Camera - Still

I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise at this point that the RAZR, you guessed it, uses the same OmniVision OV8820 8 MP CMOS sensor as the Bionic. That means 1.4µm square backside illuminated pixels. However, as we’ve discussed in the past there really are four parts to the whole smartphone imaging chain: the sensor (CMOS), optical system, Image Signal Processing (ISP), and finally software on the OS talking to the ISP. What’s different on the RAZR versus the Bionic is optical system and software.

The Bionic included F/2.8 optics with a 4.6mm focal length. The RAZR keeps that 4.6mm focal length and includes F/2.4 optics according to EXIF. It’s entirely likely that the focal length field hasn’t changed, but given that from what I can find commercially available OV8820 F/2.4 packages have a focal length around 4.95mm. However, it’s reasonably close. Both of these designs are likely 4P (4 plastic elements) as well.

We’ve done the usual thing and taken photos with the phone under test in our smartphone test locations (which are a bit difficult to control and might have slightly different than usual lighting due to seasons changing) and in our controlled indoor tests.

As a reminder, in the smartphone bench samples only locations 3-7 remain available for testing.

The RAZR does decently well in our controlled testing. Distortion is minimal, the lightbox with light on sample is sharp and looks accurate, and colors look similar to the Bionic. Despite being a half stop wider on the ISO12233 chart we see no more spatial frequencies in the horizontal or vertical (meaning performance is clearly not diffraction limited, which isn’t a surprise). In the lights off test, the RAZR still doesn’t illuminate the scene in the dark, and instead defaults to focusing to infinity which produces a blurry image in our box.

I guess while we’re on the subject of focus, this is a continual problem in the bench test. Focus is soft or missed focus entirely in locations 3 and 4, and in our sample bench video as we’ll show later. I’m not sure what the problem is here, but I’m confident I allowed the AF routine to run properly before capturing - this is just the position the software decided was best focus.

I mentioned software because the RAZR’s camera software subjectively seems less stable than the Bionic’s. I experienced a crash or two in the course of taking bench samples and normal test photos, and like other Motorola camera apps had UI elements disappear sometimes. Obviously not having a physical shutter button makes having a working UI even more important, and the RAZR just needs a bugfix update to address the camera app stability.

Camera - Video

I also shot video at the test location, and here if you look at 1:1 zoom you can see that the RAZR does appear to miss focus despite running its continuous auto focus routine a few times. I shot this video a number of times after a reboot expecting different results but never got a completely sharp video.

The positive part of video recording on the RAZR is that it still uses the same bitrate and H.264 features as the Bionic - 15 Mbps high profile for 1080p30, and 10 Mbps high profile for 720p30. Audio is two-channel stereo AAC at 128 Kbps. You can again pull all of these out of build.prop just as shown below.

ro.media.camcorder.1080p=mp4,h264,30,15000000,aac,128000,44100,2 ro.media.camcorder.720p=mp4,h264,30,10000000,aac,128000,44100,2 ro.media.camcorder.d1NTSC=mp4,h264,30,6000000,aac,128000,44100,2

So that’s a good thing, and again thanks in part to OMAP4’s excellent video encoder, though we see most of the high end smartphones shooting 1080p based on OMAP4 and Exynos using high profile.

Rear Facing 1080p30 Video Sample

Front Facing 720p30 Video Sample

In addition we’ve uploaded the raw rear facing camera video sample without YouTube’s transcoding which you can grab from us in a big zip here. Again the encode quality of the videos is above average, but sharpness would be much better were it not for these focus issues.

Cellular Connectivity - MDM6600 + Wrigley LTE Performance - 1.2 GHz OMAP4430
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  • secretmanofagent - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    Brian, have you seen any data connectivity issues that plague the Droid Bionic on the RAZR? It was something Verizon confirmed was a known issue (there was a patch released yesterday but don't know if that addressed that issue) and was happening to me quite frequently. I managed to move from the Bionic to the RAZR because of Verizon, and I've seen some hiccups that looked similar to the Bionic issue (it's the same LTE and CDMA baseband). Reply
  • flyfishin69 - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    I to am an (almost) former owner of the Bionic. The phone will loose all cellular data after coming in contact with 4g and trying to negotiate back to 3g. And especially in the Hagerstown Md. Area where verizon has no 3g service only 4. I would always find the bionic lifeless. I spoke with a verizon rep and he is sending my Razr tomm. Are we seeing these same problems in the Razr? Reply
  • Nfarce - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Hmmm. I have had the Bionic for three months, since it first came out, and never had a single issue. Here in the greater metro Atlanta area I go between 4G and 3G all the time depending on how far outside the city. I have roamed all over the Southeast while driving and never had a problem either.

    Sounds to me like you just got a lemon.
    Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    Nope, they weren't lemons. Check out Verizon's update:
    http://www.droid-life.com/2011/12/08/droid-bionic-...

    Big one is "Improved stability of data connections on 3G and 4G". Worst part for those who still have it: Verizon says it will "help alleviate" the problem.

    You're only one of three people that I know of who have said they weren't affected, out of about 10-15. Consider yourself lucky.
    Reply
  • Nfarce - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - link

    Yes I guess I was lucky. I actually had no idea this update was even coming until trying to make a call Thursday evening last week. About the only gripe I had of the phone was the crappy autofocus problem. It seems to be a lot better now. I surmise the 3G/4G issue depended at least to some extent what region of the nation you lived in. Two co-workers have the phone (one got a RAZR and gave the Bionic to his wife) and neither reported problems either. Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Monday, December 19, 2011 - link

    I've seen a couple times like what I had seen with the Bionic, but only momentary losses. Reply
  • loribeth - Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - link

    Both 4G and 3G data drops for me. I live 30 miles north of Indy, which is 3G, but work in 4G territory. The upgrade has not helped and only created other buggy issues. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, December 16, 2011 - link

    I just did a lot of research before picking up a phone this week. The RAZR was among the half a dozen smartphones I considered --until I picked it up.

    I have relatively large hands with long fingers, and the phone is STILL too wide to comfortably hold in the hand. It's actually wider than the Droid Bionic (which I did purchase), and its relative thin-ness makes it less comfortable in the hand rather than more. Making a slightly thicker phone, and using that extra thickness to increase battery size would have actually made it more comfortable.

    Of course, that would make the phone a Droid Bionic. Which is now $100 cheaper due to the RAZR coming out, so you can save $100 and get a phone that's every bit as capable, with more battery options. They also released a major update to the Bionic this week that squashed a ton of bugs.

    At the $299 price, I'd probably look at the Galaxy Nexus or the HTC Rezound --not the RAZR. The Bionic is a much better value if you want a Motorola phone. So far, I'm happy with mine.
    Reply
  • Nfarce - Sunday, December 18, 2011 - link

    Yep, I like the feel of the Bionic more than the RAZR. I got the thin rubber-like enclosing protective case and it helps even more on the grip. My friend's RAZR feels too fragile and I'd definitely be more worried about dropping it. Thinner isn't always better to some of us.

    I would have waited for a price drop on the Bionic, but since my older Droid died and I was going month to month without a contract, I had to buy a new phone like yesterday, and in September, the Bionic was the best. Verizon threw in $70 worth of free accessories for me at the full $299 purchase price, so that eased the pain a little (case, car charger, screen protector).
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Saturday, December 17, 2011 - link

    "Thankfully holding volume down and power/lock for 10 seconds reboots the device even when the device is totally unresponsive (which I did in fact encounter once)."

    Something I often encountered on my original DROID and also on my Thunderbolt 4G LTE. I'm honestly a bit sick of the issues with Android. You would think they would fix them. My phone has been known to do some really quirky stuff. From calling people on contact lists from that others who share a phone plan with me have on THEIR phones (the people my phone called are NOT on my phone!), to random reboots, SMS's not sending, and the 3G/4G service acting dodgy, even though I may not leave the house for awhile. Those are just a few of the issues I have suffered through over the last 2 years.
    Reply

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