Motorola RAZR HD review
|Review: April 2013|
In a nutshell: The Motorola RAZR HD is a superslim yet ultra-strong Android phone with a 4.7 inch HD screen, outstanding battery performance and 4G compatibility.
(White) Motorola DROID Turbo ...
Here's the deal with Motorola: Start with the world's most popular operating system (Android). Create a stunning piece of hardware to go with it. Release it without any of the hype that goes with an Apple or Samsung Galaxy device. Spend 6 months improving the design. Repeat.
If that sounds boring, it's not. Motorola is a company that's not afraid to take risks. It uses unusual materials, tries out risky new chipsets (like the Intel processor in the RAZR i) and equips its phones with the largest batteries of any manufacturer (something that our readers constantly tell us they want). Motorola is slowly building a loyal band of fans. Could the RAZR HD be good enough to make you want to join them?
The RAZR HD has the largest screen of any Motorola so far. It's a monster 4.7 inch Super AMOLED display with HD resolution - that's 1280 x 720 pixels. This puts it on a par with the screen on the Samsung Galaxy S3. Admittedly the S3 is last year's flagship phone and the new Galaxy S4 will have an even higher pixel count, but the S4 is in an entirely different price range from the modest Motorola. Needless to say, this is a pin-sharp impressive display.
The RAZR HD is slightly more compact than the Galaxy S3 and is just as skinny. It's a little heavier, and feels rock solid in the hand thanks to its metal frame. Like the other RAZR series phones, the RAZR HD is built to withstand minor earthquakes, or at least the day-to-day abuse that most phones receive. Constructed from bullet-proof Kevlar and with a scratch-resistant display, it should be able to survive being stuck in a pocket with a set of keys, in exactly the way that other phones can't. It's splashproof as well, so the occasional drop of water won't bother it one bit.
The design is simple, smart and sleek, with a virtually edgeless screen, no physical buttons and a superslim format.
Android Jelly Bean
The RAZR HD runs the Jelly Bean 4.1 version of Android, although why Motorola can't roll it out with Jelly Bean 4.2 is a complete mystery now that Google is Motorola's parent company. Jelly Bean brings an upgraded keyboard with a better dictionary, improved speech recognition, Android Beam for easy sharing with NFC-enabled devices and the "Google Now" pop-up cards that show you useful information like train times and weather forecasts.
You'll find a wealth of pre-installed apps such as the Chrome web browser, Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation and Street View and voice-activated actions such as text messaging and searching.
Android also gives you access to Google Play. Not only does this enable you to download your pick from hundreds of thousands of apps, but you also have an extensive collection of books, movies and TV programmes available.
Processor and memory
The HD is powered by a conventional 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, making it faster than rivals like the HTC One SV, but lagging behind the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the LG Nexus 4. For the price, it seems like a reasonable option and there's no visible slowdown when using the user interface.
The phone is equipped with 1GB of RAM, which is standard for this type of device and it comes with a reasonable 12GB of user memory. This can be increased by up to 32GB with the addition of a microSD memory card, which is probably advisable if you have a large music or video collection.
8 megapixel camera with full HD video
The camera appears to be the same as on the previous RAZR i model. It's an 8 megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash. It's also capable of recording video at full 1080p HD resolution. It's not the best camera for low lighting conditions, but it's a match for most camera phones at this price point.
The front-facing camera has been upgraded and is capable of making HD video calls.
This is the first Motorola phone in the UK to offer 4G support. The device can operate as a 4G mobile hotspot for up to 8 devices.
NFC is supported and Google's Android Beam lets you share whatever you're viewing on screen with another NFC Android device simply by tapping them together. You can use this feature to share things like contacts, apps, web pages and even directions.
Other standard connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, micro-USB and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The RAZR phones are renowned for their strong battery life, and the RAZR HD has a huge 2530 mAh battery. This is more powerful than anything from rival smartphone manufacturers and it delivers a claimed 7 hours of HD video playback or 20 hours of music playback. It can even power 16 hours of talk time.
Motorola's SmartActions app helps to conserve battery power by automating everyday tasks such as adjusting settings at work / at home, switching off battery-draining features, turning off your ringtone at bedtime, etc.
The Motorola HD is available free on contract for £20 per month. That places it on a par with the Samsung Galaxy S3, Apple iPhone 4 and Nokia Lumia 820. It can definitely hold it's own when compared with these. It may lack the quad-core power of the Galaxy S3 and the huge range of apps of the iPhone, but it has several advantages up its sleeve:
- Unparalleled battery life
- Superb heavy-duty construction
- Distinctive superslim design
- 4G LTE compatibility
Add in the large HD display, quality camera, dual-core processor, feature-packed OS, NFS connectivity and general all-round competence, and you have a phone that can hold its head up high despite the ferocious competition in today's smartphone market.
Motorola RAZR HD features include:
- Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
- 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, digital zoom and LED flash
- HD 1080p video capture at 30 frames/second plus front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera for video calls
- Display: 4.7 inch Super AMOLED HD display (720 x 1280 pixels)
- Media player
- Speech recognition
- Advanced noise reduction technology
- AAC, MP3, eAAC+, AAC+, eAAC ringtones
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, email (Corporate Sync, Google Mail, POP3/IMAP), Google Talk
- aGPS / eCompass with Google Maps, Navigation, Street View
- Internet: Web browser, YouTube
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC
- 1.5 GHz dual-core processor
- Memory: 1GB RAM x 16GB ROM , 12GB user memory, expandable with optional microSD card
- Networks: CDMA 800 1900, LTE B13, WCDMA 850 900 1900 2100, GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 EVDO Rev. A, HSDPA 21.1 Mbps (Cat 14), HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
- Size: 132 x 68 x 8.4 mm
- Weight: 146g
- Battery: 2530 mAh
- Talktime: 16 hours
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Motorola RAZR HD user reviews
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Average rating from 3 reviews:
Reviewed by Mike B
on 20th Oct 2013
Beautifully built, tough as nails and a great screen. The pedigree shines through on this phone and one hopes that Motorola can maintain its design independence while owner, Google, continue its pursuit of world domination. No bells or whistles on the Razr HD, just solid signal dependency, great battery life and a very good user interface that makes the phone easy to get to know, and to like. Good job Moto!
Reviewed by Jabulani Dube
on 14th Oct 2013
I love this phone
Reviewed by Ian from UK on 4th Apr 2013
My contracts up now and was thinking of either getting a HTC one or Xperia Z but this RAZR HD is now tempting me as its different and cheaper.Not had a Motorola for a long time.
However you fail to mention in the review what the RAZR HD is actually like for call quality which is very important factor to me especially if I have the phone for 24 months.
Also what is it like for pulling in a decent signal.
Reply by S21 from UK on 5th Apr 2013
We mention call quality in a review only if it is a problem. It is rare for call quality or reception to be an issue these days (although the iPhone 4 was a glaring exception to the rule). The RAZR HD isn't in the same league as the HTC One or Xperia Z, but as you say it is much cheaper.
Reply by Dan Clark from England on
8th Apr 2013
I've had the original version of the reborn RAZR for just over a year now and have found it brilliant all round. Very glad I took the risk :)