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The New Droid RAZR: Is Thin & Light Always Better?

written by: •edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/8/2011

The original Motorola RAZR was the mobile phone to have a few years ago. One smartphone revolution later and the Motorola Droid RAZR is aiming to be similarly successful, but a lot has changed in the last few years.

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    Motorola Droid Razr The Motorola RAZR was a flip phone that was released back in 2004 and it sold over 130 million units to become the most successful clamshell design mobile phone of all time. The key to its success was a super slim and stylish profile. Seven years on, smartphones have taken the world by storm and the Android platform has claimed a commanding position in the market. Enter the Motorola Droid RAZR, an Android smartphone that is looking to revive the RAZR brand.

    Like the original, the Motorola Droid RAZR is incredibly thin and light. It is just 0.28 inches thick and weighs in at 4.48 ounces. The question is, in today’s market is thin and light always better? The trend for smartphones has been towards bigger and bigger displays to accommodate apps, games, movies and web browsing. The Droid RAZR has a 4.3 inch screen which is fast becoming pretty standard for high-end Android smartphones. Despite the slim profile, it can hardly be described as a compact device.

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    Who is the Slimmest of Them All?

    Motorola Droid RAZR Slim Designs have also moved on and the vast majority of smartphones are now candy bar form factor with a large dominant display. The battle to produce the slimmest device has certainly been raging. For a long time the Apple iPhone claimed the top spot, but at 0.37 inches it looks positively chubby next to the Droid RAZR. Another big Android player at the moment is the Samsung Galaxy S II, but it measures around 0.34 inches so the Droid RAZR can definitely claim the slim crown for now.

    While it is generally accepted that slim is beautiful, and the design has been praised, that svelte figure does come at a cost.

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    The Limitations of Slim and Light

    Motorola Droid Razr Side The obvious problem with the Motorola Droid RAZR is the fact that the battery is not removable. No doubt this helped Motorola to make it so slim, but from a consumer point of view it could be a turn off. Smartphones are way more power hungry than the mobile phones of yesteryear and so daily charging is the norm. For people on the go a spare battery has become a common accessory, but the Droid RAZR won’t support that.

    The battery is also a fairly sizable chunk of the overall weight of a smartphone. The Droid RAZR battery is rated at 1780 mAh which is relatively large, but with that big display, and 4G network connectivity to support, it won’t go as far as you might imagine. If they had included a bigger battery then it would have pushed up the thickness and the weight. Of course it is worth pointing out that the iPhone has never had a removable battery and it has been the biggest selling single smartphone model on the market. That suggests that consumers don’t really have a problem with it.

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    Style Over Substance

    Are consumers willing to sacrifice substance for added style? To an extent the answer seems to be yes and there are always people who will take something sexy and stylish over the best performer on the market. The original RAZR combined the stylish form factor with a good range of features and the Droid RAZR does the same. In fact the features and specs are so high-end that you could argue it offers both style and substance. Although the fact that it also has a premium price tag compared to competitors will surely be enough to ensure it never comes close to the kinds of sales figures the original RAZR enjoyed.

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    The RAZR Brand

    Companies are well aware of the power of branding and so it is no surprise to see Motorola revive the RAZR name in the hope it will attract consumers with a fond memory of the original. It does stay true to the original in the sense that it is the slimmest phone on the market and it looks very stylish, but the market has moved on. The Droid RAZR certainly doesn’t represent the same kind of leap as the original RAZR did.

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    How Well Will It Do?

    The Droid RAZR has stiff competition on the Android platform from phones like the Galaxy Nexus, the HTC Sensation and the Samsung Galaxy S II. Beyond that there’s the ever popular iPhone. The Droid RAZR is definitely an impressive phone, but it is also expensive and it has less of a wow factor compared to the competition than the original RAZR did back in 2004. One other thing that could attract people in is the range of Droid RAZR accessories, which include a lapdock that transforms the phone into a laptop. These seem to be fairly niche at the moment, but as smartphones become more powerful they actually make a lot of sense and we might see them growing in popularity.

    If Motorola could shift even half the number of Droid RAZRs as they sold of the original RAZR then they would be ecstatic, but realistically that’s not going to happen.