Hands-On First Look: Motorola RAZR HD

Motorola Mobility, now a division of Google, has been on a tear as of late, releasing potent new Android superphones to the market, in competition with the iPhone 5, Samsung's Galaxy SIII and many others.  Not long ago we gave you a look at the all new RAZR M, the 4-inch little brother to the hot, new device that just showed up here in our lab today. 

Motorola's RAZR HD sports a larger 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display, the same 1.5GHz Dual-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor (a full SoC actually), and it's currently running Android 4.04, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich.  Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is projected to be coming to the device in a follow-on update.
First impressions are everything and when you spring this phone from its box, it's obvious how well-built the phone is, from its Kevlar backing to its gorgeous 1280X720 display (one of the best PenTile displays we've seen yet on a smartphone).  The RAZR HD feels a bit heavier in the hand than phones of similar size, like the Samsung Galaxy S3, (which isn't a bad thing) though it does feel noticeably narrower, allowing your hand to wrap around the screen more easily.  Those with dainty digits might appreciate this, though the sharper lines, especially around the corners of the RAZR HD, make it slightly less "pocketable" perhaps, causing a more noticeable bulge.

Performance-wise the RAZR HD's 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, backed with 1GB of RAM, offers responsive, silky-smooth handling, navigating around Motorola's lightly skinned version of Android 4.04.  Screen rendering with the web browser is fast, along with responsive multi-gesture reactions to pinch/zoom etc.

Here are a few early numbers to whet your geek appetite... 

Fillrate for the dual-core Qualcomm Krait SoC with Adreno 225 graphics isn't anything to write home about, though overall geometry and rendering throughput is respectable. The RAZR HD doesn't catch Apple's latest A6 in our GLBenchmark Egypt HD testing but gaming on the device was plenty responsive with some of Mot/Verizon's included titles like Real Racing 2.  Rightware's BrowserMark puts the RAZR HD at the top of our Android heap currently however, again bested only by the iPhone5.

The nearest Android competitor to the Motorola RAZR HD is the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Mot's new smartphone is definitely stiff competition.  The RAZR HD's display is a bit warmer than the GS3's but colors appear a smidge more vibrant.  If you're used to very large phones, you might miss the extra .1-inch of screen real estate and higher DPI setting offered by the GS3 but in reality, I prefer the RAZR HD's lower DPI which didn't require as much zooming to read content cleanly in a web browser.

We're still putting Mot's new RAZR HD through its paces, so make sure you stay tuned in the days ahead for full details, benchmarks and our video walk-around.