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Hands-on with Motorola's new Droids

updated 07:12 pm EDT, Wed September 5, 2012


Motorola and Google held an event today, upping the ante in the mobile sector by rolling out three new entries to Motorola's signature Droid line of handsets. Today saw the debut of the Droid RAZR HD, RAZR MAXX HD, and RAZR M. Electronista was there to get a look at the conjoined companies' new offerings, and we've got hands-on pics and first impressions.

After the initial presentation was done, Motorola literally pulled back the curtains on its new devices, revealing that the auditorium was in fact surrounded by stations where attendees could check out the new handsets.

We first got to check out the Droid RAZR HD. It sports a 4.7-inch screen displaying at 720p, a dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, and a 2500mAh battery. As with the other models, we only got a brief glance at it, but the RAZR HD feels good in hand. Its Kevlar backing gives a pleasant feel, and it's not terribly heavy. The screen is suitably bright, and very crisp, and the unit isn't too heavy. It's about a third of an inch thick, with a sturdy-feeling build quality. In all, this handset seems likely to please, though we only had limited time with the device.

The main draw for the Droid RAZR MAXX HD is said to be its 3300mAh battery, which Motorola says will provide 21 hours of talk time, 13 hours of video playback, or eight hours of web browsing. It's got the same internals as the RAZR HD: the same 32GB of internal storage, the same 1GB of RAM, 8MP rear camera, and 1.3 VGA front camera. Like the RAZR HD, its screen is bright and crisp, and it sports the same Kevlar backing. Since we had only limited hands-on time with the device, we couldn't very well test its purportedly lengthy battery life. The degree of similarity between the two models begs the question, though: why not choose one or the other? Whereas the RAZR M is clearly differentiated, the RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX HD seem to overlap to the degree that one wonders if there's a need for both models.

Speaking of the RAZR M, this was our favorite model out of the whole event. Thin, light, and sturdy, Motorola's bet on the thin-bezel design appears to have paid off, at least at a glance. It's got an 8MP camera, 8GB of internal storage expandable with a microSD card, 1GB of RAM, and a 200mAh battery. Motorola handed out units to all those in attendance at the event, so we'll have a more detailed first look at the device in the coming days.

So it looks like Google-Motorola have a few solid new entries on their hands, though it's puzzling why they don't simply have two new solid entries. All three are scheduled to receive updates to Android 4.1 some time later this year, though Motorola representatives were reluctant to name a date specific. That might be because the units all sported Motorola's custom UI, which may take some time to optimize for the latest version of Google's OS. The units we saw running 4.1 seemed to function smoothly, so it may not be that, though.

On the UI note, we did ask a Motorola representative whether the 4.1 update would come with the pure Android experience or whether Motorola would continue to put its own skin atop the operating system. They were less than forthcoming with an answer, which leads us to believe that the UI design for forthcoming Motorola products might be up in the air.

by MacNN Staff



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