Following up on the Atrix HD review, Motorola was generous enough to send us their current flagship, the RAZR HD LTE. After getting the chance to play with it for a week or so, I can definitely say I’m impressed. This phone hits a lot of the points to look for, and with Motorola’s recent buyout by Google, there is a new found appreciation for the rooting crew.
This phone is built tough. It is built with a Kevlar backing, airplane grade aluminum around the edges, and the well known scratch resistant Gorilla Glass 2. I can safely say this is one of the best built phones out there. The phone feels premium and offers excellent protection. You need not worry about wrapping this one in a case. The Kevlar backing also has a rubbery feel, to keep you from having to tests the Kevlar strength. I have never once had a problem dropping it.
Along the left side you will find a micro-usb and mini-hdmi port, as well as a tray for the sim card and access to the micro-SD Card slot. Along the right side you will find the power button, and underneath, the volume rocker. Both of the buttons are made from machine metal (aluminum perhaps), and feel absolutely great. Headphone jack is on the top. I prefer it on the bottom, but that’s just me. There are two screws along the bottom to gain access to the internals, and they really do give it a refined look.
Along the back you can find the speaker port and 8MP Camera with Flash LED. The sound can become a little distorted when the phone is lying down, just because the speaker grill is flush with the backing. On the front you can find the front facing camera and a notification light right below the Motorola logo, a very nice touch.
My one gripe about the layout is having the micro-usb port on the left. As I’m left handed, operating the phone while it’s charging is impossible. I always end up needed to use my right hand. That being said, you won’t need to leave it plugged in much, which takes me to…
This bad boy has a 2530 mAh battery packed inside. When I say you don’t need to keep this guy plugged in, I’m serious. I have put the phone through a whole day of moderate usage and she still have charge to take me out at night. I have never had to worry about running her dry. The only exception being constant use, but there is not battery big enough to be able to keep these screens from eating power. When the screen is off, this phone sips very little battery.
On mild use, I can easily get 1.5 days out of it or more (I don’t use my phone much at work, so this is achievable). If you really want a lot of battery power, Motorola also released the RAZR HD MAXX, but that one isn’t available in Canada, and there has been no word about if it will be coming to Canada (I wouldn’t wait up).
The Motorola RAZR HD LTE comes with a 4.7″ Super AMOLED screen, with a resolution of 1280×720. I have to say that the screen is absolutely beautiful. The text is very crisp and the colours are quite vibrant. I would love to be able to say how it handled direct sunlight, but BC hasn’t seen sunlight in weeks (it handles rain very well though).
Considering the larger screen, the phone also doesn’t seem that big. I can easily hold it on one hand. That being said, Motorola does love their pointed edges, and in this case they worked against them. When I would try to reach doing one handed operations, the corners did poke into the palms of my hands. It may be fine for people with big hands, but smaller handed people like me will be at a disadvantage.
Motorola has jumped on the Qualcomm bandwagon and stuffed in the dual core S4 chip, clocked in at 1.5 GHz with 1GB of RAM. Boy does this phone move. I took the time to install all my apps (which slow my other phone down to a crawl), but the phone barely skipped a beat. There were instances of stuttering, but nothing to severe. Those were also the times I was pushing it quite hard.
If you like to stay ahead of the game and have lots of stuff running without any slowdown, there are a few phones popping up with the Quad Core variant of the chip (Nexus 4 included) with 2GB of RAM, but this phone should be more than enough to handle what you throw at it.
The LTE speeds on this device are amazing. In Port Moody, I was able to pull a consistent >30Mbps with uploads >15Mbps, and have seen speeds up to >60Mbps. I can definitely see myself getting spoiled on LTE. It connects well, where there is coverage, and does not take a huge hit to the battery, especially with Smart Actions on.
The RAZR HD LTE comes with its own flavour of Ice Cream Sandwich, but if you want something as close to stock android without getting a Nexus, this is it, even down to the on-screen buttons. The layout is pretty much the same as the Atrix HD LTE that Ryan look at before, with a few small differences. I’m not gonna dive into too much that the Atrix HD also had, but will go over the major additions (or subtractions).
One new addition in the app drawer is the inclusion of a favourites tab. Not sure how important this is, as you would probably have all your favourite apps on certain homescreens, but it is a nice touch. Missing from the RAZR HD LTE is the ability to scroll up on an app icon and get a mini-widget. I’m not sure if I was missing something, but I couldn’t get it to work on my unit. I can see this is probably Motorola going a more stock direction, but the favourites tab can’t be found there, so it’s a curious design choice.
Also, Motorola has informed me that the update to Jelly Bean for the RAZR HD LTE is tentatively (and they emphasized tentatively) set to the end of this December, so you don’t have much more time you need to wait till you can enjoy some Jelly Bean goodness.
The 8MP camera is good, but not great. The images can appear somewhat grainy on close inspection. If you are a big photo person, look somewhere else. If you take occasional photos, this camera should be more than good enough for what you need. Additionally, the advantage to this camera over the Atrix HD is this one has an HDR mode.
Overall, this is a good phone, but doesn’t quite put it up with the other big boys. That being said, other features work well to differentiate it from it’s competition and put it in it’s own field. Amazing battery life and tough as nails build quality would definitely be a more desirable trait for the casual user who doesn’t need to push the device to it’s limits. The blazing fast LTE also keeps it working quick without hitting the battery too hard.
If you are interested in picking it up, it can be had at Roger’s for $99.99 on 3 year contract or $549.99 month to month.