Review: Hands on with the Motorola RAZR V
‘Slim carbon beauty’
‘Just a beautiful device to hold’
The Motorola RAZR V is a great mid-range Ice Cream Sandwich device with raw carbon beauty from Motorola. The best thing about it, Mot0rola have mostly left it the hell alone. Join us as we go hands-on with the Motrola Razr V.
|Slim and light||Dual Core|
|Very solid build||A little strong on the vibration|
|That gorgeous carbon fibre||No replaceable battery|
|Slim vanilla android Ice Cream Sandwich OS||Charges from the top|
|Great screen||Limited memory|
WHAT WE LIKED
This part is easy, in fact, I struggled to find anything I didn’t like about the Motorola RAZR V – Motorola’s brand new mid-range Android, running Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. Moto’s first device to do so.
From the second it is in your hands, it’s love at first sight. I mean, c’mon, with that pure Kevlar carbon fibre unibody design! That’s the winner for me, let’s stop the article right there – nothing else matters anymore..
OK we’re back and there’s more. Motorola have a knack for producing incredibly thin designs, and the RAZR V is no disappointment to the RAZR name. At 8.3mm, this is one seriously thin Android.
You might think Motorola have skimped on some features to put the phone ‘on a diet’ – but no sir! Featuring a 1.2Ghz CPU with 1GB of RAM, an 8MP camera and a 4.3″ qHD (960×450) display; it’s also packed with features to put it right up there.
Pure carbon fibre and specs aside, did we mention Motorola have adorned the RAZR V with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich straight out of the box? Yup, that’s right; and it’s the most vanilla ICS implementation we have seen. In fact, it’s almost identical to using a Galaxy Nexus! In fact, it even features the same capacitive 3 button design of the Nexus, with home button in the centre, a back button on the left and the multi-tasker on the right. Apart from a few pre-loaded Motorola apps (which are really just shortcuts to websites anyway) which are not memory intensive widgets or silly UI overlays, Moto has done a great job. In fact, Optus had more pre-loaded on the phone than Motorola did!
The slim OS seems to really help battery life as well. Sporting a well endowed 1780mAh battery and not running too much over the top of the Android base means you will easily leave your charger at home for the day (and night), depending on use. Two to three days with standard to minimal use is quite easy to achieve with the Motorola Razr V.
Here is the Razr V side by side with a Galaxy Nexus for comparison:
The on-board 8MP camera also proved to be quite good quality. On a dull and dreary day, the sensors were still able to pick up quality colours and produce some quite stunning results. The HD video records in MP4 mode and captures up to 1080P video. There are many options available in the camera such as Scene, Size, Brightness and Contrast, Flash, etc. for the photographers out there.
Here are some sample photos we peeled off (remember it was a pretty dull day):
Finally, I feel I need to mention the screen. Displaying a perfect image whether it be photo viewing, gaming or viewing YouTube, the display is very appealing. The qHD screen and 960×450 resolution specifications should not deter you from what is a very warm, fluid and life-like display.
Gaming performance was equally satisfying; having tested Temple Run, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and Angry Birds Space. All performed without fuss and were very enjoyable. Games; hmm, this leads me onto something else.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
There are some things that are excusable on a mid-range phone and there are some things that are not. A total of 4GB of on-board memory for me is not. With the operating system and some built-in apps and widgets (both by the manufacturer and the carrier), I had a tad over 2GB on board to actually use.
As I usually am with gaming, I was eager to explore the free EA games that ship with the Razr V; and this uncovered two issues for me:
I started up the pre-installed Motolounge to get my free games from EA. When I went to install, the RAZR V wanted to download the APK file rather than do a system install.
What did this mean? It meant I was presented with a warning to remove the option to block non-authorised files from installing. Now this might be acceptable for those that tinker a little with their Android and are used to this. However, most people would think it was a problem and wondering why they have to remove a security control to install some free games.
I downloaded EA’s NFS Hot Pursuit – fine, the APK was only a very small download – some 20MB or so. However, upon launching the game, it wants to download an additional 590MB! Hence, I started with 4GB on board, now have 2GB left after system files and ONE free game wants to take up over a quarter of this? So I decided not to download the rest of the game, instead preferring to try the pre-installed Real Racing 2. Oh, it wants to download an additional 450MB before I can play it – and it’s pre-installed? I am lucky, I have an almost unlimited and extremely fast internet connection; but for those that don’t and are tight on a budget or that are given the phone as a gift and want to start playing right away, I see this as an issue. Sure, the RAZR V has external micro SD card support, however, there are an awful lot of Android apps that won’t run off the external SD.
The WiFi was a bit buggy too. I continually encountered the WiFi always asking to re-enter my password, or simply disconnecting, requiring turning the WiFi off and on again, then invariably re-entering my password. This could be an isolated issue and could be fixed with a factory reset or firmware update though so we won’t hang on that one too long.
I also wasn’t a fan of the Motorola Swype keyboard that was turned on by default. Far too busy and incredibly frustrating to use. Lucky, Moto kept the stock ICS keyboard which made for a much nicer experience.
Design is certainly the key here. If you are after a phone that sets itself apart from the pack, that looks great on your desk, great in your hands and is of exceptional build quality – then this is phone for you.
It just looks and feels amazing. It’s also quite light for how solid it is, but the unit is a little top heavy which is just something you get used to but is worth noting. The bezel is raised slightly towards the top of the phone, which also helps it to sit up slightly for a nice viewing angle when looking down at the phone, say from your desk to read a message or watch a video.
The exterior of the RAZR V is also very clean. The power button, 3.5mm headphone jack and charging/ Micro USB port are at the top. Personally, I am not a fan of phones that charge from the top, however it works to provide such clean lines.
On the right hand side is a large (this is a good thing), chrome volume rocker. On the lower left hand side is where we insert the SIM and micro SD cards. Yes, external micro SD. I wish more phones had this.
The front of the phone is kept very fuss-free with the large 4.3″ screen occupying about 95% of the real estate. Remaining is the earpiece at the top, front-facing camera and small notifications LED. Due to Moto employing capacitive touch buttons, there are no physical hardware buttons on the front of the phone. These are also quite a bit smaller than the Nexus’ buttons too, so you’re not losing so much screen real estate to the buttons.
Turn the Razr V over though and design takes on a whole new meaning. Nothing but raw, pure Carbon Kevlar fibre. Who doesn’t love carbon fibre? I mean, I love it! And there are lashings of it, in fact, the entire rear of the phone is made from it!
Then as your eyes work their way up, on the raised bezel area towards the top of the phone, are the large camera aperture, flash and speaker. Not dominating, but they are there and look to be of very good quality.
- Solid Build - If you are in the market for a phone that stands out and screams quality, then this is for you, at a mid-range price.
- Almost stock ICS experience – Manufacturers are learning that less is more with Android phones, and this is no different. A great example of allowing a great operating system do its job. Completely lag-free experience.
- Great screen – Whether using the phone in broad daylight, watching Youtube videos or gaming, the screen is exceptional for its resolution and always provides a lovely, warm and flowing image with no fuss.
- Memory– With a little over 2GB memory remaining of the original 4GB, I couldn’t own this phone. Seriously, I think 8GB is a real minimum these days for a mid-range phone. I would expect 2 to 4GB on a low-range phone.
- Top Charging – Now I know this would have been designed this way to provide clean lines on the bottom and outside of the phone, however personally I prefer phones that charge from the bottom as they are easier to get to whether plugging in from your PC or in car charger (especially if in a hands-free dock). Top charging phones annoy me.
|CPU||1.2 Ghz Dual Core|
|MEMORY||4GB ROM (2GB useable)|
|SCREEN||4.3″ qHD (960×450)|
|SIZE||128.5 x 65.8 x 8.35 mm|
|OS||Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich|
All in all, this is a phone I loved to use, loved to review, however for the lack of memory, could not own. It has a striking design, that awesome carbon fibre kevlar underbelly, and some top quality build features, such as the screen quality, camera quality and completely lag-free experience. The RAZR V brings one of the most untouched, vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich experiences we have tested and is all in all a very good package.
However, I just can’t get past the lack of memory. An included 8GB micro-SD card would have been a nice inclusion in a mid-range phone which obviously so much work has gone into. However, when comparing prices, I could get a HTC One X or Samsung Galaxy S III for the same (or similar) price. On Optus’ website the RAZR V is not $0 unless going on the $50 per month or higher plan.
I know what I would rather have.