Nov 07 AT 12:41 PM Taylor Wimberly 13 Comments

Verizon Motorola Droid RAZR review roundup

Droid RAZR

Does the Motorola Droid RAZR have enough magic sauce to make Verizon customers choose it over the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or HTC Rezound? Last week Verizon began sending out demo units to select sites. Today the embargo was lifted, and the first reviews are starting to come online. We were not lucky enough to be one of the chosen few, so let’s review the reviews and check out Motorola’s latest Android effort.

Motorola Droid RAZR review roundup:

  • Jordan Crook of TechCrunch: “While I’m not sure I can tell you it justifies its $299 price tag, I can say it certainly deserves its spot as one of the top contenders for this holiday season… One thing I noticed rather quickly is that the Droid RAZR is hot. Yes, it’s a sexy phone to say the least, but it also overheats really easily. Within moments of booting up the phone and getting started it was burning up, and did so each time I used it… If you’re on the fence, please go pick up a device in-store and get a good feel for it in the hand because I have a feeling the RAZR suits a certain type of taste.”
  • Jonathan Geller of BGR: “The Motorola DROID RAZR has replaced Samsung’s Galaxy S II as the best Android device I’ve ever used… It does look better to me than the displays used on the Motorola DROID BIONIC and Motorola DROID 3, but it’s still a PenTile display, and that means that it still has a grainy look no matter how high the resolution is… The battery on the Motorola DROID RAZR has really impressed me. After using the phone for a few days, I completely forgot about the fact that this a 4G LTE device.”
  • Vincent Nguyen of SlashGear: “The DROID RAZR falls into the middle ground for camera quality, it’s not the best we’ve seen, but neither is it the worst… Video, meanwhile, has a surprising amount of noise, and the color balance is unimpressive… We raced through 40-percent of the battery in less than an hour of 4G data use… The DROID RAZR won’t redefine the industry but it will undoubtedly be a fashion favorite.”
  • Nilay Patel of The Verge: “The Droid RAZR is one of those rare phones that qualifies as a leap forward in hardware design and engineering… I have large hands and I found one-hand operation difficult; if you have small hands it’ll be basically impossible… Not only are individual pixels readily apparent, but text looks jaggy, there’s red fringing around vertical lines, and images seem to de-res when scrolling in the browser…  Is it the phone to get? Well, probably not.”
  • Brent Rose of Gizmodo: “A month and a half goes by and here comes Droid RAZR, which is similar to the Bionic, but better in virtually every way… It is insanely thin (7.1mm), which makes the iPhone 4S and Droid Bionic run crying to Jenny Craig… The RAZR consistently booted up between 12 and 20 seconds faster than the Bionic, and it benchmarked better, too… MotoCast, which is supposed to let you use your home computer as a server, is slow and laggy and just plain bad… The new RAZR is worthy of its inherited name–it’s easily the most exciting phone form-factor of 2011.”
  • Chris Burns of Android Community: “This is easily the best camera on a Motorola smartphone thus far and leaves MOST of the other smartphone cameras on the market today in the dust… The Kevlar weave pattern on the back feels lovely and the curved-edge Gorilla Glass on the front feels rather nice… This device is the clear new top choice for LTE devices on Verizon’s network.”
  • Phil Nickinson of Android Central: “The Droid RAZR can also fry an egg with as hot as it got during our initial setup… We’re real wary of using the Droid RAZR as our only device while traveling. So far, with our normal usage, we’re going to plug in whenever possible… The Droid RAZR’s got a great screen, the dual-core processor keeps things plenty speedy, and Motorola’s customizations keep getting better with each iteration.”
  • Terrence O’Brien of Engadget: “To say the Droid RAZR is thin doesn’t do it justice… Handsets simply don’t get much more premium-feeling than the Droid RAZR… We encountered a few odd hiccups and stutters, primarily while placing and resizing widgets, but we’ll chalk that up to Moto’s liberal use of 3D animations… Despite its deficiencies in the display department and underwhelming battery life, the RAZR looks to be a perfectly viable alternative when considering the similarly-pricey Rezound and Galaxy Nexus.”
  • Mark Spoonauer of LaptopMap: “The Droid RAZR’s back-mounted speaker got surprisingly loud when we cranked Linkin Park’s ‘New Divide’ on Slacker… It looks like Motorola took the complaints about the Droid Bionic’s lag to heart, because the 8-megapixel camera on the Droid Bionic is much faster from shot to shot… This was one of the better video calling experiences we’ve had on a smartphone… But the Droid RAZR is certainly Motorola’s best smartphone yet–and one of the best Android devices on the market.”
  • Nicole Lee of CNET: “With its razor-thin design, jam-packed features, and blazing speed, the Motorola Droid Razr is easily one of the year’s top Android smartphones… The Motorola Droid Razr’s large size might feel awkward in small hands; we expected better picture quality from its 8-megapixel camera; and the battery is not removable.”
  • John V. of Phone Arena: “Game changing! That perfectly sums up the overall design of the Motorola DROID RAZR seeing that it flaunts one of the most compelling handset designs in recent memory… For something so thin, some would probably envision it to be frail, but there’s nothing to be worried about because it’s constructed out of the finest materials out there… Naturally, some people will still find its price to be on the expensive side, but it’s more than justified by its performance, premium construction, and bountiful hardware.”

Hands-on videos

Wrap up

Overall, it looks like the Droid RAZR is the best Android phone that Motorola has ever produced. Verizon is already dumping a ton of marketing dollars behind this device, and I’m sure it will have a successful launch. However, I think most the hardcore nerds are going to wait patiently on the sideline for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which of course is the first device with Android 4.0. Having the latest software always provides the best user experience, and Samsung will have that advantage for several months until Motorola upgrades the RAZR to Android 4.0.

After reading the initial reviews, how many Verizon customers are going to pick up the Droid RAZR on November 11?

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • mabroid

    Am I the only one that thinks its an ugly ugly phone.

    Still love the fact they harp on about it being 7.1mm thick…. At one end yes

    • triangle

      Completely agree.

      • WarDrake

        Yes, that trunk on it, makes it quite ugly actually…

        • CTown

          The phone is made for men… Motorola knows that men love big trunks… if you get what I mean!

    • Jay

      Samsung does the same thing, most of the Galaxy S and SII iterations have humps(not as considerable as the Razr’s mindyou), and they’ve always claimed thinness at the thinnest point. I guess it’s one of those “industry” things.

  • triangle

    While there are a lot of positives to the RAZR, reviewers also noted a lot of drawbacks with this phone. Despite the thin and light form factor, ICS and the HD SAMOLED screen should make the Galaxy Nexus still the phone to beat, though clearly that’s based on personal preference.

  • Bill

    I really want to know if its plagued with some of the major problems bedeviling Bionic owners.

    #1. Is there a high-pitched whine when playing audio, esp. through the headphone jack.

    #2. Does the phone transition well between 4G and 3G networks without losing data connectivity or requiring a reboot, airplane mode, or other rituals to restore connectivity.

  • indianfan

    I’ll decide once I hear from all of the early adopters. I’m glad I did not jump on the Droid Bionic. I’ve been burned too many times to be stuck with a phone for two years. I just love that testing is now done by the end users <–sarcasm.

  • BJ

    I hope a post like this will be done for the GNex as well, it’ll be very informative in making a decision between that and the Razr. I’ve decided to finally upgrade from my OG Droid to one of these two.

  • Dylan

    I’m waiting to see how the Nexus and Droid 4 turn out. I love my Droid 1. It’s taken a beating and keeps on going. And the fact is that I use my tablet more than my phone these days, so I’m not chomping at the bit for something new like I use to.

  • David R

    And I’m expected to swap AOSP for that UI ?

    Sorry. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • themanwithsauce

    Quick review from my perspective as the first buyer at my local store (didn’t even pre order or really plan on buying….)

    -Speed (both phone and network)
    -Design (to some)

    -Bloatware (need root….badly)
    -Size (to some)


    Bottom Line – If you want to be on the absolute cutting edge (no pun intended) of DESIGN, this is it. The materials and construction used in this phone WILL pave the way for the future. The nexus line is fast becoming a flagship by software standards only. And this makes sense, the dual core will become the mos widely used processor of 2012 but quad cores will become available at the high end. What’s the point in developing on the ultra high end when your primary users will have half the available power? If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can also root and flash roms on it shortly. However, if you are looking for pure google goodness, the UI will drag you down a bit. I am a bit skeptical about updates if this phone isn’t a home run. I think it will be but motorola has a lot on its plate right now (Atrix 2, Bionic, Xoom 2, Droid 4, Photon, and others) so you know only about half of their lineup will see development through 2012 and maybe one or two will go beyond that. Also it is gigantic. But worth it. Oh so very worth it :).

  • pritams