Motorola DROID RAZR M First Impressions

Aaron Baker – 
Published: September 7, 2012

Announced at the Motorola event yesterday in New York, the DROID RAZR M is one of three devices that the company intends to promote during the busy holiday season.  Coming to Verizon Wireless on September 13th for $99.99, DROID RAZR M offers a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, a 4.3-inch edge-to-edge Super AMOLED Advanced display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 2,000 mAh non-removable battery, and Android 4.0 - though Motorola promises an update to Jelly Bean by the end of the year.

It's a nice - and much-needed - sub-$100 device on Verizon, and packs some great features that smartphone users of all shapes and sizes will enjoy.  Some initial thoughts:

  • Like the devices before it, the DROID RAZR M features a thin form factor and offers a sturdy build quality.  The left side houses a flap with access to the microSD and microSIM card slots along with a microUSB charging port, while the right side features a power button and volume rocker.  Screws are visible on both sides of the unit, giving it an industrial feel.
  • The DROID RAZR M's claim to fame is a 4.3-inch "edge-to-edge" Super AMOLED Advanced display that's supposed to remove as much unnecessary plastic from the sides as possible.  The display size is the same as the Motorola DROID RAZR, but as a result of the removal of some plastic, the overall size of the unit is noticeably smaller (though the KEVLAR back and Gorilla Glass on the front remain).

  • As I've said in past Motorola unboxings, reviews, and other content, Motorola's user interface has undergone an interesting transformation since the MOTOBLUR days.  Likely due in part to the Google acquisition, Motorola's UI has been pared down and has become the most stock-like Android experience in the industry.  You'll notice stock Google elements, particularly in the Contacts and Phone applications.  Users can quickly configure up to seven home screens, and while I'm a big fan of swiping left to reveal quick settings, I don't care for the new implementation of homescreens.  Instead of placing the main home screen in the middle, tapping the home button returns the user to the first screen on the far left.
  • The DROID RAZR M's 8-megapixel camera is on par with the DROID 4, DROID RAZR MAXX, and other Motorola devices on the market - that is to say, nothing incredibly special.  Images look decent, though pictures taken in low light are a bit grainy.

  • Motorola's known to pack excellent wireless radios in their devices, and the DROID RAZR M is no exception.  I've been working with it for about 24 hours in Manhattan, and have been mostly pleased.  Call quality has been good, the earpiece has been sufficiently loud, and while I've had some choppiness in my hotel in the SoHo area, I haven't dropped a call yet.
  • The DROID RAZR M packs a 2,000 mAh non-removable battery.  So far, battery life has been good, though I haven't had time to fully test it.  I'll have an official battery test ready for the full video review.

Motorola's doing a great job with making affordable devices that offer a healthy balance of aesthetic charm and high-end specifications, and they've continued to pare back their UI to make it even more usable.  The edge-to-edge display is a nice touch and the sleek build quality is a nice departure from the Motorola Atrix HD, which has a bit too much plastic.  At the competitive price of $99.99, this could be Verizon's best device leading into the busy holiday season; the price tier makes it great for a gift, and the specs make it great for all types of smartphone buyers.  Be sure to take a look at this one when it lands at Verizon Wireless on September 13th.

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