Slice like a ninja, cut like a knife.
As with most Smartphones of today, the first thing you notice is the display and the RARZ comes equipped with an industry first- a 4.3” Super AMOLED screen with qHD (960×540 pixels) resolution. We have seen Super AMOLED screens before as well as qHD screens before but the RAZR is the first phone that brings the two together. Sadly, the result is not as wonderful as I had hoped it to be. The screen on the RAZR just doesn’t appear as vibrant as other Super AMOLED displays like the Samsung Galaxy Note while the 256 PPI ruins the sharpness of the qHD resolution on the fairly large 4.3” screen.
Below the screen sit the four standard Android capacitive buttons while an LED and front facing camera are located above the screen. For some reason, the capacitive buttons didn’t always light up for me, even under low light conditions. I’m guessing this is more of software issue that will be fixed with an upcoming firmware.
Speaking of software, the RAZR comes equipped with Android 2.3.5 which is one of the latest versions of the OS. On top of Android, the RAZR, like other Motorola phones, runs the MotoBlur interface which adds some nice tweaks to the UI. Starting off, the lock screen lets you go directly to the camera or mute the device which is something l miss in HTC’s Sense UI. Surprisingly, the number of home screens on the RAZR is fixed to five- you can’t add or take away any of the homescreens- or at least, I couldn’t figure out a way to do that.
With the default setup, the center screen shows four of your favorite contacts on top of the home screen that you can tap and call or contact in other forms. You can swipe down to bring more favourites which makes getting access to your frequent contacts very easy. MotoBlur also supports folders so you can group icons of applications together. It’s not as easy as iOS or the upcoming ICS where you simply drag applications on top of one another to create a folder but Motorola does give you a few templates to quickly create folders. The following video gives you a small demo of the the MotoBlur interface.
As you saw in the video, the interface is generally quite zippy although I did come across some lagging when using the browser or the camera and switching between portrait and landscape modes. The device also gets a bit hot at times and you can feel the rise in temperature when touching the screen.
Besides the interface, there are some really good applications that Motorola bundles with the RAZR. My favourite one is Smart Actions which learns your device usage over time and suggests actions such as silencing your phone while at work or the battery saver mode that shuts down background syncing and reduces screen brightness. One action I particularly like is sending a text based on you location, so for example, our head office is in Abu Dhabi which is a good hour’s drive from my place and I can set it up so it automatically texts my wife when I reach the office.
Another application that comes in quite handy is Motocast which is installed on your PC and then allows you to access data from your home PC to the Smartphone over a wireless connection. So I have access to all my music, photos or documents at any time at all. I can easily download documents, modify them and email them across or listen to a particular song that isn’t synced on the device. I did have a issue with my home Motocast computer appearing offline at time but I think that has more to do with my Apple Time Capsule than the Motocast application.
Coming to the camera, the Motorola RAZR has an F/2.4 lens 8 Megapixel auto-focus camera with face detection, touch focus and geotagging along with an LED flash for taking some pretty decent pictures. Like most Smartphones, expect better results in better-lit places. The following is a shot of Burj Khalifa at night.
Besides 8MP stills, the camera is also capable of recording 1080p full HD video recording at 30fps that turn our fairly decent. Overall, the RAZR has a pretty good camera- certainly much better than your usual Smartphone.
While the battery on the Motorola RAZR has a hefty 1780mAH capacity, it was being consumed reasonably fast during the first couple of days of me with the device generally running out of juice by 7PM. But then Smart Actions came into play and in the next couple of days I saw the unit easily lasting me for the full day. Then some more optimizations kicked in and I was surprised that the phone was lasting me well over a full day which is better than many other Smartphones I’ve tested of late.
Priced at AED 2,500, the Motorola RAZR stays true to the original in terms of it’s super slim design but sadly fails to elicit the emotion that was associated with the first one. Again, let me stress that there is a lot to like about the RAZR- the screen is nice, the speed is fast and the battery lasts long. It’s a pretty good device by every measure but somehow lacks that little something that makes one fall in love with it.