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Quick Review of the Motorola RAZR Android Smartphone

Quick Review of the Motorola RAZR Android Smartphone
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I grew up watching The Dukes of Hazzard on TV, and throughout my childhood, my dream car was the General Lee—a modified 1969 Dodge Charger. Later, I discovered Gran Turismo for the PlayStation and things changed, but I still had a special place in my heart for the Charger. Dodge probably knows that I'm not the only one in the world who wanted one, so it brought back the Charger brand in 2005.

Like what is often done in the world of automobiles, Motorola has brought back a classic brand – the Razr. Before the iPhone became the "status symbol phone", the coolest handset was the Razr. Introduced in 2004, it was the phone that basically pulled Motorola out of the grave. Even today, it's the best selling phone of all time, according to Wikipedia.

The original Razr was special in its super-slim clamshell design and metal construction. It didn't have any of the cool features that Symbian, Windows Mobile or BlackBerry had at the time, but it didn't matter—it was sexy. I wanted one, I owned one, and I enjoyed it until using data on a phone was more important than voice calls and texts.

Fast forward to the end of 2011, and Motorola's brought the Razr back as an Android-power smartphone. In the U.S. market it's called the DROID Razr, as part of Verizon's marketing, but for the rest of the world it's the Razr (though its device name on the Android Market shows it as Motorola XT910).

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  • 1 Hide
    lockhrt999 , December 13, 2011 5:00 PM
    I still have an old Razr. It's like some major game title we loved to play a decade ago and still love to keep it's original floppy with casing. Gadget industry changes overnight but there are few things who last behind and keep every one amusing for eternity.
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , December 13, 2011 5:39 PM
    IMO, Moto dropped the ball when they decided on a non-user-replaceable battery on this phone; that and a locked bootloader.
    The more you get the devs to jump through too many hoops in order to be able to develop for a phone, the less popular that phone will be with them.
    Again, that's just my opinion, because I like to tweak my phones as much as I can. Your mileage may vary.
  • 0 Hide
    house70 , December 13, 2011 5:41 PM
    lockhrt999I still have an old Razr. It's like some major game title we loved to play a decade ago and still love to keep it's original floppy with casing. Gadget industry changes overnight but there are few things who last behind and keep every one amusing for eternity.

    Yes, and even on that phone I liked to put modified ROMs to get max performance out of them and eliminate whatever bloatware the carrier would put on there. You're right, ever since then I have been hard pressed to find another excellent phone from Moto. Getting hard to find batteries for them, though...
  • 0 Hide
    teslafreakshow , December 13, 2011 9:12 PM
    Qualcomm test phones have 4.0 on them.
  • 0 Hide
    richboyliang , December 13, 2011 10:53 PM
    This droid razr I got on black friday for 1 cent is my first smartphone, so I can't say I had any standards in mine; I'm immensely pleased with it and will disregard any negative feedback about it except the huge screen that makes typing difficult for small hands. I'm glad it's gonna get an upgrade to 4.0, but as a first-time smartphone user I don't know what that means for it.
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , December 13, 2011 11:24 PM
    richboyliangThis droid razr I got on black friday for 1 cent is my first smartphone, so I can't say I had any standards in mine; I'm immensely pleased with it and will disregard any negative feedback about it except the huge screen that makes typing difficult for small hands. I'm glad it's gonna get an upgrade to 4.0, but as a first-time smartphone user I don't know what that means for it.

    Welcome to the smartphone crowd and enjoy your new gadget; by all means, it's a very good phone and will only get better with the upgrade, so... upgrade it at the earliest convenience. As I said above, the criticism was only me referring to some points that I consider important, but I know everyone's priorities are different than mine. As I said, anyone's mileage may vary, so to speak... Congrats on your purchase.
  • 2 Hide
    halcyon , December 14, 2011 8:24 AM
    To anyone considering the Droid RAZR

    I had a DROID RAZR after having an iPhone 4 for over a year. Its a very very very well-built and fast handset. Aluminium, Kevlar, and Gorilla Glass (right up my I-want-it-well-built-with-high-quality-materials alley) The size of the screen is great (to me) but, unlike the above article's author, I found the pentile screen to be quite bothersome and distracting...with a definite greenish hue and text that just wasn't that sharp. After looking at the iPhone's razor-sharp screen with excellent color the Droid RAZR screen's shortcomings are quite noticeable. I really tried to overlook and ignore it but couldn't. The Smart Actions of the phone were neat, when they worked, but quite often glitchy (especially location-based actions that didn't consistently function). ...battery life? Not so good, maybe a day, and I hear this is typical for the Android phones :pfff:  (I guess the technology just isn't there for them to get 1+ days of usage out of the battery for these devices yet). The camera? That was the deal breaker for me. I tried to ignore the washed out quality and very poor low-light performance. Having had an iPhone I got spoiled. Say what you want about Apple but the iPhone 4's camera is quite good, IME. I know there are some Android phones that have even better camera's than the iPhone 4's ...but the Droid RAZR is definitely not one of them.

    In the end, though, while I love the design and build quality and light-weight of the Droid RAZR its screen, battery life, and camera just stopped me from enjoying it after having had an iPhone 4. I really liked the Android implementation on the device too (slick, fast, fluid)...but not enough to overlook the phone's shortcomings.

    I returned the RAZR and went with an iPhone 4S. To me it has a much better screen (though obviously smaller), a camera that's in a different league with much better low-light performance and color reproduction and better battery life. iOS is not as fun as Android...there's not as many dohicky's to tinker with and bend to your submission...but the iPhone has the compromises I can live with. ...built with high quality materials (after having an iPhone plastic and rubber cases just don't seem as solid or appealing to me anymore), good performance, a nice screen, a great camera, and good battery life. The android devices? I want them to get there...I want them to get there bad.

    If they'd make the Droid RAZR with 4.3" version of the iPhone's screen, the iPhone 4S' camera, and better battery life it would be the very best device out there. ...maybe in the next version. Motorola, are you listening? ...didn't think so.

    I'm sorry guys, I had to be objective.
  • 2 Hide
    warezme , December 14, 2011 2:43 PM
    Not sure why anyone would return a smartphone because of the camera quality. ALL smartphones including the iphones 4S have exceptionally crappy camera quality. It comes from incredibly tiny mass produced small sensors they use There is no such thing as a small sensor camera that produces high quality images regardless of the ridiculous megapixels advertised. If you are truly interested in quality images especially in low light, your phone should not be your primary tool. Buy a real large sensor camera and not a point a shoot.
  • 0 Hide
    halcyon , December 14, 2011 2:59 PM
    Its 2011...going on 2012, a smart phone is fully expected to have a camera capable of taking decent point-and-shoot shots. No, not as in the same league as either of my Sony Alphas but good enough for every day point-and-shoot use. The iPhone 4S' camera is easily good enough for this, in my experience. The RAZR's camera. ...not so much. No, perhaps not good enough for a 4'x3' shot of my son but all the little day to day stuff. ...and a smartphone has the added benefit of ALWAYS being with me. I know some people might, but I don't carry my dSLR's everywhere with me.

    ...and since I have a little one that I like to take candid pictures my device, that I always have with me, my smartphone's camera is important. ...and some are CLEARLY better than others.

    I hope this helps address your question of "Not sure why anyone would return a smartphone because of the camera quality."
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus Yam , December 14, 2011 3:54 PM
    @halcyon thanks for sharing your experiences. I agree that the camera isn't up to the level of the iPhone 4S, but Apple does do some software tweaking and processing to the image to sometimes make it look good rather than true and neutral. Most people, including me, aren't opposed to such "enhancements", which is why there's so much love for the sensors on the latest iPhones.

    As for the screen, yes, 4.3" is great but the PenTile combined with pixel density is definitely a "YMMV" thing depending on how your eyes work. In most cases it didn't bother me too much, but I did photograph an instance where the display was less than appealing and compared it against the iPhone.
  • 1 Hide
    enforcer22 , December 14, 2011 4:58 PM
    halcyonIts 2011...going on 2012, a smart phone is fully expected to have a camera capable of taking decent point-and-shoot shots. No, not as in the same league as either of my Sony Alphas but good enough for every day point-and-shoot use. The iPhone 4S' camera is easily good enough for this, in my experience. The RAZR's camera. ...not so much. No, perhaps not good enough for a 4'x3' shot of my son but all the little day to day stuff. ...and a smartphone has the added benefit of ALWAYS being with me. I know some people might, but I don't carry my dSLR's everywhere with me....and since I have a little one that I like to take candid pictures my device, that I always have with me, my smartphone's camera is important. ...and some are CLEARLY better than others.I hope this helps address your question of "Not sure why anyone would return a smartphone because of the camera quality."


    You must have got a razr with a bad screen all the units including mine there is no green anything its all jet black when its black same black as the casing. as far as teh camera. i saw no difference from an iphone to a razr same for the camcorder. I honestly dont notice even after reading an artical about the screen see what your talking about. I dont after using an iphone for a while see what the big deal about the iphone screen is. I see no real difference other then its way smaller and the washed out blacks that look more of a faded gray.

    Im also pretty sure if the iphone had a 4g and 3g entenna like the razor its battery life would be shorter as well which is at least what i got from jobs in his reason why he didnt make the 4s a 4g phone. I dont honestly see any reason for it to last longer then a full day since i have a charger and it doesnt need to be doing anything else but charging while im sleeping.

    No i wouldnt take a phone back cuz the camera. seems odd and almost a no brainer to know a smartphone or a cell phone in general camera isnt going to work well in anything but perfect conditions. which includes the iphone. all my smartphones and hell even old feture phones took flawless pictures. unless it was dark and the flash couldnt light up the area enough. But its a cell phone ffs.
  • 0 Hide
    halcyon , December 14, 2011 10:12 PM
    Again, my iPhone 4S' camera is noticably better to me than the Droid RAZR's was. Noticably. I wish I still had some of its photos to post.

    I also said the bad camera was the deal breaker...the last straw. The screen was the first dissapointment, the battery life the 2nd, the poorer camera was the last straw. Yes, the blacks were deeper on the Super AMOLED advance screen but text rendering or a photo's details were not nearly as sharp as on my iPhone's screen. Some, like you guys, say they can't notice a difference. Okay, I can accept that...its your eyes. ...my eyes can clearly see the difference. The HTC Rezound has the screen that the RAZR should have...and I think the Galaxy Nexus' screen may be quite nice too. I may be being too picky. I understand that, but since I spending my money I need to get what I like and what looks good to me. I don't expect everyone to agree with that though.

    I think if you read a lot of the reviews on the RAZR you'll see that my observations, however, are not even remotely unique.
  • 0 Hide
    enforcer22 , December 15, 2011 2:38 AM
    my g/f has the rezound and trust me the razr screen is a milllion times better. your observation of the screen from what i can tell requiered major magnification to even make noticable..

    I still dont see the camera thing.. if your that picky you would never settle for a cell phone camera anyday.
  • 0 Hide
    halcyon , December 15, 2011 8:03 AM
    @EnforceR22

    That's the first time I've heard/read that the Rezound's screen is anything less than stellar. I guess the RAZR just isn't for me. Maybe it's successor.
  • 0 Hide
    enforcer22 , December 15, 2011 11:08 AM
    halcyon@EnforceR22That's the first time I've heard/read that the Rezound's screen is anything less than stellar. I guess the RAZR just isn't for me. Maybe it's successor.


    didnt mean to say its high res wasnt great but colors and contrast it cant beat an amoled
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , December 15, 2011 8:19 PM
    EnFoRceR22didnt mean to say its high res wasnt great but colors and contrast it cant beat an amoled

    I saw a Google Nexus today. It has a great screen, both high resolution and Super AMOLED's saturation. Very nice. ...but its body is painted plastic...PAINTED PLASTIC!! WTF?! I would rather them charge me an extra $10 or $20 and make the phone's body out of some form of metal...and they could even use a hardened rubber material for the battery cover if they just can't manage Kevlar, metal, or glass there.

    I guess most people don't care if there phones that have to last for 2 plus years are made out of cheap plastics and don't hold up as opposed to the DROID RAZR's unique construction or the iPhone's high-quality metal and glass. Yes, gonna put it in a case anyways but damn. I think if you asked a lot of folks, did market research, if they'd be willing to pay $10-$20 more for a phone cased in high quality materials like, metal, kevlar, glass, etc, as opposed to cheap painted plastic I think they'd find people would not choose the lower priced cheaper plastic. Anyways, don't need to over-harp on that, I think I've made my point.

    I would love to have a larger screen than the iPhone 4s, but I need my phone to look brand spanking new for the entire 2 years I have it...and there's a much better chance of that if its not cased in cheap materials!
  • 0 Hide
    halcyon , December 15, 2011 8:35 PM
    Wow: http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/17/2568348/galaxy-nexus-review , I do miss the DROID RAZR's Android and larger screen, and extremely light weight...just a fantastic design. Maybe I can convince myself that the screen's and camera's flaws are as unimportant as some make them out to be.
  • 0 Hide
    halcyon , December 16, 2011 2:42 PM
    For those that think all cellphone cameras are created equal, I just found this review of the iPhone 4's by PC Mag:

    Apple addresses the two biggest problems with camera phones: speed and dynamic range. The camera has a larger sensor, a larger five-element lens, and a larger f/2.4 aperture than the iPhone 4, along with a backside illuminated sensor and an IR filter to improve colors. The camera app loads in under two seconds, and it takes most photos instantly. I only occasionally ran into about half a second of autofocus delay.

    Outdoor shots are uniquely well-balanced. On most cameraphones, a bright background—a bright sky, for instance—is either blown out, or renders the entire foreground dark. Not here. The iPhone 4S has enough dynamic range to capture outdoor shots as attractively as a pocket digital camera. In extreme situations, you can also kick in the HDR mode, but I didn't find it necessary. The 4S is sharper than any cameraphone in the US, with 2000 lines of resolution on our chart. (The other best cameraphones, the Samsung Galaxy S II ($229.99, 4.5 stars) and HTC Amaze 4G ($259.99, 4 stars), both capture around 1800 lines.)

    Low-light performance was also very good. Images appeared brighter than on competing cameras, though they weren't entirely immune to low-light blur. The iPhone has a standard LED flash, as well.

    The video camera takes 1080p video at roughly 30 frames per second, indoors and out. It has image stabilization which works very well outdoors, but was shakier in my low-light video. There's a VGA camera on the front which takes sometimes-noisy photos, but can handle low light well. It's obviously for quick social-networking self shots and FaceTime chatting.

    The camera has no options, though. Most importantly, there's no way to take photos or record videos at reduced resolution to save space. This can be a real issue with the 1080p video, which clocks in at about 180MB per minute. Most people don't need that resolution; my MacBook Pro's screen isn't big enough for it!


    I knew I preferred the images taken with the iPhone 4's camera and now I understand a little more as to why. ...hope this helps.
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