Mobile Phones Guide

Motorola RAZR review

Motorola RAZR - Thin as a Blade

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Overall rating 8/10
Design:
8.5
Features:
8
User-Friendliness:
7.5
Performance:
7.5
Value:
8
THE GOOD
Sturdy and classy design
Thin 7.1mm profile
Useful software additions and accessories
Substantial battery life
THE BAD
Finicky auto-focusing issues and poor low light performance
Confusing and clunky UI
Sluggish user experience with UI navigation
No Android 4.0 OS yet


Features & Performance - Part I

Not Quite Throwing out the 'Blur'

In late 2010, Motorola decided to can the "Motoblur" UI. We took a quick gander at it on the Motorola Atrix - the Motorola RAZR doesn't come with it and the interface on it is simply known as the Motorola RAZR UI. Our user experience on the new skin isn't quite positive - design elements are all over the place, and it feels cluttered/clunky and pretty confusing to navigate. Thankfully, the RAZR has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to software additions. One of the selling points of the RAZR is its new MotoCast app, which allows you to host your files on your own personal cloud and provides secure remote access to contents on your PC. Aside from that, the device comes with productivity features, including a pre-installed GoToMeeting app and Smart Actions app that helps save battery life and increase productivity.









A big part of the new Moto experience is the addition of the new MotoCast function, a personal cloud service. The installation automatically starts once you connect the RAZR via Micro-USB to your PC. Based on our experience, it took about 10 minutes for installation and five minutes to set up a MotoCast ID and select the folders to remotely access on your PC. As long as your PC is powered on with the application running and hooked on to an active wireless connection (both PC and smartphone), your files will sync with the RAZR without a hitch.

Oddly, there's no icon for the MotoCast app streamed content on the phone; instead, they are spread over three places - Files, Gallery and Music. The Files app show everything that is streamed on your phone while files with suitable formats will only be shown in both Gallery and Music apps. This is one of the confusing aspects that we mentioned earlier.





 

Benchmarking the Motorola RAZR

To give readers a gauge of what to expect in terms of performance from the Motorola RAZR, we have adopted a few benchmark tests specific to the Android platform. Within this page, we'll be looking at two specific benchmarks, both of which are downloadable via the Android Market.

  • Quadrant: It measures the device's performance based on its CPU, I/O and GPU. Simply put, Quadrant is a benchmark that gives you a general idea of how your device performs against other Android devices.
     
  • NeoCore: It is targeted towards the device's GPU performance. This is especially important given how smartphones of today have evolved into an alternative, high-powered device that dabbles in heavy graphical interfaces and gaming.

Do note that the above two benchmarks are not absolute in measuring performance, but they give you a good rough estimate of where the device stands against the competition. Our tests were conducted on devices from a fresh reboot on their respective stock firmwares. To show how the Motorola RAZR performed against similar smartphones, we compared its results against the following high-end Android devices - HTC Sensation XE, Samsung Galaxy S II and Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S.

Device Motorola RAZR HTC Sensation XE Samsung Galaxy S II Sony Ericsson
Xperia Arc S
CPU TI OMAP 4430
(Dual-core 1.2GHz)
Qualcomm Snapdragon
MSM8260
(Dual-core 1.5GHz)
ARM Cortex-A9 Exynos
(Dual-core 1.2GHz )
Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255T
(Single-core 1.4GHz)
GPU PowerVR SGX540 Adreno 220 Mali-400MP Adreno 205
RAM 1GB 768MB 1GB 512MB
OS Google Android 2.3.5 Google Android 2.3.4 Google Android 2.3 Google Android 2.3.4

 

The Motorola RAZR comes equipped with a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, which puts it on par with the Samsung Galaxy S II in these two aspects. From our previous findings, we already know that dual-core devices tend towards a score of over 2000 points on Quadrant and manage an average of 60fps for Neocore benchmark results. In the former, the Motorola RAZR met our expectations with a score of 2663, beating Sensation XE's Qualcomm MSM8260 (dual-core 1.5GHz) processor while faltering against the likes of Samsung's own Exynos chipset. To give a rough gauge of how a dual-core smartphone performs against a single-core one, we have also included the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S here. As you can see, the RAZR scored at least 30% higher than the Arc S did.

However, when we take a look at the NeoCore benchmark scores, the RAZR's score comes across as pretty dismal compared to the rest. One reason being that the Neocore benchmarking tests are Qualcomm-optimized; the other reason might be due to a capped frame rate.

Overall, the Motorola RAZR performed admirably when it came down to real life usage such as surfing the web or running apps, be it apps like Facebook or games like Angry Birds, Clouds and Sheep and the 3D-rendered Dungeons Defenders. However, the user experience is sadly bogged down by the RAZR's UI and intrusive animated transitions, making navigation a tad slow, laggy and clumsy. Not really what we expect from a brand new top of the line smartphone at this point of time.