First Australian review of Motorola’s 4G RAZR HD

The first handset from Motorola to support the next-generation of high speed 4G mobile connections, the new RAZR brings with it a bigger screen, heavier battery, and LTE performance, marrying it with some strong materials to help survive day to day life.


Motorola has been mostly missing in action from the smartphone scene this year, with only a handful of handsets released and none really stealing the flagship crown from last year’s reincarnated Motorola RAZR.

With only a few months until the end of 2012, the company is back with a new RAZR, designed to take on strong competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S3 4G and Apple iPhone 5.

First up is the screen which sits at 4.7 inches and supports 720 x 1280 (also known as 720p HD), up from the 4.3 inch 540 x 960 qHD screen used in last year’s RAZR. The technology used here is Super AMOLED covered in Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, and coated in a splash-resistant nano-coating. This also covers the back, which itself is encased in Kevlar fibre.

Those are some high quality materials, and Motorola aims to impress not just with the RAZR’s build, but also its innards, which enclose a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, and 16GB storage. You can increase capacity via a microSD slot, which is located next to the microSIM card slot.

One of the most recent versions of Android is available here – Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich – and while it’s not the newest iteration there is, Motorola says the upgrade is coming soon.

Multimedia and connection options are all fairly standard, with many of these features seen on other top-tier handsets we’ve seen this year, but we’ll go through them nonetheless.

You’ll find an 8 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash on the back, plus support for capturing Full HD 1080p video, with a 1.3 megapixel front camera for video conferencing and the occasional self-portrait.

Connectivity is covered with WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, Near-Field Communication (though this relies on the SIM card), and microUSB charge and data port, and Motorola has been kind enough to include a microHDMI port, too.

Anyone who just can’t live without the web will be pleased to know that Motorola’s RAZR HD supports Telstra’s 4G network running on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology. This offers speeds over 20Mbps when you’re in range, and just under it when you have to switch back to a 3G connection.

With all of this onboard, Motorola is hoping the phone can not only survive your regular day, but also not run out of juice, and to help the engineers have thrown in a massive 2500mAh battery, the same sized battery from Samsung’s massive Galaxy Note.

Unlike most of 2012’s phones, there are no painted-on or decal-printed soft buttons for using Android, with most of front occupied by the 4.7 inch screen.  Yhe regular three bottom buttons – back, home, and app switcher – are provided in software with an onscreen display that can change based on the app you’re running.

There are two physical buttons on the handset, though, with a power button and volume rocket both sitting on the right edge of the Motorola RAZR HD.

A 3.5mm headset jack can be found at the very top of the handset.

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  1. That’s a big misrepresentation what was said in the Whirlpool link. It says Telstra asked some people to return their phone for assessment.

  2. I have both the S3 and this RAZR HD in both, With the two I love the Motorola The elegant look I love it more that the S3. T RAZR have great sound quality. regarding the quality of the camera well it could’ve been improve.
    Overall I AM A DIEHARD MOTO fan.

  3. got one of these a fortnight ago. its a spectacular upgrade from the galaxy s2 i had. super fast everything and the bubble display is sweet. feels like a solid phone. only problem ive had is that they dont make covers or screen protectors for them yet so ive resorted to modifying an earlier model razr cover (exactly the same size but holes in different locations lol)

  4. Tried IPhone for 5/7, not comfortable with it. Had Galaxy S3. Loved it but dropped it and smashed glass. Got Motorola Razr HD. Absolutely love it . Fast, lovely to handle, right size for big screen. Much better than Apple or Samsung.

  5. Hi Leigh, Just wondering if you can confirm something for me? I’ve read reports that the Razr HD won’t charge off a PC USB port unless you install a driver, can you confirm that? I’m also wondering about charging via a standard wall wart type USB adapter? Any ideas? Thanks

    1. Just tested this by plugging it into the work Mac and this looks to be the case. Sort of.

      The Razr picks up on the charge, flicks over into charge mode, and then drops it. And then picks up on it again, and drops it. Will try it at home on my PC, but I suspect a driver is needed.

      Works on a wall wart USB adapter though. Plugged it into my dual-port USB wall piece at home when i was reviewing it, and there were no problems.

      1. Thanks for the reply, and for testing it. Good news about the wall wart, but the PC usb charging is a bit of a worry. I wonder if the Telstra show would let me bring in my laptop to see if it can charge it… no, probably not. Times like this I wish there was a phone rental/try-out service :/

  6. Based on the reviews I’m pretty impressed with the phone, a little disappointed that it comes with ICS rather than JB, but I’m sure that’s not too far off. One thing I haven’t seen anywhere is if it supports UBS OTG. Can you confirm one way or the other? Thanks

  7. Hello, Leigh. Didn´t you experience any overheat?! I’ve been using the new Razr HD since the day it was launched in Brazil (September 22), and it definetly overheats. Just by using google gps turn-by-turn by 10 minutes, temperature hits 43,6 celsius (110,48 Fharenheint)! It´s really uncomfortable. It isn´t normal, is it? (my former galaxy s advance, although had many problems, never hit such temperature).

    Another thing: I had to recover the phone to fabric settings three times after using launchers (Apex and Go launcher ex), because the phone was restarting without stoping. I had to redownload and reorganize my 170 apps in folders again. I don´t think this kind of crash should be normal with so much popular launchers…

    1. Didn’t experience any heating that I would consider abnormal, and nothing that certainly made it uncomfortable, but I didn’t get a chance to test the GPS.

      Could be a temperature thing for your location. How hot is Brazil, and is it mounted to your dashboard in your car?

      I’ve certainly seen other devices – including an iPhone – overheat from sun exposure while providing GPS, and wonder if it could be related.

      Not sure about the other launchers. Regular review methods have us test using the stock launcher, though on my Droid, I usually use Nova.

      What you may be feeling with Apex and Go is a bug that just needs to be patched for use with the Motorola version of ICS. I’ve seen apps that don’t perform the same way on every device.

      1. Hi Leigh. Thanks for your answer.
        Well, it is really hot here (but i believe Australia can be as hot as here). The day the phone hit 43,6 Celsius, temperature was about 30 Celsius in São Paulo. I was inside the car, with phone in my hands. Another thing that maybe is relevant: I´ve been using 3 g (given that 4 g is not yet ready for Brazil), and I overtook the limits of my monthly phone plan. I have what they call “3g plus”, and normally I get speed between 1 and 3 megabites. But, once I hit the share limit, speed decreases to 60 kbps! Maybe I was pushing the phone too much when using gps with such poor data speed (even it was just for 10 minutes). Wathever it is, I can feel it normally heat much easier than my former Galaxy s Advance (which I got to use with 60kbps sometimes as well, and I used to deal well with the phone when under the sun, in swimming pool). And, 43,6 Celsius is really hot for just 10 minutes of gps use.
        I hope you are right about the launchers. Anyway, I don´t intend to use any of them anymore, at least for the next months …

        1. Australia’s not that hot at the moment, so obviously my testing environment is different.

          Sydney – where GadgetGuy is – currently hits between 16 and 25ºC, so cool to warm, not yet hot. Give us a couple of months. 🙂

          It’s certainly possible that the modem is making it hotter, though it could also be a combination of the processor, screen, modem, GPS, and temperature in the car. Lots of factors there.

  8. Reports are that the Galaxy S3 4G has pretty ordainary battery life as well. It has a smaller battery than the motorola and comments have been that it relates to the 4G usage. I don’t know anybody with an Iphone 5 to find out from them about their experiances of it and 4g usage but my understanding was that it was slightly smaller than the samsung, so could be an issue there. I am leaning towards this one particularly since Google bought Mototorola mobility it will be in their interest to push through any OS upgrades.

    1. Hi mate, I just bought the phone as well but I’m getting shitty bat life. With wifi on and surfing it drops from 100% to 90 within 30% use. How do you get it to last that long?

      1. Yeah sane here man when I watch YouTube or even leave the phone alone the battery life drops straight away its really weird cause some people say it last them a while like in 20 mins of doing some the battery life would go from 100 to 80 battery fukn sucks phone only last about 10 hours on the lowest brightness with WiFi on

  9. My friend just bought this phone through telstra and its awesome. The build quality is excellent the design and screen are beautiful too.
    The only negative with this phone, is that the camera isnt anything special.
    Believe it or not, the audio quality with headphones plugged is unreal. When comparing it to my iphone 4S which has great sound quality, the motorola sounds better although does not have quite as high volume.
    This is a real winner for Motorola however the jellybean update is a must as it is much smoother than ICS.
    Reports on battery……. excellent also.
    With moderate use on the 4G network only 15% battery power usage for one entire day.
    If anyone wants an opinion on this phone hit me up
    [email protected]

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