For lawyers who need to have the very best in mobile technology, there’s no way to beat the new Motorola Droid Razr smart phone from Verizon Wireless. This Android phone is the fastest, lightest and most convenient smart phone you can get today.

Verizon loaned me one of these hot, new smart phones, which you can use to run your solo law practice, and it is #1 in several categories:

  • Lightness. Weighing in at only 4 1/2 ounces, you can put this phone in your pocket and it won’t pull down your pants. It’s only .28 inches thick and takes up less space than a pop tart.
  • Speed. Run by a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, it displays the web as fast as your desktop computer, when using Verizon’s 4G network.
  • Durability. No bulky protective case is needed. The screen is covered by scratch-resitant Gorilla Glass and the back plat is made of Kevlar.
  • Battery life. The Razr has 12 1/2 hours of continuous talk time and up to 205 hours of standby time. I had no problem getting through an entire day without having to recharge the Razr.
  • Readability. Android phones have the wonderful “autosize” feature, which takes a web page and fits it into readable text that doesn’t scroll off the screen. This feature makes it far superior to any iPhone.

Droid Razr Android Motorola Smart phoneVerizon released the Razr exclusively in November 2011 at a price of $300 with a two-year contract. It’s made by Motorola, which along with the Android operating system, is owned by Google, allowing it to tightly engineer the software to the hardware, as Apple does with the iPhone.

iPhones are much cheaper ($100-$200) because Apple negotiated to have mobile carriers subsidize the cost of a new iPhone. But an iPhone is less desirable because it is thicker, heavier and smaller. The ABA published a detailed comparison. iPhones are delicate, have the “death grip” flaw that requires a bulk rubber housing to fix, and display websites by scrolling the edges off the screen.

I have a corporate iPhone and the Razr makes me feel disappointed every time I use the Apple phone.

Nifty features that lawyers will like

There are scads of apps, and special ones for lawyers, offered by Andriod, which has been the best-selling platform for a year.

It features all the necessary functions like reliable phone service, email, web browser, alarm, calculator, contacts, search, GoToMeeting, instant messaging, navigation and Google Places. It has permanently installed junkware such as Lets Golf 2, Slacker and Viedo Surf, but they’re easy to pass over.

It displays Flash graphics (iPhones don’t), is easy to orient thanks to the camera hump at the top, has a beautiful 540 x 960 Amoled display that is 4.3” wide, an 8 megapixel camera and an impressive 1080p video camera. The Razr starts up quickly (35 seconds) without making any noise, will create a mobile hotspot for other devices to use and auto-detects a wi-fi connection.

It even has a setting to lock the phone so it won’t make calls when it’s in your purse or pocket. The virtual keyboard allows typing using swipe gestures, making it a natural choice for the deft and young.

I almost forgot to mention that it’s a great phone, with a speakerphone, caller ID, advanced speech recognition, automatic redial, call waiting and conference calling.

For busy lawyers who need to stay connected, the Razr is an ideal choice. It’s all that the mythical iPhone 5 is supposed to be. For those who can afford smart design, speed and convenience, the search has ended.


  1. Matt says:

    Your “readability” point is misleading – I have an iPhone and I have never once had a problem rendering text on a website. In fact, if you double-tap on any section of text, the browser will automatically fit the text to the width of that column. Further, mobile Safari has a “Reader” feature that cuts out all ads and puts the text of an article (even articles stretched across multiple pages) in a full screen, easy-to-read format.

    Screen size and manufacturer stats regarding the resolution of a phone aren’t everything – numerous other reviews of this phone indicate that the display quality is poor.

    You mention the excellent battery life – what percentage of the testing was using wifi and what percentage of it was using 4G?

    The “death grip” flaw was corrected by a re-engineered antenna in the iPhone 4S.

    Just because Android and Motorola are owned by Google doesn’t mean that the hardware and the software are “tightly engineered” comparable to the experience Apple offers with the iPhone. Google itself markets the Galaxy Nexus (and other phones in the Nexus line) as the purest Google/Android/Hardware experience it has to offer.

    Android may be the best selling operating system (how many different phones run Android?), but that’s misleading because in your review, you base the vast majority of your conclusions on the hardware itself rather than the software it runs. If you take a look at the best selling hardware month after month, what phones come out on top?

    No mention of if/when this phone will have the latest version of Android, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)?

    • Sam Glover says:

      Fair points across the board. I think Larry may be the first person to call the Droid RAZR the “best smartphone on the market,” although it did get strong reviews from tech sites like Engadget and CNET.

      I think it looks like a great phone, but the dealkiller for me is the huge screen. I want a nice, compact phone, and I hate the trend towards 4″ screens and larger. My Nexus One is the perfect size, and I’m not interested in anything much larger.

      I also wouldn’t want an Android phone running an outdated version of Android—and does this one also have MotoBlue or whatever crappy skin Motorola tosses on its phones? I won’t do anything but plain vanilla Android.

      Comparing an Android phone to the iPhone isn’t generally a good idea, though, I think. They’re very different platforms, despite the fact that they look similar and do similar things. The iPhone is a polished, curated system. It’s excellent if you like it, and as an unabashed iPad fanboy, I totally see the appeal. But Android has different positives and negatives. The RAZR is a great Android phone, but if you want an iPhone, don’t get it instead. Get what you want.

      • Matt says:

        Agreed – it truly is about getting what you want/what will work best for you. Different people have different priorities, and that’s fine with me.

        I also dislike the trend towards bigger displays. While it may be nice for watching video or browsing the web, I like to be able to operate a phone with one hand and being able to easily fit it in a pocket. That being said, obviously Larry values the larger display real estate and if that’s what works for him, great.

      • Have you had a chance to get your mitts on the Galaxy Nexus yet?

        Seems to me to have the best shot at being the iPhone’s biggest competition.

  2. Pro tip – when the link to the phone is an (undisclosed)* Amazon affiliate link, you are unlikely to be taken seriously. Especially when the phone in question ships with a tarted up version of Gingerbread that completely fails to improve the UI, but is simultaneously difficult to un-tart.

    Android has incredible promise, and the latest generation of devices is a huge step. But telling an attorney to buy an android device because the productivity apps are useful assumes an enormous amount about the average attorney’s relationship with tech.

    *Oh, wait, I found the affiliate disclosure in an unmarked file cabinet in the basement, inside a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard.” This review is still extremely thin on warrants for the claim that the Droid RAZR is the best smartphone on the market.

    • Sam Glover says:

      We always include affiliate links when we link to a product, and we disclose it along with the fact that we are sometimes loaned or given products to review (which Larry mentioned in his first paragraph). If you think it influences our reviews, you should read more of our reviews and see if you think we’re being neutral.

  3. Vien Ton says:

    I’m a proud owner of the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus. This is the king of Android phones right now. (Although a nod should be given to the Galaxy S II, which is an excellent phone except that it isn’t available on the Verizon network.) The form factor of the Galaxy Nexus, in my opinion, approaches the ideal for a smartphone (and I’m far from having the largest hands on the planet). Its width actually makes for a very good typing experience, especially when coupled with the SwiftKey X keyboard app. I wrote a 1,200 words review post on Evernote without even realizing that it was getting that long. Also because of its size, I’ve rarely reached for my rooted Barnes & Noble Nook now except for reading with the Kindle app (yeah, B&N probably doesn’t like me very much). At 7″ the Nook is just a little too large for a truly mobile device, but I prefer to read with it over the Galaxy Nexus (4.65″) or a larger 10″ tablet, like the Galaxy Tab or the iPad.

    There’s another phone out there, the Galaxy Note, that has a 5″ screen. My gut reaction is that Galaxy might just be reaching the outer sizing limits for a phone, but I reserve judgment until I get some time with the Note when it’s more widely available.

    About the Razr. I think it’s a sexy piece of gadget. I seriously considered it when I was looking to upgrade from my Moto Droid, which had treated me so well for 2 years. The thing that turned me off was all the Verizon bloatware that comes with with the Razr (and many other premium phones from them). I hate bloatware, especially when they can’t be uninstalled. So, I waited for the Nexus. This is a pure Google experience; and the only preloaded app is the My Verizon Mobile app which, among other things, allows you to access your Verizon account and monitor your usage. This I don’t mind.

    For my full review of the Galaxy Nexus and its OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, go here:

  4. Roberta says:

    Sam, I love reading your reviews. Your comments on the Scansnap 1500 scanner were a major influence on my recent purchase of one. Re smart phones, for those of us with smaller budgets and are less tech savvy, what would you and other Lab members recommend as a ‘starter’ smart phone in a lower price range or a brand/model that might be part of a promotion? There are still many tech-unsavvy lawyers like me out there…Thanks in advance for any pearls of wisdom.

    • Sam Glover says:

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Don’t bother with a “starter.” You will spend the same on your data plan, and you will probably replace it sooner. Get an iPhone on Sprint or Verizon, or if you really want Android, a Galaxy Nexus (or the Droid RAZR if you don’t care about staying current on your OS).

      If you want to know what LAB members think, though, you’ll have to head over there and ask. I’m sure you’ll get a variety of responses.

  5. Larry Bodine says:

    The Droid Razr is Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) upgradeable, although the date of the over-the-air upgrade has not been announced. However, the phone works extremely well without the upgrade.

    The comment “the display quality is poor” for the Razr is incorrect. I viewed the phone with my own two eyes, compared it to my iPhone and found the display quality to be excellent. The iPhone has a smaller screen which I personally find hard to read. Whether you like big screens or little screens is based on personal preference.

    The Samsung Galaxy Nexus appears to be a very good phone. I just didn’t have one to test.

    • Sam Glover says:

      The problem with any Android phone but the Google’s own, though, is just this. Ice Cream Sandwich has been shipping on the Galaxy Nexus for a couple of months already, but it’s still somewhere in the future for Droid RAZR owners. When ICS upgrades to 4.1, the Galaxy Nexus will get it right away, and Droid RAZR owners will once again have to wait a few months (at best) for the upgrade. At some point, Android will move on, but Motorola will have forgotten about the RAZR, and sad RAZR owners will be left toting an outdated operating system.

      That’s why I said before that the only Android phones worth buying are Google’s, at least until the Motorola merger finally goes through, in which case I think we’ll see tighter integration and better upgrade procedures.

  6. killy says:

    If its the best smart phone on the market why does my coworker get 4g
    on his iphone 4s at work and I cant

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