Gadgets: A Droid Razr phone with popular features

  • October 6, 2012 - 5:12 PM

Motorola Droid Razr M, $100,

The iPhone has so commanded the spotlight, you would think there were no other phones being produced.

But there are, and some good ones, too. Case in point: the Motorola Droid Razr M, a slightly downsized Razr Maxx that has many of its big brother's features, including some you won't find on the iPhone.

Among the features are Google maps and the YouTube app. Unlike the iPhone, the Razr M has a micro SD card slot, so you can add memory.

The phone even accommodates near-field communications. That means it has a supershort-distance radio that can be used to share data by bumping with similarly equipped phones. That feature may mean you will eventually be able to make purchases with Google Wallet.

The phone cleverly packs a vivid 4.3-inch Amoled screen into a handset just slightly larger, at 4.8 by 2.3 inches. The set is a third of an inch thick and lightweight at 4.4 ounces. The back is matte Kevlar, which makes smudgy fingerprints surprisingly apparent.

Call quality was good over the 4G LTE network. The camera is 8 megapixels with an LED flash.

The phone lacks the latest Android operating system. It has 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, not 4.1 Jellybean, but it is still very capable. It is available through Verizon at $100, with rebate and two-year contract.



Crates, $20,

Quirky, the design collective whose products are often true to its name, has melded milk crate shelving, Lego blocks and hipster design to create Crates, a modular shelving system with dorm rooms in mind that is a natural for storing electronics.

The crates are 14-inch plastic cubes with one open side and holes in the others. Those holes, which accommodate wiring, allow for legs or casters to be installed on the crates, and couplers can be used to stack the crates.

The genius of the system is in its array of accessories for custom designs. There are drawers, pegs for hangers, and cork and dry erase boards that mount to the side. There is also a butcher block game board, a cable management system and a cushion that turns the crate into a seat.

The crates snap together in a Lego-like system. In a test, the fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene crates seemed sturdy and they assembled easily. It was much less trouble than the average Ikea product. With a little ingenuity, you can assemble a media center or computer desk.

The crates cost $20 each and can be found online through OfficeMax.


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