Motorola Droid Razr review: Motorola Droid Razr

Motorola really packed the Droid Razr to the gills with plenty of additional apps to enrich your smartphone experience. They include Amazon's Kindle app, Blockbuster, Let's Golf 2, Madden NFL 12, Netflix, Slacker Radio, MotoPrint, and VideoSurf. Verizon also threw in a few of its own, such as Device Setup, Verizon Instant Messenger, My Verizon Mobile, NFL Mobile, V Cast Tones, Verizon Video, VZ Navigator, and Visual Voicemail, which costs around $2.99 a month.

Corporate and government friendly
Motorola is aiming right at the BlackBerry when it claims that the Droid Razr is ready for both corporate and government usage. It has full Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support, and it even features government-grade FIPS 140-2 encryption for e-mail, calendar, and contacts. Other security features include remote wipe, PIN lock, SD card and device encryption, remote enable/disable of camera and Wi-Fi, and more.

Mobile workers will also appreciate apps such as Quickoffice, which lets you create and edit office documents; Citrix's GoToMeeting video conference app; and the portable PC experience that Webtop provides (more on that below).

MotoCast, Webtop, and Smart Actions
A few of the more-intriguing apps are courtesy of Motorola. MotoCast, for example, lets you stream your documents and media files with your home or work computer. It brings the cloud concept of sharing files to a more local and secure location. MotoCast works with the Gallery app to share photos, and the Music app to share music files.

Like a lot of other high-end Motorola Android phones, the Droid Razr ships with the Webtop app that lets you get portable PC functionality. Simply connect it with a compatible accessory like the Lapdock 100 (10-inch screen), the Lapdock 500 Pro (14-inch screen), or an HD Station, and the Webtop platform will launch automatically. The Lapdocks come equipped with a keyboard and touch pad, but you'll have to contribute your own input devices if using something like the HD Station.

The Webtop platform is essentially a Linux-based operating system that provides a Netbook-like experience for creating documents and surfing the Web via a full Firefox browser. The interface is quite bare-bones, and consists of a simple dock or launchpad with a few applications. The phone's screen is replicated on the larger display as well, and you can still access your phone's contents while you're in the Webtop environment. A notable application is the full Firefox browser that is only accessible via Webtop. There's also an integrated Citrix application that lets you access virtual desktops. You can read more about the Webtop environment in our review of the Atrix's laptop dock .

Last but not least is the Smart Actions app that addresses battery life concerns. It's essentially an automation tool that follows a set series of rules. For example, you can arrange it so that the phone automatically turns off Bluetooth and GPS when you connect to your home Wi-Fi network. Or you can set it so that the brightness automatically goes down to 0 percent if you have less than 20 percent battery life left. It was actually surprisingly effective in conserving battery life in our brief time experimenting with it, which is definitely welcome for a phone without a removable battery.

The Smart Actions app is not all about saving battery life, however; you can set it so that the ringer automatically turns off when you're at work, or to launch the music player when you plug in your headphones. It uses location-based and user settings to let you create as many automated tasks as you desire.

Multimedia
Aside from third-party apps like Slacker Radio, the Droid Razr actually has a surprisingly solid built-in Music app. Similar to the one we saw on the Droid Bionic, the Music app on the Droid Razr has plenty of features, such as Internet radio, a whole Music Store courtesy of Verizon Wireless, and support for podcast subscription and playback. As we said before, you can also use the app to stream music from your home server via MotoCast. The Droid Razr has 16GB of onboard memory, a preinstalled 16GB microSD card, and can support up to 32GB cards. It supports AAC, AAC+ AAC+ enhanced, AMR NB, AMR WB, MIDI, MP3, WAV, WMA v10, and WMA v9 formats.

With such a luscious display, it's no wonder that Motorola saw fit to bundle the Droid Razr with Netflix. Indeed, Motorola claims that the Droid Razr is the first phone to be able to play Netflix video in HD quality. We queued up a recent episode of "Top Gear U.K." (which we think is one of the best-looking shows on TV), and were stunned at the crystal-clear quality of the video. Colors were rich and deep, and blacks were true. Even on 4G LTE, the video was stunningly sharp, and it was a treat to watch it on such a wide display. And since the Droid Razr has a Micro-HDMI port, you can hook up the phone to a large-screen HDTV for an even more immersive experience. You can do so via DLNA as well. You can download videos from the Android Market or load your own as long as they're in the H.263, H.264, MPEG4, or WMV v9 format.


The Droid Razr has an 8-megapixel camera lens on the back.

The Droid Razr brings over its speed and performance philosophy to its 8-megapixel camera. The camera app launches very quickly--about 1.1 seconds from the lock screen--and there's almost no shutter lag in between photo captures. If the camera is trying to focus on something or if you have flash enabled, it might take a second or two longer to snap a picture. You can adjust the resolution, the shutter tone, the color effects, shot modes, and the exposure. Other settings include geotagging, a self-timer, several scenes that include Macro and Night Portrait, panorama mode, and flash.


The Droid Razr takes sharp and detailed pictures, but there is often too much image noise. Some images look washed out as well.

Picture quality was decent most of the time, with crisp images and good detail. However, the color accuracy wasn't always there. Even pictures taken in bright daylight looked rather washed out. In low light, most photos had noticeable image noise, and the LED flash did little to rectify the problem. The Droid Razr also has full 1080p HD video capture capabilities, with several audio scenes like Stereo, Wind Reduction, Concert, Balanced, and Front Facing to choose from. Video quality was quite good, and the auto stabilization helped prevent video from looking shaky.

Performance
We tested the Motorola Droid Razr in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was very good, but not without a few flaws. On our end, we heard our callers clearly with plenty of volume. They had natural-sounding voices as well. However, we did detect a faint hint of fuzziness in the background.

Motorola Droid Razr call quality sample Listen now:

On the other end, callers reported similar audio quality. They had no problems hearing us, and didn't detect a lot of background noise. Yet, they heard the same fuzziness and the occasional hiss at times. Speakerphone calls fared relatively well, though callers said our voice sounded a little hollow.

As for music quality, the Droid Razr's speakers emitted powerfully loud sound, and though a little tinny, the quality was pretty good for a phone. We would definitely recommend a good pair of headphones for better audio quality.

Data speeds on Verizon's 4G LTE are quite frankly, amazing. Using Ookla's Speedtest.net app, we averaged download speeds of around 30.5Mbps and upload speeds of 13.2Mbps. Loading CNET's mobile page took 7 seconds, and the full CNET home page, complete with Flash ads, loaded in just 11 seconds. As we mentioned earlier, we managed to stream Netflix videos at HD quality over 4G with amazing clarity. There were the occasional buffering skips during the initial burst of streaming, but it soon evened out after a few seconds.

The 1.2GHz dual-core processor did its job quite well. We swiped and scrolled without any sense of sluggishness, and switching and launching apps felt smooth and seamless. However, we did notice that the accelerometer sometimes took a couple of seconds to kick in when switching from portrait to landscape mode and vice versa.

The Motorola Droid Razr has a 1,780mAH battery, which is a nice size for such a slim phone. It has a rated battery life of 12.5 hours talk time and 8.5 days standby time. We'll have to run a few more tests to be sure, but anecdotally, we thought the battery life was pretty good. After a normal day's use of surfing the Web, checking e-mail, looking up directions on the map, plus the occasional Netflix testing, the phone was down to around 50 percent battery life, which isn't too bad for a smartphone. The aforementioned Smart Actions app also helps to conserve battery life. Yet, we do think the nonremovable battery will deter some power users.

According to the FCC, the Droid Razr has a digital SAR of 1.45 watts per kilogram.

Conclusion
The Motorola Droid Razr is a marriage of Razr beauty and Droid brawn. Like the original Razr, the superslim and ultralight Droid Razr offers an undeniable wow factor the second you pick it up. It also has a wonderfully vivid 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display, and is remarkably durable with its scratch-resistant, water-resistant, and Kevlar-coated exterior. The Droid Razr has impressive specs, like a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor, support for Verizon's blazing-fast 4G/LTE network, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera, Webtop functionality, and more.

But, the phone isn't perfect. Its large footprint and squared edges might scare off those with smaller hands, and the battery is sadly not removable. Picture quality was also not quite as smooth and vibrant as we wanted. However, we think the Droid Razr more than makes up for these deficiencies with its remarkable speed, power, and good looks. Its $299.99 price is very steep, yes, but for those who covet cutting-edge smartphone tech in a slender package, this top-of-the-line phone might be worth it.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Talk Time Up to 750 min
  • Combined with With digital camera / digital player / FM radio
  • Service Provider Verizon Wireless
  • Weight 4.48 oz
  • Diagonal Size 4.3 in
  • Technology CDMA / LTE
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