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If you're a fan of the Motorola DROID RAZR line of devices on Verizon but aren't interested in switching, the Motorola Electrify 2 offers a great blend of design and features for US Cellular customers.  It packs a dual-core processor, 4.3-inch qHD display, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, and Android 4.0 with Motorola's user interface.  But at a time where 4G LTE is quickly becoming a buzz phrase amongst carriers and consumers, Electrify 2 is missing the feature.

Electrify 2 has been in my possession for several days now, and I'm largely impressed, though the price point is a bit off for the features it provides.  Some thoughts:

  • Featuring a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, Electrify 2 exhibits similar performance as the RAZR and RAZR MAXX on Verizon, but is decidedly last-generation in comparison to the Snapdragon S4 CPUs on competing devices (not to mention the quad-core LTE-toting devices that are around the corner).  It'll work just fine, but I notice lag from time to time, particularly when trying to do more than three things at once.
  • The Electrify 2's build quality is fantastic.  With KEVLAR on the back combined with a sleek chrome housing, the phone looks like a high-quality device that you could brag about to your iPhone-toting friends.  In an odd twist considering Motorola's recent design scheme, the power button is on the top instead of the right spine.
  • It offers a 4.3-inch qHD display that's very similar to the offering on the DROID RAZR line.  Overall, image quality is quite good, though in day-to-day use, I notice a difference between it and the HD alternatives on the market.  
  • Electrify 2 offers Android 4.0 with Motorola's UI.  Pared down significantly from the MOTOBLUR days, the UI on the Electrify 2 is the closest thing to stock Android you'll find - even more so than competing Motorola devices such as the Atrix HD and DROID RAZR M.  It ships with a few US Cellular applications out of the box, but in comparison to bloatware-happy carriers like AT&T and Verizon, the extra apps are bearable.

  • The 8-megapixel camera shoots video in 1080p, and you'll get similar image quality here as you would on other current Motorola devices.  I'm not wild about the stills I've taken thus far.  The camera works fine provided the lighting is perfect, but images in anything other than optimal lighting conditions results in grainy photos.  Video quality appears to be decent, with the ability to snap still pictures while recording.
  • Unfortunately, Electrify 2 doesn't offer access to US Cellular's budding 4G LTE network.  I'm not located in a US Cellular coverage area (nor have I been during testing thus far), but the 3G speeds I've seen have been on par with what I would expect - namely, download speeds between 800 Kbps and 1 Mbps.  In an age where 4G technologies are rapidly expanding, the thought of signing a two-year agreement with a 3G-only device is a bit disconcerting.

  • With a 1,780 mAh battery, I'm getting 10-12 hours with moderate use including some calling, text messaging, browsing the web, downloading apps, and running various speed tests.  I'll have more in the video review.

The Motorola Electrify 2 is available at US Cellular now for around $179.99 (depending on location), and brings the combination of Android 4.0, a dual-core processor, and KEVLAR protection to US Cellular's product lineup.  It's a solid smartphone that should appeal to many, and if the features aren't enough, the near-stock build of Android is sure to please.  It's even more pared down than the other builds of Motorola's custom UI (which are already significantly pared down in comparison to the competition).  Still, it's dangerously close in price to the Samsung Galaxy S III - and with a faster CPU, better display, stronger camera, and 4G LTE connectivity, it's hard to recommend Electrify 2 over the carrier's flagship offering.  Or many of the recently released sub-$100 devices on other carriers, for that matter.

Stay tuned for the full review!

 


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