Motorola RAZR i Review – Part 1

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Armed with an edge-to-edge display, aluminium frame and Kevlar back, the Motorola RAZR i sends out a clear message – it’s here to do business. Don’t be discouraged by its single-core 2GHz Intel processor amidst the dual and quad-core competition – there’s certainly enough processing power on the RAZR i to experience fluid performance. Specs, however, is but one important building block in the creation of an exquisite user experience – something that the Android market in particular has forgotten while obsessing over processor clock speeds or number of pixels on the screen. It’s in light of this then, the Motorola RAZR i feels like a revelation.

Packaging

Inside the compact retail box you’ll find all the essentials to get you going with the Motorola RAZR i. Aside from the phone itself, you’ll also find a microUSB data cable, a mains plug and a stereo wired headset. If you wish to familiarise with phone’s most important features before you start, there’s also a quick-guide at the bottom of the box. The final piece of interest is a tiny SIM tool that has Motorola’s logo stamped on it.

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Design

The RAZR i immediately stands out thanks to its compact dimensions and premium build-materials that are typically reserved only for the most expensive phones. The handset measures at 122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3 mm, which is an extremely impressive feat by Motorola considering the RAZR i also sports a 4.3 inch display.

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Everything on the RAZR i has been neatly packed together with an amount of detail that will catch the eye the longer you explore its exterior.

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And if you find yourself admiring the tough industrial look in phones, then the Motorola RAZR i will be right up your alley. At the front, a finely cut aluminium frame with soft touch coating surrounds the Gorilla Glass protected display, all the while the back cover is made from DuPont Kevlar woven fibre that is not only pleasantly soft and grippy but also manages to expertly hide any fingerprint marks. According to Motorola, the RAZR i is covered in a special coating – both inside and out – that helps the phone withstand occasional water spills.

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The rear of the phone houses an 8 Mpix camera along with a single LED flash. On the same level but slightly off to the right, you’ll also spot the loudspeaker grille. We’re not particularly fond of this loudspeaker placement as it significantly muffles the sound when the phone is lying on its back on soft surfaces.

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While the top of the phone holds the standard 3.5 mm audio jack…

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… the tapered bottom of the RAZR i is left completely bare save for the microphone hole near the edge of the screen.

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The tiny strip just above the screen is surprisingly busy, with the earpiece, front facing camera and proximity and light sensors all making their appearance there. A notification light indicator found its way in the far left corner too, and you’ll notice it blinking when a missed call, message or other important events demand your attention.

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Along the right flank of the RAZR i you’ll encounter three sets of keys – power/sleep key, volume rocker and a dedicated camera key. Each set is made from a different material so the keys are easy to tell apart when keeping the phone in your pocket. You’ll also spot 3 prominently exposed bolts populating either side of the Motorola RAZR i that wonderfully complement its rigid industrial look.

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The left side of the phone appears to be a little less busy. Behind an elongated plastic cap you’ll find slots for microSD and microSIM cards. Although both slots appear to be easily accessible, the actual procedure of inserting and ejecting the respective cards proved to be quite cumbersome. This seems to be a common problem in many phones these days – a necessary evil to shave off those extra few millimetres of thickness and keep the design seamless. On the same side you’ll also encounter a microUSB port, which, as usual, is used both for charging and data sync.

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Display

The front surface of the RAZR i is devoid of the usual Android control elements, as those are incorporated into the screen itself. The edge-to-edge display, as Motorola likes to call it, is one of the stand-out features on the RAZR i. What it basically means is that there’s very little bezel surrounding the 4.3 inch screen, and that in turn has allowed the RAZR i to retain its appealing proportions. The thin bezel really comes into play when watching movies, as it gives the impression you’re watching something on a far larger screen. It’s an almost uncanny feeling that only underscores the quality of craftsmanship in Motorola RAZR i.

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Some users might voice their concerns that the screen isn’t a true HD panel. In practice, the 540 x 960 pixel resolution Super AMOLED Advanced display appears perfectly suited for the size of the screen, as it demonstrates a clear and sharp image with rich colours that cope fairly well even in direct sunlight.

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Motorola RAZR i will definitely feel like a breath of fresh air to anyone who has a particular distaste for oversized displays that forgo portability and one-hand usability of the handset. With the weight of just 126g, the RAZR i strikes the right balance between a comfort of use and the premium feel of the handset. Thanks to the slim dimensions and the moderately sized display, fingers can comfortably and securely wrap around the handset, and even reaching the status bar at the top of screen with the same hand offers no real challenge. The RAZR i just drops in the jeans front pocket, which again, is a sight not too common these days.

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With great ergonomics, an almost frameless display design and premium-class build materials, the Motorola RAZR i so far deserves nothing but high praise. In the ensuing second part of the review, we’ll be taking a detailed tour of the software and connectivity side of Motorola’s mid-tier smartphone. We’ll be also examining yet another standout feature of RAZR i that is the 2.0 GHz processor from Intel. Can this Intel Atom processor – the first ever in a smartphone – nail the balance between processing power and a good battery life? Read the second part of the review to discover all that and more!

(This review, written by me, was originally posted  on Fonehouse)

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