November 21, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
The Motorola Droid and Motorola Razr were both game-changing phones. The Razr introduced a slim, stylish phone at a time when devices would never be considered sexy. The Droid had a similar impact on the smartphone industry, but not because of its looks. What made the Droid special was that it was a powerful phone that moved Android from fringe geeky cool to mainstream “You gotta have this” technology.
With the Droid Razr, Motorola attempts to marry the game-changing attributes of its two most important brands of the modern smartphone era. The phone is once again sleek and sharp like the latter half of its name would imply, but bold and limit-pushing like the former. So how successful is Motorola at merging form and function in its latest phone?
It’s not hard to see why Motorola went with the Droid Razr name considering that this phone is thinner and tougher than most. The device has a protruding brow that houses the speaker and camera, but the main body of the Droid Razr is only 7.1 mm. The large slab of black and smoke gray curve in at the edges and feel incredibly comfortable to hold. Well, if you don’t have tiny hands. With a 4.3 Super AMOLED screen and rather large-but-still-thin exterior, this isn’t a dainty device.
A slender build is what one would expect from a phone called Razr, but the phone is tough even by Droid standards. The screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass, which we’ve seen remain pristine despite being scratched repeatedly by keys and dropping higher than six feet. Keys are also no match for the rear of device that has a special coat from Kevlar, the same company that makes bullet proof vests for police officers. The Droid Razr won’t stop a bullet, but it will stop the normal dangers of life from destroying the big beauty in your pocket.
While I’d love to rant and rave about the 1.2 GHz dual-core processor (TI OMAP 4) and great form factor some more, the Droid Razr screen is not so beautiful. No, it’s not ugly either, but the tint seems slightly darker than I’m accustom to seeing on Super AMOLED displays. Unless held at a distance, text can seem dot-heavy in icons or reading apps; the capacitive buttons at the bottom of the screen are especially dotty. Most users won’t notice the difference between the Razr and another SAMOLED, but people who place heavy importance on-screen quality will.
- The Razr supports Verizon’s phenomenal 4G LTE network. That means you’ll get incredibly fast speeds when available, but also that it will eat through your battery faster. The difference is that battery life is better than any other Verizon 4G phone. Count on 6-13 hours depending on your usage patterns and settings.
- The Droid Razr also supports the Lapdock 100, a separately-sold accessory that can switch into a pseudo-laptop. The “webtop” system plugs into the phone and can browse the web with a special version of Firefox or control your phone apps with a keyboard. The Lapdock has productivity potential and it charges the phone while in-use.
- We rarely talk about call quality in phone reviews (insert ironic joke here) but the call quality is really good on the Droid Razr. Sound on both ends was better that I’m use to hearing.
- The Droid Razr has the best battery life (comparatively) of any Verizon 4G device that we’ve tested. However, the battery is locked away and not removable. This is not good for people who want to keep a spare battery or do a battery pull on the occasion that the phone loops on a glitch. This was a design necessity but may be a bummer for some users.