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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  • JonnyDough - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    I should probably mention too that when I got my phone (through Verizon) that I had mobile hotspot, it was one of the reasons I got the phone. Of course, a month later they had made it pay-to-use and blocked me from it with an update. Its kind of like the whole ISP industry putting caps on it because they quote "can't afford" to not do it. Laugh. ArsTechnica had a whole article on that. Its a really good read. Reply
  • loribeth - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    Don't worry, the hot spot connection is a known Razor issue, or at least that is what I have read doing a Google search. I just dropped my hot spot, today. I also got a refund of al charges since my purchase. It will connect, but will immediately disconnect. Reply
  • Shinobi_III - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    The razr screen might look bad under a microscope, but compared with the SGS2, the colours are so much better, and no banding at all.

    The SGS2 with it's supposedly better layout, looks like sh*t next to a razr in the real world displaying photos or even most games that happen to have a color fade.
    Reply
  • anandtech pirate - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    It’s a bit odd to see the Epic Touch getting better battery life with Wimax than with 3G. Could this be related to a bad Sprint signal at your test location? Sprint 3G data speeds have been terrible in many locations for the past 6 months. Reply
  • victorjr - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    This is what should be called Review! "Reviews" done by other sites are a joke. We can decide with much more success. We can read facts and not only biased opinions. Anandtech is the place I have been for years. This will continue. Cant wait to the Galaxy Nexus review. Reply
  • iSayuSay - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    I don't want to start another flame because I actually feel this Razr is a damn fine phone (apart from it's not bundled with ICS yet), but truly .. Apple just did it again.

    Some hi-end Android now start to use a user un-effin-replacable battery in pursue of thinness and the ability of using hi grade material..

    Adobe start to drop future support on Mobile Flash plugin.

    Some Android now bundled with software or apps which basically iTunes wannabe with all syncing, copying, and not-so-free device managing, something most people bash on iPod and iPhones?

    And I'm sure more and more Android handset going to adapt microSIM on their phone. Just like this phone.

    Long story short, somehow .. smartphone trend start to follow something that most people hate .. the iPhone
    Reply
  • lexluthermiester - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Had to deal with two iPhones with batteries that stopped holding a charge and a few friends have had to deal with similar problems with their iPads. Sealing the battery inside gives the manufacturer an opportunity cut corners in the battery department. Totally unacceptable. Reply
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    Thankfully you're in a tiny minority. And you can get dodgy batteries whether it's removable or not. Reply
  • georgekn3mp - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I have had the HTC ReZound for a month now, and did not like the width and height of the Razr (or the screen compared to true HD 720p on the ReZound) and hope to see a Galaxy nexus review soon even if Anad never publishes one for the ReZound. I researched all 3 before buying the ReZound and found it was best for my needs and wants for a halo phone.

    Even if the SunSpider and Vellamo tests on GNex beat the ReZound..I am not switching. I love my first smartphone...with a non-Pentile HD 720p display, dual-core at 1.5ghz, a better 8MP camera with f2.2 lens and not as big a bezel. I like the phone dimensions on Rezound better anyway...I can swipe my thumbs all the way across holding it one-handed and can't on GNex.

    So the only thing GNex has that ReZound does not is Android 4.0 (and that will happen eventually). So NFC is crippled anyway without the Google Wallet. Heh, all that waiting for a GNex which is already sporting outdated hardware....I bet both the Razr and ReZound beat it when they get Ice Cream Sandwich...just have to wait long enough.
    Reply
  • Rowlf - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I just came back from the verizon store in an attempt to escape apple hell. I so desperately wanted the RAZR or galaxy nexus to be a replacement for my old iphone. The razr and nexus seemed to be choking on this review or anywhere on anandtech. Scrolling was not smooth and the nexus even crashed once. I tried the newest iphone just for kicks and it had no problems. Was it the demo floor model?

    Also the nexus seemed to be half as bright as my old phone. Yes I made sure brightness was as maximum and auto brightness was off. Was it the demo model?

    Do I need to go to a different verizon store? Is that as good as it gets at this time and I should be looking or waiting for something else?
    Reply

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