Monday, 19 December 2011

Motorola RAZR XT910 Review


For quite some time now the Samsung Galaxy S II has been riding high, being the most impressive mobile handset in the Android basket. But that was in the past. The one responsible for dethroning the S II is Motorola’s all new RAZR XT910. The company has restructured its once “cutting-edge” series with what could easily be a serious ‘milestone’ for the company, since Google got on board. Here’s a closer look. 

Form Factor
As of now the S II is no longer the slimmest smartphone on the shelf as the RAZR is a little over a millimeter slimmer at 7.1mm. It features a rather impressive looking 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen that’s extremely clear and legible in all lighting conditions, irrespective of intensity. The colours are sharp and quite intense, but just a little on the darker side. A few diamond-cut aluminium accents add to the overall elegance of the design and thanks to its KEVLAR fiber (not it’s not bullet proof) and splash-guard coating that extends to the boards on the inside of the handset, it’s also quite a durable device. It survived quite a few drops and rigorous use over a week or so and emerged unscathed. The S II, as great a device as that is, always felt a bit ‘plastic-y’, for lack of a better term. The RAZER is quite a contrast and gives off a very cool, distinguished look with a premium-like finish.
A little wide for small hands though
A little wide for small hands though


Micro HDMI, USB and 3.5mm handsfree sockets are also located at the top of the device. This may not be the best location, specifically for the charging port as it can inhibit your comfort level to hold the device while taking a call. A silver screen lock/power button is located on the right side just above the volume rocker. Following the latest trend of ‘uni-body’ designs, the RAZR is equipped with a flap on the bottom left side that’s the entry point for inserting a micro SIM and micro SD card. In addition to support for up to 32GB of external memory, the RAZR also comes with 8GB of internal storage leaving you with plenty of space for media et al. An 8MP AF camera with an LED flash is located at the rear near the built in speaker that is loud and quite clear for calls or other audio. A 1.3MP front facing camera is also on board for video calls via chat networks.
It doesn't get any slimmer than this... yet
It doesn't get any slimmer than this... yet


The RAZR comes off as a well designed device that looks polished enough for the Board Room and durable enough for most other landscapes as well.
HDMI as well
HDMI as well


Features and Performance 
Interface
Motorola’s MotoBLUR has been beefed up extensively and functions like a dream on the RAZR. Widgets are fluid and well designed for ease of access. Widgets can even be resized and moved around with gridlines providing you assistance throughout. The only drawbacks are that the homescreens don’t loop and don’t switch orientation in landscape. The main Apps Menu does translate well into landscape and even allows you to create groups but not folders. Swype is pre-installed and makes typing a speedy task once you get used to it. The large screen also facilitates quick typing on the landscape full screen QWERTY keypad.
A refined UI for an elegant looking handset
A refined UI for an elegant looking handset


Running on a 1.2GHz Dual Core processor with 1GB of RAM, you’re quite assured of speedy handling and the RAZR delivers quite well on this promise. There is, however the tiniest hint of lag that’s only noticeable when you look for it, but other than that it’s every bit as good as the Galaxy S II with a slightly less cramped UI in our opinion. With Android Gingerbread, a swipe to the right from the lock screen will directly activate the camera that opens up within an instant.
AI for your peace of mind
AI for your peace of mind


A feature called Smart Actions is what makes the RAZR seriously stand out as a true ‘Smart’ phone. It takes into account a variety of factors, such as battery usage, location etc. and provides extremely helpful options on how to preserve power or get the best out of the handset. For instance, based on a location that you can pre-determine or the handset recognizes as one that you seem to be at most of the day, it offers choices of Work or At Home and allows you to define settings for a profile. The profile will automatically change the moment you arrive at the destination. The Smart Action app acts as a sort of AI for the handset and offers up some seriously handy tips to save on battery life as wellMedia
Motorola’s audio management has always been reasonably sound. It might always be something to write home about, but the RAZR XT910 is worthy of a mention in any correspondence going in that direction. With a few EQ presets and Surround Sound settings thrown in, for both earphones and the speaker phone, audio quality was quite enjoyable. Using our standard test earphones, we found the audio quality to be quite satisfactory. The bass tones could have been just a little lower, though, but high tones were well balanced and clear. What the RAZR lacks is an FM radio that’s become quite standard in most smartphones. The bundled handsfree with in-ear styled earpieces didn’t appeal to us in terms of aesthetics, however, they were quite capable for both voice calls and other audio.
For viewing HD videos, it's a cinch
For viewing HD videos, it's a cinch
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There was one major glitch, though, and we’re hoping it’s the case with just this test piece – after trying to use a handsfree kit of another manufacturer, the handset's audio system went on the fritz. We were unable to use any type of earphone or handsfree, including the bundled kit with the device. It seemed like the socket itself was damaged. The speakerphone was just fine, though, but the handset refused to switch over to wired headsets. Up to that point however, there was no issue. If you already own the device and are facing a similar problem, please let us know.

The RAZR XT910 supports quite a few video formats that include – MOV, WMV and a few AVI files as well. If coded correctly, you’ll very easily be able to watch full HD videos without a hitch on the native player. The good thing about some of the smartphone OS’ is that they feature third party video players that can read pretty much all formats you can throw at them.

Connectivity
Aside from 3G connectivity (14.4 Mbps) the RAZR is also equipped to handle Wi-Fi (with hot spot creation) and comes with DLNA support for media streaming and wireless data transfer as well via MotoCast that also syncs your device. The Social Networking app lets you connect to your FB, Twitter and other SN accounts and view all the latest updates on one screen. There’s also a gallery app that syncs with your FB account and pulls all the latest images off your wall into one space. Flash 11 support makes the browsing experience much better and, like any other smartphone in its range, setting up e-mail is simple and syncing accounts with Active Sync and Microsoft Exchange isn’t a major task, either.
Kevlar coated for maximum damage control
Kevlar coated for maximum damage control


Another feature that’s gravely missed is navigation software like MotoNav that was preloaded onto devices like the MILESTONE. The RAZER, in all its glory, comes with all of Google’s standard offerings, but misses out on this rather crucial feature. MotoNav was a pretty good GPS software and would have truly enhanced the RAZR’s overall value. Social Locations, which just seems like yet another social network/location-based service is however provided. 

Misc Features
A couple of preloaded apps Motorola has bundled with the RAZR, include GoToMeeting, which is a software designed for business class users or just those with busy lives who will be able to partake in meetings with other users while on the go. QuickOffice is also on board and so are features like a TaskManager, Voice Command Support built in (it’s no Siri but does a fair enough job), a Sticky Notes widget and Google’s Voice Search. News and Weather apps are also provided along with the basics like a calendar for syncing with Google and Facebook for keeping track of appointments, birthdays and other anniversaries. It even offers MOTOPrint for wireless printing when required.
Ready for business
Ready for business


Camera
The 8MP shooter is capable of full HD video recording i.e. 1080p @30fps. Although video quality is really quite good, as far as its competition is concerned, image capture is just about fair. With features that include touch focus, Geotagging, a few effects, Panorama, Multi shot and a timer, and exposure control you’ll get some pretty decent pictures in outdoor conditions with details retained to quite an extent. But indoor, in low lighting, we expected much more. That being said, the camera doesn’t really hamper the overall performance and manages to perform adequately. The lack of a dedicated shutter release can prove to be an issue for some. The 1.3 megapixel front facing camera can record video at up to 720p.
Image quality is not bad
Image quality is not bad


Battery
The RAZR XT910 has a 1780mAh battery under the hood, which is, unfortunately, not removable. It ran for a total of 7 hours in our stand alone video test, which is above average. In our tech2 Loop Test, we managed to get through 1 loop (2 hours video, 2 hours audio, 2 hours audio streaming via Wi-Fi and 1.5 hours talk time) with Wi-Fi constantly on downloading emails and providing notifications throughout. We began Loop 2 and squeezed a good 1 hour's worth of calls and almost 20 minutes more of video as well. In real time usage we found, with heavy usage, it would be necessary to charge the handset at the end of the day. 3G usage, instead of EDGE drastically reduced battery life, of course and that required us to charge the handset by the end of a work day, if we didn’t want to run out of juice while commuting back home. But you’re pretty much ok with about 9 hours of non-stop usage. 

The Bottom Line
With a price tag of Rs.33, 990 (MRP) the RAZR XT910 proves to be every bit as good as the Samsung Galaxy S II with a slightly more refined feel in the looks department and a few extra features that are definitely worth having. Sure it does have a few issues as well, and it’s hard to find a handset, even today, that doesn’t. If you’re looking for that heavy duty device for work or play for the New Year, right now, the RAZR XT should definitely be at the top of your wish list.

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