Motorola RAZR HD Review [with 4.1.2]

I love Android.  One of the things I think I love the most about it is that we can have a selection, or a variety of devices to choose from, and not just 'tethered' to one only.  No Ford theory here of "you can have one in your favourite colour, so long as your favourite colour is black!"  You can have almost any manufacturer, any style, and type.

As such, a new comer to Android might be somewhat overwhelmed with the selection of devices out there.  Which is why I like to get a chance to play with as many as I can and give you my thoughts.  Let people make an informed decision about which device to get.

Today's review is the Motorola RAZR HD.  +Mark Lastiwka had done a review on it previously, but it recently got the Jelly Bean 4.1.2 update  How is this device?
I never did get to play with the 4.0.4 version of the RAZR, but I did get my hands on the Atrix, which is pretty similar.

So let's first look at the specs of the device.

  • 4.7" @ 1280x720
  • 1.5GHz x2 with 1GB RAM
  • 16GB storage w/ microSD up to 32GB
  • Gorilla Glass
  • NFC
  • 8MP / 1.3MP
  • 2530mAh battery

Not 'impressive' by today's stats, but this did come out in September of last year.  So it was a good beast then, and you know what?  It still handles quite well.

The back is a nice design with the Kevlar and really feels not only smooth and easy to hold, but provides some friction so it doesn't slide too easily.  It's a really solid build and feels lighter than the Nexus 4.  It's also claimed to be 'splash resistant', but I'm not testing that.

As for the physical features, it's a little weird having the microUSB port on the side, because when it's in it can't really be held any more.  Also, having power and the volume rocker on the same side makes doing screen shots a little more 'complicated'.

Inside the phone, i.e. the software, it's nice.  It's a very good blend of MotoBlur UI and the true stock Android.  You have software buttons and standard looking menus.

Instead of pull down toggles like you'd get with the TouchWiz or JB 4.2.x you have a 'toggle pane' on the home screen.  Swipe over to the far left and you get it.  I kind of like that.  Doesn't clutter up the notification shade, or make you have to do a shade switch to get it.

Swiping homescreens to the far right you get the option to add a new pane and a nice guide to set one up from a template.

Standard in Motorola devices these days are the 'Smart Actions', ie. automation of specific features via triggers.  Something like "when it's after 10PM turn on silent mode", etc...

The lockscreen is also nice with 4 options - too bad you can't adjust which.

In terms of use, I hadn't had any issues with performance.  It tested rather low in the benchmarkings (if you want to believe those things), but in practical use it handled without issue.

The battery was great.  When I went out to play some 'Ingress' I used both phones and where my Nexus decreased by 54% the RAZR only decreased 43%.  Keep in mind that the battery is almost 20% bigger... but still... Ingress was a heavy draw and it didn't really seem to notice.

The camera on it is fairly standard for Motorola devices.  It has HDR which makes me happy.  The camera shots are nice.  And it's Zero Shutter Lag, which means photos are fast, if not faster than the Nexus!

Here's some sample photos:

All in all, a device WITH Jelly Bean for only $50 on a 3 year plan.  Can't argue with that.