Motorola RAZR 2011 hands on review

It’s lean, but is it mean? We’ve scraped beneath the surface of Motorola’s new smartphone to find out

RAZR thin

Thin isn’t the word. At 7.1mm, Motorola’s RAZR makes your average wafer look like it ought to have a chat with Dr Atkins – stat. As for other smartphones, Samsung’s Galaxy S II is cutting a 8.49mm profile, while Apple’s iPhone 4S has really let itself go at 9.3mm. Does it feel thinner? Palpably, although you’ll need to get over the chin that houses the RAZR’s 8MP camera (more on that later).

Motorola RAZR – build and feel

It ought to feel flimsy and while it’s true the RAZR doesn’t have the substance of, say, an HTC Sensation or iPhone 4S, it does stand up to the bend test. Touch it, knock it, twist it and squeeze it – there are few signs that Motorola’s new smartphone would lie down in a fight. It’s even coated (circuit board and all) in a water-repellent coating. Gorilla Glass is fitted as standard, as you’d expect.

Motorola RAZR – Ice Cream Sandwich dreams

Last time we checked, Google owned Motorola, but not Samsung. That’s why it’s a surprise (and a disappointment) that the RAZR will be arriving with Gingerbread 2.3.5, not Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). To compensate, Motorola has made its own UI tweaks designed to emulate some of ICS’s functionality. All too often that manifests itself in a jumpy interface that’s not really acceptable in late 2011. Hopefully the promised Android 4.0 update will fix all that.

RAZR sharp screen

Big, bright screens are all the rage (in case you hadn’t noticed). And the RAZR’s 4.3in Super AMOLED Advanced display does look nice (it’s quarter HD, resolution fans). Bearing in mind that the RAZR is Motorola’s new hero smartphone, that’s to be expected. And if it’s not good enough for you, we’ll point you in the direction of its top mounted HDMI port which’ll pipe your 1080p vids and 8MP stills to your HDTV.

RAZR cam

Never pass up the opportunity for an edible bivalve mollusc pun, eh? On to that 8MP camera, though, which produces some bold results. It’s impossible to judge a camera properly on the device itself, but it reproduced a dark reflection in a glass coffee table with impressive fidelity. Video also looked smooth, if not as capable in low light.

Motorola RAZR first impressions

Motorola wants to make us believe that it can return to the glory days of its original RAZR phones. But it’s a tougher proposition now – you can’t get away with just being skinny and having a pretty face. With its Kevlar weave, Gorilla Glass and water-repellent properties, the RAZR owes as much to the Defy as to its fashionable ancestor. Its endless accessories and docks hark back to the Atrix. But is the new RAZR able to cut out its own identity in the modern world? We’ll be back with a full review to find out.

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