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Motorola DROID RAZR HD Android smartphone first impressions

on November 4, 2012 7:55 pm

A few days ago, Verizon sent me the Motorola DROID RAZR HD for a quick test drive. This phone comes in 2 flavors. RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX HD. The difference between the two is memory size and battery capacity, with the MAXX having more of each. This will be a quick hardware tour as Bryan will be posting his full review of the RAZR MAXX HD soon. 

Note: Some images in this article can be clicked to view a larger size.

When I was trying to decide which Android smartphone to replace my iPhone 4S, the Motorola DROID RAZR HD and MAXX HD were not yet released. If either had been available, I may have chosen one of them over the Samsung Galaxy S3, which I ultimately purchased. I like the style and look of the RAZR better than the SGS3. The RAZR looks sexier in my opinion with its black iPhone-esque square shape and industrial accents.

This phone has a 4.7″ Super AMOLED HD 1280×720 display that is just as bright, crisp and vibrant as the SGS3. But missing from the front of the phone is a home button, which I’m spoiled by after having used an iPhone and now the SGS3 for so long.

At the top of the display is an almost 3/4th inch long LED that lights up when you receive a text, email or other notice. However, it doesn’t light up while charging the battery which seems odd.

There is a microphone located on the bottom edge just right of center. You can barely see it in the image above.

The back has a soft touch cover that looks like a carbon fiber. Also located on the back is the 8MP camera lens, LED flash, speaker and another microphone.

On the left side you’ll find the SIM slot for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Below that is a micro USB connector used for charging and file transfers with your computer. There’s also an HDMI connector. If you want to hook this phone to your TV, you’ll have to come up with the cable though as one is not included.

The opposite side has a power button and a volume button. Both are thin brushed metal buttons that match the wrap around band that gives this phone a cool industrial look.

On the top edge you’ll find a standard sized earphone jack.

The only things you’ll find on the bottom are two star screws.

This phone is about the same size as my SGS3, but in hand, it feels smaller to me. It is comfortable to hold and does not feel slippery due to the soft cover on the back. This is a very solid feeling phone and does not flex, creak or crack when I try to crush it in my powerful gadgeteer hands. It reminds me a lot of my last Android phone… The Droid X. The shape is similar minus the hump on the back.

From the short time I’ve had with this phone, I found phone calls to be clear, with proper volume. I found the overall performance going from app to app to be snappy and smooth. And battery life seemed to be pretty darn good. The RAZR MAXX HD has an even higher capacity battery, so I bet it can last for a couple days on a charge.

Would I trade my SGS3 for the Motorola DROID RAZR HD? I’m definitely tempted by the look and feel of the hardware. But there are a few things I like better on the SGS3, such as the calendar app, which is much nicer on the Samsung. Also there’s that physical home button. I wouldn’t want to give that up. I’m sticking with my SGS3 for awhile, but if you’re in the market for a new phone, The Motorola DROID RAZR HD is a nice one. Stay tuned for a review of the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD soon.

Comments

  1. 1
    Ian Lim says:

    Don’t forget the beauty of Android is if you don’t like the inbuilt calendar there’s heaps of other options on the Play Store :)

  2. 2

    Funny that you miss having a physical button. The physical button is a nuisance to use when switching between multiple apps. It also will prove to be a hindrance when upgraded to Jellybean. The physical button is what kept me from keeping the S3.

  3. 3
    Tim Kwan says:

    Since it’s Android, you can customise the LED notification light using LightFlow.

  4. 4
    Julie says:

    @Marcus I don’t know what you mean about the physical button being a hindrance when switching between apps. Can you elaborate?

  5. 5
    jaamgans says:

    Hi Julie,

    Am surprised that you like the S Planner – have dumped it and replaced it with the standard android calendar which is thing of beauty and simplicity, plus it now also allows the download google calendards to be included and show up to.

  6. 6
    Eugene says:

    Hello Gadgeteer!
    I have been using the RAZR HD in Sydney Australia for about 2 weeks now. So far so good! Battery life is great (lasts for over a day with medium usage, which is better than my previous SGS2 & HTC One XL). ICS OS runs smooth on the Dual-core processor and the Motorola skin is simple and fast. Personally, I find this skin better than both Samsung & HTC. 4G (LTE) works well in areas of coverage with average of 24Mbps down & 18Mbps up in Sydney CBD areas (with provider Telstra).
    Only niggle so far is that there isn’t much support from Motorola here in Australia & my phone has frozen once for no apparent reason (had to do a power down reset). Also, there are no available screen protectors or cases for the phone yet as it’s too new here!
    Am eagerly waiting for the Jellybean OS upgrade although this probably won’t arrive in Australia till 2nd Quarter 2013.
    Keep up the good work with your blog! I’m an avid fan!

  7. 7
    Julie says:

    @jaamgans The standard calendar’s views are too simple for my liking. I prefer the full month view in the Samsung Calendar, which shows the appointment details instead of just a bar.

    @Eugene I agree. I like Motorola’s skin/interface changes better than Samsung’s Touchwiz.

  8. 8
    Alicson says:

    @Julie Jorte does excellent full-month calendar views (the most fine-tuned customized calendar widgets I’ve found).

  9. 9
    Julie says:

    @Alicson Just installed it. Still like the Samsung Calender better. Jorte reminds me of Date Planner back in the Palm Pilot days. It’s a little too busy for my taste. The Samsung Calender has a bigger full month view.

  10. 10
    Kyle says:

    @Julie The software buttons are as Google intended for the Ice Cream Sandwich versions of Android as well as later versions such as Jelly Bean. You can just swipe up from the software keys to activate Google Now. You will be able to do this for the Droid Razr Maxx HD when the update to version 4.1 is pushed to the device later in the year. I for one am glad to see more manufacturers go the the software buttons instead of the hardware buttons.

  11. 11
    Nostromo says:

    I’ve had the Razr Maxx HD for 16 days and its performance has exceeded my expectations. Since it has ICS built-in it’s smoother than the Droid Razr Maxx which it replaced and had the ICS grafted to its operating system; not a seamless procedure. As for comments regarding the camera it performs well enough when I use the HDR mode and takes photos of good quality; the best of all of the Droids I and my family have had. I am skeptical with regard to the touted ‘Jellybean’ release which, according to the Internet, is looming.

  12. 12
    F. Andrews says:

    Why do reviewers constantly refer to new phones as being “Sexy?” Maybe it’s time to pull out the old Thesaurus and find some new descriptive adjectives. Just a suggestion. . .

  13. 13
    Brian says:

    Just bought two Razrs last weekend. Love them so far. The battery life is amazing, and the screen and build are gorgeous. Highly recommended!

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