Battery Life

I still think that when we’re reviewing a 4G LTE device that battery life is the main concern, and with a sealed internal battery this is an even more relevant point than it would be otherwise. I started the Bionic review out with a look at battery life first, and think the same approach makes sense for the RAZR. As I mentioned before, the RAZR has a 6.7 Whr internal battery which makes use of Motorola’s new higher voltage Li-Ion chemistry, just like we saw in the Bionic.

Motorola also sent us all the goodies to go along with the RAZR, including the Lapdock 100, car windshield mount, VGA adapter, and an extra external 6.9 Whr battery. More on those accessories in a moment, for now let's just talk about the battery.

Since the battery for the RAZR is sealed inside, there’s no way to go the traditional extended battery route, and thus this external battery which connects using microUSB is the only viable option to extend your electron tank. The external battery charges using a microUSB port on its side and can charge up to two devices at the same time.

One using the microUSB connector on a rubberized cable that folds into the opposite side, the other using the female USB type A connector at the top. I used the external charger to juice up the RAZR and another device at the same time to much success. Of course, using a big external battery to simultaneously charge a battery and power the RAZR incurs some overhead.

To measure how good the RAZR is at sipping juice, we turned to our standard suite of battery life tests. The first loads through a dozen or so pages over cellular data and WiFi with the display constantly on and set to a brightness of 200 nits using the stock browser.

Web Browsing (Cellular 4G WiMAX or LTE)
 
Web Browsing (Cellular 3G - EVDO or WCDMA)

In the cellular browsing department, the RAZR unsurprisingly performs very close to the Bionic, but comes in just behind in spite of having a slightly larger battery. It’s pretty easy to point out the sources of increased battery drain on the RAZR versus Bionic, and that’s both inclusion of AMOLED (virtually all the webpages in our testing suite have white backgrounds), and a higher CPU clock, though admittedly most of the time the CPU is in an idle state. The other parts of the equation again remain the same - the RAZR has the same cellular basebands and a similar family PMIC (power management IC).

Using the external battery gives you another 2.5 hours of charge in our LTE test, which isn’t a doubling, but still a respectable boost. As predicted, you end up losing some of that charge on the external battery to overhead, but it isn’t dramatic. I didn’t measure how much of a gain using the external battery on EVDO nets you, but you can safely bet the same 1.83 multiplier applies.

Web Browsing (WiFi)

This trend where the RAZR lags the Bionic in our battery life testing carries on to the WiFi web browsing test as well - the two include the same TI WL1285 WLAN combo chip.

Cellular Talk Time

Call testing time likewise puts the RAZR just behind the Bionic. As a reminder, calls on Verizon still happen over 1x on the MDM6600.

I’m starting to put more stock in our WiFi hotspot battery life test, which has four of our normal page loading tabs open and a 128 kbps MP3 streaming radio instance from smoothbeats.com going. This keeps the baseband and WiFi stacks up and also relies on the CPU for routing network traffic through a NAT, and the display is off.

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (4G)
 
WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (3G)

Here the RAZR surprisingly ousts the Bionic (despite testing being done in the exact same location and signal characteristics) by a little over a half hour.

So in the battery department there isn’t much to talk about with respect to the RAZR except to note that it’s very comparable to the Bionic owing to - again - being based on essentially the same hardware platform. The difference we do see is largely a result of adding a Super AMOLED Advanced display and higher peak CPU clock.

If you’re not near a charger or unwilling to go for the external battery, our guidance remains much the same as it did when we first started looking closely at 4G LTE handsets - wait for 28nm SoCs and basebands in 2012. That said, it’s absolutely possible to make it through a day with the internal battery, it just depends on what your daily use patterns are.

Hardware and Physical Impressions Software - Android 2.3.5 and Blur 6.x
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  • mfenn - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    Dunno how many times I have to say this, but etc. is short for "et cetera". Putting more than one period in it is just plain wrong. Reply
  • jordanclock - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Actually, when finishing a sentence with etc. it is correct to put a second period afterward, as the first one is to indicate an abbreviation and the second is to indicate the end of the sentence. It is acceptable to use just one period, but it is not incorrect to use two. Reply
  • BabelHuber - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    A question to the Anandtech guys:

    Why don't you ever lose a word about rSAp (remote SIM Access Profile)?

    I regularily use my phones in my car, where I want to use the built-in antenna when connecting my phone via bluetooth.

    Connecting via Handsfree is really a PITA: The speech quality is bad and the phone's battery is stressed.

    Hence for three years now I use rSAP, first in my Audi A5 and now in my BMW 5er (via the Snap-in adapter SAP from BMW).

    I still have my good old Nokia X6, this one does rSAp very well. Android, OTOH, does not support rSAP (neither does iOS), but AFAIK e.g. Samsung added rSAP-capabilities to the Galaxy line.

    I know that testing rSAP is not easy because of the different systems the various Auto makers use, but it would even be interresting if you could test it at least a little bit (e.g. checking if the Adress Book synchronization works or if one has to use the SIM card itself).

    A phone without rSAP is useless for me, but perhaps I am part of a small minority, who knows.

    Have you had any thoughts on rSAP?
    Reply
  • Conficio - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    Where are you located? I have not heard about that tech.

    But sounds very interesting. Especially as there is a big debate going on in the US about driving and using the phone.
    Reply
  • BabelHuber - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    I'm located in Germany, but I would think that rSAP is a global tech.

    It supported by VW/ Audi, Mercedes and BMW. For BMW, you need the 'Snap-in-adapter SAP', though.

    With rSAP, the phone is put to standby-mode, since the phone itself is in the car. The car gets the SIM-card-information via bluetooth and also reads the address book, then you use its built-in phone.

    It's a cool technology, the speech quality is very good, since the antenna of the car is used. Also there is almost no drag on the phone's battery, since it doesn't do anything at all.

    The downside is that you cannot stream music from your phone to the car's stereo, you also can't use E-Mail with rSAP.
    For me this is OK, though, I don't want to receive mails while driving and the car's stereo is fed by a USB-harddisk attached to it.
    Reply
  • introiboad - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    There is no technical reason for you not to be able to stream music even when using RSAP. They are 2 different profiles, RSAP and A2DP, and should be able to run in parallel. It's a limitation imposed by the car manufacturer, not by the spec. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    Its not really a debate. Using a cell while driving should be illegal. When you're operating a vehicle that can take someone's life in a 30mph crash then your eyes, hands, and mind should be focused on the task of driving. I learned that in driver's ed and I believe its still part of the test to get a driver's license. Driving is a privilege and so many of the younger generations today have such a sense of entitlement.. Reply
  • cheetahfox - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    As someone who was nearly killed because the person that hit my car was changing the radio station; there will always be distractions in a car. If you feel that Cell phones should be illegal then you should also ban all radio's, gps, cd-players and ipods. Further you should also make all cars have a single seat. We can't let someone talking to you distract you. You should also have some way to measure if a car is being driven by someone that is sleepy. It's been shown over and over again the lack of sleep is worse that drunk driving. I propose a mandatory system of cameras that monitor the driver of a car and if they detect that the person in question is sleepy and not attentive enough that they slowly cut power to the car and force them to pull over for a 30 min nap.

    I am taking it to an extreme but if we should ban cell phones, we should really ban many other things. Things that we would never ban, like more than one person in a car. The problem isn't the device, it's the person using it. If the person driving is a distracted driver(for whatever reason) and they cause an accident it should be handled with existing laws.
    Reply
  • introiboad - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Remote SIM access profile is part of the Bluetooth Specification, it's just one of the profiles defined by the Bluetooth SIG. Unfortunately, RSAP never took off in the same way that HFP (Handsfree Profile) which is the profile that nearly every other phone available uses when connecting to a car.
    One of the reasons may be that RSAP requires the car to come bundled with a GSM baseband/radio since it only obtains the SIM info from the phone and then uses it to place calls using its own. On the other hand HFP simply instructs the phone to place the call using the phone's own GSM radio and then transfers the sound to the car. So it's clearly cheaper to include in a car since the car manufacturer doesn't need to include a Bluetooth _and_ a GSM radio.
    Reply
  • introiboad - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    As far as I know, only Symbian and Bada phones implement RSAP. Reply

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