It is amazing how my two year old HTC Incredible phone managed to die just as the Moto Razr was released. While there are 100s of reviews of this phone on the web, I have not found any that describes a real life experience, with the ups and downs of getting this new super phone to work for you. So here it is…
To begin with there are a few things you have to understand about an Android phone. No two phones are alike. Phones that come from different manufacturers have their own custom software add-ons and interfaces.
Android phones are like your Thanksgiving dinner table. You look around and can tell that most of the people are genetically related, but each has their own “special” qualities and quirks.
This is why these phones are popular with the various carriers and manufacturers. They have, in theory (and I think its just a theory) the ability to differentiate their offerings from one another. It gives the marketing folks a “raison d’etre”.
Android phones are not the one size fits all that you get from the iPhone. Android phones are very capable devices. But as they say “With great Power comes great responsibility” In this case its your responsibility to make the phone do exactly what you want.
With that preamble, you will understand that my moving from an HTC Android to a Motorola Android required a bit of a learning curve.
I lost the HTC Sense UI that I had grown use to and now have some alien form of Moto Blur (really a bad name for a UI!) and straight Android. I also went from my “Froyo” version of Android to “Gingerbread”, with the promise of getting upgraded to “Ice cream sandwich” in the new year. Unlike Apple, many Android devices have been orphaned at lower versions of their operating system.
Now for the actual device.
The Razr Droid is bigger (length and width) than most phones. At first it feels awkward in your hand but you get used to it after a day or two, so no “big” issue. The larger size comes with a great screen. It is a crazy thin phone and an amazing bit of consumer electronic packaging. There is also no user replaceable battery. In this regard it is the same as the iPhone
It has a Kevlar backing and I am sure someone will try to shot it and see it its actually bullet proof. Note to person wanting to try that, It is not bullet proof, trust me! Leave that stuff to the MythBusters show.
You will also realize that this phone is really, really fast. Dual Core, lots of Ram , yada, yada, yada.
Once you get over how cool looking and fast the phone is, you have four main tasks.
Getting your email and social media accounts hooked up, finding, installing and arranging your applications, loading up you media (songs. videos, pictures, etc) and figuring out how to make the battery life last longer than 6 hours.
I will assume that you know how to do the first two.
To load up you music and other media “stuff”, the Dorid ships with a app called “MotoCast” whicj can sync any files from your home PC or Mac to your phone. Motocast works as long as your home PC is on and connected to the Internet. It took a few tries before I got it to work properly. It’s a personal cloud service. In the past I used an app called sailing media to do the media syncing via a usb cable. I was able to sync up my droid with my fav music and videos, although nothing is as simple as syncing an iPad or Iphone on iTunes
I will now focus on what I did to extend battery life.
There are some basic tricks to start with
Wouldn’t it be nice if something in your phone just knew to do all this for you?
Now comes the Motorola magic part……
The Droid Razr comes with an app called smart actions. This app lets you set up various triggers and then tells the phone what to do. Some of the triggers are time based such as what to do in the morning, evening and night, some are based on remaining battery level, and some are based on lack of motion of the phone
Here are the battery saving settings that I use from Smart Actions:
Low Battery Saver:
1. If Battery is less than 20% and the Device is not charging then:
Make Brightness 0%, Turn Off GPS (just in case its on), disable Background Syncing of Data , Turn Off Wifi, Turn Off Bluetooth, Send a Notification to the phone (make it vibrate) to inform me of this condition, and launch the application LTE On/OFF (to remind me to turn off 4G, just in case its on)
2. If no motion is detected for a couple of minutes, and the phone is Not Charging then:
Turn Brightness to 0%, Make display timeout 15 seconds, turn off Wifi, turn of GPS, turn off Background Syn
3. On Incoming Calls
Make display timeout 15 seconds, make brightness 0%.
Charge me Please
4. Charging Reminder
If not charging and time is later than 10:00 pm
Then sound a chime to remind me to plug in the phone to charge it
“Hey its dark and warm in here…
5. Pocket Detector
If your phone is determined to be in your pocket (not sure how this done, ambient light? Warmth? )
Turn display off.
All these rules are completely variable and configurable by the user. I arrived at this set for myself after a bit of trial and error. With the tricks I listed above and creating these automatic actions , I can get about 10 hours of usable time on my phone before a charge. This is about what I got on my HTC Android.
I would recommend this phone if you want a thin, yet large screen device, with lots of speed. If you get it you will have to spend some time tweaking it to get it just the way you like it.