Home screen window dressing arrives in the form of Circles, a bit of smartphone gloss that includes flippable space-fillers with weather, time and battery info. Motorola has also kept its Smart Actions, which bring some degree of automation to your phone, whether it involves uninterrupted sleep or efforts to draw out your battery for a little longer. This feature still requires a bit of effort on the user-side, but that's only due to the degree of customization on offer here. If you're willing to tweak and reshape the pre-built actions, you'll be rewarded with improved battery performance and fewer interruptions.
Performance and battery life
| ||Motorola RAZR i ||Motorola Droid RAZR M ||ZTE Grand X IN |
|Quadrant ||4,226 ||4,944 ||2,710 |
|Vellamo ||1,928 ||2,442 ||1,550 |
|SunSpider 0.9.1 (ms) ||1,077 ||1,951 ||1,355 |
|AnTuTu ||6,175 ||6,364 ||N/A |
|GLBenchmark Egypt Offscreen (fps) ||41 ||56 ||N/A |
|CF-Bench ||3,115 ||9,392 ||873 |
|SunSpider: lower scores are better |
When we benchmarked the RAZR i recently, we ran it through the same battery of tests, in case any firmware updates brought any performance improvements. Motorola claims the Intel Atom Z2480 processor inside is capable of "up to 2GHz," but it should at least be able to reach that impressive clockspeed at full tilt.
The results remain largely unchanged, but after spending a week with the device, we'd like to add that the web browser still gives a superb performance . The phone made a decent effort on more processor-intensive tasks, including a brief game of Max Payne. Due to that Intel chip, however, the RAZR i doesn't support all the apps on Google Play. Two notable examples are Adobe AIR, which underpins several media streaming apps, and Adobe Flash. Having said that, compatibility has improved since six months ago, with the likes of Netflix and Temple Run now installable. Just days ago, too, Google updated its Chrome app, which now works on Intel-powered devices running Android 4.0.
We also had the chance to pit the RAZR i against the Droid RAZR M. Aside from the benchmark results outlined above, the Medfield entry offered a marginally faster response to most actions. Powering up both phones, the RAZR i landed at its home screen around 12 seconds ahead of the Snapdragon sibling. Loading into the Chrome browser was around the same speed on both, likewise the camera app -- both launching and capture -- was equally swift on both. It's interesting to note that the color balance appeared more natural on the screen of the Verizon version, which matches up with our results in the camera test.
In addition to this admirable performance, we were interested to see how Intel's mobile chip fared in terms of battery life -- with the Motorola RAZR M sharing screen similarities and more, we can make a better judgement on whether those promises stand up. On our battery rundown -- video playback, 50 percent brightness, WiFi and 3G on, social networks and email on sync -- Intel's iteration lasted nine hours, compared with eight hours for the RAZR M. That's a marginal victory, but as with the LTE version, we were more impressed with how the phone managed to go the distance on typical or mildly intensive use. Ultimately, we never felt the need to seek out a charging port during a day's work.
The RAZR i is easy to recommend, especially if bigger phones are an ergonomic no-go.
Intel continues to march out better handsets -- the RAZR i is a more accomplished, more premium handset than the San Diego, although we're still waiting for Intel to step up and power a flagship device. Perhaps once it's got the LTE compatibility sorted, we'll see the chip maker power bigger (and probably pricier) handsets. The 2GHz Medfield processor dishes out performance that you'd be hard pressed to distinguish from many Snapdragon-powered dual-core phones in day-to-day use. Elsewhere, the RAZR i is just as accomplished as its trans-Atlantic twin. It bests plenty of existing middleweight smartphones like the Xperia P, with solid hardware, a breezy (borderline vanilla) UI and a surprisingly decent camera. Expect the greatest screen or the fastest performance and you're likely to be a little disappointed, but at this upper-middle price point -- and free on several modest contracts here in the UK -- the RAZR i is easy to recommend, especially if bigger phones are an ergonomic no-go.