If the two-month old Motorola DROID BIONIC was the device to "rule all machines," the Motorola DROID RAZR is a stark indication of the speed in which Android development is moving.

Reprising the iconic RAZR brand, DROID RAZR lives up to its name, measuring in at a scant 7.1mm thin (not including the camera hump).  It's packed with goodies, including a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display without the oft-debated PenTile technology, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording capabilities, and Android 2.3 with Motorola's custom Android skin.  It launches on Friday, November 11, at 11:11 AM (yep, stores are opening at 11:11 AM to take advantage of that twice-in-a-century number trick), and will cost $299.99 with an agreement.

New customers or those already on a tiered data plan with Verizon get a surprise, as the carrier is pairing the launch with a double data promotion.  Purchase the DROID RAZR and get double the data for the same price.  For example, if you're paying $30 for 2 GB of data monthly, you'll get 4 GB of data monthly under the promotion.  There's no expiration date at the moment (though I'd jump on it sooner rather than later), and the promotion is good as long as you keep the 4G phone on the line.

Promotions and old brand names aside, the DROID RAZR is an impressively thin device that sets the bar - this week - for high-end 4G LTE smartphones on Verizon.  Some impressions:

  • On first glance, you have to wonder why Verizon's first four high-end LTE devices (ThunderBolt, DROID Charge, Revolution, and DROID BIONIC) weren't this thin - or at the very least, thinner than they were.  Resembling a thinner (and wider) DROID X2, the RAZR sports a KEVLAR-coated back and Gorilla Glass on the front, so the occasional drops shouldn't be a problem (note: drop at your own risk).  The left spine houses a flap with slots for the microSIM and microSD card slots, while the right spine houses the power button and volume rocker.

  • Rocking a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP CPU, the DROID RAZR has been speedy so far.  I haven't done anything particularly taxing, but the usual tests - browsing the web, rapidly typing, and listening to music, to name a few - didn't faze the smartphone.  I haven't noticed any unusual lag or lockscreen hangups either.
  • The 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display looks nice, and I'm glad that Motorola saw fit to kill off the PenTile technology this time around.  There's some pixelation, but it's not nearly as evident. (Update: After reaching out to a few sources, I'm told that it's still a PenTile display, though the configuration has changed, resulting in the reduced pixelation I referenced above.)
  • You've got Android 2.3.5 with Motorola's custom UI, though the skin has been tweaked for the AMOLED display.  The on-screen keyboard and most menus are black as opposed to grey.  DROID RAZR comes with the usual Verizon apps like Mobile IM, My Verizon Mobile, Verizon Video, and VZ Navigator, and they can't be uninstalled.

  • DROID RAZR's 8-megapixel camera seems to take decent pictures, but I was genuinely impressed at the 1080p HD video sample I shot.  Video quality was impressive, but sound quality and the noise cancellation was absolutely fantastic.  If you frequently record video on your phone, the DROID RAZR deserves a look.
  • Motorola is known for exceptional call quality, and the DROID RAZR doesn't disappoint.  Indeed, call quality has been strong, with my callers reporting excellent sound on their end.  I've had no trouble hearing people, and the earpiece feedback (the volume at which you hear yourself talking in the earpiece) seems to be set perfectly.
  • Fortunately, the 1,780 mAh non-removable battery in the DROID RAZR seems to hold up pretty well.  Putting it through the usual paces - some moderate calling, text messaging, browsing the web, downloading applications, and snapping a few pictures - I was able to make it roughly eleven hours before the "5% remaining" low battery warning flashed.  That said, the non-removable status may be a problem for some; if you're a frequent traveler, you'll definitely want to have a spare charger or two.

Stay tuned for the review!

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