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Motorola RAZR review

The Motorola Razr is a real head-turner of a smartphone, and it is powerful too

Anyone with a long memory will recall the Razr brand of old. Motorola was in its heyday when the brand appeared, and it was allied to some absolutely stunning handsets. Since the original Razr saw the light of day, smartphones have arisen, so now Motorola has taken a step back into the past to prove it still has prowess as a handset designer.

A key feature of the new Motorola Razr is its thinness. It measure just 7.1mm along most of its edge, with a protrusion on the back at the top to provide housing for an 8 megapixel camera. There’s a front facing 1.3 megapixel camera too. The top edge is also where you’ll find all three connectors – a 3.5mm headset jack, microUSB port and miniature HDMI connector.

The right edge contains all the buttons – just a power button and volume rocker. On the left long edge there’s a cover behind which are slots for microSD and SIM card. The SIM, incidentally, is a microSIM. The presence of a SIM card slot on the edge of the chassis is all the evidence you need that the backplate is not removable so you can’t get to the battery.

As is the trend with high end smartphones, the Razr has a large screen. At 4.3 inches it’s too big to reach across one handed, and it delivers 960 x 540 pixels in radiant, sharp and clear super AMOLED. Watching video, looking at stills and reading web pages are all stunning experiences.

The screen is extremely responsive to the finger. We barely felt we were touching it at all before getting responses. This makes typing out text a very light-fingered affair, and we were able to work very fast indeed.

However, the screen has a fairly large top and bottom bezel, and this helps make the Razr quite a large handset that’ll need a fairly serious sized pocket to live in.

Motorola’s Android (2.3) skinning has some neat touches. There’s a slider on the lock screen to turn the ringer off and another to launch you into the camera as well as the more usual unlock slider that takes you to the device home screen.

There are five home screens, and if you sweep upwards on any of them you get a little carousel showing all five. The images are a bit small, and don’t really make the most of what could be achieved with a thumbnail view, though.

Motorola has gone to town with its widgets offerings, which include the inevitable social networking aware options, and many can be resized so that you can have things just how you want them. People shortcuts can sit in their own little squares, with their faces beaming out at you. There are also a few interesting apps pre installed. We especially like Smart Actions, which can automate some tasks.

Examples include turning on battery saving at set times, turning the ringer off when you are in certain locations, or running apps at certain times of the day.

The 1.2GHz dual core processor is another sign, if one were needed, that this is a high end smartphone. We certainly didn’t feel the processor kept us waiting. It was particularly good at loading web pages, and rendered streamed video – of course in such a high end smartphone Flash is supported.

In our review sample the processor was coupled with a generous 8GB of internal memory that, as already noted, you can boost with microSD cards. We’ve also seen mention of 16GB versions.

Motorola has equipped the Razr with a 1780mAh battery – a higher capacity than we are used to seeing. It got us through a day fairly easily, though it has to be said that a handset like this is simply begging for battery draining activity like media streaming via MotoCast – Motorola’s DLNA app.

Written by Sandra Vogel