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Impressions after 1 day of use
[this is identical to a thread I posted on xda, so if you read that, don't waste your time reading this ]
So I was interested in this phone from the moment that it was announced. I've been waiting for a phone of reasonable size, but that also has high-end specs, for quite some time now, and the Razr M finally fit the bill. In the past year or so I've owned the following: 1) HTC One X (returned due to all sorts of bugs, including delays in receiving push email, not to mention that it was huge); 2) Galaxy Nexus (this was actually an AWESOME phone... just way too big for my taste. My wife owns it now.); 3) HTC One S (decent size, although still much larger than the M. Riddled with bugs though... funky wifi, delayed push notifications, etc.).I was not on Verizon prior to yesterday, but I did have various other incentives to switch from AT&T, so I waited a week to see what people's initial impressions of Razr M were before I finally pulled the trigger yesterday. Here are my first impressions after ~24 hours of use.
Build quality and form factor are awesome. This thing is just a perfect size. Roughly the same size, or even smaller, than last year's phones with 4" screens. I've been waiting over a year for a high-end phone that's not huge, and this thing does not disappointment. The little flap that has to be pulled up to put in the SIM and SD cards feels a little old school, but it seems solid enough. Overall, if you've been waiting for a smaller phone, I think you won't be disappointed.
The M is fast and smooth. I've owned a number of high end phones in the last few months and the M is as fast as and as smooth as any of them. Benchmarks prove it (read reviews; I'm not going to post any numbers here.). If you are obsessed with specs and benchmarks, the M will not disappoint. If all you care about is a smooth user experience, the M will certainly not disappoint.
Blur / Motorola android overlay. I don't really like it. It's MUCH better than old versions of blur, and some of you will probably think my complaints are nitpicky, but I just prefer the stock experience (so I use Nova Launcher). First of all, I don't like that the "4g" symbol stays in the notification bar even when connected to wifi. It's the only Android phone I've ever used that leaves the cellular network symbol ("4g" or "3g" or "H+" or whatever your network happens to have) in the notification bar when connected to wifi. It's just a waste of space, and it makes you wonder if the mobile network is somehow sucking down battery life even when it shouldn't be.
Second, I don't like the fact that the dock icons have labels beneath them. WTF? Again, I don't think I've ever seen a launcher that puts labels in the dock. I get rid of all icon labels anyways using Nova, but labels in the dock is just too much for me.
Third, I don't like the persistent google search bar. Even if removed, you just have a row of dead space at the top of the screen. All of these things led me to ditch the stock launcher and go with Nova. I think Motorola's attempt at a quick settings area (scroll all the way to the left) was a pretty good effort, but I think it should have just stuck with the tried and true quick settings in the notification pulldown. This way, you wouldn't lose it when you change launchers. Overall, this version of blur is probably the best yet, but it still doesn't compare to AOSP, nor does it compare to Nova Launcher, in my opinion.
Bloatware on this phone is bad. All sorts of garbage. Thankfully, 95% of it can be disabled. Even so, what a waste of space. I really hope the carriers are making a ton of money off of bloatware, otherwise they are just idiots for continuing to include it despite a very clear message from users that we don't want bloatware.
The screen on the phone is good. I won't go into pentile, but it doesn't bother me. The one comment I have is that compared to my HTC One S (which also has a 4.3" amoled pentile display) the whites on the M are more of a dull yellow. You only notice it if you hold the M up next to a phone that has superior whites, but if you do, you will see that whites on the M are pretty bad. No big deal to me though, but I just thought I'd mention it.
Signal strength has been a concern for me with this phone. There were some reports of weak 4g LTE signal compared to other Motorola phones on Verizon. Honestly, I haven't really been able to nail this down. I can say that both the 1x and 3g EV-DO signals on this phone seem to be just as good as they are on blackberries, iPhone, and other Motorola phones, so I don't think there's a 1x or 3g signal problem. Unfortunately I haven't been able to directly compare it to other LTE phones on Verizon. If I can, I'll report back. Suffice it to say that in the metro-DC area, I hold a steady and decently strong 4g LTE signal, so if it weren't for the reports, I would have no reason to believe there are any signal issues.
Battery life is awesome. When I picked the phone up yesterday and turned it on, it had 42% battery life. By the time it died this morning, it had been on charge for about 16 hours, and it had 3 hours 20 minutes of screen on time. That extrapolates to about 35 hours off charger and 7 hours screen on, if starting from a full battery. Given, this was mostly on wifi, but that's still pretty good. And the battery hasn't even been conditioned yet, so I suspect it might get even better. Also, this was with no battery saving mechanisms in place. I'm not using smart actions or juice defender or anything else. I've got a gmail account, gtalk, and a couple other things syncing in the background. Overall, compares favorably with every phone I've ever used so far. Hopefully the first day was representative!
The notification LED. This thing is effing awesome. I LOVE notification LEDs, and for some reason most phones have really crappy ones, if they have them at all. The Galaxy Nexus (and now the S3) have great ones. But HTC devices have horrible LEDs the size of pin heads, that are recessed into speaker grills so you can barely even see them. The M's notification LED is bright, large, and easy to see from a distance and from an angle. LOVE it. It also works with Light Flow out of the box. So far I'm using Green, Magenta, Orange, Yellow, and Red, and they all work. Haven't tested blue, pink, or purple, but no reason to think they wouldn't work, too.
Call quality. Who makes phone calls anymore these days, anyways? =P (haven't tested call quality yet. sorry).
Camera. Haven't really taken many shots, but initial impression is--as most of the reviews said--mediocre. Not terrible by any means, and sufficient for my needs (taking the occasional photo of my dog). But clearly does not hold a candle to the amazing camera on the One S or One X.
Wifi / GPS / Bluetooth. Haven't tested GPS or bluetooth yet, but the wifi antenna appears to be awesome. I get a much better signal (and speeds) on the M than I get on the One S or on my wife's Gnex. Thumbs up on wifi.
Anyways, sorry for the long post. I have too much time on my hands. But my initial impression of the phone is extremely positive. If anybody is on the fence, I'd say go for it. Fingers crossed that a few devs pick this thing up and that we at least get root. But because I love the size of this phone so much, and since I haven't really located any annoying bugs thus far, I think it's a phone I'd be content to own for a year or two even without root.
9/24 5:30pm EDT update:
Call quality is fine. Honestly, I'm not a call quality audiophile. Everything is loud and clear, just like it has been on pretty much every cell phone I've owned in the past few years. Nothing unusual to report.
GPS is really solid. It locks MUCH more quickly than either the Galaxy Nexus or the HTC One S. GPS Status also shows that it both sees and uses a few more satellites than the One S does. For instance, I was sitting near a window in my living room, and the M was using 10/19 satellites, while the One S was using 7/17. GPS gets a thumbs up.
And this is probably something I'll create a separate thread on, but I'm getting some wakelocks on the M that I do not get on the One S. I have the M and the One S setup identically. When the One S's screen is off, the phone is in deep sleep. The battery settings show that the phone is almost never awake unless the screen is on. The M, by contrast, is frequently awake for very short periods of time even when the screen is off. It does not seem to be causing much battery drain, as I'm still losing well less than 1% per hour on wifi (when the screen is off), but it is nevertheless worth noting because presumably it should not be happening. I'm in the process of trying to figure out what is causing the wakelocks, but haven't figured it out yet. I somehow suspect it has something to do with "phone idle" taking up a much higher percentage of battery consumption than I've seen on other phones. In any event, I'll start a separate thread on this when I gather a bit more info, but just something to be aware of.