We know Samsung Galaxy SII (GT-9100) is arguably the best Android phone in the market. But where does the Motorola RAZR (XT910) stand, apart from being the thinnest Android phone (Oct 2011)? I tried the device and uncovered quite a lot of features that the RAZR is better than the Galaxy SII out of the box.

That 1mm difference.

1. Smart Actions
You can configure RAZR to trigger actions or settings based on conditions, like location, time, or when battery is low. There are presets for you to use, or you can create your own. For instance, when I am at office, my ringtone is set to vibrate. When I’m at home and it’s past midnight, the ringtone is set to the lowest volume.

2. Hide Your Apps
If you want to hide those apps that you never use (or can’t delete), you can hide them so that your apps drawer will not look so cluttered. It’s also useful to hide apps from the casual browsers like your kids.

3. Integrated Photo Sharing
When you open the Gallery app, you can browse your camera photos, your phone storage photos, your online photos, and your friends online photos. As you browse their photos, you can comment or like them. When you browse your own photos, you can also select to upload and write comments to them too. All in one app.

4. Integrated Music Sharing
Likewise, the music player is also integrated with online content. Easily listen to Internet radio, identify songs, watch YouTube. The RAZR even streams the lyrics as you listen to songs stored in your phone.

5. Over-the-air multimedia streaming via MotoCast
By installing the free MotoCast software on your desktop or laptop, you can browse your computer multimedia content on the RAZR and watch them over-the-air. The RAZR video playback is a huge improvement from the ATRIX I reviewed months back. Now I can play almost all the common video formats including MKV and FLV.

6. File Manager with remote computer access
When you open the file manager app on RAZR, you will see options to browse files either from your phone or from other DLNA-connected devices or your MotoCast computers.

7. Data Manager to keep track of your usage
Besides breaking down your data usage by activity, you can also turn on Data Saver so that the RAZR will limit the downloads over cellular network until you connect to Wi-Fi. Now you know which apps are using up all your precious data quota.

8. Mobile Hotspot Inactivity Timeout
You can set inactivity timeout to manage your battery consumption. Very useful when you turn on the Mobile Hotspot for a quick surf on your Wi-Fi tablet and forgot to switch the Hotspot off.

9. LED Indicator
The LED indicator blinks when you have incoming notifications. Various colours indicate different apps.

10. HDMI Port
While Galaxy SII requires an external MHL adapter and power, the RAZR has a built-in micro-HDMI port, and RAZR will mirror the phone display onto the large screens, including videos. Unlike the video format limitations on the ATRIX, the RAZR can play almost all popular formats.

11. Screen Resolution
The RAZR screen is 960×540, higher than Galaxy SII’s 800×480. This means the RAZR can squeeze a little more information on the same-size screen.

12. “ICE” Contact
Under the contacts app, you see a special contact type, where you can specify the people you want to contact in case of emergency. This contact type appears right on top of your contact list, so you no longer have to purposely create a contact name with symbols just to make them appear on the top of the contact list.

Many of the above RAZR functions may be achievable with third-party apps, but you would need to spend some money and time to find the right ones. 

The Bad?
With so many features, doesn’t it make the RAZR a much better smartphone than the Galaxy SII? Unfortunately, the RAZR is weak in the following areas.

On paper, the RAZR captures 8-megapixel images and Full HD, just like the Galaxy SII. In fact, the quality pales in comparison. The contrast is poor, the images are grainy and lacks vibrance. Starting up the camera also takes a while.

Interface Lag
The RAZR does not run as snappy as the Galaxy SII. It can get a little frustrating when you want to get to the app that you wanted.

Overheat from use
The RAZR heats up a lot faster, and it comes from the screen surface instead of the back. It’s one of the worse Android phones I have experienced: so hot that I could not put it in my trousers pocket. I suppose the thinness of the phone causes more heat to be felt on the phone surface.

Non-removable battery
Besides the inability to change batteries that may be worn over time, if you were to plug a portable battery pack, it would end up on top of the phone because the charging port sits on top. And I find myself using up the battery a lot faster than on the Galaxy SII because of all the content streaming made easy with the phone.

So thin, for what?
7.1mm sounds thin, but physically it does not look that thin. In fact, not one person whom I handed the RAZR to commented anything about the thinness of the phone – I had to “impress” them by telling them so. It led me to wonder why don’t the phone manufacturers improve on the battery capacity instead of sacrificing it for size. If Motorola had made the RAZR the same thickness throughout, they might be able to squeeze another 1000mAh. Now, a phone with 2780mAh battery is certainly unheard of.

RAZR: The Connective Phone

Nevertheless, I have never been so impressed with an Android phone since the Samsung Galaxy S and SII. The list of features on RAZR helps the user reach out to the social media with ease, and connect their network of devices to access multimedia content without the hassle of wires. The built-in HDMI again makes content viewing on TV a breeze. Indeed, where connectivity is concerned, RAZR makes the cut.

Chester writes for XinMSN.


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