Hands on with the Motorola Razr
Fix up, look sharp
First Look Motorola let me have a play with its latest smartphone, the Razr, at the handset's launch event in Berlin yesterday.
I should first point out that its 7.1mm body feels incredibly thin and impresses from the start. As you can see, it bulges out a bit at the top, thanks to the 8Mp camera and flash, but it doesn't make the phone feel any thicker than its the main part of its body is.
On the top of the phone, there are micro USB and mini HDMI slots, as well as a headphone jack. On one edge, there's the dual Micro SD/Sim port - the Razr uses iPhone-style micro Sims - while the power and volume controls are found on the opposite side.
Also like the iPhone, there's no removable battery. However, Motorola was quick to point out its 1780mAh capacity is large for a phone, especially one this thin, and claimed it should provide more than 12 hours of talk-time. Then again, it's a little disappointing that I can't take a spare power pack with me on long journeys with no charging points.
The large, bright 4.3in, 960 x 540 OLED display is about the maximum size a smartphone screen should be. Any bigger and thumb navigation would be too fiddly. The Razr still appears on the large side, though, as if it's a mini-tablet, but definitely passes the pocketability test.
For such a large device, it feels lighter than it should, while still possessing durable qualities. Put simply, the build is awesome. Ditto the the display.
Navigation is smooth too, as is browsing the web, with the 1.2GHz dual-core processor, backed by 1GB of memory, displaying serious prowess. Motorola points to benchmark figures that show the Razr is faster than its competitors - quite a bold claim. There was certainly none of the sluggish behaviour I've come to associate with older Motorola Android phones.
Saying that, the Razr's 8Mp camera could have reacted quicker and felt somewhat poor in comparison to that of the iPhone 4S. Video playback does look slick on the qHD resolution panel with a clip of Toy Story 3 proving film-watching on a display this size is more than adequate for long trips. I don't have the same enthusiasm for the 3.7in size of the Motorola Defy's display.
Unfortunately, the Razr is stuck with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but we were told that many Ice Cream Sandwich features have been brought forward ahead of an expected update in Q1 2012.
One of the more impressive features, SmartActions, lets users set rules for different parameters. For example, you could choose to automatically open your music player when headphones connect, or switch to silent mode during the times you know you'll be on a train.
Set up your SmartActions
The company has also included its new cloud-based service MotoCast, which will stream or download content through remote access to a PC or Mac anywhere in the world.
I gave it a shot, streaming video from a server based in the States. It was quick to load and performed well, streaming at a good quality with no noticeable lag. That said, Motorola didn't show me what network infrastructure was feeding the Razr's 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi connection.
All in all, the Razr is a stunning device that should give the company a boost, following some fairly-disappointing efforts in the mobile marketplace recently.
Depending on where it sits on the pricing ladder, the Razr should be a worthy competitor to rival smartphones. It's coming soon - early November, to be exact - and our in-depth review will follow closely behind. From a five-minute play-around, though, I have to agree with Motorola: this is one sexy smartphone. ®
Am I the only one disappointed that this isn't like the v3 style Razr? I was expecting twin screen* flip phone goodness...
*Or 3 screens, with two touch screens on the inside and the tiny notification screen on the outside
But iPhone is the standard to beat. Motorola is a company; a company that makes to want a boat load of cash. They may say they are passionate about "geek stuff v1" and "sparkly geek feature v2" but at the end of the day they want to sell stuff. Same as Apple.
Whether you like iPhones is moot. They sell. They sell by the warehouse full. In some instances companies are copying their looks and supplying software and services to compete with the iPhone and iOS which is fine but they need to be better an iPhone. What does the 4S do worse on than the Razr? Motorola should be pushing these points and honing them to perfection.
Apple's success is good marketing, good looking products, and ensuring that the user experience is intuitive and nice. Customers want a nice easy to use device. They may not care that their iPhone doesn't support some function that only a fraction of geeks would use. Doing a core set of things well and slowly expanding seems to be Apple's methodology rather than just having every feature available but giving a poor experience.
no removable battery
if the hardware locks up... you can't reboot it without a reset button (serious lock where even holding the power button won't turn it off). I've managed that a couple times with my own android phone. Trying out apps and running games... sometimes the thing hard locks. I have to take the battery out to reboot the silly thing. Without this option, power users, some devs, root types, will probably pass it up since waiting for the battery to totally drain out will be majorly annoying. Plus... what if the consumer is like me and likes to keep kit for 3-4 years. the battery will probably crater in 2 if not sooner... and even then, a two year contract means you're stuck for 2 years unless you pay extra for "upgrades" and getting a replacement battery for phones with removable batteries is easy and pretty cheap. Takes 5 seconds to swap out with fat fingers that all work like thumbs and gives the phone new life.
I'll stick with the one I've got.
Steaming pile of ordure
From another site:
"Motorola Droid Razr running Android 2.3 Gingerbread will not get an upgrade to Android 4 until early 2012, according to Alain Mutricy, Motorola vice president."
If at all..
And - after I swore I'd never buy another Motorola after the Dext 1.5 debacle (Moto + CEO lied in public and in print that the Dext would receive an update to 2.1, but subsequently retracted...) - who'd have thunk it eh?
Yeah, I actually dugout and "unboxed" my RAZR v3 last night. After 4 years in that box I was amazed how quickly it recharged and I could see my old wallpaper there on the screen.
Alas I had no appropriately sized SIM to play with so my adventure ended there...