Motorola abused its dominant position by filing patent-related injunction requests against Apple,...
Motorola Razr i Review
Eight years ago, when the Android 4.0, Intel inside-toting Razr i wasn’t even a glint in Motorola’s eye, something revolutionary happened in phone land. Motorola launched the Razr line.
This was a time when Nokia ruled the phone world; an age where Ericsson and Motorola were the other big boys, Samsung was a bit of an also-ran trying to compete but struggling, and Apple… well, it had not long launched the iPod, which "put 1,000 songs in your pocket."
Indeed, Apple teamed up with Motorola to launch the first iTunes enabled phone, the ROKR (which was a dismal failure) before deciding that it could do the whole thing better itself.
Apple’s iPhone line has now arguably become the most successful of all time – five million iPhone 5 handsets sold in the first three days. Which puts Motorola’s 130m Razrs in four years into perspective.
Motorola’s Razr line never really died. It just fell into a coma, with the occasional slumber of consciousness across various iterations. And now, under the ownership (although, perhaps not the hands-on stewardship) of parent company Google, the Razr is being given another more high profile outing.
With the above in mind, it’s ironic that when we opened the box and pulled the Motorola Razr i out, the first thing we thought was "wow – it looks like an iPhone 5". We know that will have some diehard Apple fanboys clutching their pearls – and we’ll probably go to iHell for saying it – but hold the Motorola Razr i in your mitts and you’ll see what we mean.
Firstly, the size. At 122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3mm (4.8 x 2.4 x 0.3 inches), it’s about the same width and height, albeit a little fatter and slightly heavier, than the iPhone 5.
It also feels similar – the mixture of Kevlar and glass instead of aluminum and glass gives it that premium feel, and Motorola has gone down the same industrialised route as Apple.
Yes, the lines are not as precise – there’s the odd bit of metal thrown in there on the front and there are lots of screws (six! Yes, six screws on show ,with no attempt to hide them) plus various buttons. It’s not as ‘clean’ or minimalist as an iPhone, but we can definitely see what Motorola is trying to do here.
Clearly, it wants the Motorola Razr i to look tough, yet chic; to take that "I’m the man" but also "I’m beautiful" approach in the same way an iPhone does. Like a warehouse conversion apartment in a scruffy part of London, inhabited by somebody elegant and wealthy. It’s a perfect mix and blend of two worlds that works together.
Up top, there’s not much to report apart from a headphone jack, while the right-hand side has two metal buttons (power/standby and camera).
The Motorola Razr i tapers off around the bottom, while the left-hand side holds the micro USB sync/charging port and a little plastic flap that enables you to slot in your SIM and microSD card, so you can expand the 8GB of provided storage by another 64GB.
And those screws… Those damn screws that we’ve looked at over and over again, unable to decide if they look cool or terrible.
A brief mention of the SIM tray – and we would recommend removing children from the area when inserting it, since this phone will make you utter many profanities. The simplest of tasks – inserting a micro SIM into a Motorola Razr i – was, unfortunately, one of the most laborious things we’ve ever done. In fact, we’d go so far as to say it is hideous.
There’s no spring, no real guidance there, and we spent 45 minutes trying to do it. The tweezers were out at one point. We’ll never get those minutes back. Awful.
Around the back, you’ve got that Kevlar coating just beneath the 8MP rear camera, which is accompanied by a flash.
Speaking of cameras, you’ll find another around the front. It’s VGA, so you’re not going to win any photography awards with it, but it’ll do for checking for stray nose hairs when you’re on the bus. Oh, that’s just us? Moving swiftly on…
The big selling point for Motorola is the screen. It’s an edge to edge display, meaning there is no wasted space at the side taken up by an annoying bezel.
Apart from an annoying black bar at the bottom of the screen that eats into the display. It’s obviously there for a reason, but it takes the gloss off the experience ever so slightly.
Nevertheless, this is a pretty great display. It’s smaller than many these days, at 4.3 inches across, and with a 540 x 960 pixel display (256ppi density). Being a Super AMOLED panel, blacks are very black and colours are incredibly vivid. Whites can appear a little bit yellow, which we noticed on websites and in the Gmail app, but it’s nothing too severe.
In fact, our only complaint with the screen is that pixel density. It shows just how much we’ve changed that we now think that’s a little ‘third world’, but it just can’t match something like the iPhone‘s Retina display or similar panels on the Samsung Galaxy S3 or HTC One X.
It’s not bad – and regular users probably won’t even notice. But spotting pixels has become a bit of a pastime for many of us as technology has moved on, and you can definitely see them when you zoom into text, which is a shame, because it’s the only fly in a perfectly concocted ointment.
And of course, the other selling point is the chip inside. This is one of the first Intel Inside phones to hit the UK – and the first Motorola branded one – with a single-core 2GHz brain inside.
Price-wise, the Motorola Razr i is fairly reasonable. The European phone is being marketed at the higher end of mid-range and so, to pick one up SIM free in the UK, you’ll need to fork out just under £400 (about AU$620, US$648).
You can get it free on two year contracts for £23-£31 (around AU$36-48, US37-$50) per month, which is actually quite reasonable, even though we think 24-month terms are the devil’s work.
The Motorola Razr i is being pitched right alongside the likes of the Sony Xperia S and the HTC One S – both very capable handsets. However, they’ve been out for a while longer – and that may just be enough to edge the Motorola Razr i forward in your affections.
If you’ve ever owned a Motorola Android device before, chances are that at least once, you threw it deliberately under a bus or purposefully whacked yourself over the head with a frying pan repeatedly.
Only a previous Motorola user could appreciate the true pain of having to use MotoBlur.
But we’re looking to the future, not the past, so we’ll park Motorola’s dreadful Android interface firmly where it deserves to die a slow, painful death and tell you that the skin atop the Motorola Razr i is actually a real pleasure to use.
As it ships, the handset comes running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, but Motorola is pushing the Jelly Bean update out to the Razr i as we speak, so we’ll update this review fully when it lands on ours.
Firstly, because Google owns Motorola now. And secondly, because this is a high-powered, brand new and flagship handset. Motorola will be super keen to make the most of it.
Motorola has kept the interface pretty basic. As with most Android phones, you get a dock at the bottom with shortcuts to preconfigured apps (which you can alter) and your app drawer.
Motorola’s tweaked some of the icons for non-Google apps in its own style. We think they look a bit boring, but personal tastes will differ.
The main thing you notice on turning it on is the home screen on the Motorola Razr i has a rather nifty widget.
It’s a simple idea – three interlinked bubbles that provide you with shortcuts to things such as clock functions, weather and battery levels. But it’s really handy.
Of course, if you’re not a fan, with this being an Android device, it’s fairly simple for you to delete it and replace it with one of a gazillion other widgets – including one that counts down the sleeps left to Christmas. Yes, one does exist.
The default setup gives you two home screens and then when you swipe to the right, it brings up a page management system that enables you to create a blank home page or use a default template, which is a really nice touch.
We hoped we wouldn’t be able to max it out, but once we got to seven, there was no way of adding more home screens – unless you go down the third party launcher route, that is.
Swipe to the left and you get a quick settings tab that enables you to toggle things that are all important, such as Wi-Fi and GPS.
It’s exactly the kind of stuff other OEMs add to the top of the notification bar, and we wish Motorola had actually done that and followed the lead of Samsung and others.
Swiping to the left just feels a little more convoluted when you’re in home screen number three or have to come out of an app to change something simple.
The notification bar itself is typical Android – no Motorola customisations there. And Motorola has elected to keep it blue, which we’re big fans of.
It instantly identifies the operating system as Ice Cream Sandwich to users (or geeks like us).
One other thing that identifies the OS as ICS is the lack of physical home buttons.
Unlike Samsung and others, Motorola has obeyed Google and eschewed physical buttons for the ones you get on the screen instead.
Some like this approach, some hate it, but regardless, that’s the way Motorola is playing it. Hardly surprising, considering who the daddy is.
Provided you don’t put a lock on the home screen, it’s pretty much untouched and has the ability to go straight into one of a number of apps, depending on which way you swipe it.
There’s also a rather handy ability to toggle the ringtone on and off on here.
One thing we’re not massive fans of is the way the phone vibrates when it unlocks. This is because the battery is sealed in, like on the Razr Maxx, and you get the feeling that there is a lot of hollowness in there.
As a result, every time the phone vibrates, it just ends up feeling a little cheap, rattling about and being a little too noisy.
The app drawer is standard Ice Cream Sandwich too, with your apps nearly laid out into rows and a widgets tab to the right enabling you to preview your widgets before you commit them to screen.
It seems an age ago that you had to view a list of widgets and actually install them on a home screen to see if you liked them. Thankfully you don’t have to any more.
There is also another tab called Favourites, which enables you to access your favourites. Funny that.
While we’re on the subject of the app drawer, we just have to point out, once again, the amazing colours of the Super AMOLED screen. You really notice it here, because apps are set against a black background.
It really has to be seen to be believed – they just seem to float on nothingness because the background is so black. Motorola has done very well here.
All in all, we’d say that this is a really intuitive system. Android gets a bad press in the Apple vs Google fan wars, with some saying iOS is so much easier to use for a novice.
And while we’re inclined to agree, we think that the Motorola Razr i is a handset that anybody with a vague inkling of how smartphones work could pick up and easily get to grips with.
Contacts and calling
Although we appear to use our smartphones less for talking and more for other communications these days, they still need to be able to make phone calls satisfactorily. That goes without saying.
And it doesn’t need saying with the Motorola Razr i, because it’s a very competent phone.
That’s no surprise really – Motorola has been making phones since humans started making babies, and it has a long history of manufacturing other communication devices too, such as walkie talkies and pagers.
We’d be pretty shocked if the Motorola Razr i was a bad phone.
Calls were clear and succinct to listen to. If we have one criticism, it’s that we’d have liked a little more bass, but that’s being really picky.
Volume was loud via both the earpiece and the speakerphone, and connections were strong.
In fact, at times they looked a little too optimistic, but then the Motorola Razr i did deliver with a signal when we tried to catch it out.
It was also very good at maintaining a Wi-Fi connection in places we would normally expect the signal to dwindle.
The contacts app is standard Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a little adjustment.
When you go into it and look at your friends and acquaintances, it lists them with larger thumbnails of the numbers you call most frequently.
With photos in these contacts, it looks great. This is actually the Favourites section of the app.
You also get a Recent Calls tab and a dialler that looks phenomenal.
Again, that almost impossible black set against the cool blue ICS colour scheme just blows us away.
You can search through your contacts in a number of ways – by typing them in manually, by using smart dialling or by using the voice actions app.
We had low expectations of the voice recognition with names, but were very pleasantly surprised.
The only name it was thrown by was a friend of ours from Somalia who’s name is hard to pronounce – let alone recognise – at the best of times.
Goodness knows what algorithms Motorola is using here, but we’re fans.
You can also add widgets to particular contacts on your home screen, thanks to the way Android works.
That means you can call or text individual people with the minimum of effort or even send them an email or a WhatsApp. You can download third-party versions if you’d prefer a different look.
Other than that, the contacts app is pretty standard Ice Cream Sandwich fare. We had few complaints with it – it does what it is supposed to do well.
Our gripes were more cosmetic – for example, it does a good job of downloading contacts’ profile photos, but we ended up with loads of duplicate entries that the system couldn’t seem to combine.
In our opinion, nothing has ever come close to the sorcery that is HTC Sense, here.
This being an Android handset, you’re not limited by anything other than your imagination when it comes to sending messages.
Texts, emails, Skype, WhatsApp, ICQ, the list goes on and on.
Download whatever you want from Google Play and you’ll find yourself able to communicate on everything but the astral plane.
The actual messages app is the standard Ice Cream Sandwich one that handles text messages and MMS very competently.
There isn’t a massive amount you can say about it, other than it does what it’s meant to and leaves you (or certainly, it left us) with no room for complaint.
Email can be handled in one of two ways. If you have a Gmail account, you can use the excellent official Gmail app.
If you’ve not used an Android phone since before Ice Cream Sandwich, take it from us – the Gmail app is light years ahead of what came before. You have amazing search capabilities, labelling facilities and an all round brilliant push email app.
There’s also a fantastic widget to accompany it. In fact, our only complaint is Google’s complete lack of ability to sort out HTML emails. When you get them, you have to pan around with your finger. There’s no way of pinching in to zoom out and show an overview.
The default iOS client has had this nailed since day one. Then again, to this day, that same Apple client is absolutely appalling when it comes to Gmail search, so it’s horses for courses.
For all other email clients (so, POP3, IMAP and Exchange), Motorola gives you its take on the Android email client. It’s a pleasing affair that enables you to handle messaging with aplomb, and has some nice hidden gems.
For example, swiping over your messages will carry out one of a number of preconfigured actions of your choice (such as marking as unread, for example) without you having to delve through reams of menus.
Unfortunately, when you turn the Motorola Razr i on its side, you don’t get it automatically going into a split screen view like you do with, say, the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Social networking is easily added, but it isn’t included out of the box. It seems that Motorola has gone in completely the opposite direction to previous iterations here.
When you compare it to the MotoBlur we lambasted before (which required sign ins and sign ups galore on setup), it’s quite a liberating experience.
It’s much easier to just download the networking apps you want, install them, and sign in. Doing it that way rids you of the clutter, and you’ll find that all of the major solutions are available for download.
Having said that, that’s because we know what we’re doing, and we wonder how Dad would manage when he just wants to read his Facebook or "do a Twitter" as soon as he turns the thing on.
Typing a message is easy enough, but we’re not huge fans of the keyboard. It’s standard Android, and the keys are far too small for this screen.
It’s not a problem though, since one of the big advantages of an open OS is the fact that you can install alternative input methods. We recommend Swiftkey or Swype, which are both very advanced. But there are dozens of others too. Again though, a novice may not realise this.
For web surfing, Android phones give you a fantastic experience. Would you expect less from an operating system built by a web giant?
The browser on the Motorola Razr i is the standard Android app that, in itself, is very good.
Pages look great zoomed out and in, and you have added extras such as the ability to request the desktop version of a site from within the apps’s menu, which can make a huge difference.
There are still some sites that are arrogant enough that, even when you tell them you want the desktop site, they still force the mobile version on you (*cough* Twitter *cough*) but, by and large, the browser manages to get around this.
You also get Flash. Yes, we know it’s not relevant. Google itself is stopping support for Flash as of Android Jelly Bean, and Adobe has removed it from the Google Play store (well, it removed it, then re-added it as a temporary measure so punters could still use BBC iPlayer).
But even though the world is moving to HTML5, some sites still use Flash, and it will take a long time for the whole internet to be updated.
With that in mind, it’s nice to know you’ll still be able to visit pages that aren’t necessarily future-proof.
Pages are quick to load over Wi-Fi and 3G/HSDPA internet, and that Intel chip in the Motorola Razr i gives them an extra shove.
We loaded the Daily Mail home page (don’t ask!) and it took more than 10 seconds over Wi-Fi.
That is a data-heavy page, and we could actually scroll around after two seconds and do all we needed to do. It doesn’t get much quicker than this.
3G only added a marginal amount of time on top. Unfortunately, the UK version doesn’t appear to be 4G ready, unless we’re missing something, so you won’t be getting something future-proof here.
Text reflow works and pages can be resized by the usual methods: tapping and pinching.
And if you aren’t a fan of the browser, one of the great things about Android is the presence of so many reputable alternatives.
Our favourite is Chrome, partly because of how easily it syncs elements such as your history and desktop bookmarks. The whole experience is pretty seamless.
In fact, Google clearly thinks so, and when this handset is presumably upgraded to Jelly Bean 4.1, you’ll find that Chrome replaces the standard browser.
As for bookmarks on the included browser, they’re OK. Standard Android fare, really.
They’re displayed as thumbnails but have to be entered manually. There’s nothing earth shattering there.
The camera on the Motorola Razr i is 8MP. Granted, that’s hardly cutting edge.
But it’s certainly the favoured spec among manufacturers these days, and as our readers remind us every time we bemoan the lack of megapixel numbers in reviews, it’s just as much about the lens, aperture and so on, anyway. We hear you.
Firstly, the interface. It’s neither overly complicated, nor so bare that it’s a nuisance. You have access to standard features such as timer or single shot mode, exposure settings, pointless effects (seriously, does anyone actually take photos in negative mode?) and the option to flit between portrait and landscape and so on.
The quality of the camera is OK. We can’t really say much more. In good light, pictures come out well.
Photos are passable, but you can tell they came from a camera phone, which is a line that is becoming more and more blurred as technology advances.
Check out the outdoor photo we took in Covent Garden on a bright day. Colours are well represented, and when you turn the HDR mode on, they look even better.
Indoors with good light gives pleasing results.
Black & White and Negative modes are both pretty run of the mill these days.
Focusing is done automatically, but if you don’t trust the camera, you’re welcome to have a go yourself and refocus by tapping. The shutter speed is very good in the right conditions.
This shot of the dog in the park was captured as she was running, and while most other phones (including even the Galaxy S3) would have blurred, the Motorola Razr i put in a stellar performance.
Sadly, when the light starts to dim and you use the flash, it starts to go a bit more downhill. It’s not that pictures look bad – but more that the focus isn’t as sharp, and the light doesn’t look as nice.
The flash works well in pitch black conditions, though colours are not very warm.
The front facing camera is VGA only. It’s a bit of a disappointment, since it means lower quality images, but then again, the idea behind these cameras is that they’re used more for video calls than vanity. And since bandwidth issues mean you’re not going to be sending the most high definition video around, it’s all passable enough.
Getting into video shooting mode is easy enough – as with most phones, on the Motorola Razr i, you enter through the camera mode and then just toggle on.
You can shoot in a number of different resolutions – ranging from QVGA, all the way up to HD+ (1080p), which is the standard resolution and selected by default.
The Motorola Razr i’s HD+ videos look fantastic – especially when you view them back on the screen of the phone. Again, this is because of that amazing Super AMOLED colour quality that made our video of the traffic near Harrods in London look almost like it was 3D – so good was the clarity.
Alas, this is where we managed to stump the Intel chip. We thought it was unbeatable. It’s not. Playing that HD+ video back on the phone led to some serious stutter every few seconds. We were really shocked.
One thing we will say for the camera though, is that it is one of the best we have tested for going from pitch black to bright light with minimal fuss. In this video, you can see how well it copes between two extremes where many other (more expensive and advanced) devices have struggled.
Again, there are a smattering of filters (such as that useless Negative effect) and there is the opportunity to record an MMS video or full video. The only problem with this is that you have to decide before you film your clip how you’ll be using it.
You can zoom in during a video and even mute the sound, but bizarrely, you can’t toggle the light on and off. This is annoying, because it means that if you are walking around and move into a darker area, you have to stop filming and start again to turn it on and off.
It’s a silly omission, and one we hope Motorola will fix at some point with a software update.
Some would say Android devices such as the Motorola Razr i are closing the gap on iPods and iPhones.
After all, storage-wise, you can now make an Android device far larger for all of your HD video and music content.
With 64GB cards available, add that to whatever your internal storage is and you can see why.
Plus, there are various apps for both Windows and Mac that enable you to sync your content easily enough via cable or Wi-Fi.
One other benefit is sound quality. Apple users are almost completely stuck with the Apple music player software, though they can change their headphones to make things sound better.
But on the software side, there are so many Android music players that enable you to play around with equaliser settings, enabling superior sound quality before you even plug your cans in.
You don’t find many pre-installed on the Motorola Razr i. Out of the box, you just have the standard Music app, which is a competent music player, but won’t set your world alight.
Our advice would be to download a third-party one pronto. PlayerPro, Double Twist, Rocket and Winamp are all great alternatives we’d recommend.
We found that when transferring music across from a Mac using the excellent iSyncr software, we synced across everything aside from individual playlists.
Considering we didn’t encounter an issue with third party software, we assume it was a problem with the Google app.
Albums are displayed with their artwork intact, and it all looks visually pleasing.
Should you wish to play around with the settings, there is an equaliser in there, but it made very little difference to our ears.
Sound quality is very much controlled by the individual app – which again reiterates why you should explore third-party solutions. You can control the playback from the app itself or by using a widget.
Two come as standard, but remember the Google Play store is your friend, and is a treasure trove of goodies for things such as this. You’ll find all major formats are accepted. We certainly had no issues.
Onto video, and those of you who remember the first Android device – the T-Mobile (HTC) G1 – will recall the horror that it didn’t come with a video player onboard.
We almost had the same heartbeat-skipping moment when we realised there was no app installed on the Motorola Razr i called ‘movie player’ or anything like that.
Thankfully, there is one – you just have to look for it. Aside from the cruder method of watching movies from the gallery, Motorola has elected to follow Google’s lead and consolidate all videos in the Google Play app.
Your rented movies and those you’ve purchased through the service are in the same part of the phone as your personal videos, separated by tabs. It makes sense when you think about it.
Watching videos on the device is a pleasure because of that Super AMOLED screen – yes, the one we keep banging on about.
The rich contrast between the black and other colours makes videos look fantastic.
Yes, the screen is small so it will be a bit of an annoyance if you’re planning on watching all of the Harry Potter films back to back (and if you are, please have a word with yourself).
But for watching an episode of The Thick of it on the train, you could do a lot worse.
The other advantage is that the Motorola Razr is so damn light. Holding it won’t strain your arm, which is a distinct advantage if you spend time standing around and can’t rest it on your knee.
We see enough iPad owners on the tube in the mornings with weak wrists who make our point for us.
There’s also a nifty little video editing app that comes pre-loaded on the Motorola Razr i. It’s not iMovie, but it’s by no means a slouch, and enables basic editing with manipulation of tracks and enables you to add music.
And of course, you can watch YouTube to your heart’s content. This Google-owned phone manufacturer has provided the great Google video service’s app for you to stream. And as always it does the task well.
Photos are accessed via the standard Android gallery. It’s cheap and cheerful and shows photos in a grid format, but again, we’d recommend a third-party app such as QuickPic.
It’s a shame Motorola hasn’t made more of an effort here and provided something like the Samsung Galaxy S3‘s gallery, which adds individual little tweaks, but we imagine it has its hand forced here by Google a little.
Also, we’re sad to report there is no FM radio. Some may say they’re less relevant these days on devices that store dozens of gigabytes of music compared to something like an old Nokia 7250i, but lots of us do listen to the FM radio habitually.
It wouldn’t have been a big thing for Motorola to shove in, so we’re sorry it didn’t bother, but at least you can download something such as TuneIn Radio that (as long as you have a good signal) will furnish you with clarity, choice and the ability to record.
If you want to stream your footage, you’re in luck. DLNA is fully integrated and supported. Better than some other devices we’ve used, in fact.
It’s an understated feature on this phone. There’s no big, grand DLNA app anywhere to signal its announcement and confuse novices – it’s just quietly baked into the phone. Open a video, tap the icon that pops up at the top of the screen and the Motorola Razr i will instantly find devices to stream to.
In fact, we were shocked how quickly it did this. It found our Samsung TV instantly and offered to stream. We hit yes, assuming that it wouldn’t work, only for it to knock us off our perch. And earn us a punch in the arm from the other half who was watching The Great British Bake Off at the time. Thanks Motorola.
Battery life and connectivity
If you’re after a work horse that won’t let you down, we heartily recommend the Motorola Razr i. Yes, it’s small – but it has a whopping 2000mAh battery inside.
OK, so 2000mAh may not be ginormous these days – but when you consider that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is powered by a 2100mAh pack and that has a much larger, sharper screen that itself is almost bigger than the entire Motorola Razr i handset, you can see how this phone is instantly going to be better off.
Motorola hasn’t given exact estimates away for the talk time, but various sources point to claims of about 20 hours.
The fact of the matter is, talk time estimates are a load of baloney these days anyway, because we don’t use our phones solely to talk. Screen time on is a huge drain, as is the fluctuating strength of internet connections.
In our usage, we took the Motorola Razr i off charge on Sunday morning at about 10am. We then spent about 45 minutes setting it up, downloading apps and so on.
We made about 20 minutes worth of calls over the course of the day, had Twicca checking our Twitter account every 15 minutes and had push email on via Gmail and Exchange. We sent about 25 emails between the two accounts. We also streamed some music over Bluetooth for a 10 minute journey and took a handful of photos.
By bedtime at 11pm, the battery was still showing 32%. The following day, we used it sparingly, making about 10 minutes’ worth of phone calls, about 15 minutes of browsing and sending a handful of WhatsApp and text messages.
The phone cut out shortly after 6pm. That’s 30 hours on one charge with moderate use. Pretty good going in this day and age, and certainly better than competitors.
And for such a small little fella, the Motorola Razr i really packs a punch when it comes to connectivity. All the usual suspects are there – Wi-Fi, GPS, HSDPA, NFC and Bluetooth. All work as well as you would expect them to, and we had no issues with any of them.
When we connected the phone via a cable to our Mac, we were instantly prompted to install the Mac compatibility software. Which we did. It just keeps an eye on things and lets you know about software updates.
It’s not the most exciting piece of software, but that said, it warms the heart to know that Apple owners are not being frozen out by Motorola in the way that they have by other manufacturers.
Maps and apps
For anybody toying between this and an Apple device, if you’re in a hurry to get your hands on your new phone, we’re sure even Apple fans will agree (reluctantly) that the mapping solution on the Motorola Razr i is the superior of the two.
Until it sorts itself out, iOS 6 maps is regarded as little more than a joke. While Google maps is the world leader. And rightly so.
The version aboard the Motorola Razr i is 6.12 – the very latest.
And that means that as well as all of the elements we know and love (incredibly sharp and accurate details, public transport advice, streetview, navigation), there is now one more killer feature: offline maps.
That means that you can zoom into a fairly large area spanning a good few miles and have the maps available offline.
For people who regularly visit the countryside where there is little or no signal, or those who are travelling abroad, this will make a massive difference.
Not least because Google maps eats data like a chav eats fried chicken.
Also, you get the Google Navigation software. This can never be underestimated, and we’ve been huge fans since day one.
You get a full, comprehensive GPS sat nav system free as part of the OS.
And what’s more, it’s very reliable. We use it all the time, and only fall back on Co-Pilot if we really have to. This in itself is a major selling point.
Other apps are downloaded via the Google Play store, which is much more comprehensive since it was rebranded from the Android Market. Apps are sorted into categories, and you can browse by free/paid or by genre.
It’s always worth exercising a little caution on Android, because it is more susceptible to viruses or malware, since it lacks the control Apple enforces on its devices. But with a little caution, you can’t go wrong.
Check reviews: if a device has been downloaded tens of thousands of times and there are hundreds of 4 star endorsements, you’re more than likely going to be OK.
But a good virus killer/checker (of which there are many in there) will also serve you well.
You don’t get that many exciting apps preloaded on the Motorola Razr i from scratch. Of course, you get the usual Google suite, which involves Gmail, Latitude, Music and so on.
But Motorola hasn’t pushed the proverbial boat out too far. Aside from the movie editing app we mentioned before, a desk clock app and an Office document viewer, that’s pretty much your lot.
It’s not a massive issue, because Android has so many apps to offer in the store. But we would still like to have felt that we were getting something for free.
Hands on gallery
Motorola’s done a good job with the Razr i. It’s taken a line that refuses to die quietly, injected it with a little bit of pizzaz and thrown it right out there for all and sundry.
Is it revolutionary? No. Not in the way the original Razr was. Moto has almost exhausted the ‘wow’ factor there by releasing mediocre Razr phones over the years, so the Motorola Razr i has to work extra hard to get punters’ attention.
And the Intel inside selling point isn’t going to make that much of a difference to your average Joe Bloggs. That said, it has a very impressive specs list – and it’s not too expensive. What’s not to like?
The fact that you can expand the storage by up to 64GB makes this an attractive option. And it’s an easy phone to use without too much customisation to confuse Android newbies.
Plus, it works well as a phone, with good signal, and provides you with a top notch, fast internet service.
The camera performed well in good light, but we were left disappointed in anything other than perfect conditions.
The Motorola Razr i isn’t an LTE handset, so when that starts rolling out on EE this year and other networks in a few months time, if you’ve signed up for 24 months, you may find yourself feeling a little cheated and behind the times.
Although Jelly Bean is now being rolled out, the handset still arrives running Android Ice Cream Sandwich for the time being, which seems a little lazy considering Jelly Bean is (sort of) made by the same company.
Would we recommend the Motorola Razr i to friends and family? Yes, without a second’s hesitation. Because not everyone wants a phone that will drop the kids off at school, bake you a cake and give you a massage in the evening.
Some want a device with little pocket imprint, with fantastic specs at a reasonable – rather than stupid – price. And that’s what you’re getting here.
If taking photos is your sole aim or you’re OCD about pixels, look elsewhere. But if getting a top smartphone that leaves you enough change left over for a cod and chips on the way home – and with a battery life to put others to shame – is your goal, then we heartily recommend the Motorola Razr i. Hello, Moto indeed.
By Phil Lavelle, TechRadar