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Motorola Razr review:

Motorola Razr

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Typical Price: $809.00
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The Good Great performance. Slick new UI and widget design. Good battery life. MotoCast is a killer app.

The Bad Camera is disappointing. Phone's footprint is large compared with other phones with the same-sized screen.

The Bottom Line Motorola revives its favourite brand with a cracking Android-powered release in the Razr; a fast phone with a unique design and a few killer apps.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

8.8 Overall

Review Sections


Razr by name, razor by design, Motorola's latest smartphone nabs the title of "world's thinnest" from the Samsung Galaxy II by 1.4mm, measuring in at 7.1mm along its thinnest point. The handset does bulge slightly at the top to accommodate the handset's 8-megapixel camera, and while this may seem awkward it actually gives you something to grab onto when you're yanking the phone out of your pocket.

Optus is selling the Razr with a Work and Play Kit, including a car mount, HD Dock, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and an HDMI cable.
(Credit: CBSi)

The slim profile of the Razr does have a few drawbacks, however. To achieve this shape, Motorola has sealed the handset so that the battery is inaccessible by the user. The Razr also has a much larger footprint than most other smartphones with a 4.3-inch screen, something we attribute to the alignment of components below the glass. It's as though Motorola has taken a phone like the Atrix and squished it down from the front, making it thinner but expanding the width and length of the unit in the process.

The AMOLED screen looks fantastic; its blacks are rich and dark, its colours are vibrant, and text and images look sharp. It has the same qHD resolution as the LCD panel in the Atrix from earlier this year, but it looks much better.

Interestingly, Motorola has coated the entire phone, inside and out, with a water repellent, and though they say this isn't water-proofing the phone, any liquid that is splashed on the handset should bead and slide off. The phone's ports are exposed, however, so a drop in the kitchen sink while doing the dishes will likely still be fatal for the phone.

User experience and performance

Moto fans will be pleased to know that the Razr is easily the fastest Android smartphone from the company to date. It packs a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM and a PowerVR SGX540 graphics chip (similar to the iPhone 4). But if we could take a guess, we'd say this new-found speed is a product of the phone's freshly optimised software, and though the Razr uses more glitzy animations than the Atrix it still manages to seem light years faster and more responsive.

The Motorola user interface on top of Android Gingerbread in the Razr is also a huge step forward in regards to design and speed, with an overhauled aesthetic, some excellent new widgets, slick animations and some very handy shortcuts. This improved performance is evident across the user experience. The Razr pulls instantaneously from apps drawing on databases, like the Address Book, and it loads 3D games in a timely fashion.

As mentioned earlier, battery life is better than average, but by a matter of hours, not days. On days when we've left our 3G data switched on and received push notifications from email and social networks, the battery lasts about 16 to 18 hours. If we turn on Smart Actions and manage our data better, you can double this, stretching out the battery life to halfway through the next day.


If there is one area of the Razr that we've found lacking, it's the 8-megapixel camera. Not that this camera is a complete failure, but it is definitely a few steps behind the similarly specced cameras from Samsung, Apple and HTC.

Colours can appear washed out in photos taken on the Razr.
(Credit: CBSi)

The position of the camera is also a bit of a problem. The lens is tucked right into the top-left corner on the back of the phone, with the flash immediately beside it, so every couple of photos our fingers would cover a small portion of the image or the flash would reflect off a finger and blows out the photo. Put this down to another pitfall of being the world's thinnest phone.

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