Motorola RAZR i review
|Review: October 2012|
In a nutshell: The Motorola RAZR i is a slim & compact smartphone with a large 4.3 inch display. Powered by a fast Intel processor, it runs Android 4.0 and features NFC connectivity and outstanding battery life.
We've been loving the new range of Motorola RAZR smartphones. They're great products, but unfortunately it seems that people won't buy them, because Motorola is out of fashion. We're hoping that might start to change with the release of the RAZR i, especially now that Google has bought the company.
New edge-to-edge design
The RAZR i is another incredibly thin phone. It's smaller than the RAZR MAXX, thanks to the improved design with almost no edge around the screen. There are no physical buttons below the screen, just three virtual touch buttons as part of the display. In fact, it's the smallest phone you can buy with a 4.3 inch screen.
Like the other RAZR phones, the RAZR i is constructed from Kevlar fibre with an aircraft-grade aluminium frame to protect the screen. The screen is also protected by Gorilla Glass. The whole thing is covered with a splash-guard coating - even the interior electronics. It's practically indestructible.
If build quality and looks are high on your list, then the RAZR i should be too.
4.3 inch display
As we've mentioned, the screen measures 4.3 inches, which is a good size, midway between the 4 inches of the iPhone 5 and the 4.8 inches of the Galaxy S3. The screen resolution isn't quite HD, but with 960 x 540 pixels, it's excellent for a mid- to high-range phone. It's a Super AMOLED Advanced display that delivers very bright, saturated colours.
Ice Cream Sandwich
Previous Motorola smartphones have used Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The RAZR i runs Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), although it's weird that Google can't get their latest software (4.1 Jelly Bean) into their own products.
Motorola has customised Android a little, with features such as the Smart Actions app, which automates everyday tasks such as adjusting settings at work / at home, switching off battery-draining features, turning off your ringtone at bedtime, etc. But the customisation is limited, with an almost pure Android experience.
Android 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.
Android also includes features like a fully functional HTML5 web browser, turn-by-turn navigation with voice guidance and access to services like Google+ and Gmail.
2.0GHz Intel Processor
The RAZR i is powered by something not often seen in a mobile phone - an Intel processor (the "i" in "RAZR i" is for Intel). This is the Atom processor, first seen in the Orange San Diego, but here clocked up to an extremely fast 2.0GHz. Although it's a single-core processor, the Atom is hyper-threaded, so it can behave like a multi-core processor allowing it to run at speeds similar to that of the quad-core Samsung Galaxy S3! The processor can also vary the clock rate to conserve battery life when it's not being used to its full.
There's a separate graphics GPU to support the main processor, and with a full 1GB of RAM available, the RAZR i is a very fast phone all round.
A relatively modest 5GB of memory is built in, but you can add a microSD card to add an additional 32GB of storage.
The power of the processor becomes evident when you open the camera app. It launches in much less than a second and can take up to 10 shots per second, making you feel like a pro.
It's an 8 megapixel camera with continuous autofocus and an LED flash, and it automatically adjusts settings for low light conditions. It's also capable of recording full 1080p HD video. The dedicated camera button helps to ensure that you don't miss any photo opportunities.
A second front-facing camera can make video calls, but only at VGA resolution.
The RAZR i is fitted with an NFC chip. Android Beam lets you easily share data with other NFC-enabled devices. You just hold the phones together and tap the screen to share.
Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, micro-USB and a 3.5mm audio jack. The phone is 3G with HSPA for fast data access.
Big battery power has been a key selling point of Motorola's other recent phones. The 2000mAh battery is generous, although it's not as powerful as the monster 3300mAh battery fitted in the RAZR MAXX. It should still give 20 hours of continuous use and will last many users 2-3 days if they are careful.
One point to note is that the battery is non-removable, which means that it will be impossible to replace if anything goes wrong.
Conclusion - great design, superb value
In a world of oh-so-similar Android clones, the RAZR i stands out. In a good way.
The design is impressive, different and looks fantastic. We're particularly impressed by the way Motorola has managed to fit such a large screen into such a small device.
We like the Intel chip too. It's fast. Very fast.
The camera is fast too, and takes pretty good photos. Not the best, so look at other options if photography is high on your list of priorities.
We like the Android 4.0 implementation, especially with Motorola's tweaks.
Other things we like are the NFC chip and the outstandingly good battery life.
We must mention the fact that it's a well-priced phone, available free on a £20 per month contract. Competitors at this price include the HTC One X and the Sony Xperia S. All three phones are excellent, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Motorola RAZR i features include:
- Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, 8x digital zoom and LED flash
- HD 1080p video capture at 30 frames/second plus front-facing VGA video camera for voice calls
- Display: 4.3 inch 960 x 540 pixel Super AMOLED Advanced touchscreen with Swype-enabled keyboard
- Media player
- Speech recognition
- Dual microphone noise reduction
- 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, micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack, HDMI, DLNA, NFC
- 2.0GHz Intel Atom processor
- Memory: 1GB RAM, 5GB plus microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
- Networks: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 21.1Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
- Size: 123 x 61 x 8.3 mm
- Weight: 126g
- Battery: 2000 mAh
- Talktime: 20 hours
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Motorola RAZR i user reviews
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Average rating from 15 reviews:
Reviewed by Mel
on 16th Jul 2014
I hate big phones. I already have a tablet! This is the best smaller sized phone I've had. The quality is superior to Samsung s3 + s4 minis. Clear bright screen great sound, great camera, very fast.
Reviewed by Michael F
on 19th Oct 2013
Had a Motorola Atrix on contract for two years and found it to be a great phone. Purchased the RAZRi on PAYG for £150 (oct 13) and what a phone for the money. I can't believe people overlook this phone for more "fashionable" brands. This phone is pure quality and an absolute bargain.
Reviewed by mjr8591 from UK on 23rd Apr 2013
Having decided to ditch Apple and the iPhone 4 for Android I have had several Android handsets including the HTC One X (abysmal battery performance), Xperia U (slow processor) and Xperia T (nice but not quite the one) I decided to look at the new Motorolas. I tried the RAZR HD but had problems with speaker volume on incoming calls (on 3 separate handsets!).
So I tried the RAZR i and after a couple of weeks I have to say I am absolutely delighted with this handset.
It is the perfect size, a bit smaller than the HTC and Sony phones, but the screen dimensions seem about the same due to the miniscule edges around the screen. It feels a solid unit, screen display is crystal clear, processing is ultra fast and battery life is far superior to the HTC and Sony handsets. There is 8GB of internal memory, expandable by 32GB via micro SD slot. Call quality incoming and outgoing is excellent.
I haven't really used the camera much yet but the few test snaps I have taken seem perfectly adequate.
Music player is excellent - sound quality is outstanding, especially with a decent pair of headphones (not the cheap ones provided with the phone).
All in all I cannot recommend this phone highly enough - well deserving of 5 stars!
Reviewed by heraldmum37 from UK on 9th Apr 2013
Well, I have just upgraded from an HTC Desire S to this phone and I love it! I loved the Desire S too, but my contract was up so decided on this as a replacement. I was put off a lot of the newer HTC phones as battery life does seem to be an issue for them. I looked at the Samsung S3 and just couldn't deal with the size of it, plus I am not a power user and felt that all the technology it contains would be a bit lost on me! I plumped for this phone as it is not physically too much bigger than my Desire S (maybe a bit taller), but it is thinner and has a larger screen. I also read lots of good reviews from both experts and users who all seem to love it. It is very fast, lovely to hold and easy to use. I listen to music a lot and find this to be excellent too - very good sound quality and no distortion at all. The battery life is good too - I took it off charge yesterday morning and it still on 65% now, although I am a light user. All in all, I am very pleased with my choice and look forward to the next 2 years using this phone.
Reply by heraldmum37
on 7th Oct 2014
An update - had this phone for 18 months now and I have to say that I am not quite as impressed now. It is still a lovely phone to use, but it has become really slow. I do have a fair bit of music stored on it, but this is on a memory card so shouldn't really impact on overall performance. The battery life has also got a lot worse. I appreciate most phones deteriorate as time goes on, but this seems to have happened a lot sooner than I would have liked! I am not due to upgrade until next April and I am unfortunately on the Life Mobile network through Phones4you, so not sure what will happen there! Guess I'll wait and see ...
Reviewed by Davey F from UK on 22nd Mar 2013
Really impressed by this phone, great screen in such a small device, feels responsive and quick, getting almost 2 days use from light usage at the moment so hopefully it should easily last me a day from regular use. Sim card and Micro SD card are fiddly to install but shouldn't have to mess with them once thay are installed and at least it bucks the current trend for non expandable memory...early days but so far I'm impressed.
Reviewed by Wizbangwallop from uk on 16th Mar
Following my previous review below I could not find another phone I liked. Since all the other reviews I could find on this one were positive I decided to give it another try in the hope that my first one was a rogue faulty one. I'm really glad I did. The call volume is much better,loud and clear and not muffled at all. The rest of the handset is fab and very fast! As a result I am giving it the 5 stars it really deserves!
Reviewed by wizbangwallop from uk on 23rd Jan
I got this phone sim free and loved it for everything except calling. The call volume was far too low and occasionally sounded muffled. It was amazing for everything else but I sent it back with a heavy heart. Maybe I got a dodgy handset as all the other reviews say the call quality is amazing. (It was not my sim as I have 2 other handsets and they work fine with the same sim.)
Reviewed by Paul from England on 10th Jan 2013
Decided on the Moto Razr i to be a bit different really. I've had all the mainstream smartphones (I think) but wanted something that had all the bells and whistles but stood out from the crowd. Firstly the speed - fast! Comparable to the S3 in my opinion. Glides through web pages and apps. I haven't tried a processor intensive game on it really but I can't see there being any problems. Next, the screen. A few reviews I read before buying the Razr said that it was lacking a bit of colour and sharpness. Well, it looks fine to me. Good clarity and good colour. Works well outdoors too. Next isbthe OS. The only slight annoyance is that it's running Ice Cream Sandwhich out of the box and not Jellybean (although the update is meant to be coming soon). I find it a bit strange seeing as Google own Motorola but hey ho! Overall I would thoroughly recommend this phone. It does everything that the "top" smartphones do without running up and down the street shouting about it. Five stars from me!!!
Reviewed by Les from Sheffield u/k. on 15th Dec
This phone rocks, tried most smart phones over the last 18 months but could'nt find anything that I did'nt want to return for one reason or another.
Samsung galaxy and galaxy 2s, great phones but feel cheap and plasticky.
Tried 3 new HTC phones, good quality but all looked the same and poor batteries.
Tried windows phones, good phones but apps are very limited and very poor, don't go there.
Then I decided to take the bull by the horns as they say and bought an iphone 4s, my biggest mistake, thought that as everyone and their grand mother has one they must be good, not so, the biggest issue I had with this phone is that there is no back button, lost count how many times I fell out with it and wanted to throw it through the window, fancy falling out with a phone, how sad.
Enough said about other phones, got the Razr i phone two weeks ago and just wish it had been around 18 months ago.
Build quality is fabulous, feels and looks great, the best battery life of any smart phone on the market, easily 2 days medium use, maybe 3 days and that's with wi fi, data and GPS turned on,
The edge to edge screen on this phone looks great and the blacks on this super amoled screen are so deep it makes everything look likes its jumping out at you.
Don't know anything about intel processors but this phone is just so smooth, and runs like a dream.
Call quality is great, have not used the camera or video under testing conditions but very happy so far, remember this is not a camera.
Just checked the battery level and its on 52%, took it off charge Friday morning and its now 10-30 pm Saturday, need I say more.
Just buy it.
Reviewed by Matt from UK on 23rd Nov 2012
Upgraded to this from a blackberry curve. Its the first touch screen smart phone I've owned but the interface is easy to use and quite responsive, though I have a minor issue with the camera activating when its in my pocket. The web browser runs very well and hasn't yet shut down a page due to it being too large to load. The phones battery is also very good seeing as I've been using it to read books, play music and browse all day today and as I'm writing this has 82% battery left. All in all its working great so far and as a free upgrade I feel these are definitely worth it if you dont feel like paying top end prices for a top quality phone.
Reviewed by Kieran from United Kingdom on 1st
I had a Motorola RAZR maxx and only had it 3 weeks and seen this new RAZR i model, so I sold my RAZR maxx on eBay and bought this. The screen seems a bit clearer and more accurate than the RAZR maxx, even though it appears to be the same screen panel used in both phones. The RAZR i is better to use when phoning someone. When I had the maxx, people were constantly moaning that I sounded muffled etc. This new Motorola feels a lot better made, it looks a lot better and in my opinion, this phones battery life seems as good as the RAZR maxx.
Last but not least, Proporta does a nice leather pouch specially for the RAZR i, its around 30 quid but worth it.
Reviewed by Fozzy from UK on 27th Oct 2012
Got one yesterday. What a fantastic little phone. I say little because although it seems so compact, it still has a 4.3 inch screen. It's android ics and we all know about that. Solid build, great looks and great battery. One problem though (not the phones fault), as of now, I have been unable to find a case/cover specifically for this phone. I always buy cases/covers to protect my phones, without them, the signs of wear and tear can appear very quickly. Real classy phone and it looks leaps and bounds better than the massive, but still only 4.3 inch Razr Maxx.
Reply by Seeton from U.K on 27th Oct
I have a TPU case for mine. I got It of ebay. You have to search for Razr m cases. Its the same phone except for the processor. I paid £9 and got a car charger and screen protector thrown in. Took around 7 days.
Reply by Fozzy from Uk on 29th Oct
Ok. Thanks for that.
Reply by Kieran from United Kingdom on
1st Nov 2012
Proporta do a pouch specially for the RAZR i although its expensive at 30 quid. But its well made and will last. You pay for what you get.
Reviewed by Seeton from GB on 27th Oct 2012
First the good; its not made of plastic, the screen is really good and the way they've made the phone makes it truly pocketable even with its 4" screen. The battery lasts for 2 days! The bad; you cant kill the camera shutter sound even if the phone is switched to silent. I've contacted Motorola and they say its a privacy feature within ICS, Shull bit! picture files cannot be renamed within the camera app or anywhere else on the phone and the naming convention cannot be changed which means the file names are really really loooong. Some apps wont load such as Firefox and BBC media. Aside from the negatives I have to say the build quality is second to none and if you want a premium feel smartphone the choices at present are limited to iphone and Motorola. There are also some really cool features such as the smart actions function. Also theres no carrier bloatware- Mine's on orange and theres no unwanted games or orange maps etc. I think the SGS3 is a overhyped plastic phone with too many functions when in reality the Razri will fulfil most needs. Motorola are playing some marketing trick by saying this is a mid range phone its not, try the phone and forget about the performance benchmarks. The very large screened and very fast smartphones have lost the ethos of the whole Android project. The Razri has very few tweaks to the Android platform and its quick to learn. I had a motoblur phone previously and had nothing but bad experiences, the main reason I've come back to Moto is because they're now owned by Google and it shows in this product.
Reviewed by drcarlos from UK on 26th Oct 2012
Having just upgraded my phone a week ago from a SE Xperia Play and my wifes from an Xperia Neo. Having not had a Motorola for about 8 years which wasn't brilliant I was sceptical and took 2 weeks to decide to go for the Razri over an Xperia T. After the first week I am pleased with these handsets, the jump in speed over the old Play is noticeable and the screen is very nice too getting used to the AMOLED again after conventional LCD you can appreciate the colour rendition but the clarity suffers in comparison (however it's no big letdown in the browser and is better for media playback). The one thing that stands out above all else is the build quality and my colleagues have all picked up the phone and said how solid it feels, even in comparison to the iphone. Usage wise the lack of customisation is a bonus as ICS have a good feel to it, but the things added (Cirles widget, Smart actions and quick settings screen) are all useful and work well. Battery life is good too with my Wifes handset getting 3 days (still with 25% left) of usage with several calls, mail sync and a fair bit of facebook/web browsing and mine getting 2 days with a lot heavier use. Not used the camera yet but my wife was happy enough with the results for a compact camera replacement (if we want serious pics we'll take the DSLR). The best jump in usability is the fact that the internal storage is there for apps so there is no more annoying shuffling of apps onto the SDcard (SDCard expansion was an essential for me) and no more low memory warnings. I now use the built in storage purely for apps and have the SDCard just for media. Apps wise I am pleased to say that all my previous apps came straight across to the x86 Intel architecture without a hitch (bar a deactivation and reactivation of co-pilot). So far I have downloaded and used Chrome, Hotmail app, Co-pilot live, eBay, Endomundo, MoboPlayer, Poweramp, FPSE, Angrybirds, GTAIII, Funambol, Neoreader, Sky+, Facebook+Messenger and they have all worked flawlessly.
Reviewed by Matthew K from UK on 18th Oct 2012
Great phone, looks terrific and works very quickly. However, the limitations are that Android 4.0 still lacks a proper app for podcasts that can compete with the iTunes suite plus there is no simple way to sync with Outlook on a laptop or PC, which is a pretty basic function these days. The battery life is terrific but it's not much use if it's not up to speed with the competition.
I just took mine back to the shop to revert to my iPhone 4s. I didn't want to but the flaws in functionality of the RAZR i mean I had to. Still searching for something with a good battery that is the equal of the iPhone (the Galaxy S3 isn't either).