TODO alt text

Motorola Razr i review

Moto's latest handset has Intel inside and promises to take you to the edge

Our Verdict

If taking photos is your sole aim or you're OCD about pixels, look elsewhere. But if getting a top smartphone at a reasonable price - and with battery life that puts others to shame - is your goal, then we heartily recommend the Motorola Razr i.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 20 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 540 x 960

View full specification

For

  • Good size and weight
  • Big, vibrant screen
  • Intel Inside
  • Reasonable price
  • Fluid Android skin

Against

  • Design divides opinion
  • Low pixel density
  • Poor vibration
  • Only seven home screens

Eight years ago, when the Android 4.0, Intel inside-toting Razr i wasn't even a glint in Motorola's eye, something revolutionary happened in phone land. Motorola launched the Razr line.

This was a time when Nokia ruled the phone world; an age where Ericsson and Motorola were the other big boys, Samsung was a bit of an also-ran trying to compete but struggling, and Apple... well, it had not long launched the iPod, which "put 1,000 songs in your pocket."

Indeed, Apple teamed up with Motorola to launch the first iTunes enabled phone, the ROKR (which was a dismal failure) before deciding that it could do the whole thing better itself.

Motorola Razr i review

Apple's iPhone line has now arguably become the most successful of all time - five million iPhone 5 handsets sold in the first three days. Which puts Motorola's 130m Razrs in four years into perspective.

Motorola's Razr line never really died. It just fell into a coma, with the occasional slumber of consciousness across various iterations. And now, under the ownership (although, perhaps not the hands-on stewardship) of parent company Google, the Razr is being given another more high profile outing.

Motorola Razr i review

With the above in mind, it's ironic that when we opened the box and pulled the Motorola Razr i out, the first thing we thought was "wow - it looks like an iPhone 5". We know that will have some diehard Apple fanboys clutching their pearls - and we'll probably go to iHell for saying it - but hold the Motorola Razr i in your mitts and you'll see what we mean.

Firstly, the size. At 122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3mm (4.8 x 2.4 x 0.3 inches), it's about the same width and height, albeit a little fatter and slightly heavier, than the iPhone 5.

Motorola Razr i review

It also feels similar - the mixture of Kevlar and glass instead of aluminum and glass gives it that premium feel, and Motorola has gone down the same industrialised route as Apple.

Yes, the lines are not as precise - there's the odd bit of metal thrown in there on the front and there are lots of screws (six! Yes, six screws on show ,with no attempt to hide them) plus various buttons. It's not as 'clean' or minimalist as an iPhone, but we can definitely see what Motorola is trying to do here.

Motorola Razr i review

Clearly, it wants the Motorola Razr i to look tough, yet chic; to take that "I'm the man" but also "I'm beautiful" approach in the same way an iPhone does. Like a warehouse conversion apartment in a scruffy part of London, inhabited by somebody elegant and wealthy. It's a perfect mix and blend of two worlds that works together.

Up top, there's not much to report apart from a headphone jack, while the right-hand side has two metal buttons (power/standby and camera).

Motorola Razr i review

The Motorola Razr i tapers off around the bottom, while the left-hand side holds the micro USB sync/charging port and a little plastic flap that enables you to slot in your SIM and microSD card, so you can expand the 8GB of provided storage by another 64GB.

And those screws... Those damn screws that we've looked at over and over again, unable to decide if they look cool or terrible.

Motorola Razr i review

A brief mention of the SIM tray - and we would recommend removing children from the area when inserting it, since this phone will make you utter many profanities. The simplest of tasks - inserting a micro SIM into a Motorola Razr i - was, unfortunately, one of the most laborious things we've ever done. In fact, we'd go so far as to say it is hideous.

There's no spring, no real guidance there, and we spent 45 minutes trying to do it. The tweezers were out at one point. We'll never get those minutes back. Awful.

Motorola Razr i review

Around the back, you've got that Kevlar coating just beneath the 8MP rear camera, which is accompanied by a flash.

Speaking of cameras, you'll find another around the front. It's VGA, so you're not going to win any photography awards with it, but it'll do for checking for stray nose hairs when you're on the bus. Oh, that's just us? Moving swiftly on...

Motorola Razr i review

The big selling point for Motorola is the screen. It's an edge to edge display, meaning there is no wasted space at the side taken up by an annoying bezel.

Apart from an annoying black bar at the bottom of the screen that eats into the display. It's obviously there for a reason, but it takes the gloss off the experience ever so slightly.

Nevertheless, this is a pretty great display. It's smaller than many these days, at 4.3 inches across, and with a 540 x 960 pixel display (256ppi density). Being a Super AMOLED panel, blacks are very black and colours are incredibly vivid. Whites can appear a little bit yellow, which we noticed on websites and in the Gmail app, but it's nothing too severe.

Motorola Razr i review

In fact, our only complaint with the screen is that pixel density. It shows just how much we've changed that we now think that's a little 'third world', but it just can't match something like the iPhone's Retina display or similar panels on the Samsung Galaxy S3 or HTC One X.

It's not bad - and regular users probably won't even notice. But spotting pixels has become a bit of a pastime for many of us as technology has moved on, and you can definitely see them when you zoom into text, which is a shame, because it's the only fly in a perfectly concocted ointment.

Motorola Razr i review

And of course, the other selling point is the chip inside. This is one of the first Intel Inside phones to hit the UK - and the first Motorola branded one - with a single-core 2GHz brain inside.

Add to that the 1GB RAM and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (which is now being beefed up to Android Jelly Bean as we speak) and this is a seriously impressive handset, on paper at least.

Price-wise, the Motorola Razr i is fairly reasonable. The European phone is being marketed at the higher end of mid-range and so, to pick one up SIM free in the UK, you'll need to fork out just under £400 (about AU$620, US$648).

Motorola Razr i review

You can get it free on two year contracts for £23-£31 (around AU$36-48, US37-$50) per month, which is actually quite reasonable, even though we think 24-month terms are the devil's work.

The Motorola Razr i is being pitched right alongside the likes of the Sony Xperia S and the HTC One S - both very capable handsets. However, they've been out for a while longer - and that may just be enough to edge the Motorola Razr i forward in your affections.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyRAZR i
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameMotorola
Battery Talk Time20 Hour
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution540 x 960
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)126 g
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density256 ppi
Front Camera Resolution300 Kilopixel
Height122.5 mm
Width60.9 mm
Depth8.3 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerMotorola, Inc
Product NameRAZR i Smartphone
Processor Speed2 GHz
Processor TypeAtom
Product LineRAZR i
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeProximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberSM3649AH4B1
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.motorola.com/uk
Marketing InformationDESIGN: A BIG SCREEN THAT FITS IN YOUR HAND

The big 4.3" display spans edge-to-edge, yet RAZR i still fits perfectly in the palm of your hand, making this one impossibly compact smartphone. Texting, emailing, reading, watching - it's all much easier to do when you have 40 percent more screen space than the leading competitor. And on a vibrant, high-resolution Super AMOLED Advanced display, everything looks amazing.

INTEL INSIDE®: MOVE AT THE SPEED OF LIFE

RAZR i is powered by an advanced Intel® processor, to keep you doing what you're doing, without having to stop and wait for everything to load. Jump from a game to a text and over to a playlist, then off to browse the web - all without stopping. And all that power also means the instant-launch camera can start up in less than a second.