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Droid Razr hands-on: Fast, slim, gorgeous

CNET takes a closer look at the Motorola Droid Razr.

The Razr is back, and it's better than ever. Motorola has done the smartest thing it's done in years with the Droid Razr, which combines sheer Droid brawn with the legacy of Razr design.

We had the opportunity to get hands-on with the phone, and we can't deny that the Droid Razr's ultralight design has an immediate wow factor. We picked it up and were stunned at how skinny it was--it's 7.1mm (0.28 inch) thin, to be exact, which makes it the thinnest smartphone so far, according to Motorola. It's also correspondingly lightweight, at only 127 grams (4.5 ounces).

But that doesn't mean the phone is a fragile thing to be coddled. The Droid Razr feels surprisingly solid, and Motorola says that's because of the sculpted glass, the Kevlar backing, and the stainless steel chassis that holds it all together. There's even a nanotechnology coating that makes the phone splash-resistant. It stops short of being waterproof, though, so we wouldn't go swimming with it. The Kevlar backing is soft to the touch, which is a departure from the usual rough texture associated with Kevlar. The thin display is made out of sculpted Corning Gorilla Glass, which is claimed to be scratch-resistant as well.

And what a display it is. The 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display is really gorgeous in person. With its qHD resolution, images and graphics are both colorful and crisp. Motorola says the Droid Razr is the first smartphone to be able to stream HD content from Netflix.

Powering all of this, the phone has a dual-core 1.2GHz TI processor and 1GB of RAM. The result is a seamless navigational experience. We flipped through screens with speed, with no transition lag at all. We didn't notice any sluggishness when launching and multitasking between several apps, either. The Droid Razr ships with Android 2.3.5 with a Motoblur skin. It's not the prettiest skin we've ever seen, but it's not nearly as intrusive as it used to be.

The Motorola Droid Razr has a stunningly slim design.
The Motorola Droid Razr has a stunningly slim design. Bonnie Cha/CNET

The Droid Razr has 32GB of memory that consists of 16GB on board and a preinstalled 16GB microSD card, and it can accommodate up to 32GB microSD cards. Nested in the Kevlar backing is an 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p HD video capture and image-stabilization features, while sitting above the display is a front-facing HD camera for video conferencing. Thanks to Verizon, it also has support for 4G LTE along with a mobile hot-spot feature.

Motorola is definitely going after RIM with new enterprise and government-grade features in the Droid Razr. It has remote wipe, PIN lock, and what it claims is government-grade data encryption.

Other features include HDMI out, the low-power Bluetooth 4.0 that opens up a world of devices, Quickoffice for document editing, and a couple of Motorola-designed apps that promise greater interactivity with the cloud. Motocast is an app that will stream and download media to the phone from a corresponding desktop PC app, while the Smart Actions app helps to automate tasks and optimize battery efficiency. We had a little demo of Smart Actions, and it certainly has potential. For example, when it detects your home Wi-Fi network, you can set it so that it'll automatically turn your data connection off for better battery consumption.

Lapdock 500 and Lapdock 100
Lapdock 500 and Lapdock 100 Nicole Lee/CNET

Last but not least, the Droid Razr has a Webtop application similar to the one we saw on the Motorola Droid Bionic and the Motorola Atrix. As a reminder, Webtop essentially turns the phone into a portable PC. When docked into a Webtop accessory, the Droid Razr activates a Linux-based interface that provides a laptop or Netbook experience. The Droid Razr is compatible with Motorola's new Lapdock 100 and Lapdock 500. The Lapdock 100 is a refresh of the original Motorola laptop dock, but it's slightly smaller and has a pull-out dock connector cable instead. The Lapdock 500 is a larger 14-inch version of that. There's also an optional HD station or Webtop dock that you can connect to a larger screen. Motorola has told us that both these Lapdocks should be compatible with a range of Motorola handsets, including the Atrix 2 and the Photon 4G.

A major downside is that in order to get the phone to be so thin, it was made so the battery is not removable. It's also not a world phone, and is only compatible with CDMA networks.

The Motorola Droid Razr will be available for $299.99 in early November after a new two-year service agreement with Verizon Wireless. You can start to preorder the phone on October 27.