Why I Am Passing on the Motorola Droid RAZR

Our own K.T. Bradford recently gave the Motorola Droid RAZR our Editor’s Choice Award. If you haven’t read her review, you can do so here. So, you would have thought, given the glowing review, that the phone would have at least tempted me during my struggle to find my next smartphone. I won’t lie, it definitely has. For those that are new here, I have been a big fan of Motorola devices.

I loved the original Motorola Droid and I loved the Droid X even more so I have definitely been waiting to see what kinds of 4G LTE smartphones Moto had up its sleeve. The Motorola Droid Bionic, Motorola’s first stab at 4G LTE, just didn’t cut it for me. No question, it’s a great phone, but it’s nothing special and that’s what I want from my next smartphone.

A month after the Droid Bionic’s release, Motorola announced the Droid RAZR, a combination of two of its most famous brands. I really liked what I saw, at least from a hardware standpoint.

Droid RAZR

The Droid RAZR is as thin as a smartphone can get, checking in with a slender 7.1mm design. It also packs a much improved version of MotoBlur. And it has all of the bells and whistles – dual-core processor, large screen – that are the current standard for flagship smartphones.

However, all that being said, I am going to be taking a pass on the Motorola Droid RAZR, just like I am with the HTC Rezound and the iPhone 4S. If you’re curious as to why, read on.

I Can’t Trust Motorola With Software

Like I said, I absolutely love what Motorola does on a hardware level and the Droid RAZR is no different. It’s sleek, thin, essentially, everything I want from my every day smartphone. The problem is, the Droid RAZR, like the HTC Rezound, is coming with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and not Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

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Motorola has promised to upgrade the Droid RAZR in the early part of 2012. And maybe that’s true. But given Motorola’s track record (see: Droid XDroid 2, etc, etc, etc.) I just can’t bring myself to trust it to deliver.

Looking into my crystal ball, I can see myself with a Droid RAZR in March, still with Gingerbread, getting laughed at by a bunch of Samsung Galaxy Nexus owners who not only have Android 4.0, but maybe even Android 4.1.

I can’t subject myself to that. The waiting.

And let’s say Motorola gets the update out, the last day of March or whatever. Who’s to say that they won’t pull it immediately afterwards like they did with the other updates? I realize that the Droid RAZR is much newer than the Droid X and Droid Incredible were when they got Android 2.3 but that doesn’t mean that it’s in the clear.

Just take a look at the Droid Bionic’s situation.

Owners are sitting around dealing with a host of bugs, you can see a list of them right here, while Motorola and Verizon get their act together. The phone was released in September, it’s now November.

Or take a look at the issues HTC had with getting Android 2.3 to the ThunderBolt, another 4G LTE device.

Between MotoBlur and 4G LTE, I just see a road littered with roadblocks that I don’t want to deal with. And that is enough to lead me astray, no matter how good the hardware of a device might be.

Droid BionicThe Motorola Droid Bionic

Software is the biggest thing factoring into my decision to pass on the Droid RAZR but I do have a few other more picky reasons to throw out as well.

I despised the way that Motorola and Verizon handled the Droid Bionic launch. This was one of the most exciting phones of the year, and they dropped the ball. They dropped the ball marketing wise, they dropped the ball when they delayed it for seven months, they dropped the ball with the lack of a software update to fix the bugs, and they dropped the ball with the price.

It was infuriating to witness.

Then, it came to light that Moto and Verizon didn’t really care about the Droid Bionic as it was just a contractual obligation that they needed to fill. The real phone that they were focused on was the Droid RAZR.

Really?

So how am I supposed to trust that there isn’t another phone just over the horizon that is going to trump the Droid RAZR? I know for a fact that there is only one Nexus device released every year so I know there won’t be another Nexus out that trumps the Galaxy Nexus.

I don’t have the same clarity with the Droid RAZR. Motorola is definitely working on a quad-core phone and as soon as it’s released, will my Droid RAZR be kicked to the curb as fast as the Droid Bionic was?

I wouldn’t be surprised.

If I was buying purely for hardware, I would definitely have to consider the Motorola Droid RAZR. It’s sleek, it will handle everything I throw at it, and it has decent battery life for a 4G LTE smartphone.

Problem is, I’m not.

I am thinking about the whole experience. I am thinking about the next two years, the future.

And unfortunately, that future isn’t as bright as I want it to be.

Comments

  1. Jim Frye says

    Excellent opinion piece. I had the original Droid for several months longer than planned as the Bionic/Galaxy S2 dance played out. I should have realized the 7 mo. delay was not going to get a bug free, latest technology phone. I still hesitated in getting the Bionic for several weeks. Luckily the price dropped- as I was desperate to replace my phone and I could not wait for the rumored Nexus.

    Now I realize the Bionic is not a late 2011 technology phone but a late 2010/early 2011 technology phone at new prices.

    It is obvious, part of the 7 mo delay was because Moto had already moved on to concentrate on Razr. The Bionic’s herky-jerky release, buggy and slow to patch software problems and the relative quick release of the far superior Razr at the same price proves such.

    Now, I am trying to pass my Bionic off to my wife as wait for the Nexus.

    My friend’s problem with the update on the Sammy Fascinate and the Moto shell game have persuaded me that Nexus phones should be the way to go for the foreseeable future.Cut out the middle man (well except VZW), rid myself of annoying GUIs, and be assured of WYSIWYG performance.

  2. Adam Truelove says

    This is why I will only ever buy a Nexus from now on.  The hardware of a phone will always become outdated nearly instantly after you buy it.  Technology moves so fast, that’s just the way it is.  But I cannot stand to be running a year old version of Android.  I want a phone directly supported by Google.

    • Tony Perez says

      I agree with all three opinions. When one’s ready to upgrade, get the best hardware but with smartphones, the operating system can make the difference. Getting an advanced handset with ICS now is much better than promises what can only be considered based on past failures to perform. I’d like to know why an OS can’t be updated immediately and keep the existing “skin” from the manufacturer until they perfect their new version and update it whenever they’re ready. That way, handsets can run the latest OS and not worry about delays by the manufacturer. Or, we should have the option of (at purchase) either having the “clean” OS on our handsets or the “skinned” version depending on our needs. Until that happens, it looks like the Nexus line of handsets is the way to go…

      Well, unless the HTC Edge is released before I’m ready to make my upgrade purchase. Quad….Hmmmm….

  3. Roberto says

    The lack of Android 4.0 is keeping me away from this also. The camera doesn’t seem to good either. So still I go on with my original droid, albeit somewhat lagey. I’ll take a look at nexus, but since I have seen rumors of Droid 4, I may wait for that one.

  4. Devin HotHands Jones says

    This phone isnt truely slim. it has that stupid lump at the top. that design has been retarded since moto first did it on the dx. they’re just stuffing the guts at the top. how about making a real slim phone. not slim at the bottom but fat at the top. thats just cutting corners. makes no since. 

    • Tony Perez says

      It makes no sense either. Seriously, We expect these phones to be loaded with everything and be wafer thin. Not realistic. As far as the design of the Droid RAZR goes, everything that’s at the top takes up more space than circuits on silicon wafers. So, it’s either the way it is now or a phone that’s not really as thin. I’m OK with the “topper” because it’ll always be easy to know which end is up when reaching for the RAZR in the dark. However, I’m leaning more towards the Nexus…

  5. Davila78 says

    Google bought motorola, so in the near future the droid  razr will be directly supported by google. The software in my phone does not make that much of a diference to me, i use my phone to make phone calls and to surf the internet. Gingerbread is fine to me. People are just dazzle by the Ice cream sandwich, if you have handle a honeycomb tablet, then you have an idea of android 4.0, not a big deal. The Razr is just a piece of art, everytime i handle my phone i feel so happy, so light and thin and beautiful, lol.

    • Brian Fistler says

      Yes Google bought Moto – or are TRYING to…  But they also have promised that Moto will be ran as a separate division.  This means moto phones will NOT be supported by Google.  

      Can Google light a fire under the behinds to get updates out quicker?  I’m sure they can, but they are not going to be releasing source-code earlier to Moto or anything that the competition will deem unfair.

      I’d be happy to simply see Google kick some butt and unlock the boot loader on the Moto phones.  I would at least *consider* purchasing a Motorola phone at that point.

      Form over function?  Are you sure you wouldn’t like a nice pretty shiny iDevice?  ;)

  6. Ejl1076 says

    It’s not going to make a difference…. This piece is totally not a reason not to buy… Just say I am waiting on the nexus and be done… But wait might not buy that either cause the original nexus was not so great….

  7. Quacks says

    I’d been waiting for IP4S for months, but when it’s out, I decided not to buy, it’s because the external looks of it, same as my IP4.

    Now, I’d been waiting for Nexus, it took me a while to accept the external looks and the 5mp camera. But the main reason I wanted Nexus is because of the OS, and the speed of the OS updates.

  8. ReMark1 says

    I agree with this well written opinion, but the software and it’s potential lack of support is only my #2 reason for passing on the Razr – it’s the sealed battery that’s my #1 reason to avoid it. While sealed batteries work for Apple (especially for those with the extended AppleCare warranty,) Apple has an easy to use service center via Apple stores and/or it’s lenient pro-customer service attitude. What will be when a heavy user’s sealed battery starts to go and they need to deal with their local Verizon store? Yuck. I’m holding out for the Nexus.

  9. Captainhaggs says

    I imagine given googles new relationship with motorola that they will be given more support and reason to upgrade devices sooner. I realize that it will never have the relationship that google has with the nexus device’s but even that seems odd to me. It seems backwards that as owners of motorola that they would outsource their (googles) flagship and pure experience to an outsider. I hope atleast that the droids will get quicker updates then in the past becaus of the new google ownership

  10. Sidney Kutchuk says

    I have the Droid Razr and its a great phone.I really like the MotoCast.I can connect to my office PC and view and download any of my files that are on my office or home PC.Will the Nexus have a like program?

    I have a few days left on my Verizon 14 day review/return policy.My three issues with the Razr are battery life & the camera and no ICS.

  11. Fgffffgf says

    the bump at the top plus the un-deleteable bloatware are deal killers.  MOTO….I would rather have a slightly thicker phone without the IDIOTIC LUMP.  A device is only as thin as its thickest part!

    • yello says

      The bump isn’t that big of a deal. If you’re making a fuss over the bump you’ve got bigger issues. 
      I on the other hand look forward to upgrading to this phone. It looks great and it has great reviews, from people who actually own it!

  12. Hardy says

    My next phone will be Chinese. (not that any of these “other phones” aren’t made there, right? ;-)) The specs are incredible. (hopefully it’s not just smoke and mirrors) More features better band coverage. Will just have to see how this phone pans out. But if the specs really do pan out. Look out nvidia, Texas instruments. There’s a new player in town, not afraid to show you boys up. Will be very interesting to see how this turns out.

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