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Motorola Razr XT910 - The new Size Zero
Shayon Pal, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 03, 2012
First Published: 10:07 IST(3/1/2012)
Last Updated: 11:28 IST(3/1/2012)
Motorola Razr
Trust Motorola to come up with the slickest of designs when it comes to mobile phones. The last mobile phone that had gotten us drooling just because of its looks would be the Atrix, another flagship product from Motorola. With just 7.1 mm of thickness and that gorgeous bump at the top, bundled with unibody design and a Kevlar back, it surely does deserve to be christened as a Razr. Couple that with impressively customized Android to power the device and you should be lining out the store right away. But then again, we shall surely suggest you read the rest of this article before you decide to fish out your credit card because even this engineering marvel is not void of a few quirks.

Design
The Razr XT910 sports a beautiful 4.3-inch sAMOLED capacitive touchscreen, built out of the rigid Corning Gorilla Glass, and weighs a meagre 127 grams. Before the critics start crying out foul, I must mention that despite the low weight it is still about 11 grams heavier than the legendary Samsung Galaxy S II. But then again, the additional weight actually makes the phone feel sturdy and well placed in the hands.

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The back has really cool diamond-shaped accents and the Kevlar coating helps the phone stay firm in the palm. There are also metallic accents on the phone’s sides, giving the Razr a very premium finish. Compared to the plasticky appearance of the Galaxy S II, Motorola Razr surely stands out in any pack.

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One of the pain points of Motorola Razr is that it uses a micro-SIM and the slot is hidden behind a plastic cover to the left of the phone. Looks like the trend started by the iPhones and iPads have now been picked up by quite a few manufactures - another recent entrant being Nokia Lumia 800 - in their bid to keep the devices slim and sexy.

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It is sad that the very strength of the phone is also one of its weaknesses - the size. The dimensions of Motorola Razr XT910 are 130.7mm x 68.9mm x 7.1mm. Now, even though the 4.3-inch size is not rare these days, the large dimensions of the phone makes it a little difficult to operate the functions with just one hand. Additionally, because of the semi-circular accents on the sides and the super-thin shape, the phone hardly feels stable when trying to access all the corners of the screen with just one thumb.

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One of the major problems phones of this size pose is the accessibility to the power on/off button if it is placed at the top. More often than not, one would need to use the other hand to click the sleep button. This problem can easily be sorted out by implementing the sleep/power button on the side, and that’s exactly what Motorola did with the Razr.

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User Interface & Performance
As mentioned at the start of this article, Motorola has heavily skinned the default Android experience with the new MOTOBLUR. This is not necessarily a bad thing since the user experience on the device is top notch and the enhancements made with the skin actually gives it a separate character compared to the other OEM skins. The 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM make sure that the phone doesn’t lag at all. Not even for a nanosecond, doesn’t matter which application you access, how many you access at the same time.

Motorola has also redesigned its home screen widgets and one of the major additions is the ability to resize the widgets as per the needs and the information shall automatically re-flow depending on the size. One of the widgets that stole away my heart is the ‘Favorite Contacts’ that shows only 4 contacts at first, but extends upto 16 with just a downward swipe on the widget. It again retracts back with a upward swipe. I am not ashamed to admit that it is one of the coolest widget animations I have ever seen, on any device. Here’s a video to showcase the same.



Another little app that needs a special mention is Smart Actions. 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 well.

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One particularly odd change Motorola has made is that instead of the standard onscreen keyboard, the phone comes out the box with the Swype keyboard installed. While some people do like this text input method, it is hardly a standard. At least a normal keyboard is still available - you just have to manually switch to it.

MotoPrint is another big plus. It easily lets you print straight from your phone with support for easily printing contacts, documents, emails or calendar entries.

Multimedia
The audio quality of the Razr is a mixed bag. Coupled with the headsets bundled with the device, the music is quite rich and enjoyable. However, the loudspeaker is a mess and the quality of sound it pukes out is very tinny. This was admittedly a disappointment since Moto devices, in general, are known to output good quality music.

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The Razr XT910 sports a 8-megapixel camera at the rear, and a 1.3-megapixel at the front. The image quality is hardly anything to boast about. It is a classic case of the fact that the higher number of pixels doesn’t automatically translate into better images. Frankly, the 5MP of the iPhone 4 could take better pictures than the Razr. However, the shutter lag is very low on the phone and can take continuous shots every second, much like the Galaxy Nexus. And yes, it has face recognition too.

Battery Backup
I am seriously baffled here. The phone packs in 1780 mAh of battery (about 100mAh more than the Galaxy S II) and yet it loses all its juice within 4-5 hours of heavy use on 3G. On EDGE, it does last for about 8-9 hours, but that isn’t a good figure either! Upon close inspection, I thought the reason might be the auto-sync of my accounts and I decided to switch them off. Sadly, even then the phone couldn’t last for more than 7 hours on 3G. It is perfectly possible that the device we got from Motorola was faulty. But a quick search on the Internet showed that the phenomenon is not uncommon for other users too. The fact that the battery compartment can’t be opened also adds to the woe.

Verdict
If you are style conscious, Motorola Razr XT910 is THE phone to go for. Anywhere you go, it shall always scream for attention. Especially of the women. However, other than the looks and beautifully customized MOTOBLUR, there is hardly anything that can justify the hefty price tag of Rs. 33,990. Ideally, it should be priced somewhere around Rs. 27,000 to be able to get some serious buyer attention.

And yes, do buy an external battery pack too if you plan to pick one of these up.

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