STOP NOW AND GET A DROID!!!!!
The Droid Razr is not just another Android phone. We see devices come and go, knowing that they will be of little consequence, but the Razr is a leap forward in the area of hardware design. The innovative things about this phone are just as likely to be deal-killers as they are to be selling-points, though. When you consider the amazing lineup of phones coming to Verizon in the next few weeks, is the Razr a phone you should go pick up on launch day?
The Razr is going to be facing stiff competition from the likes of the HTC Rezound and Samsing Galaxy Nexus. Let’s dig into what makes the Razr unique, and see if it’s the right phone, at the right time. Super-slim, filled with battery
The Droid Razr is designed unlike and other Android phone on the market. It has a very thin uni-body design (just 7.1mm thick) and is lighter than many phones. Part of the trade-off in getting the phone so thin is that the battery is built in and cannot be removed. This is going to be a real problem for some users, but the upshot is that the 1780mAh battery lasts a good long while.
The Razr’s design is even more striking when you consider that’s it’s packing 4G LTE inside. This has traditionally made phones heavy and thick because of the bulky first-generation LTE radios. Motorola seems to have vanquished that demon because the 4G radio in the Razr works just fine. Despite having such a thin profile, there is an externally accessible microSD card, which is missing from the upcoming Galaxy Nexus.
So the phone is very thin, but as it turns out, it can’t really be called a small device. The phone is actually very wide. Imagine you took a Droid Bionic and flattened it out; that’s what the Razr is. The bezel on each side of the screen is a bit wider than other phones, which could make the 4.3-inch screen slightly harder to use. Software both smart, and stilted
The Razr is running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but Motorola has also added its usual Blur enhancements. There are a lot of unnecessary additions to Android with Blur, and some of them don’t work terribly well. Like the Bionic, the Razr has a sluggish camera interface that can take a few seconds to process a shot. The Rezound and Galaxy Nexus both have super-fast cameras, by comparison.
Motorola has been pumping up Blur with each iteration to be heavier, and more superficially flashy. We’re very much over the idea that neat animations make a user interface good. Adding too many animations and transition effects to even a fast device can result in unacceptable slowdowns. If the early reviews are anything to go on, this is something suffered by the Droid Razr.
One new part of Blur that users might actually find useful is Smart Actions. This is essentially a built in version of popular automation apps like Tasker or Locale. Users can set a situation based on phone state, location, or time. Then attach actions to those situations. We’ve gushed about these applications from the Market a few times, but the Razr does an excellent job of making the interface easier than Tasker, and more integrated than Locale. First of its kind screen
The touch screen on the Droid Razr is an industry first qHD Super AMOLED screen. This 4.3-inch panel could be disappointing in real life if you’re the picky type. This is the age old problem of the PenTile layout, which is used in the Droid Razr’s screen. This isn’t RGBW like the Droid Binoic, but rather RGBG like other Super AMOLEDs.
The difference here is that the display is slightly higher resolution than other Super AMOLEDs. Some reviews say the screen is fine, but others have taken issue with the odd-looking matrix. From some of the test shots online, there does seem to be a more pronounced PenTile pattern of jaggies visible here than on other Super AMOLEDs.
Believe it or not, this is the lowest resolution screen on Verizon’s holiday season flagship phones. The HTC Rezound has a 720p LCD screen that shouldn’t have any PenTile distortions. The Galaxy Nexus is using a 720p Super AMOLED HD, although this screen will also use RGBG PenTile. The software conundrum
The Droid Razr is shipping with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and it’s going to technically be current software for a week or two. That all changes when Android 4.0 shows up on the Galaxy Nexus. If you buy the Razr, you’ll have to deal with the fact that the phone is about to be eclipsed in the software arena.
There is an upside, though. Motorola has explained that the Razr will be among the first devices to get an Ice Cream Sandwich update in early 2012.While you won’t be buying an ICS phone now, you will be assured of actually getting the update soon. Motorola pulled a similar maneuver with the launch of the Droid X back in 2010. If took just a few weeks to get Froyo rolled out to that phone, per Moto’s promise. ICS is a bigger update, so we’re probably looking at a few months after the code release for this one.
The Droid Razr is shaping up to be a solid phone. It has good construction, above average battery life, and it will be getting Android 4.0. If you can handle the slightly wider frame, the incredible thinness of this device will impress. The software situation is a little hit and miss, it looks like. Blur is getting a bit too flashy, but Smart Actions are really interesting. The screen is only qHD, and there is the PenTile business. We’d suggest looking at the device in real life to make the call for yourself. So, anyone picking up the Razr, or is it the Rezound or Nexus that strikes your fancy?