Monday, November 19, 2012

Android Battle: SGN v RAZR

I'm traveling to Europe for the first time in two years, and as usual, the phone I have isn't global-capable. Thanks Verizon, for adding a great new technology (LTE) but not standardizing with other parts of the world.

But that's because I've got a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which doesn't have GSM capabilities, or EU CDMA. The Motorola DROID RAZR, however, does have GSM.  So I borrowed one (thanks Alan!) and off I jet to Germany next week.

So I've had a little more than a day to play with the RAZR.  I spent most of yesterday reloading apps (why didn't they download automatically?  I understand the sideloaded ones, but the Google Play stuff should have just appeared, right?), and found some things I do and don't like about the RAZR versus the GalNex.

Galaxy Nexus Wins

  • Jelly Bean. Hands down, this is the deciding factor.  I really like the Google Search Cards, voice activation, better gesture controls in the browser. At least the RAZR has Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • Buttons. I like the soft buttons on the screen, and their arrangement.  having to long-press home to switch tasks is a pain.
  • Skin/Launcher. Having 16 buttons plus the search bar on each screen is a bonus (although the hard search button on the RAZR offsets this a bit)
  • Lack of cruft. Moto and Verizon both pack this thing with a lot of useless apps
  • Feel. This might be just a matter of getting used to it, but the RAZR has harder edges, and the bulge at the top makes for an unbalanced grip
  • Battery. If I had the MAXX version, the RAZR would win. But the Nexus is removable, and I have the regular one and an extended one (only about 10% better, but beats a poke in the head with a sharp stick). I haven't used it enough to know what real battery life is going to be like, though.


  • Weight. Noticeably lighter and thinner.
  • SD Card slot.  Shameful that there isn't one of these in the GalNex.
  • Speaker. More powerful - the Nexus is rather quiet
  • Camera. Better resolution and with the one shot I've taken so far, better light sensitivity.
In general, though, why do Android phone makers not standardize on function buttons?  Having the soft buttons on the GalNex should be the best way, but I've seen pretty much every combination of Menu, Home, Return, Search, Apps when I look at different phones, and it's annoying.  Having a hard menu button at the bottom means that ICS apps that would put the menu button at the top don't do so, meaning I have to re-learn.

1 comment:

Joel said...

So after about two weeks with the RAZR, did I want the old GalNex back, or couldn't I part with the RAZR?

Verdict: I love my GalNex. Better, brighter screen, better feel in my hand (even if I grab it upside-down as often as not). The RAZR really didn't add anything to the experience, and having hard buttons limited use. Samsung's got it right.