Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Motorola Mobility seems keen on refining the RAZR line of Android smartphones. Their latest model, the Motorola RAZR V, carries over a lot of the features and design strengths of the original flagship RAZR Android smartphone released last year, but scales down some features and pricing to appeal to more general users.
The Motorola RAZR V is thin at just 8.4 mm, it is also tough since this is a Kevlar encased Android smartphone with Corning's Gorilla Glass 2 on covering the screen.
The V is running Android 4.0 OS, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. But I've received no news on whether there will be an upgrade to the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. In these cases, it is safe to assume that there wont be such an upgrade.
The RAZR V also features a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording video in 1080p HD.
It also features a 4.3-inch qHD AMOLED display HSDPA, WiFi b/g/n, and Bluetooth radios are all included in this package, as is a microSD slot that can handle cards up to 32GB. It does not have 4G LTE.
Motorola Mobility is calling this the 'RAZR for all' which means that it isn't targeting the high end of the market (it has the Atrix HD and the original RAZR for that segment).
I really like the way the RAZR V feels. It is thin and light but very solid all around which is so rare in smartphones these days.
You can squeeze and try and flex it and it has very little 'give'. It feels like it will survive sudden accidental drops that could easily shatter competing smartphones. Motorola has also made it splash proof with a special coating.
By building some of the toughest smartphones in the market, Motorola has outdone itself by creating a light handset that feels tough and this makes it a good choice for enterprise users.
Motorola has scaled back on its proprietary software, a few years ago it was all about Moto Blur which was a series of persistent and social-network focused widgets that ran on top of the Android OS. Motorola has seen the wisdom of removing this feature and adding some slight modifications that users will want to use.
The new SmartActions feature which allows the automation of tasks as well as various system-level tweaks does help make the smartphone experience richer.
These are simple commands, but they can make a big difference. Such as enabling the smartphone to shut off or go silent at night right when you sleep or making it switch from your data plan to your home or office WiFi are very good features other manufacturers and smartphone makers should offer out of the box.
Bell will sell it for 399.95 outright, or give users the option for $29.95 on 3-year plans.
Call quality on the device is clear and cellular signal on Bell's network was consistent in Toronto and surrounding areas. The data connection could get spotty or just fail to connect at times but resumed quickly enough.
Battery life was also surprisingly good for such a thin smartphone, I managed to get through a day worth of calls and emails with some surfing and music playback. It seems that some of the smart battery technology Motorola used on their US-only model RAZR MAXX was employed on the RAZR V as well.
In terms of design, the RAZR V may not turn as many heads as some of its competition. The design language here is something we've seen before and while it isn't terribly boring, it looks plain and utiliarian. The super saturated screen is also something of an acquired taste, you can grow to like it.
The Motorola RAZR V really did use some of the best features of the original Android RAZR in a smaller yet equally well put together device.
Users looking for a versatile and tough Android smartphone and who don't need the latest 4G data connectivity (or who don't expect to upgrade to never versions of Android) will be well served by this sturdy and slim smartphone.