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Motorola RAZR: The World's Thinnest Smartphone Is Also Splashproof

After crashing and burning in a blaze of mediocrity, the once-legendary RAZR lineage has a new successor. The RAZR is a 4G LTE, 1.2 GHz dual-core, Kevlar-constructed wafer of a phone.

AU note: The Motorola Droid RAZR — which will just be the Motorola RAZR locally — is exclusive to Optus at launch and almost certainly won’t have 4G, as Optus won’t be rolling their 4G service out until next year.

The RAZR is only 7.1mm thick (although it has significantly thicker bump at the bottom), making it the thinnest of its kind. It also has 1GB RAM, 16GB of storage, 12.5 hours of talk time, thanks to an 1800 mAh battery, 8MP camera (with 1080p recording), a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display strengthened with Gorilla Glass, a steel core and Kevlar fiber, which makes it strong and lightweight. But the real gem here is that all parts of the phone — even the electronics — have been coated in a water-resistant material, which will help guard against spills and the elements.

There’s also an added bonus for road warriors, as the RAZR will dock with Moto’s webtop (just like the Atrix), and the MOTOACTV, a smartwatch that can sync with the Droid RAZR for on-the-fly updates and functionality.

From what we can tell, the RAZR feels like a faster, thinner, better version of the Droid Bionic. Here’s what Brent had to say after playing with it:

The phone feels extremely solid but also incredibly light. I held it next to the the Droid Bionic and it just feels feather-weight, but at least as strong. The Kevlar back is rubberised and had a good non-stick feel. The new Super AMOLED screen is a dramatic improvement over the Bionic. That pixely cross-hatch of Pentile has been banished. Instead it was bright and clear and colours looked very good.

I was hoping I’d see a boost in speed from the 1.2GHz dual-core processor (versus the 1GHz found on the Bionic), but nothing was immediately noticeable. Actually, if felt a little slower, maybe. I’ll reserve judgment on that front, but it’s something I’ll keep an eye one when we do our exhaustive testing.

Basically there is no reason, at all, to buy the Bionic over this. I mean, absolutely zero. Why would you want something heavier, slower and worse-looking? I’m sure they’ll be dropping the Bionic’s price tag with a quickness to give people some (any) reason, but as of now, I’m not seeing it.

Sadly though, there’s no mention of Ice Cream Sandwich as the Android OS powering the RAZR: it is instead running Gingerbread.

AU note:In Australia the RAZR will be available exclusively through Optus for $0 on the $59 Optus Cap plan. You can pre-order through Optus from October 24.

Update: I just spent some time talking to the engineers behind the Droid RAZR, and I was able to get some nice little nuggets.

First off, they spent about two years developing the kevlar. They originally looked at carbon fiber (because who isn’t these days?), but carbon is no good for wireless signal. Kevlar, on the other hand, is super strong, rigid, and won’t bork your calls. In fact, Kevlar’s so solid that during early prototypes they couldn’t even cut a piece down to size with a band-saw. That should make you feel pretty good about the phone’s strength. Gorilla Glass on the front helps, too.

This phone is made with a new process, where layers are laminated one-by-one on top of each other. This makes the devices exceptionally strong and rigid. The upside of that rigidity: better sound quality through the external speakers, since vibration is cut down significantly. The room I was in had a lot of ambient noise, but the phone sounded pretty good. The downside: the battery is no longer removable. LTE devices are pretty power-hungry, and while most people don’t resort to battery-switching during the day, it’s always nice to have the option.

Moto’s engineers said the camera is essentially the same as the one on the Droid Bionic, but tweaked a little to give it better performance. We weren’t too hot on the Bionic’s camera, so we’ll definitely be checking that when we get our review unit.

Lastly, the splash guard is created by spraying a nano-coating across all of the components, except the screen. It’s on the ACTV, too, and I was told that it would be coming to virtually all Motorola phones in the future. Awesome. Now if we could just submerge them, too, I would be happy as a clam. -BR