Christmas present ideas no. 1: the phone

I’ve been playing with a new phone. It’s the new RAZRi from Motorola (sponsored link through my Amazon affiliate link) – you may have seen it advertised as the phone with the screen that goes all the way across the front.

I’ll be honest, I’m an Apple man myself (sounds like a rubbish superhero but never mind). I skipped the iPhone 4S and moved to the 5, and if I’m horribly honest it’s been a bit, well, whelming. Yes it’s a bit longer but apart from allowing me to put even more icons on than I had before, that doesn’t really add a lot to the experience. I like Siri but that was in the 4S as well – new to me but not much of an upgrade.

So when I was sent the Motorola to review I set about it with some enthusiasm. It is, I would confirm, the best looking phone from that company for quite some time. The screen really is pretty generous and if there’s a disadvantage to not having an Apple retina display then it’s not something my middle-aged eyes are going to worry about. In fact the larger screen makes it slightly easier to use than the Apple, although if I were going to be reading loads of emails then something like the Kindle Fire would be a better option (if I were in the market for an upgrade again I might have gone for a Samsung SIII – in fact after the iPhone I kind of wish I’d done so).

It’s a seriously nice looking phone and it works. It uses a micro sim, so if you have a phone with a standard sim you’ll need to get another (you could risk one of those cutter things, but I’d be inclined to resist that). If your phone is one of those that uses nano sims (like the iPhone 5) then you can get adapters; be careful with these. I thought the easiest way to ensure mine didn’t get lost was to stick it in the phone even when it was empty; without the sim in it the structure was weak, so when I pressed it to get it out, it broke. This, I hasten to add, was a third party adapter and not, repeat not, part of the package from Motorola.

What is part of the package is the battery. I’ve never had a phone that lasts the best part of two days on a single charge – well, I have, but it was just a phone rather than an emailer/music player/Internet searcher/video machine…you get the idea. The battery life is one of the most striking things about this gadget.

In terms of synchronising with a Google account it does everything you’d expect, very quickly, and a load of it worked right out of the box without the need to install extra apps. Some of the social apps, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others, are free and it might have been nice if they’d been preinstalled.

But this is the most promising phone I’ve seen from Motorola certainly this decade, possibly for a lot longer. Clearly if I want to use it longer term then I’ll lose all my iPhone apps – there’s no reason anyone should hand me an Android version for nothing – so that’s a consideration. Also not all of the movies and TV shows I’ve downloaded from the Apple App store are compatible (see how they lock you in?). They’ll work with the iPad so that’s not a huge problem for me; others may differ.

But if you were thinking of buying your first smartphone and hadn’t already been thoroughly tied to one particular software environment, this would be an excellent, clear, powerful phone to own.

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