Motorola DROID RAZR M Smartphone Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

The Motorola DROID RAZR M is a phenomenal smartphone at its price point. With many huge-screen, LTE-enabled Android phones selling for $200 - $300 on-contract, having this one hit the shelves at $99 is very refreshing. It's been quite some time since we've been this impressed with an mid-range phone, and with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon S4, 1GB of RAM, NFC and an 8MP rear camera, there's plenty to like on the hardware side. It's also great to see a relatively compact phone getting nice specifications. Who says only huge phones can have great specs? Some people have good reason to want a smaller phone, and we seriously hope that more compact phones don't become second-class citizens in the smartphone world.


Benchmarks were also impressive given the mid-level pricing, and it's an all-around excellent thing for the Android platform to have this phone using it. Being ushered into a mobile operating system with underpowered hardware is no good for anyone, but this handset runs Android well and makes the OS shine. Multi-tasking is fluid, the camera is fast (and above average in terms of image quality), and battery life is good too.

The overall look and feel of the RAZR M is exceptional. The 4.3" screen size feels just about ideal for those who aren't ready to commit to a phablet. The qHD (960x540) display is sharp and vibrant, and the viewing angles are great. Touch response was also good, with overall system responsiveness being more than satisfactory. Motorola's design choices are also worth praising. The Kevlar back and Gorilla Glass on the front both stand to prevent accidental cracks and bruises, and the microSD expansion slot makes the paltry 8GB of inbuilt storage easier to stomach. Our only real design gripe is the positioning of the microUSB port; if you're charging the phone while trying to use it, that cable gets in the way of normal keyboard use.


Verizon Wireless' phone line-up is very competitive right now. The carrier has a multitude of options, and with the iPhone 5 available for $199, it adds an immense amount of pressure on other phones. In fact, the iPhone 4S -- still a decent smartphone -- is now priced at just $99 on-contract, and the iPhone 4 is available for free on contract. Is the RAXR M one of the best Android phones available at $99? Yes, without a doubt. The fit, finish, speed and hardware are impressive from top to bottom. But with plenty of Windows Phone 8 handsets aimed at the $99 market, as well as the iPhone 4S, it's going to be tough for the RAZR M to stand out this holiday season.

The phone offers little that isn't available elsewhere, but there's something to be said for Motorola's Android skin. The improvements they've made are very easy to feel after a day or so of use, and this phone will be easier to recommend once the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) update eventually makes its way to the device, with a number of performance improvements along with it. For now, it's probably worth holding out to see if the RAZR M drops to free-on-contract during the usual Black Friday sales. At $99, it's easy to recommend to those who already admire Motorola's hardware. If it drops a bit lower, it becomes more of a no-brainer for anyone else wishing to get into a high-performing Android phone with LTE, without breaking the bank.


  

  • Nice display
  • Fantastic fit and finish
  • Fast overall performance
  • Inbuilt NFC
  • LTE support in a $99 phone
  • MicroUSB port is positioned oddly
  • Only 8GB of inbuilt storage
  • Ships with dated Android 4.0 build

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