Motorola Razr review

13 Feb 2012

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

Price when reviewed 
450
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £375
Price inc VAT £450
Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £21.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider phone-shop.tesco.com
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5

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