Motorola Razr i: Hands-on preview

Motorola’s Razr i was just launched in a big London event (check out our full preview and feature run-down for more info), and we had the chance to play around with the phone right there and then.

Our first impressions were that the Razr i feels like it’s made of plastic, but apparently the display is framed by aircraft-grade aluminium, and the rear is made from Kevlar for a super-tough finish. That patterned Kevlar backing is surprisingly soft to the touch and highly strokeable. The Gorilla Glass screen and a splash-proof coating that extends to the insides means the Razr i should comfortably survive a hefty deal of punishment. We’re looking forward to the next torrential downpour to properly test it out.


Motorola Razr i Hands-on preview


Motorola Razr i: edge-to-edge screen

A stand-out feature of the Razr i is that edge-to-edge 4.3-inch screen, although it doesn’t technically extend to the very edges of the phone as there’s a slim frame (roughly 2mm thick) surrounding it. Still, it does noticeably extend further to the edges than other smartphone displays. There’s no physical touch buttons beneath the screen, with Home, Back and Recent App buttons appearing on the Android desktop instead, but there’s still a black border between the base of the display and the bottom of the smartphone, to give a squarer aspect ratio.


Motorola Razr i Hands-on preview


We instantly took to the Razr i’s screen, its bright output and excellent viewing angles making it comfortable to see even if you’re craning over someone’s shoulder in bright daylight. Colours are deeper and richer than on rival phones such as the HTC One series, which may make images less realistic but is also pleasing to the eye. Pushing hard on that Gorilla Glass covering doesn’t result in any kind of distortion in the image.


Motorola Razr i Android tweaks

Android Ice Cream Sandwich runs perfectly smoothly (unsurprising considering the 2GHz Intel Atom processor stuck away inside), and has a few little Motorola-style tweaks. To start you only have a single homepage. Drag left and you’re presented with an incredibly useful settings screen, which can be used to adjust your profile and toggle the likes of Wi-Fi. Drag right and you get the option to add new pages for more apps and widgets. We definitely prefer this to the usual five pages pre-loaded with crap, which we often have to delete.


Motorola Razr i Hands-on preview


Another Motorola tweak is its Circles widget, a simple little readout that tells you the time, weather and any notifications you have pending. The twist is that you can flip the individual circles to bring up different info – for instance, flip the notifications circle and you get a battery life indicator. Flick the digitial clock and you get an olde worlde analogue clock face. It’s a simple, neat little idea that – like puppies to tennis balls – we can’t stop playing with.


Motorola Razr i Hands-on preview


Motorola Razr i Camera

Push the dedicated shutter button on the edge of the phone, whether the Razr i is hibernating you’re in the middle of something, and the camera app automatically loads (it takes a second from hibernation but is almost instant from the desktop or another app). You then simply have to push the button again to take a photo, which takes under a second again (but isn’t quite instant).


Motorola Razr i Hands-on preview


We love the funky interface, which hides away a good chunk of the features. One of the coolest features is the multi-shot burst mode which takes a whopping ten photos in a second, trumping the likes of the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III which take 3-4 a second. This is perfect for frantic action shots, be it your kid’s sports day or your mate vomming in an alleyway on Saturday night.


Motorola Razr i Hands-on preview


Our test shots – even the ones we took in the dark basement where the launch took place – came out surprisingly bright and sharp (providing we were standing still). We’ll be sure to test the camera out fully over the coming days.


Motorola Razr i Hands-on preview


Motorola Razr i Performance

We’ve already seen the likes of Asphalt 7 running effortlessly on the Razr i, and will be putting it through its paces over the coming days to see how it handles our usual punishing review process. We’ll also be keeping a close eye on battery life – so far, with 40 minutes of playing around on maximum screen brightness, the life has dipped from 100% to 94%, and we expect this will really drop once we start playing games and streaming movies.

Our full Motorola Razr i review will be up soon!

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Mobile Choice

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