Motorola pulled up their bootstraps and made it out of the trenches when they first released the RAZR in 2004. They did it again with the Droid series through Verizon. Now they've merged the two to form the Droid RAZR. Will it succeed just the same?
The RAZR Cuts Again
In a world of mediocre flip phones, Motorola unleashed the RAZR. It dominated the phone industry in 2004 with its sleek and razer thin design. After the RAZR, many manufacturers seemed to try to follow suit with the slim design, and even Motorola continued the design philosophy with the likes of the SLVR and the KRZR. However, once the Apple iPhone was launched in 2007, the RAZR and all the follow up phones were soon forgotten. Motorola struggled for a time as they tried to determine what their next follow up would be, but once Android was released, Motorola understood exactly what they had to do. They launced the Motorola Droid, a powerful Android powered device with Verizon's marketing power backing them. Now it seems the original ideas of the RAZR are crossing over to the Droid series to create the new Droid RAZR.
Design and Display
The Droid RAZR is slim and sleek, coming in at only 7.1 mm thick. Motorola claims it's the slimmest smartphone available in the market. It's not a surprise that the Droid RAZR is aiming to be the slimmest smartphone as the RAZR brand is the name that put Motorola on the map for releasing sleek and slim flip phones. The front of the Droid RAZR is dominated by a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Advanced display, bringing forth bright colors and dark contrasts. Beneath the display are the four Android shortcuts for menu, home, back and search and above the display is a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. The right edge of the smartphone has the volume controls and a power / lock key. The left edge has the microSD card port and a slot for a micro SIM card, allowing the Droid RAZR to be a global smartphone. The top edge contains the 3.5 mm headphone jack, micro USB and micro HDMI ports. The back is kevlar coated, but it does not have a cover, and an 8 megapixel camera resides up top.
The smartphone feels solid in the hand and the sleek, slim design really catches people's eyes. The area where the camera protrudes is noticeable, but overall the slim design works well. The one big catch that comes with the slim design is the fact that the battery cannot be removed. It's an inconvenient give and take situation. For the Droid RAZR it's not a bad trade off, but some people may dislike the fact they can't switch in a spare battery.
The Droid RAZR is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, which handles Android 2.3 extremely well. Switching from application to application is quick, even with processor heavy applications running.
The non-removable battery lasts less than a day with regular use, most likely due to the 4G connectivity. Once 4G is turned off, it lasts a little longer, but overall the battery performance is a bit lacking.
The call quality is sharp and clear for both incoming and outgoing calls, with no distortion in the way.
The data speeds were definitely impressive, as Verizon's 4G LTE speeds are very fast, though location does matter. Verizon is working to expand their 4G network but certain areas, at the moment, may not be able to connect.
Motorola has done a fantastic job lightening their overlay MotoBLUR, and the Droid RAZR comes with the same refined and lightweight UI. The touch-screen interface is extremely easy to use and coupled with the fast response times, the Droid RAZR feels like an interactive smartphone. Some smartphones have a tendency to lag, which can cause frustration and takes away from the interactivity, but the Droid RAZR does not suffer from this. The Droid RAZR also comes loaded with less bloatware than other smartphones, which means there's less reason to remove applications that are not needed. The 4.3 inch display is also plenty of space to work with both hands.
The Droid RAZR also comes equipped with the Smart Actions application which is extremely helpful in saving battery life. It's an automation application that works based on a set of rules. For instance, Bluetooth connectivity or GPS connectivity can be turned off if the smartphone is in a certain location, or the brightness will turn to 0 if a certain percentage is hit. The uses for Smart Actions aren't just for battery savings, as ringtones can be stopped at certain times and applications can be automatically loaded if you connect a device. It's a clever addition and very useful.
The features arena is where the Droid RAZR really exceeds expectations. The 8 megapixel camera is great at taking snapshots and video, and with the speedy processor, it feels like a point and shoot camera. The 1.3 megapixel front facing camera is a great add on for self camera shots or video chatting. But these aren't the only features the Droid RAZR comes equipped with.
The smartphone is aiming at corporate and government users, offering a micro SIM card slot for global roaming. It also has Exchange ActiveSync support and features government grade encryption. There's also remote wipe, PIN lock, device encryption and remote enabling and disabling of the camera and Wi-Fi. It looks like it can easily compete with the BlackBerry line up when it comes to attracting corporate consumers. In addition, the Droid RAZR can also connect to Motorola's line up of add ons, such as the Lapdock and the HD Station, much like the Atrix 2.
Overall the Droid RAZR is a 'Good' smartphone. It has been one of the best kept secrets of Motorola and it was a great idea to merge the RAZR line with the Droid line. The slim, sleek, and dare I say, sexy, design of the Droid RAZR will definitely catch eyes, like the original in 2004, while the powerful performance and fantastic features will grab the technology enthusiasts. The only negative that many people may see will be the inability to change batteries, but the iPhone suffers from the same problem and it still succeeds in capturing a big slice of the market.