Motorola Razr HD review

Motorola Razr HD

Motorola's Razr HD smartphone has been out in the US for a few months and now it's arrived in the UK. Here's our Motorola Razr HD review.

Motorola may not be the highest profile smartphone maker around but it makes some desirable and feature rich devices. It's taken a while for the Razr HD to arrive, replacing the Razr i as the firm's flagship handset.  

Since the Razr HD is a 2012 smartphone launching in 2013 in the UK, the big question is how does it stand up to rival flagship smartphones on the market. Read our review to find out.

See also: Group test: What's the best Android smartphone?

Motorola Razr HD: Design and build

Like other recent Razr devices, Motorola has opted for something of an alternative design. The Razr HD looks like a lot of smartphones from the front with a glossy black finish but has a fascinating back.

Once again Motorola has used Kevlar as a material and this time covers the entirety of the handset's back and wraps right round to the aluminium which runs around the edge. In our opinion, it simply looks awesome and gives the premium feel you want from a smartphone.

Sadly, the Kevlar rear cover doesn't make the Motorola Razr HD bullet proof. However, the combination of it along with the aluminium frame and Gorilla Glass makes the Razr HD a hardy handset. You certainly won't need to run out to buy a case or a cover for it. Read: Motorola Razr i review.

Motorola Razr HD kevlar back cover

Motorola Razr HD: Hardware and performance

With a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM we got the kind of mid-range performance you'd expect in terms of benchmarks.

We recorded a score of 1536 in GeekBench 2, which isn't bad but other flagship devices have been getting well above the 2000 mark. A framerate of 22fps in GLBenchmark is a good effort but wins the Razr HD no awards.

The least pleasing test was the SunSpider JavaScript test in which the Razr HD managed a not very speedy 1856ms. After using the phone for a number of days, we experienced no major performance problems.

You get a fairly decent 16GB of internal storage and the handset has a microSD card slot for expansion. It can take up to 32GB memory cards.

The Razr HD's 4.7in HD is a little smaller than a lot of rival flagship smartphones. The 720 x 1280 resolution don't punch quite the same amount of pixels either with new devices up to Full HD now. Even so, the 312ppi display looks great with a crisp and vibrant image.

With a decent amount of brightness on offer, the Razr HD's screen performs well in different lighting conditions. However, the auto-brightness function was too erratic to leave switched on.

We've got no complaints when it comes to connectivity since Motorola has fitted the Razr HD with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and support for 4G LTE networks. It also has the rare addition of a micro-HDMI port.

Motorola Razr HD aluminium side

Motorola Razr HD: Cameras

With a lot of smartphones coming with 13Mp cameras now, the 8Mp camera on the Razr HD might not sound very impressive. However, we were very impressed with the rear facing snapper.

We found the Razr HD consistently took high quality photographs which look nicely exposed and saturated. Touch-to-focus means you can tell the camera exactly what to focus on and we the HDR is particularly good. Video is also smooth and can be shot at Full HD 1080p resolution.

Motorola Razr HD test photo

The front facing 1.3Mp camera is also of a good quality, producing a crisp 720p image for video chats and the like. Unfortunately, there's no dedicated camera button for activating the shutter like the Razr i features.

Motorola Razr HD: Software

Motorola Razr HD

The UK model of the Razr HD ships with Android, 4.1 Jelly bean, almost the latest version of Google's operating system. Since Motorola is owned by Google, the interface is largely stock Android but there a couple of key differences.

Firstly, the lockscreen is different with access to audio settings and apps like camera and text messages.

More importantly, the main homescreen is situated on the far left rather than centrally with the option to add more panes to the right. To the left of the main homescreen are a number of quick settings, normally squeezed into the Android notification bar.

It's a pretty standard affair when it comes to pre-loaded apps and widgets aside from the innovative circles clock, weather and battery level widget.

One app which is worth a mention is Smart Actions. It allows you to make certain things happen automatically via pre-defined parameters. For example, the Razr HD could dim the screen at a certain battery level, or switch to silent mode when you arrive at the office. It's extremely handy and can save battery life, too.

Motorola Razr HD: Battery life

We experienced exceptional battery life from the non-removable 9.4Wh (2530mAh) battery. As you can see from the screenshot, we still had 24 percent remaining after a whopping 56 hours. This was with light usage during the second day, though so we expect that the Razr HD will last most users a couple of days.

Motorola Razr HD battery life

Motorola Razr HD: Summary

The Razr HD impressed us in a number of areas and is genuinely a nice smartphone. It's a shame that Motorola took so long to bring it to the UK. Its SIM-free price of around £400 means that it sits in a strange place in the market.

More exciting ad up-to-devices like the Sony Xperia Z and HTC One are not a great deal more, around £100, and the superb Nexus 4 is still a great bargain at just £239. However, if you can find the Razr HD on a reasonable contact price then it's a solid choice.

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Motorola Razr HD: Specs

  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 4.7in (720 x 1280) screen
  • Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • aGPS
  • 8Mp rear with LED flash, 1080p video
  • 1.3Mp front, 720p video
  • single rear speaker
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE
  • Micro-USB 2.0
  • micro-HDMI
  • 68 x 132 x 8.4mm
  • 146g
  • 9.3Wh non-removable battery
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 4.7in (720 x 1280) screen
  • Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • aGPS
  • 8Mp rear with LED flash, 1080p video
  • 1.3Mp front, 720p video
  • single rear speaker
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE
  • Micro-USB 2.0
  • micro-HDMI
  • 68 x 132 x 8.4mm
  • 146g
  • 9.3Wh non-removable battery

OUR VERDICT

The Motorola Razr HD offers superb build quality and battery life along with a nice screen and great battery life. However, its £400 asking price means that it's probably worth spending the extra for a rival flagship smartphone or saving some money by opting for the Google Nexus 4.

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