Razr M Is a Solid Phone With a Beautiful Display
Along the bottom of the display are five key apps-phone, contacts, app menu, text and camera. Everything above these is very customizable. Users can pile a few apps on top of each other to create a folder on the desktop, the contents of which can be seen in a single tap. Chrome is the Web browser the phone ships with, and paired with Verizon's LTE network and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, it's very fast. Like, zero-lag fast. While live footage from the Democratic Convention balked and stalled on the YouTube channel running on Chrome on my MacBook, on the Razr M, it played perfectly, in rich color and at a volume loud enough to be listened to by several people in a not-silent room.On the bottom of the display are three ever-present on-screen icons. There's a back button, a home button and a button that throws up a column showing recently used apps and a thumbnail view-a user can see the emails she was viewing in Gmail, for example, or the Web page in Chrome-for quick navigation.The telephone app is fine-though I was disappointed by the volume on speaker-and so are the cameras. There's a VGA camera up-front for video calling and an 8MP camera on the back. The latter is paired with a number of options, though on the model journalists at the Sept. 5 event were given-Motorola fairly pleaded in a note to "please be kind, as this is a pre-released beta device"-one could sometimes click on these options, while other times they'd be unavailable. Also, while the color is rather rich-and can be tweaked with Effects, when that option feels like working-the shutter isn't fast enough that you're going to catch the dog doing that funny thing. The battery is a 2,000mAh, said to offer 20 hours of mixed usage, which I also found to be roughly the case. Though if it's extra serious battery life you're after, it's the Razr M's larger siblings you'll want-the HD Maxx in particular can run for 21 hours of conversation, 27 hours of music or 10 hours of streaming LTE video. The Razr M has near-field communication (NFC) technology-really no phone should be introduced these days without it-plus 1GB of RAM, 8GB of ROM, 4.5GB of available internal memory and a microSD slot for expanding that. The slot is located on the side of the phone just beside the SIM card slot, under a truly feeble strip of plastic. For users prone to popping the microSD card in and out often, or anyone who hands over the phone to a toddler, in hopes of buying time with YouTube videos, it's difficult to imagine that strip staying attached to the phone for more than a month. Far less, in the example with the toddler. In short, this is a solid phone with a beautiful display and an option that anyone who likes the idea of a phone that fits in a single hand or a pocket isn't likely to regret. Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.