Motorola’s RAZR device has been hailed one of the best devices to come out of the company for some time. Running Android ‘Gingerbread’, we take a look at the Optus edition of the smartphone which is now available in Australia.
The RAZR is slim – slimmer, in fact, than Apple’s iPhone 4S often labelled one of the thinnest and most compact smartphones on the market. Design of the phone is unique in that it starts off thicker at the top (thanks to the camera, flash, USB and miniHDMI ports) before curving into a slimmer form factor.
Button-wise, and the RAZR has few to be found. On the bottom of the front of the device are a row of traditional touch-sensitive buttons for controlling the Android operating system (haptic feedback is switched on by default). Note that these are no longer a requirement as of Ice Cream Sandwich (the latest edition of Google’s OS) that will be available as an update for the RAZR soon. And as seems to be the case nowadays, the buttons are in a different order from other Android manufactures.
Down the left-hand side is an opening for the SD card and SIM card (concealed by a cover) while on the right-hand there’s volume buttons, and a power button positioned near the top end of the device.
There is one complaint with the design. When holding the RAZR in your hand, the volume controls seem oddly placed – you can’t reach them with the one grip, as they’re lower down the phone. It’s not clear why Motorola opted to place them on the same side as the power button, as we feel they’d be better positioned on the left hand side like on most other smartphones available today.
Finally in terms of design, you can’t go past the minimalistic front display. Motorola’s 4.3″ Super AMOLED display is awe-inspiring, which in our opinion is almost on par with that of Samsung’s own Super AMOLED display on the hit Galaxy SII. Apple’s iPhone Retina display still takes honours when it comes to pixel count, but the rise of AMOLED displays are much easier to see in varying degrees of light (especially sunlight).
The RAZR has some very powerful and impressive hardware – it boasts a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, has 16GB of internal storage, as mentioned before a 4.3″ AMOLED display, support for providing mobile hotspot services to up to 8 clients, and up to 10 hours battery life of continuous usage.
Motorola haven’t sacrificed camera performance in order to meet the slimline profile either – the rear-facing camera is capable of recording 1080p HD video capture, as well as boasting 8MP capture and 8x digital zoom. There’s also a lower quality front-facing camera capable of recording and capturing images.
Impressions upon using the device are that it’s snappy – very fast, and responsive – thanks in part to the dual-core processor. It performs amongst the best we’ve ever seen from an Android device and loads apps, the camera app and more almost instantly with minimal delay.
In terms of functionality provided by the RAZR, it’s pretty much as you’d expect from any device running Android. While Motorola have added a series of customisations as an overlay to the system to make it more user intuitive, there’s very few major changes between vanilla Android and the version on the device – everything is essentially cosmetic. Some will prefer this over more drastic overlays such as HTC’s Sense, others won’t.
The RAZR has Optus’ own apps on it, although none of them are apps in their own right – each is simply loaded in a web browser and acts more of a shortcut to various Optus services such as its App Store, OptusZoo and Music Shop.
An app, Motoprint, allows you to print documents, images and PDF’s from the phone, via your computer using a piece of software that needs to be installed prior to use. It worked seamlessly in our testing, but requires a fair few steps before it’s up and running. It also means you’ll need to have a PC up and running whenever you wish to print from your device.
The RAZR is arguably amongst the best smartphones of the year – at least for the Android platform. It’s fast, durable, snappy, and responsive and performs all the features of a smartphone as you’d expect.
That, and the fact that Motorola has promised it’ll be one of the first phones from the company to get an update to the latest edition of Android, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich, means it’ll stay relevant for some time.
Aside from the fact that only Optus are stocking the phone in Australia thus far, limiting network options, the RAZR is a sturdy performer that should be considered if Android’s your thing.