Motorola Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD Review

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The US likely doesn’t need an introduction to the Droid RAZR line from Verizon, as we’ve seen Big Red push the handsets to no end and have seen multiple devices from the Droid RAZR family come out this year. Now we have two new entries into the club, and they’re both the best in their class. The new devices would be the Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD.

Virtually identical, the MAXX, as you’d expect, is rocking a larger battery. Both handsets have powerful innards, but are these the go-to Droid handsets? Read on to find out!

The Good
  • One of the most solid handsets we've come across
  • Large battery will get you through the day easily
  • Close to stock Android experience
The Bad
  • Design could look a bit underwhelming from many iterations
  • Camera is decent but could be better

Hardware

Since both devices are so similar, we're mostly going to focus on the RAZR HD and add in some details when they become specific to the RAZR MAXX HD.

From top to bottom, inside out, the RAZR HD is a solid device. The spec list runs long and the power underneath the hood of the device should satisfy even the most hungry power users around.

The face of the Droid RAZR HD is exactly what you'd expect it to be. The 4.7 inch Super AMOLED HD (720p) display is accompanied by the Verizon logo below, and the 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, ear piece, proximity and ambient light sensors, and Motorola's logo above it. Perhaps one of our favorite tweaks we've seen in some of Motorola's more recent phones is the LED notification light that's built directly into the ear piece. The LED is a small line, and not a circle like most notification LEDs that's fully customizable with applications like Light Flow. We suggest you download immediately to give yourself some control of the LED.

The face of the device is covered in a sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass that just adds to the solid feel. A metal strip lines the sides of the device, adding in another element to emphasize its strength. The top of the handset is where you'll find only the 3.5 mm headphone jack, the right houses the power/lock button and volume rocker, and the left side has the micro USB and micro HDMI ports, and a place to pop in the micro SIM and micro SD card via a small (provided) pin. The bottom the the Droid RAZR HD is clean, with the exception of two exposed screws, which is something we've seen recently on the Optimus G.

The back side of the handset is your standard Motorola affair, of which we take no issue with. Covered in Kevlar, it's easy to see Motorola's choice to make the device as strong as can be. You'll also find the 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, speaker grill, along with another set of Motorola and Verizon logos.

Internally, the Droid RAZR HD is a beast with its 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 CPU and 1GB of RAM. While the new trend in specs is leaning towards  quad-core CPUs and 2GB of RAM, Motorola could indeed make up for that in the customers eyes by making what's quite possibly the most solid device we've ever touched.

Design

There's nothing and everything to see here, as the new RAZR handsets look similar to what we've seen in previous devices. That said, the industrial design of these handsets are pretty easy on the eyes.

Droid handsets have usually veered away from elegant designs in favor of masculine ones. This doesn't seem to be a problem with the ladies, though, as I've seen quite a few women rocking Droid RAZR handsets. The design is a nice combination of what a Droid device should look like, while maintaining a look that everyone can enjoy.

Build Quality

The in-hand feel of both devices is superb. Between the solid glass panel on the front and the Kevlar backside, the Droid RAZR HD feels like you're wearing some brass knuckles in you hand. It's just that solid.

This is easily the strongest handset we've ever come across, and easily challenging anything HTC has put out in the build department (but not design and style). Nonetheless, if strength is what you're looking for, then you have an option that likely will stay on the top of the smartphone pile in the build quality department for a very long time.

Software

The software experience on the RAZR HD is fairly close to stock Android, with just a few customizations sprinkled in. We love the quick toggles screen that is accessible by swiping to the left on the main homescreen panel, and the clock widget that provides relevant information like battery status, weather, and more.

We're more than impressed that Motorola has comes this far in terms of its software, even though Google likely had a large hand in scaling it back. That said, Motorola's software was leaning towards stock Android anyway, and it's definitely welcomed.

One minuscule downside is that you'll find Verizon bloatware littered throughout your app drawer, but we had no trouble disabling these applications in the settings.

Web Browser, Multimedia And Camera

Camera

Historically never a strong suit in Motorola handsets, the camera on the Droid RAZR HD is a weak point. However, it's miles better than the mess of a sensor that was put into the likes of the Atrix 2 and other devices.

Although the camera ( including the physical sensor itself and the rather bad software that hasn't changed in a very long time) isn't the best experience, it's not completely inept. In great lighting conditions, the RAZR HD is capable of taking completely acceptable photos for MMS and sharing to social networks, but they just aren't going to be a quality that would make you want to print them out. But there are a few gems that are great.

The RAZR HD can take some nice photos, but one of the main issues we had in our testing were photos that came out significantly darker than they should be. Check out the samples below.

 

Call Quality And Battery Life

Call quality on both handsets was great and that's thanks to Verizon's network. Calls were loud and clear on both ends, with no interference or degradation at all. If you remember to use the devices as a phone, you shouldn't have any troubles in the call quality department.

Even without the extra 770mAh battery found in the RAZR MAXX HD, the Maxx-less RAZR HD should definitely satisfy many users. With most newer Android handsets just barely passing the 2000 mAh battery threshold, an average user may not even need the extra battery the MAXX HD provides. It will really come down to how often and heavily you use your phone and if the extra 770 mAh is worth another $100 for you. Either way, battery life is going to be exceptional on both of these devices, even with LTE.

 

The Final Take

If you've been interested in the Droid RAZR lineup but have yet to jump the shark yet, this would be the time to. Both the Droid RAZR HD and MAXX HD are solidly built handsets that will be able to take a beating that's well beyond normal wear and tear. It seems that way, anyway. Couple that with a nice display and snappy processor and you have a phone that is going to impress a lot of people.

The software experience on the handsets is so close to stock that it's almost disappointing that Motorola added in the customizations that it did. Still, it's really hard to complain about. Motorola is smart to move away from heavy customizations and it's something we wish other handset-makers would follow suit with. We know that won't happen, though.

Even with some concerns with the camera, there's just too much to like about both the Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD to not consider them.

With an all day battery life and some high-end specs, these are by far the best iterations of the Droid RAZR family ever.

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ned.danov Ned Danov

    The same old story with the quality of the camera and supporting software.
    I remember the first RAZR GSM the flip phone) when came out.Such a great design and such a poor camera.Then back Moto had excuses it can not fit better one in such an thin design and now they do not want to fit better shooter.
    I have been waiting for this set but I am not going to have it because of that.We are taking pictures not only to share them via web, but for a memorizing the moment, place we have been to, etc. and if we can compromise with quality for faster share over web, I do not think anybody want to compromise quality of their memories stored in form of pictures or video.
    My present Moto DEFY is probably the last Moto device I will have and I have been with Moto devices since 1997.Got some feelings but needs dictates today.Quality over quantity everywhere on everything.       

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