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(Pocket-lint) - We'll be honest. We've got HD fatigue, so when the Motorola Razr HD arrived in our office we didn't jump for joy. HD, we thought, big whoop, everything is HD these days, hell, they even make HD make-up for some reason. So what is Motorola up to here? Is this a phone worth considering, or is the firm just treading water?

Part of the question about Motorola handsets at the moment is that its owner, Google, seems disinterested in the current line and people who work there have been saying really unhelpful things like none of Motorola's current pipeline is "wow" and "we've inherited 18 months of pipeline that we actually have to drain right now, while we're actually building the next wave of innovation and product lines". None of it is really a glowing recommendation from the company, and it's actually a pretty miserable way to disrespect the hard work of the people who have built your handsets.


And we've always liked Motorola phones too. Take a look back at reviews from past Razr products, and you'll see that we're usually very enthusiastic about them. So, despite some confusion about why it's "HD" and Google's own attempts to sabotage itself, we wanted to give the Razr HD a fair shake and find out if you should spend your money on it.

Our quick take

So there you have it, we have more faith in Motorola's products than Google CFOs do. While you could argue that the Razr HD isn't a "wow" device, you can't really argue that it's bad, because it isn't. And honestly, we really like its design and feel. It might not be one of the new generation of giaganto-phones that are all the rage now, but it will suit that audience who want smaller devices, with plenty of scope.

It's fair to say that the Razr suffers a bit for not having more processor power. It feels, in this regard, like a phone from last year. But let's not get too depressed about its performance, it does, after all, run Real Racing 3 perfectly and that high-resolution screen might be small, but it's bright, colourful and detailed.

Our main concern is that this is a premium-priced phone that perhaps is out-performed by Google's Nexus 4. And that's a strange problem for Google, as LG made that phone to its specification and has managed to keep the cost far lower than the Razr HD. No doubt, it's things like that which will hurt sales of the HD, but that shouldn't put you off. The Razr has that all-important microSD slot for one, and the battery life is better too.

Motorola Razr HD

Motorola Razr HD

4.5 stars - Pocket-lint recommended
  • Lovely looking
  • Great screen
  • Decent battery life
  • Superb call quality
  • Solid-feeling
  • MicroSD
  • A bit expensive
  • Not the highest hardware specification
  • No user access to battery

Solid design

If there's one thing that has been true of the whole Razr line, it's that the phones are built to survive anything. From a Kevlar weave on the back to solid metal sides, with a Gorilla Glass screen, the Razr honestly feels like you couldn't destroy it without either some explosives or a high-caliber sniper rifle.

The HD is a bit heavy in the hand, but we don't view that as a problem. More than likely, you'll fall into one of two camps on this subject. Either you'll like the weight, and it will give you confidence in the weight, or you'll find it too brick-like and want to go and buy something lighter.

But to look at, we find the HD actually very likeable. It's a bit of a monolith, and the darkness of the design won't appeal to everyone, but it's smart to look at and feels solid in your hand, and that somehow excites us, even now, in a world of increasing product quality.

Pocket-lint motorola razr hd image 4

As you'd expect, there is no way to replace the battery on this phone. Because of the way it's built, a removable battery is not an option. What you do get, on the left-hand side, is a slot with pin-hole, that conceals the microSD card slot, and the micro-SIM socket. A tray holds your sim, while you must take a leap of faith and push your SD card into the phone with your nail. If you have very short nails, good luck with this. The cover is neat though, and apart from needing a pin (provided) to get it out, it's a good bit of design.
Below this on the phone, are micro-HDMI and micro-USB sockets. The former allows you to mirror the phone on your TV and playback video from it, the latter is for charging, and data transfer, as you'd expect.

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At the top of the phone is the headphone jack. We like this position, because we have OCD, and putting a phone into our pocket upside down just feels wrong. On the right-hand side there are power and volume controls.

The back of the device holds a speaker grille, the camera and an LED flash. It's all pretty standard, apart from the Kevlar of course. We really like the way DuPont's tough material feels, and it's matte surface means it's a lot more grippy than normal plastic. Compare this phone to the Samsung Galaxy S III and you'll feel more confident holding the Motorola, because it doesn't feel like it's going to fly out of your hand.


Although 1280x720 isn't a massive resolution by modern standards - 1920x1080 phones are here now - on a 4.7-inch screen, it equates to 312ppi, which is only slightly less than Apple's "retina" iPhones (326ppi). This means that there is LOADS of detail on the screen, and despite being smaller than a Galaxy S3 or a Note II, it's really easy to read text and see what's going on.

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As with many phones, the Razr HD uses an AOLED screen. This means you get amazing brightness and colour, but at the cost of accuracy. It's a great screen for doing phone things, but it has its shortcomings when it comes to watching video, looking at photographs or viewing the phone in darker conditions.

Video looks great, as you'd expect with some pretty impressive detail, and despite the OLED colour, for most things it actually works very well indeed. We used Plex to watch some of the video we have knocking around at home, and really enjoyed looking at it. Even though the colours were a little more vivid than our TV, it still makes for good viewing.

3G, 4G and more

The Razr HD supports a decent range of 4G frequencies, including those which will be used in the UK when O2, Vodafone and Three launch their services, to join EE's in the coming months.