Motorola Razr i review: Motorola Razr i

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good

Average User Rating

4 stars 18 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Speedy Intel processor;. Very slim bezel;. Clever Smart Actions.

The Bad Intel chip puts the kibosh on quick Android updates;. Average camera.

The Bottom Line The Motorola Razr i is faster than a greased whippet, thanks to its 2GHz Intel processor, and the edge-hugging screen is novel. Only an average camera, fussy styling and a lack of the latest version of Android let it down.

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They don't come much sharper than the Motorola Razr i. Not only does it have a nearly edge-to-edge screen, it also packs the first 2GHz processor in a mobile phone -- which means it's fast. Very fast. But do the impressive specs live up to their promise?

The Razr i is available from the beginning of October on Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Media, Tesco and Phones4u.

You can get hold of the Razr i on a two-year contract from around £21 per month. If you want to secure the handset on pre-order, it's available from Expansys for £345.

Intel processor performance

The pulsing brain inside the Razr i is an Intel Atom Medfield processor. Only the Orange San Diego and ZTE Grand X IN have Intel chips, so Medfield is new technology, with both strengths and weaknesses.

The big strength is that it's the first processor clocked at 2GHz. As a result, the Razr i moves like a greased salmon. Scrolling is super-quick, browsing around web pages is ultra-smooth and the camera is very fast too. I really noticed the speed in apps such as Google+ when scrolling through the video app

Motorola Razr i landscape
Packing a 2GHz chip, the Motorola Razr i will chomp through web pages without a pause for breath.

On the Quadrant benchmark, which probes CPU, I/O and 3D graphics performance, the Razr i managed a decent 3,979 score. This beats the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the LG Optimus 2X from 2011, but it's not as fast as the quad-core HTC One X.

Running Geekbench 2, the Razr i scored an excellent 974 -- an extremely high score for a single-core chip, putting it up there with the dual-core likes of the Samsung Galaxy S2 .

On the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark, which evaluates a browser's speed, the phone recorded a very impressive 1,097.8ms -- beating the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4S , and only a few milliseconds slower than the new iPhone 5.

The downside of any new technology is that it may not yet be 100 per cent optimised. In this case, the Intel chip holds the Razr i back to Android's latest-but-one operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich . We're promised a Jelly Bean update will happen, but Motorola isn't that quick at rolling these out, even before you factor in the unusual processor. Bad news for update junkies but not an issue for most people.

When I tested the phone, Chrome wasn't supported. Chrome is Google's own web browser and allows you to save all your bookmarks, searches and all the sites you've visited across your computers and laptops at home, at work, on your phone and on your tablet.

Since then, Google has made the browser available for the Razr i and other Intel-based devices -- an admirably quick turnaround, but the fact it wasn't ready for review units highlights that this is a slightly different version of Android you're using, and that might affect further updates.

Battery

A much bigger concern is whether this fast and powerful chip munches through lots of battery power. We're conducting battery tests, so check back to this review to see how the Razr i does against dual-core or quad-core rivals.

Motorola Razr i front
Smart Actions automatically reduces battery use during your downtime.

Fortunately, the Razr i includes a clever Motorola app called Smart Actions. I'll come back to this nifty app in the software section, but it's worth noting that Smart Actions trains your phone to automatically save battery juice. You can set it to shut down power-sucking functions like Wi-Fi during the night, or even when it recognises you're in a particular place -- useful stuff.

Design and build

The first thing you notice about the Razr i is the Super AMOLED Advanced 4.3-inch screen, which stretches almost from one edge to the other, thanks to the slim bezel. The phone measures 61mm wide and 122mm tall, which for the size of the screen is pretty compact.

Motorola Razr i side
Despite an ample 4.3-inch display, it's a pretty compact handset because there's little space wasted around the edges of the screen.

The phone is crisp and bright, although at 540x960 pixels, it's not high definition, and at 256.15 pixels per inch, it has a lower pixel density than rivals such as the iPhone's 326ppi.

The screen is swathed in scratch-defying Gorilla Glass and the frame's edged in aircraft-grade aluminum. The back is made from DuPont Kevlar, which has a soft, rubbery feel under your fingertips yet is tough enough to withstand scratches and scuffs. The phone also has a 'splash-guard coating' but don't rely on that to save your phone should it make an unscheduled diversion into your cocktail or toilet bowl.

Motorola Razr i side
It's slim without feeling like it will snap like a wafer.

At 8.3mm thick, it's slim enough to glide into your pocket but doesn't feel flexy and fragile like similarly slender phones made of plastic.

The Razr i comes in black, with a white version coming to some countries at a later date. I like the exposed screws, which give it a tough industrial feel, but I find the overall styling to be fussy.

Motorola Razr i side
The clunky design is epitomised by the buttons down the side, which have three different colour and texture combinations.

The patterned back is too busy for my taste, while on one side alone you have three different styles of button -- the camera button is glossy silver, the volume buttons are black, and the standby button is ridged silver. The ridged and smooth buttons might make it marginally easier to tell which is which in your pocket, but it doesn't half look messy.

Motorola Razr i back
A fussy, patterned backplate isn't the kind of sleek finish I look for.

On the other side from the buttons is a rubber flap covering the slot for the SIM card and memory card. You get 8GB of storage for your music and movies, with space for a microSD card to add extra room.

The micro-SIM is easily accessible without needing to find a paper clip -- as required by the iPhone -- or needing to remove the battery, as with many phones.

Software

Press the standby button to wake the phone and a key icon appears on the screen. Touch the screen and a ring appears showing different options. Swipe to the right to unlock the phone, or swipe in another direction to go straight to a specific feature -- left to fire up the camera, straight up to make a call or straight down to see your texts.

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Where to Buy

Motorola Razr i

Part Number: CNETMotorola Razr i

Typical Price: £345.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

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