Having resurrected the RAZR brand in late 2011, Motorola brought back that thin form factor that many of us remember from the older phones. The device was svelte, well-made and looked pretty darn good. Of course with smartphones getting updated all the time, Motorola has one-upped themselves by releasing the RAZR HD (and RAZR HD MAXX).
At 8.4mm thick, the RAZR HD is quite thin, but is a very sturdy device. The back is made of Kevlar, which keeps it from getting scratched and offers some pretty good resistance to bumps and small drops. You’ll also find that you won’t be putting any smudges on the back and the material also makes it easy to hold, as it doesn’t slip. The front 4.7-inch screen is edge-to-edge and is made of Corning Gorilla Glass; making it generally scratch resistant and durable. It’s a clean design, that is flat, while a Motorola logo is the only altered physical attribute at the top of the screen. You’ll find a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, while the rear-facing camera is 8-megapixels and has an LED flash. The phone’s speaker is also seated next to the camera on the back.
The right hand edge of the phone features the power button, with the volume controls positioned right below it. The 3.5mm auxiliary jack is positioned on the top right hand edge of the phone, while the left edge features the slot for the micro SIM and microSD cards, as well as Mini-USB and mini-HDMI ports. With the RAZR HD featuring 16GB of internal memory, the microSD slot supports up to 32GB of additional memory. The device’s RAM is at 1GB, with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and houses a 2530 mAh battery that produces about 15-17 hours of talk time, which can increase to about 20 if you have optimal settings. In my experience with the phone, I typically didn’t have to recharge it for about a day and a half, if I only used the phone here and there, while a heavy-use day forced me to recharge it at night. While not as light as other phones I’ve tested out, the RAZR HD weighs about 146g and has a nice heft to it that feels solid but not heavy. Users will also appreciate it’s splash-proof build, which keeps it from absorbing water.
Though we’re now starting to see the release of devices that use quad-core processors, I found the RAZR HD to be speedy enough for everyday use; be it for web browsing, playing games or viewing videos. Speaking of videos, the camera supports 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps and the recording quality was good, though I found the camera’s picture quality to be average. Outdoors, the camera could take as good of photos as any camera can in daylight, but indoors, or in lower lighting conditions, images came off somewhat grainy. Certainly the camera doesn’t compare to what you find on the Galaxy S III or the iPhone 5 (or even 4S). Some manual tweaks improved the quality but to be honest, the camera simply won’t be a selling point for the RAZR HD.
What I did like however, was the crispness and brightness of the Super AMOLED HD display, which has a 720p (720 x 1280) resolution. Icons, webpages and apps looked colorful (if not a tad over-saturated) and clear. It does lack the kind of smoothness you find on a few other devices, given the use of a PenTile screen, but you’d have to look really hard to notice the jagged edges and its 312ppi is nothing to sneeze at.
Though the RAZR HD had been shipped with Android 4.04, Motorola has since made Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) available, which should appease users. At $199, with a 2-year contract with Verizon, the RAZR HD is a formidable Android smartphone that would probably be on a must-have list if the MAXX HD (32GB) was the one at $199 (it’s $299), but suffice to say, it’s still a very good phone that is built to last, looks good and is a nice alternative to the iPhones and Galaxies of the world.
Final Score: 4 out of 5