Thursday, 21 February 2013



Good afternoon, Synapse Circuit Readers... I have recently upgraded my secondary handset to the Motorola RAZRi from the almost zero capacity HTC Desire! Happy days are here again!  

I thought that I ought to do a quick Retro Review if you are up for an upgrade and looking for a budget handset...

I am with Virgin and I got my mobile through a package deal. It just so happened that I was in town last week and I popped into a Virgin branch to see if they had updated their handsets. It wasn’t long before I was approached by an attractive petite young thing who decided to sell me on the RAZRi...

I think I have mentioned to you that I was looking at the RAZRi a few months back... Well, I didn’t see anything else to sway me from that thought. The sales woman was saying just about anything in order to seal the deal! I thought I’d entertain her...

“I have a Galaxy SIII and I wish that I had got myself the RAZRi because it fits in the palm of my hand and it looks great in white...” I would agree... The white version of the RAZRi looks great! I don’t think it’s better than the Galaxy SIII!

“My next door neighbour had the iPhone 5 and he hated it. Now he has the RAZRi and he says that it performs better...” Really? Even though the iPhone 5 has LTE? “Yes, LTE doesn’t make that much of a difference due to the fast processor...” I can kind of believe that. I honestly think that the iPhone 5 is a bad piece of tech! Many people have told me that they have taken their iPhone 5 and exchanged it because of cracked or chipped screens and other problems...

“The RAZRi has the latest Android, Jelly Bean operating system...” Er, no. I think you’ll find that this is Ice Cream Sandwich. “No, it’s Jelly Bean...” Hmmm, no... I think you’ll find that version 4.04 is Ice Cream Sandwich. At that point she consults a colleague and comes back with, “Yes, you’re right but once you have put your SIM you will get an update notification to install Jelly Bean...” Well, it has been 3 days since I have my RAZRi and no update notification thus so far.

Could it be that she made a genuine mistake? Who knows? But it shows you that one has to come with some knowledge or get sold on a handset incorrectly.



·         Quad-band GSM and 3G support
·         21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
·         4.3" 16M-color Super AMOLED Advanced capacitive touchscreen of qHD resolution (960 x 540 pixels); Gorilla Glass
·         Kevlar coated, splash resistant body
·         Great ergonomics and size, frameless display design
·         Lightly customized Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
·         2 GHz Atom CPU, PowerVR SGX540 GPU, Intel Medfield chipset
·         1 GB of RAM and 8GB of storage; microSD card slot
·         8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash; face detection and geotagging; 1080p video recording
·         0.3MP front-facing VGA camera
·         Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
·         NFC connectivity with Android Beam
·         GPS with A-GPS
·         Accelerometer, proximity sensor and auto-brightness sensor; compass
·         Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
·         microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v 4.0
·         Beefy 2000mAh battery with good performance
·         Smart dialing, voice dialing
·         Excellent video codecs support
·         Office document editor
·         Good browsing performance

I think the 4.3” screen is vivid and what you see looks quite stunning. I looked at some movie trailers in YouTube and thought they looked excellent. It is certainly a patch on the HTC Desire (which left a lot to be desired) and it’s good for a secondary handset. Once you have the Galaxy Note II the 4.3” screen just doesn’t feel the same. But the screen is satisfying. It’s not quite edge to edge, there is a bit of a bezel.

The RAZRi sounds ok; it can be very loud and on the tinny side. Unfortunately, there is no onboard equalizer. I may have to download a decent app for that.

Calls sounded ok – a bit muddy! The ear grille doubles up as the Motorola logo badge and I don’t think that it was a good idea.

The body is partly made from Kevlar and is splash and it’s also quite resistant to fingerprints.

The battery is non-removable. I was a little sceptic about not being able to replace the battery but I know that Motorola has been pioneering long battery life. And when I think about it, I never had to replace the battery of the HTC Desire – it was adequate. With moderate usage the RAZRi battery performs very, very well and at the end of a day the battery was 72%! That’s 2000mAh that pleases!

Inside is the Intel Medfield 2 GHZ dual core chipset that is pretty zippy! Thus making the handset very responsive to the touch! Apps bounce back at you very much as it is on the iPhone. I like it considering that it is Android Ice Cream Sandwich! I am now very, very curious to see if the there’s a major improvement with this Jelly Bean update – if it ever comes!


I have said it once, 50 times – if not more, most consumers wouldn’t miss subtle differences between Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. You do what you like to do without thinking about it. Going from one app to the other is a seamless affair. Android just works! Yes, it would have been the icing (no pun intended) to have the latest version of Android installed – I like Google Now! Other than that, I can’t complain.

I will take some pictures and video over the weekend and let you see for yourselves. The first impression is that the camera is just about ok. It’s an 8MP camera that can record full HD video. Again, because it is a secondary handset I am not too fused about it.

What I like about the camera is that has a dedicated shutter button that can be located at the bottom of the phone in portrait mode. When you hold the handset like a camera in landscape mode the button is easily accessible and depressing the shutter button in sleep mode activates the camera straightaway!

There’s also a front-facing camera!

Again, the Intel processor makes surfing the web a joy via 3G or WiFi. Websites come up fairly quickly and, of course, quicker via Wi-Fi!

You have two browsers:

The standard Android browser and Google Chrome. I believe that the Android browser is compatible with Adobe Flash, however I did not see the Flash app / plug-in on the Google Play store! Personally, I do not use Adobe Flash on my website design and I have come to accept that Flash is finished on the web now. There are still some websites that use Flash. You can easily find the Flash APK if you really wanted to experience Flash.

Websites look as they were meant to look in both browsers! Great!

I can tell you that the RAZRi wouldn’t have been my choice for a main handset. But the rental price on it is good! As a Virgin customer I pay less than £20 for it. The value is excellent because essentially it is just above the middle range of premium handsets. The RAZRi feels like a quality handset. I like the weight on it. I appreciate that - again it is my opinion - it is a better design than the iPhone 5 due to the fact it squeezes in a good screen size whilst keeping the overall handset compact so that you can operate it with one hand.

It comes with the SWYPE keyboard if you prefer to gesture type as well as the standard Android keyboard. I am happy with the apps and widgets that come with it. In fact it is very similar to getting a Samsung Galaxy handset. Because Motorola has been taken over by Google you get the Google Android widget experience.

I don’t feel the need to download a bunch of apps just the usual for free calls, video calls and texting.

If you are not too fused about the camera then this could be a main handset. It is certainly an alternative to the big guns that are the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Note II, etc. It has a good 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage which will probably give you 4.75 GB for your apps and media. Thankfully, there’s an external storage option! Cool!

I am very happy with the RAZRi and I passed up the new HTC One V which is LTE compatible. I just didn’t think the One V had a uniform set of features i.e. I think it was a bad idea to give it a 5MP camera. In general I don’t think much of HTC’s budget range. HTC premium = good. HTC budget = not so good. 

SCORE: 4 / 5

Thank you for reading!

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