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Motorola RAZR hands-on and impressions

Hello, Moto! We might have seen the unveiling of the Droid RAZR in the USA yesterday, but here in Europe the device is just going to be the Motorola RAZR. Motorola unleashed the phone in Berlin today and gave us some hands-on time with the device. So the all important question is, what is the phone like?

It’s thin. Crazy thin. On paper Motorola say the main body of the device is just 7.1mm thick, although you may need to add a few digits on to that number to accommodate the bump where the camera and radios are housed. The build quality is very nice, providing a good grip in the hand, and doesn’t feel cheap like the Samsung Galaxy S II. The back has a Kevlar weave, which feels soft to the touch: much nicer than bog standard plastic.

Specs are what we know already: a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8 megapixel camera with flash and 1080p video recording. The RAZR has a non-removable 1800mAh battery, which Motorola claim will give you up to 10 hours of 3G talk time. No LTE connectivity for Europe I’m afraid: instead the RAZR supports HSDPA up to 14.4Mbit/s. There’s also a microSD card slot with support up to 32GB, and perhaps most intriguing is the fact that the phone takes a microSIM like the iPhone 4S.

  

The 4.3” qHD (960×540) Super AMOLED display is bright, sharp, and vibrant. On closer inspection it seems clear that this is a PenTile arrangement, although it’s not as egregious as PenTile displays of the past thanks to the pixel density. Viewing angles were generally good, with a slight blue tint at the most extreme angles. Overall it’s not quite as impressive as the Super AMOLED Plus display on the Samsung Galaxy S II, but those who value resolution will be happy.

As we all know though, specs aren’t everything, and Motorola have been keen to highlight certain software features of the RAZR which they think will help you out in day to day use.

First is MotoCast: rather than relying on the cloud, Motorola have opted to provide a piece of software that the end user can install on their PC, and in tandem with the RAZR stream whatever media they choose to the phone over 3G or WiFi. We saw a quick demo of MotoCast in action, and have to say it works as advertised – the RAZR was able to stream music over 3G flawlessly from a remote computer. If you think you’re not going to have access to the Internet for a while, then you can also download the content to the phone for consumption later on.

The other feature is Smart Actions, which allows you to program customizable triggers. For example, if the battery reaches a certain level, you can teach the RAZR to automatically turn off some or all radios to preserve battery life. You can program the phone to turn WiFi on when you come home, or set the phone to silent when you go into the office. There’s quite an array of options at your disposal, and we have to say it’s a good idea with a neat implementation.

Anyone who caught the news that the Droid RAZR’s bootloader would be locked will be glad to hear that the European version won’t suffer the same fate… kind of. From the sound of things, the bootloader will be unlockable, but not at launch. The details aren’t confirmed yet but it seems Motorola will take a similar approach to HTC and require you to unlock the bootloader via a website.

There’s also the issue of Ice Cream Sandwich, although Motorola were definitely quick to clarify the situation following Samsung and Google’s announcement earlier today. They say that there will be an over the air update in the first half of 2012.

        

All in all, the Motorola RAZR is a very attractive device with impressive features to back it all up. We definitely came away pleasantly surprised from our hands-on. Availability has only been confirmed for November, and there aren’t any pricing details yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as there’s any news.

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