Motorola Razr review

Beautiful and well built, and with a fabulous AMOLED screen, but battery life is poor and the camera lets the side down

Jonathan Bray
13 Feb 2012
5
Price when reviewed 
450

Motorola's Razr phones have been around since the mobile industry was in its infancy, but since smartphones started to take over, the appeal of this once ultra-chic brand has waned. Its new Android smartphone, however, aims to revitalise that image and put Motorola back in the race.

It's a stunning return to form. Physically, this is one of the most attractive handsets we've ever come across, with an angled dark-chrome trim around a fingerprint-resistant Gorilla Glass front, and a Kevlar panel adorning the rear.

It's also incredibly light and thin, and although there's a bulge at the top of the phone to house the 8-megapixel, 1080p camera, the rest of the body measures a svelte 7.2mm. It's enough to make the Samsung Galaxy S II look podgy, and despite the waif-like profile, it feels sturdier than the Samsung.

Motorola Razr front and back

It's coated with the same water-repellent material used on the recent Xoom2 tablets, meaning it's much less likely than your average smartphone to succumb to a soaking.

Motorola has made concessions to design, though. As with the Nokia Lumia 800 and iPhone 4S there's no removable battery, and it takes a micro-SIM instead of a standard one, but otherwise the Razr is well appointed. On the top edge there are micro-HDMI and micro-USB ports and a 3.5mm headphone socket. Under a slim flap on the left edge, next to the SIM slot, is a microSD slot for expanding the phone's 16GB of storage.

Switch on the Razr and you're greeted with the next impressive component: a fabulous 4.3in AMOLED screen, with stunning contrast and colour. Its maximum brightness of 318cd/m[sup]2[/sup] is superior to the Galaxy S II's, and black levels are perfect. The 540 x 960 qHD resolution looks sharper than that of the Galaxy S II, but the PenTile subpixel grid means that it does have a very slightly grainy appearance.

Motorola Razr edges

With a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, general performance is excellent. A SunSpider score of 2,162 puts it among the front-runners, as does a time in our HTML test time of 10.8 seconds. Its Quadrant score of 2,536, meanwhile, is beaten significantly only by the Galaxy S II.

As is normal with Motorola smartphones, the software integration is very good indeed. The Motoblur skin offers a long list of integrated social networks to choose from, and although the widgets make the desktop-to-desktop transitions in Android stutter a little, you'll appreciate the wealth of information they put at your fingertips.

We might have had a new king of smartphones on our hands here, but the Razr falls short in two significant areas.

The first is battery life: the Razr had only 30% remaining on the battery gauge after our 24-hour test. The second is the 8-megapixel camera, which you can tease crisp images out of if you're careful, but which isn't a patch on the Galaxy S II's for features or quality.

So all in all, the Razr is a fine phone that we'd imagine will sell by the bucketload on the strength of its looks, build and stunning screen. For the ultimate all-round smartphone, though, our money is still on the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Price when reviewed 
450inc VAT

Details

Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £21.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider phone-shop.tesco.com

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 9hrs 20mins
Standby, quoted 12 days 8 hours

Physical

Dimensions 131 x 7.1 x 69mm (WDH)
Weight 127g
Touchscreen yes

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 1,000MB
Camera megapixel rating 8.0mp
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 4.3in
Resolution 540 x 960
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Android

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