Motorola Razr HD Review
Motorola Razr HD
Review written by Charlotte Kertrestel
The Motorola Razr i wowed us with its impressive camera-especially for a mid-range device- so how will the Motorola Razr HD measure up?
The Motorola Razr HD at first glance looks almost identical to every other smartphone in the Razr range and features the same design, build and feel as its relatives. With a 4.7 inch screen, the Razr HD is on a par with the HTC One and Nexus 4, and fits perfectly between the likes of the 4-inch iPhone 5 and the 5-inch Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z.
One thing that Motorola has been sure to guarantee is that the Razr HD is fairly lightweight, thin and sits comfortably in the hand. Weighing 146g it isn’t the lightest phone on the market (in comparison, the iPhone 5 weighs 112g and the Samsung Galaxy S4 130g), but it’s by no means bulky. Again, its dimensions put the Razr HD in the middle of the road, with a thickness of 8.4mm, it’s- in true Goldilocks style- not too thick and not too thin.
Like the Motorola Razr i, the Razr HD a woven textured design adorns its back casing, which, whilst not being exactly to my taste, does make the phone feel less fragile, and I felt I was less concerned about scratching or scuffing the device’s body as I often am with other brand new phones. Also, because the back casing isn’t removable, the device felt far sturdier than many other Androids, the Samsung Galaxy S4 in particular, which is encased by a rather flimsy removable plastic case.
Under the hood, the Motorola Razr HD features 16GB of internal storage, with the option of extending this further with a removable SD card. The device is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz processor which doesn’t quite match up to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One’s quad-core 1.6GHz and 1.7GHz respective processors, though I didn’t actually find the device slow in any way.
A simple feature that I tend to appreciate on smartphones is the inclusion of a small flashing bar at the top of the device which notifies you when you have a message or missed call; a little reminiscent of the traditional BlackBerry devices, I personally find that it saves a considerable amount of battery by not having to unlock the phone to check for alerts.
Phone Set Up
The Motorola Razr HD is installed with the latest version of Android’s Jelly Bean operating system, which means that in many ways it operates just as any other Android. However, there are a few differences that Motorola has added to the Razr which make it that bit more user friendly.
For instance, while most Androids give you the option of having a clock or weather widget on your home screen, the Motorola Razr HD displays your local weather forecast, the time and the percentage of battery left in your device, instantly demonstrating that the Razr’s emphasis on an impressive battery capacity. It means that you don’t have to guess how much juice is left from the inaccurate battery icon at the top of your screen, therefore avoiding the shock of receiving a low battery alert a matter of hours into your day.
Another difference between the Motorola version of Android and various other devices is the fact that the Razr HD leaves it up to the user to choose how many home screens to display at once; quite often users fail to fill the six or seven screens provided but still find themselves flitting through them in search of a certain app, so this feature is useful. Also, just by swiping to the left you can access the Quick Settings menu, allowing you to speedily switch on your Bluetooth, WiFi and change your ring tones.
As mentioned on the Motorola Razr i review, the Razr HD shares the same Smart Actions application which completely changes the way you use your smartphone. Rather than having to manually change the settings on your phone, Smart Actions makes your phone work for you, notifying you to put it on charge, or changing your settings when you are at work, home or in a meeting.
Low Battery Saver
As you can guess by its name, Smart Actions can automatically turn your phone’s power saving mode on when your device’s battery reaches a critical level, meaning you don’t have to suffer the annoyance of having a dead phone before the day is out.
The Work and Home modes simply make use of the device’s in-built GPS to detect your exact location. After setting the app up to suit your preferences, the Motorola Razr HD will automatically switch to silent mode as soon as you step into the office, and will turn back to loud as you walk through your front door again. The app will even send an automatic text to friends or family to let them know you’re home without having to do it manually, which, if you’re as forgetful as me, can put many minds at rest!
Motorola’s Drive Smart Actions option is somewhat similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4’s car mode, and while many flagship devices now offer an in-car driving mode, very few announce incoming calls or texts like the Motorola does. If you receive a text message while you are driving, the phone will automatically send a customisable response to let your contacts know that you will reply as soon as it is safe to do so.
It’s a common fact that very few people switch their smartphones off during the night, and this is why Motorola has come up with the Sleep Smart Action mode, which turns your phone’s volume down low to avoid disturbing you in the night, as well as setting your screen’s brightness level low to save on battery.
Camera & Video
After testing out the Motorola Razr i’s camera, I expected big things of the Razr HD. And while I wasn’t massively disappointed by the latter’s performance, it definitely didn’t blow me away.
With an 8 megapixel rear-facing lens, it comes in slightly behind its competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, and though I praised the quality of the Razr I’s 8MP lens, this had a lot to do with the fact that it was good for a reasonably-priced mid-range model; with the Razr HD being sold at around the £400 mark, I felt it should have done more to keep up with the big guns.
That said, the photos that I took with the phone’s camera weren’t that bad, and in some situations, the camera really picked out some of the bright tones of the Welsh countryside by which I was surrounded.
My only criticism of the Motorola Razr HD’s camera was that the photos emerged looking a little two dimensional. Although I wasn’t blessed with some of the best weather, I did expect the photos to look a little more vibrant.
That said, using the phone to take photos of people produced some pretty good results. Because of the in-built features such as red-eye removal, face-glow and even face-tan modes, you can really spruce up your shots without having to fire up Instagram. Alternatively, if the filtered look is what you go for, the Motorola Razr HD offers arrange of coloured and artistic filters which you can place over your images to give them a more personal and arty look.
The camera’s HDR mode is also more useful than other cameras; rather than simply giving the option of turning it on and off when the moment takes you, the HDR icon blinks on your camera’s screen when it detects high contrast lighting, allowing you to get the best photos at every moment. As you can see in the images below, the HDR mode really makes a difference to the sharpness of your photos.
In addition to the Razr HD’s HDR mode, the device lets you take single shots, enable the multi-shot mode (to take numerous photos in quick succession), as well as panoramic and self-timer shots.
Verdict: In terms of the camera quality itself, the Motorola Razr HD is a little bit lacking, though the in-built features make up for its losses somewhat.
The main feature that the Motorola Razr HD has been commended for is its impressive battery life. So I decided to put it to the test on a weekend trip to a holiday cottage in Wales where electricity was slightly less available than usual.
I first of all used the device to direct me to my destination using the Google Navigation app and the phone’s in-built GPS, which is notorious for draining battery at the speed of light. And while the Razr HD did discharge from 100% to 22% throughout the two and a half hour journey, I was still able to send and receive several text messages and take a number of photographs before the battery finally gave up the ghost. Also, because of Smart Actions, the battery saver mode kicked in at around the 19% mark, meaning I could use my phone for that bit longer without having to manually turn off battery-draining applications.
I also compared the device’s battery life to the rather disappointing Nexus 4 battery. After charging both devices to full capacity, by mid-morning, I found that the Motorola was down to 99% battery, while the Nexus 4 had dwindled to 73%!
So with smartphone batteries being notoriously short-lasting, the Motorola Razr really stood out for me, and, in the ever-evolving world of mobile technology, having a device which can keep going longer than the rest really is integral to a phone’s success.