Big, bright screen
Great battery life
Telstra's 4G LTE is impressive
Strong call quality
Dual core CPU chugs at times
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The Razr line has fast become the new flagship for Motorola, and with good reason. Last year's Razr was a strong smartphone contender, with an impressive battery life and slick screen. Now, exclusively for Telstra's 4G LTE network, the Razr lineup has been refreshed again, with bumped up hardware and edge-to-edge displays that earn that HD moniker.
The Razr HD shares the Kevlar backing and AMOLED screen of its predecessor, but of course the resolution has been bumped up to a modern 1280 x 720 resolution. The phone itself has also gotten a bit thinner.
It also bears many similarities to its Razr siblings, Motorola's Razr M and the US-only Droid Razr Maxx HD. All three phones run a 1.5Ghz processor with 1GB of RAM. The Razr HD is in the middle of the M and the Maxx HD for storage and battery life, but it's no mid-range device. Motorola has also promised an Android 4.1: Jelly Bean upgrade for all three handsets.
And speaking of Droids, with so much talk about Star Wars in the news lately, we can't help but mention that Motorola actually pays royalties to Lucasfilm to use the name Droid. George Lucas is nothing if not an excellent businessman.
So is the Razr HD worthy of name? It's certainly no bumbling C3PO, it's as handsome and helpful as R2D2, but is it a stone cold robotic killer like IG-88? Can it assassinate the competition from phones like the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 and Nokia Lumia 920? Let's find out.
As the name would suggest, the Razr HD is a sharp instrument. Thanks to a thin body, it looks the part of a premium device in either black or white. Picking it up you'll notice it's a little on the heavy side, weighing in at 146 grams.
Holding the phone, the Kevlar backing is pleasant to the touch. The feeling is somewhere between very soft plastic and firm rubber. It's a lot like the rubberised rear chassis of the HTC Windows Phone 8X.
The pattern is unique, sort of a mix between herringbone and hounds tooth. It's extremely smooth but grippy enough as not to be slippery. An edge-to-edge screen and tight, thin bezel give the Razr HD a seamless design. At 131.9 x 67.9 x 8.4 mm, it's tall and thin in a way that resembles the Galaxy S3.
The display is 4.7-inches long, a little bigger than the 4.3-inches of visual real estate on the Razr M. It's a big screen, those with smaller hands will find it takes a little shifting around to reach from top to bottom.
The Razr HD has three capacitive Android buttons: back, home and recent applications.
Motorola slapped its name at the top of the device, directly above a notification light that flashes when you've got a missed called, email or text message.
On the right side you'll find the phone's only physical buttons. The lock button is towards the top, it has a ridgey-ness that feels a bit like a nail file, but not harsh. The volume rocker is below it, in the middle of the right side. It has little metal beads at both ends that make it easy to find with your thumb.
Located on the left side is a pair of ports, micro-USB for charging and data connections, and HDMI for connecting the Razr HD to a television or monitor. Just above the ports is the phone's micro-SD and micro SIM tray. Like on a late model iPhone, it pops open when you insert a paperclip or SIM tool (included) in the small hole.
A solo external speaker is found on the back, to the right of the camera lens. Laying the phone flat on its back will not completely muffle audio, but it does reduce sound quality.
Motorola claims a "splash resistant" coating on the Razr HD. The phone can't be submerged in water, but it's implied that it will stand up to rain or an errant glass of water. We did not put this to the test, though, and consumers should know that the one-year warranty against defects does not cover liquid damage.
The Razr HD is a bit bigger than the Razr M, getting more battery life, storage space and a larger, higher resolution screen in exchange for its heftier form factor and weight.
The Razr HD's microSD slot gives it a storage advantage over fixed capacity devices like the iPhone, and the HD already has great battery life with a 2530 mAh cell, as we'll get into later. Consumers who want something easier to carry (and afford) will likely find the Razr HD to be a balanced offering.
Size-wise, the Razr HD is in the middle of svelte smartphones like the iPhone 5 and brick-like devices such as the Optimus G. It's sleek but not terribly thin, and also rather hefty. You won't forget that it's in your pocket, but it's certainly not in cumbersome phablet territory like the recent Galaxy Note 2.
Overall, the Razr HD achieves a premium feel. The big edge-to-edge display gives it a smooth, simple face that's a pleasure to touch. The Kevlar backing is resilient and grippy, and the only other phones that feel like it are HTC's Windows Phone 8S and 8X.
Users with small hands that want something they can nimbly navigate might prefer a Razr M or iPhone 5, but for those that want a bigger handset with serious battery life, the Razr HD is a solid choice.