Verizon Droid RAZR review roundup

The Verizon Droid RAZR has arrived. So how does the new RAZR stack up to the flip phone of yore? 

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    The Droid RAZR hits shelves later this week.
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The originally RAZR was a massive hit for Motorola – a slim and snappy flip phone, with plenty of battery life, good voice connectivity, and a pleasing design, to boot. Seven years after the original RAZR hit the market, Motorola has returned with the Droid RAZR, allegedly the slimmest smartphone on the planet. The Droid RAZR is available on the Verizon Wireless network, for $299.99, provided that you sign up for a two-year data plan. 

Is the RAZR worth it? Let's go to the reviews. 

The design 

Recommended: Innovation

"[T]his is the first Droid in a while whose build quality is really worth getting excited about," writes Brent Rose of Gizmodo. "It is insanely thin (7.1mm), which makes the iPhone 4S and Droid Bionic run crying to Jenny Craig. It's the world's thinnest smartphone, and I'd bet that it will actually retain that title for a while. For all that thinness, though, it's not flimsy. Just the opposite, actually. The back is Kevlar (no word yet on bulletproofness, but this thing is just begging to be a viral video superstar), the screen is Gorilla Glass, and the whole thing is splash-proof. So it probably won't die in the rain or after an accidental drop in the toilet... it feels great to hold, and is just simply killer hardware." 

The display

"While its slim profile is certainly stunning, the Droid RAZR's 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Advanced display is nothing to sneeze at, either," says Nicole Lee of CNET, in a review that places the RAZR in the pantheon of CNET editor's choice products. "It's simply gorgeous, with vibrant and rich colors plus tack sharp details; it reminds us a lot of the AMOLED screens we've seen on Samsung handsets. The Droid RAZR does use a Pentile matrix display that reduces the sharpness a tad, but the qHD 960-by-540-pixel resolution reduces that effect considerably. The display is also visible under bright sunlight. We were very impressed by the responsiveness of the display. Overall navigation felt seamless and snappy thanks to the phone's 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm S3 processor. There was virtually no lag when multitasking between different apps."

The phone

"Voice calling on this phone is excellent, with calls coming through loud with good low end and clarity. Signal reception was also excellent and I almost always got 4G LTE signal in my home or around town in New York City and parts of Connecticut. Callers could hear me loud and clear," writes Jonathan S. Geller of Boy Genius Report. "As far as the speakerphone performance, it was sometimes hard to hear the other party in a conversation. Audio was choppy and I wish the speaker could get louder. Music playback on the speaker was hollow, tinny and distorted, but oddly, it seemed to get louder than it could during a voice call. All in all, the Droid RAZR is a solid phone for voice calling, though the speakerphone performance fell short."

The innards

"The TI OMAP 4430 inside the Droid RAZR isn't the most cutting-edge mobile processor on the market, but its dual 1.2GHz cores should be enough to satisfy even the most demanding smartphone nerds," writes Terrance O'Brien of Engadget. "Gingerbread 2.3.5 and the extremely flashy don't-call-it-Blur hum along relatively smoothly. We encountered a few odd hiccups and stutters, primarily while placing and resizing widgets, but we'll chalk that up to Moto's liberal use of 3D animations. For the most part, though, transitions were smooth, navigation was speedy and apps were plenty responsive."

The software

The RAZR runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, though Motorola has confirmed that an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update is in the pipeline," notes Vincent Nguyen of SlashGear. "On top of that, Motorola has made some UI customizations as well as adding a Smart Actions app that promises to not only make using the RAZR more straightforward, but prolong battery life too... Smart Actions has a lot of promise, basically allowing you to set up custom routines that are automatically triggered depending on external or internal circumstances. So, you can have the RAZR shut off cellular data and GPS when it’s on your home or office WiFi, based on the assumption that you’ll need neither in that situation." 

The battery life

"Motorola made all kinds of unrealistic promises about the RAZR’s battery life at the unveiling in NYC, and none were more skeptical than myself. 4G radios suck up a ton of power – they don’t mean to, they just can’t help it," writes Jordan Crook of TechCrunch. "That said, 4G LTE devices will always be positioned for swifter deaths, and the RAZR was no exception. With about six hours of standby and about 3 hours of pretty intensive use, including gaming, video, and browsing, the Droid RAZR let me sleep in this morning after it died. Motorola’s thrown in a number of battery saving tools, which I highly recommend for any potential owners of the RAZR."

The final word

"The Motorola Droid RAZR is a marriage of RAZR beauty and Droid brawn. Like the original RAZR, the superslim and ultralight Droid RAZR offers an undeniable wow factor the second you pick it up.... But the phone isn't perfect," writes Lee of CNET. "Its large footprint and squared edges might scare off those with smaller hands, and the battery is sadly not removable. Picture quality was also not quite as smooth and vibrant as we wanted. However, we think the Droid RAZR more than makes up for these deficiencies with its remarkable speed, power, and good looks. Its $299.99 price is very steep, yes, but for those who covet cutting-edge smartphone tech in a slender package, this top-of-the-line phone might be worth it."

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