While the Droid RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX aren't due out until later this year, Motorola/Google sampled press who attended the On Display event earlier today with a Droid RAZR M. As a recap, the RAZR M shares the same internal hardware as the RAZR HD and MAXX, but with a small battery, less on-board storage and a smaller display. 

The 4.3-inch qHD (960 x 540) Super AMOLED Advanced (RGBG PenTile, similar to the original Droid RAZR) display is crammed into a chassis that's only a bit larger than the iPhone 4S. 

I have to say I'm a fan of the compact chassis combined with extremely large screen. Although I definitely understand the appeal of larger devices (I like the One X a lot), the RAZR M really does offer a great balance of form factor and display size. The device feels solid and relatively light, although the plethora of breaks in the design do give the RAZR M a distinctly lower tier look.

The phone ships with 8GB of on-board storage, but you do get a microSD slot for expansion.  

Sequential Read (256KB) Performance

Sequential Write (256KB) Performance

Random Read (4KB) Performance

Random Write (4KB) Performance

The on-board NAND performance is good when it comes to large block, sequential reads, and is simply ok at best everywhere else.

The microSD and micro SIM slots are located behind the same plastic cover on the left edge of the device. The micro USB port is also found on the left side of the RAZR M. Power/lock and volume rocker are both located on the right side. 

Surprisingly enough I had no issues using Verizon's LTE network while walking around Manhattan today in between meetings. In fact I did most of my testing while wandering around the city, which leads me to my next point: the RAZR M can get quite warm during heavy use. That's nothing too surprising, but a single loop through GLBenchmark 2.5 will warm up your pocket enough to make things a bit uncomfortable. This isn't really an issue specific to the RAZR M, but rather a reminder that even with the move to 28nm we're still dissipating the same amount of power under max load as we have in earlier designs.

I didn't bring my display testing equipment with me so I'll have to save those results until I'm back in Raleigh this weekend. Subjectively the display looks vibrant although small text doesn't look all that good by today's standards.

The RAZR M, like the rest of the new Droid RAZR family, ships with Chrome as the default browser. It's not as much of a bold statement as it would've been prior to Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) officially doing the same thing, but it's a nice addition. Unfortunately it looks like JS performance isn't anything earth shattering. We've definitely seen better performance from other devices running Chrome. Motorola did caution us about drawing any conclusions based on this data since final software is still not quite ready. 

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9.1 - Stock Browser

BrowserMark

Overall performance courtesy of Vellamo looks to be in line with other S4 based devices:

Vellamo Overall Score

The rest of the software is custom Motorola layered on top of Android 4.0.4 (Jelly Bean upgrades promised before the end of the year). Motorola's changes to Android don't feel terrible and they don't seem to take as much getting used to as what you get from HTC or Samsung, but that may just be me. 

Most UI transitions are smooth although you will see dropped frame rates from time to time. The move to Jelly Bean will hopefully help alleviate some of those issues though. 

GPU performance is right where you'd expect it to be based on the underlying hardware (dual-core Snapdragon S4 running at 1.5GHz with Adreno 225):

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Offscreen 1080p)

We still have a lot more to do before we're at full review status of the device, but so far I like what Motorola has done with the RAZR M. It's good to see Motorola focusing on both the larger and smaller device form factors in the RAZR family. 

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  • SleepyFE - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    That's what i wanna see, something that is small and competent. There really isn't any other good phones, that are also small, out there. Everyone puts a huge screen on their high end devices and all the small screen phones are low end. Hope to see more such phones in the future. Reply
  • xTRICKYxx - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    When I think of a phone with a 4+ inch screen device, I always think of a phone larger than an iPhone. This is a really refreshing look! I understand why Motorola didn't make the RAZR M have an HD screen (to appeal to the RAZR HD and MAXX HD) but it would be cool to see smaller and smaller bezels! Reply
  • Belard - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    Yep... agreed. A phone about the size of the iPhone is best for pockets and holding - even with a bigger screen. Keep in mind... that iPhone is a 3.5" screen, but its not as wide-screen as that Droid M.

    Odd... why compare performance of this cell phone with tablets?
    Reply
  • Lucian Armasu - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    Do you feel like they could've made it even more compact (maybe as compact as the iPhone 4S, but with 4" screen), if they didn't have to put that Verizon logo in there? I remember when they made the Droid X, they made the bottom part much bigger just to put the Verizon logo in there. Reply
  • shabby - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    Are you suggesting that if you take the phone apart there's a section under the logo that's empty of any parts? Come on, every nook and cranny is used up inside the phone.
    However there is a possibility that they rather make a phone taller/thinner and have branding space than making it thicker/shorter and have no branding space.
    Reply
  • adriaaaaan - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    my stock galaxy nexus gets 1500~ in sunspider in JB stock browser and my transformer prime gets 1100-1200~ ms in chrome. Yet the faster s4 processor gets 1954 in chrome?? Also can we please see all benches in chrome from now on? It might make the scores a little fairer between versions. Reply
  • Chava - Monday, September 17, 2012 - link

    This phone is really exciting to me. Anand, will you be giving a more thorough review for the this phone later? Reply
  • Hrobertgar - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - link

    I actually just got the phone last night after my original Driod from ~ Feb-2010 had problems. My first impression of the Droid RAZZR M is that the screen is too dim. This morning I was caught at a light and wanted to check soemthing. With my sunglasses on I could not tell if the phone was on or not. Even without my sunglasses it was difficult to tell in the sunlight coming thru the window. Later on at 80% brightness the screen was only marginally readable in sunlight. I will give it another go with max brightness, but if i cannot comfortably read the phone in direct sunlight then it is unusale to me.

    I am not a power phone user, usability is going to be more important to me than raw scores, and screen readability is tops there as it is the user interface.
    Reply
  • MichaelEvans - Monday, December 24, 2012 - link

    I wish the battery makers could ALL make as big advances as do the makers of other parts because that's where most phone problems are. I've got my LG phone on AT&T’s 4GLTE for working with large graphic design files and even with that speed it's all I can do to send a project to one client (local, in New York!) without draining the damn battery. Reply

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