motorolaâs use of more premium materials in the Razr HDâs chassis. A thin silver strip circles the phoneâs edges, lending the device a touch of luxury similar to the HTC Evo 4G LTE, iPhones, and pricey BlackBerry handsets.
I also like how the Razr HDâs only physical buttons, a trim volume rocker and power key placed on the right side, are crafted from metal as well. Unfortunately though, thereâs no dedicated shutter button for firing up the camera in a flash. The phoneâs left side does contain micro ports for HDMI and USB along with slots for microSD and LTE SIM cards.
A standard 3.5mm headphone jack sits up top, which is where it should be. I canât abide headphone ports placed on a phoneâs bottom edge. Above the screen are the Droid Razr HDâs 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, proximity and ambient light sensors, as well as a wide notification light, which Iâm personally a sucker for. On back is the phoneâs main 8-megapixel imaging device, backed up by an LED flash. Razr fans will be glad to find Motorolaâs distinctive Kevlar fiber coating that protects against scratches and abrasions here, too. I also like the coating's soft-touch feel that repels fingerprints and grease.
One of the biggest draws of the Motorola Droid Razr HD is its expansive 4.7-inch 720p (1,280x720-pixel) screen. Itâs much sharper than the first Droid Razrâs display, which has a qHD resolution (960 x 540) but produces the same vivid colors because both devices use AMOLED screen technology. Viewing angles are nice and wide, too, something that I appreciate since I often watch movies or other content while doing household chores. I typically place the phone on a nearby shelf at odd angles and steal glances at it as I walk around the room.
For banging out messages, the Droid Razr HD uses Motorolaâs virtual keyboard, which offers four rows of large, well-spaced keys and an arrangement identical to that of the stock Android layout. Thanks to the big screen, I found typing on the device to be both fast and accurate. You can also switch over to the Swype keyboard, which lets you drag your finger through letters to form words and sentences quickly and even with one hand.
Software and UI
If youâre expecting the Motorola Droid Razr HD to ship with Googleâs latest OS, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, right out of the box, youâre in for a disappointment. The Razr HD runs the next best thing, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), which offers a modern look and plenty of enhancements over Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Motorola claims, however, that the phone will be upgradable to Jelly Bean in the future.
One of Android 4.0's improvements is visible right from the lock screen that showcases the time and date in clean lettering on the upper left. ICS brings with it the capability to display icons for various phone functions on the lock screen that users can jump directly to. Just like with other Motorola handsets such as the Droid Razr M, the Razr HD lets you drag a pulsating key icon over to the camera, phone, or text symbols to fire up these applications. Additionally a sliding button that toggles phone volume sits in the lock screenâs top-right corner.
The Razr HD also features Motorolaâs interface layered over Android, essentially the remnants of the maligned Motoblur of old. Iâm happy to say it's not intrusive and even provides a few handy perks over basic Android. The phone offers two home screens to start with, but you can have a total of seven to fill with widgets and application shortcuts. The primary home screen occupies the leftmost pane and scrolls from left to right. An interesting and useful tool is the Quick Settings screen that appears when you swipe left from the main home screen. There you have access to often-used functions such as ringtone, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and Airplane mode.
If you've seen the Motorola Droid Razr M, Motorola Atrix HD, or Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE, you'll recognize the Circles widget taking center stage on the home screen. It's one of the slickest home-screen user interface gadgets since HTC's legendary Sense weather clock. It features three interactive discs that display analog and digital clocks, weather, and battery level.