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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    I have seen the Android Central feed highlight three negative threads about the Droid RAZR, and now even the new chart Android Central is proposing for comparing phones misses the RAZR's defining feature. Why is the best thing about this phone a complete secret?

    The Droid RAZR has Smart Actions, which allow the user to control the conditions under which the phone automatically does things. I use Smart Actions to maximize battery life. When I first got the phone I found myself having to recharge the phone two or three times per day -- horrendous battery life, per that Android Central thread highlighting the issue. However, I bought the phone knowing that it would give me fine control over battery life. So I set out to find the best way to do this.

    Now my RAZR has the best battery life of any smart phone I have ever owned -- and this is my first LTE phone! I typically have 50% charge after 16 hours unplugged, with about two hours of talking and two hours of data use -- and I live in an area with LTE (Austin).

    These are the Smart Actions that give me such good battery life:

    Low Battery Saver - This Smart Action is a standard one that Motorola makes available. If the battery level is less than 20% and the device is not charging, the phone automatically sets the display brightness to 25%, turns off GPS, and disables background data synchronization.

    Battery Extender - This is another standard one that Motorola makes available. If the display is off, the phone is not charging, and the phone does not detect motion, the phone automatically turns GPS off and disables background data synchronization.

    Sleeping - This custom Smart Action is the magic trick for maximizing battery life. If the display is off, the phone is not charging, and it is 0 to 55 minutes after the hour, both cellular data (4G/3G) and background synchronization are disabled. In other words, LTE is kept off except when I need it. Data is only synchronized during a 5 minute window every hour, unless the display is on and I'm using the phone.

    Wi-fi Only - This is another custom Smart Action. If I have a wi-fi connection and the phone is not charging, cellular data (4G/3G) is turned off. I don't really need to be wasting juice on 4G when I'm on wi-fi.

    I've only found one drawback with this configuration. For some reason, to send a photo by text (MMS), I have to first enable cellular data. It won't do it entirely over wi-fi. Someone helped me solve this problem by suggesting that I get a wi-fi toggle button for the home screen. When I explicitly turn wi-fi off, the Smart Action sees that there is no wi-fi and automatically re-enables cellular data. I can then send the image. (Actually, the RAZR queues the MMS message and will complete a previous attempt to send it at this point.) Once sent, I just toggle wi-fi back on.

    I had a heck of a time deciding what phone to buy prior to finding a description of the RAZR's Smart Actions hidden away in some obscure blog post. This feature sold the phone, and it has proven as fantastic in practice as it appeared to be in principle.

    I don't understand why Motorola isn't making a big deal of this feature in their advertising. Hearing about it earlier would have saved me a lot of indecision headache.

    ----

    Note: I just recently added the "not charging" condition to the "wi-fi only" smart action, but I'm finding that for some reason this condition prevents the action from ever triggering. Until Motorola fixes this apparent bug, this smart action should always trigger on the presence of a wi-fi connection, regardless of whether it is charging.
    ccannon917 likes this.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Smart Actions are pretty slick once you dive in. I've gotten much battery life with them, and I agree that's it's a low key killer feature for the phone.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    I can't seem to figure out how to set my Smart Action so the gps locators work properly.... any ideas
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jupac Kippur View Post
    I can't seem to figure out how to set my Smart Action so the gps locators work properly.... any ideas
    What problems are you seeing? What smart actions do you have affecting GPS?
  5. #5  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    I have to keep google gps service and wifi active for gps triggers to work. Right now Smart action is enabling a gps trigger which is 30 miles from me. In other words it doesn't know where i am
  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jupac Kippur View Post
    I have to keep google gps service and wifi active for gps triggers to work. Right now Smart action is enabling a gps trigger which is 30 miles from me. In other words it doesn't know where i am
    I'm not sure I'm following. It sounds like you're saying that you have some GPS-related smart action that causes your position to be given 30 miles off, except when you are on wi-fi with a GPS-enabled google app loaded? What are the details of that smart action?

    My understanding is that having wi-fi enabled produces a faster fix on location, but that a decent fix should also be available given enough time even without wi-fi (~30 seconds).
  7. Thread Author  Thread Author    #7  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jupac Kippur View Post
    I have to keep google gps service and wifi active for gps triggers to work. Right now Smart action is enabling a gps trigger which is 30 miles from me. In other words it doesn't know where i am
    Are you using a Network Extender? I've notice that my location will be reported hundreds of miles off for several minutes if I'm on a Network Extender. The Network Extender's first approximation of location appears to be that of the office building through which the femtocell's data is routed.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    I don't have a RAZR, I have a Bionic that I chose to keep when offered the chance to exchange it for a RAZR. Regardless, I think Smart Actions a great feature that's not getting enough press. But I think it's not getting enough hype from power users because several similar apps have been available in the Android Market for over a year. Smart Actions isn't a new concept, but the RAZR is the first phone to include such a feature out of the box.

    My favorite app (Tasker), blows away Smart Actions in every way possible, with one exception - Smart Actions limited feature set makes it easier for people to get started with it.

    Anyway, I'm glad to see someone enthusiastic about Smart Actions. It really does deserve more attention.
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  9. #9  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    I can't seem to figure out how you got the 0-55 minutes after the hour trigger of disabling the 3G/4G to work. What did you do to get that?
  10. #10  
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    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Smart Actions helps, but its not perfect. I have mine configured to turn off network data (3G/4G) at home, and although it is quick to activate when I get home, there is usually a serious delay for it to deactivate when I leave home. I have been 10 miles aways from my house, and my phone is still trying to connect to my wifi network. Hopefully Moto will continue to perfect it, cause it does help the subpar battery life on a kick *** phone.
    jtlapp69 likes this.
  11. Thread Author  Thread Author    #11  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleMike View Post
    Smart Actions isn't a new concept, but the RAZR is the first phone to include such a feature out of the box.
    Oh wow, I didn't know that. I assumed it required special hardware support. So the Android API provides all the necessary hooks? That's surprising! I'll have to check out the other options. Thanks for letting me know!
  12. Thread Author  Thread Author    #12  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauljr View Post
    I can't seem to figure out how you got the 0-55 minutes after the hour trigger of disabling the 3G/4G to work. What did you do to get that?
    It was a bit of work. Open the Smart Actions app, pull up the menu, select My Profile, and then select Timeframes. Now create a timeframe for every period of time where you don't want the phone to do synchronization. I'm using these: 1am-5:55am, 6am-6:55am, 7am-7:55am, etc., hourly until my last one at 12am-12:55am. Then create a timeframe trigger that employs all of these newly created timeframes, having the smart action disable cellular data for each of these timeframes.

    I would have preferred a little bit more support for doing this sort of thing, but this works.
  13. Thread Author  Thread Author    #13  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by blkfx4 View Post
    Smart Actions helps, but its not perfect. I have mine configured to turn off network data (3G/4G) at home, and although it is quick to activate when I get home, there is usually a serious delay for it to deactivate when I leave home. I have been 10 miles aways from my house, and my phone is still trying to connect to my wifi network. Hopefully Moto will continue to perfect it, cause it does help the subpar battery life on a kick *** phone.
    Have you tried using only wi-fi detection, rather than proximity detection? That's what I'm doing, haven't noticed a problem. In fact, I often drive away from the house and check email at the first red light (a habit I need to end).
  14. #14  

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtlapp69 View Post
    Have you tried using only wi-fi detection, rather than proximity detection? That's what I'm doing, haven't noticed a problem. In fact, I often drive away from the house and check email at the first red light (a habit I need to end).
    No sir Mr officer. I was not texting and driving. I was checking my email.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk
    jtlapp69 likes this.
  15. #15  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleMike View Post
    I don't have a RAZR, I have a Bionic that I chose to keep when offered the chance to exchange it for a RAZR. Regardless, I think Smart Actions a great feature that's not getting enough press. But I think it's not getting enough hype from power users because several similar apps have been available in the Android Market for over a year. Smart Actions isn't a new concept, but the RAZR is the first phone to include such a feature out of the box.

    My favorite app (Tasker), blows away Smart Actions in every way possible, with one exception - Smart Actions limited feature set makes it easier for people to get started with it.

    Anyway, I'm glad to see someone enthusiastic about Smart Actions. It really does deserve more attention.
    I still find I get the best battery life with standard toggle widgets (even compared to tasker).

    For example I don't want the GPS to shut off at any battery level if I'm using it. And I don't want it on at all if I'm not using it. Same goes with wifi scanning or cell data.

    I like the concept of the ease of use and it doing things automatically but I feel a power user knows what they need on or off all the time and can just press a button for it.
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  16. #16  
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    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by CynicX View Post
    I still find I get the best battery life with standard toggle widgets (even compared to tasker).

    For example I don't want the GPS to shut off at any battery level if I'm using it. And I don't want it on at all if I'm not using it. Same goes with wifi scanning or cell data.

    I like the concept of the ease of use and it doing things automatically but I feel a power user knows what they need on or off all the time and can just press a button for it
    .
    Its funny you say this cuz this is actually how I've been using Smart Actions.

    I cant go by strict time frames cuz I dont get to and leave work at the same times so I was using each SA I setup one at a time that involved data, Wifi, network. Whichever one I wanted to use/not use I just enabled/disabled it. Was kind of a pain for the times I was outside of a time frame. Found out the other day if you disable the trigger(s), it sets it to manual and is not tied to ANY timeframe. Now its alot easier using it like a regular toggle widget.

    EDIT: just saw....it has to have some timeframe setup for it to save. But as I'm typing this I dont have the weekends setup anymore and its still working. (One I'm using now has a time frame for 3pm to 5:30am Mon thru Fri) Guess I could set it up to be everyday, 24/7. Or some odd time like Sun 3 am. and just disable the trigger. But its like UncleMike said....Smart Actions has opened my eyes....I will give Locale or Tasker a spin now. I need something a lil better than Smart Actions. And I never woulda gave them a 2nd look if not for Smart Actions.

    The Wifi setup is whats irks me about SA. I do have a trigger to turn Wifi Off if I put my headphones on. I usually do that about 5-10 minutes after leaving for work. Dont really know if Wifi turns back on when I unplug them cuz by that time I'm at work and use my Work trigger that disables everything.
  17. #17  
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    That's odd. Mine disconnects from wifi and connects to 4G in under 30 seconds. By the time I get to the end of my street (8 houses) it had usually grabbed a 3G or 4G connection.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk
  18. #18  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    If you like Smart Actions, you should really check out Tasker on the Market. I know the RAZR is the only phone to have Smart Actions built in, and that was a selling point for some, but Tasker can do everything mentioned and more. It is incredibly powerful, far surpassing that of Smart Actions, and there are many tutorials and informational posts scattered about the web. I would check it out:

    https://market.android.com/details?i....taskerm&hl=en

    Yes, it is more expensive than Smart Actions. I'll leave it up to you whether the added power is worth it.
    [B]Gnex/B]
    jtlapp69 likes this.
  19. #19  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    It should be mentioned that to get the best out of Tasker your phone needs to be rooted.
  20. Thread Author  Thread Author    #20  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by le0le0n View Post
    It should be mentioned that to get the best out of Tasker your phone needs to be rooted.
    Thanks! That is a big deal, though. I haven't looked into Tasker yet, but if you have to root the phone to do anything that the RAZR does unrooted, that does make the RAZR more ideal for the masses. I have CyanogenMod7 on my Nook Color, but I'm reluctant to root a device whose functioning I want to hold Verizon and Motorola accountable for, should I need an exchange or other assistance.
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  21. #21  

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    Quote Originally Posted by le0le0n View Post
    It should be mentioned that to get the best out of Tasker your phone needs to be rooted.
    Yes, rooting your phone does add to Tasker's functionality, but it is very capable without rooting it as well.
    [B]Gnex/B]
  22. #22  
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    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Is there a similar app that can be used on other phones? I had the Razr and liked this functionality (Other than it wouldn't allow me to turn on Wifi upon arriving at home), but I traded it in for the Nexus and would like something similar.

    I have timeriffic, which is OK, but not great.
  23. #23  

    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    I have been a guy who has constantly complained about my Razr's battery life since day 1. Here is what I have done recently: Turned off smart actions and use no programs to turn off cell signal or data and when under normal use at work (no wifi) I managed to lose around 25% every four hours. I do use my phone a lot during work as well. This was moderate use, web surfing/messaging/email. This equates to about 12 hours of use. I actually had worse battery life with smarts actions turning data on and off and all the other settings I had going. I do use the Task Manager to shutdown certain apps after the screen is off for 2 minutes and I think this makes the biggest difference.
  24. #24  
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    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by Denverguy67 View Post
    Is there a similar app that can be used on other phones? I had the Razr and liked this functionality (Other than it wouldn't allow me to turn on Wifi upon arriving at home), but I traded it in for the Nexus and would like something similar.

    I have timeriffic, which is OK, but not great.
    What I really want it for is to control my volume at night, and to have something that turns my wifi on automatically when I get home.
  25. #25  
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    Default Re: The RAZR's top secret weapon: Smart Actions

    Quote Originally Posted by epphllps View Post
    I have been a guy who has constantly complained about my Razr's battery life since day 1. Here is what I have done recently: Turned off smart actions and use no programs to turn off cell signal or data and when under normal use at work (no wifi) I managed to lose around 25% every four hours. I do use my phone a lot during work as well. This was moderate use, web surfing/messaging/email. This equates to about 12 hours of use. I actually had worse battery life with smarts actions turning data on and off and all the other settings I had going. I do use the Task Manager to shutdown certain apps after the screen is off for 2 minutes and I think this makes the biggest difference.
    I actually thought about this and was gonna try it to see if it made a difference. Saw SA running with System Panel Lite and it got me to thinking. With the way I use SA its set to manual anyway so I dont know if this is the same as not using it or not having it running 24/7.
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