First Australian review of Motorola’s 4G RAZR HD

For the most part, performance of Motorola’s RAZR HD operating system flies without any problems. Apps usually open quickly, benchmarks show that it’s a reasonably fast system, and while we have the odd slowdown here and there, the RAZR HD performs quite well.

Mobile connectivity is also very, very good, as can be expected with 4G inside the RAZR HD. In the centre of Sydney, we pulled speeds of 48Mbps down and over 20Mbps up, which is over twice the theoretical maximum of ADSL2+, enough for anyone to really appreciate.

Even Motorola’s camera isn’t bad, though it’s not the best we’ve ever seen.

There’s no dedicated macro mode that you can force, the shutter is loud and impossible to silence, snapping pictures isn’t quite as fast as the immediacy we’ve come to expect from Ice Cream Sandwich, and the light meter constantly evaluates itself for whatever you’ve focused on, as opposed to the whole scene.

All up, the images aren’t terrible, but they won’t replace a dedicated camera and lack clarity when viewed up close.

One of the problems with the autofocus is that it tends to change the metering of the scene.

In some ways, it feels as if Motorola spent more time on the video mode, though, with some interesting modes, such as a time lapse mode, 60fps slow motion mode capturing in 720p, and audio modes designed to get the microphone recording better in different environments, such as when there’s strong wind or at a loud concert.

Where we do chuck a tantrum is the battery, which only manages roughly a day, especially if you use the screen often. Based on our tests, that’s the area where the battery really takes a hammering, with Android’s battery monitor showing us that roughly 77 percent of the battery was dedicated to the screen.

Our test consisted of pulling the phone off charge at 7.30 AM and using it with 4G tests, social networking, phone calls, emails, web browsing, and the odd game, with the handset running down to 10 percent at midnight.

That’s roughly a day of life, which is about on par with most 4G handsets we’ve tested: not terrible, but it’s certainly not the amazing battery performance Motorola suggests is possible with the RAZR.

One way around this is with Motorola’s specific battery saving Smart Actions, though we suspect you’ll want to keep the screen off for as long as possible to truly maximise the battery life of the RAZR HD.

How does the RAZR HD compare? Take a look at the sizes, with the Samsung Galaxy S3 (left), Motorola RAZR HD (middle), and Apple iPhone 5 (right).


Motorola may be a little late in bringing a new flagship handset to the party, but what it has done with the RAZR HD is pretty fantastic in and of itself.

Sure, it doesn’t have the quad-core processing speeds you may see in other devices, and it doesn’t have the best battery life, but the RAZR HD does feature an impressive build quality, strong 4G performance, and a video camera worth mentioning.

All up, Motorola has done a tremendous job with the RAZR HD, and while we wish the 2500mAh battery would give us a little more juice, it’s a top notch phone worth owning.

Value for money
Reader Rating0 Votes
Well priced against its competitors; Excellent build materials that make it more resistant to everyday life; Great video modes;
A little on the heavy side; Kevlar back can look grubby; microSD slot hidden under SIM tray, requiring a pin to get access to; Mediocre battery life;

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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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