Family trees are monstrous wonders of genetic distillation, alternately yielding grotesque and delightful offspring. And, as is nature's wont, it's within the strongest of these "carriers" that dominant traits are passed on, ensuring a continued legacy for a specific branch marked by beauty, brains or beastliness. And so the same rings true for the RAZR lineage: a once forgotten, but now revived brand that's helping to define the new Motorola (as experienced through Verizon). Tucked safely under the protective wing of Google's guardianship, the manufacturer's embarking on a wireless renaissance and soldering that second chance at relevance to the Kevlar back of its latest Droid progeny. But as with all litters, there's bound to be one runt and here that distinction belongs to the Droid RAZR M.
Known internally as the Scorpion Mini, this ICS handset's barebones build can deceive the eye into believing it's smaller than it actually is. But really, its screen is the same 4.3-inch, qHD, Super AMOLED Advanced affair as that of the original RAZR reboot -- just without the considerable bezel. So Moto's engineers have trimmed some fat, but this cosmetic overhaul also goes below the surface. Keeping it fairly current is a gently skinned version of Ice Cream Sandwich (soon to be upgraded to Jelly Bean) that's powered by a souped-up 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 and 1GB RAM. And really, that's about as modern as the RAZR M gets. Put down on paper, that mild spec bump might not seem compelling enough, but let us tantalize you with the device's most attractive tidbit: $99 on-contract pricing. Yes, folks, this formidable Droid RAZR redux has a retail positioning ace up its sleeve, but does that alone warrant two years of Verizon's chains? Can a slimmer form factor, unchanged display and faster processor lure in the style-conscious on a budget? Or are you better off holding out for its bigger bodied (and batteried) Droid RAZRHD siblings? Stick with us as we pass judgment on Moto's little leaguer.