Motorola Droid RAZR XT910 - Hardware continued



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Build quality is very good considering the Motorola Droid RAZR’s slightness. There’s little flex or creak from the chassis and the kevlar back has a really nice soft touch finish that seems to absorb scuffs and scratches with ease. There are a few issues though.

Motorola Droid RAZR XT910

Along with the aforementioned raised bezel around the screen, the front facing camera is inexplicably square and set off to one side, and the hole for the microphone is just drilled straight into the glass between the navigation buttons. It just looks a bit crude. Are all these complaints splitting hairs? Yes, probably, but add enough of these little things together and you end up with a device that just doesn’t give as good an impression as it should.

Motorola Droid RAZR XT910

Turn the phone on and we have another complaint, this time with the display. It uses a 4.3in AMOLED panel with an impressive sounding resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. This results in a theoretical pixel density of ~256 pixels per inch, compared to the ~217ppi of the Samsung Galaxy S II and the ~330ppi of the iPhone 4/4S. However, in person the screen doesn’t have the apparent sharpness these figures would suggest.

The problem is the subpixels. The Droid RAZR uses what’s called a pentile RGBG sub-pixel arrangement, which is where each pixel only has two colours (RG or BG) in it rather than the usual three (RGB). As such the effective sub-pixel resolution is actually about 3/4 that of an RGB display. The result is you can expect to see edges of blocks of white appearing fringed with colours while the white itself can appear mottled and text can look a bit soft around the edges.

Motorola Droid RAZR XT910
Motorola Droid RAZR XT910

Motorola Droid RAZR XT910
Apple iPhone 4S

The effect may sound subtle, and indeed it depends greatly on how far away you tend to hold your phone as to whether you’ll even notice it. However, we found that it can be quite noticeable if you tend to peer closely at your handset – maybe we’re too used to doing just that when using an iPhone 4 everyday.

The overall result is that if you are sensitive to these issues then browsing the web or just reading your emails can leave your eyes feeling a bit strained. Otherwise, the display excels when it comes to colour vividness, brightness, viewing angles, and black levels, and as a result video and pictures look utterly dazzling.

After that long winded explanation the key thing to note about the Droid RAZR is that the screen is great for multimedia but not quite as good as the best for productivity and messaging.

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