So, you’ve heard about Motorola’s announcement of the RAZR 2 handset, and you’ve hopefully read our initial take on the device. But how does it compare to its major rivals? Read on to see how Moto’s slimline new phone stacks up against two of the most-hyped competing handsets: Nokia’s N95 and Apple’s iPhone.
As I wrote earlier, Motorola has kept faith with the original RAZR design for the new edition, albeit making it 2mm thinner (and it was already mighty slim). The clamshell design feels a bit old hat now, mind.
Meanwhile, Nokia’s N95 boasts a more startling two-way sliding design, with music buttons popping out of the top, and a regular mobile keypad sliding out from the bottom. It’s sleek, although will still make a bulge in your pocket.
Lastly, the iPhone… well, it’ll have Apple fans in raptures over its slinky feel and tactile touch-screen interface, although the unconverted will point out that it’s still a hefty size.
The RAZR 2’s screen is the smallest of the three at 2.2 inches, compared to the N95’s 2.6-inch display, and the iPhone’s whopping 3.5-incher. All three offer QVGA resolution.
Motorola might argue that its trump card is the large 2-inch external screen, although how much of an advantage this is will depend on how much you actually use it – features include the ability to read your texts without opening the phone up, and even to reply with pre-programmed messages.
Of course, the iPhone is the only one of the three to have a proper touch-screen, which is key to the user interface.
It’s tempting to say the iPhone will win hands-down for music, given its tight integration with Apple’s iTunes Store. Analysts have been predicting that mobile phones could eventually kill off the iPod for a while now, and the iPhone’s performance should tell us if they’re right. However, it remains doubtful whether it’ll be able to download songs over the air.
The RAZR 2 has some impressive music credentials of its own, with stereo Bluetooth built-in for use with wireless headphones or speakers, and Windows Media Player 11 support.
Lastly, the N95 might not be a dedicated music phone, but it still packs a sonic punch, playing a good variety of file-types, including DRM-protected songs. The built-in FM radio is apparently one of the most-used features on Nokia’s Nseries handsets, and for the future there’s Nokia’s Visual Radio tech too. In short, the iPhone is the most musical of the three handsets, but the N95 and RAZR 2 certainly aren’t also-rans.
The RAZR 2’s screen looks to be more than equipped to display the current generation of mobile video services, and you can store up to two hours of footage on the phone if you’ve got a top-spec memory card. The N95 is also a decent device for watching video or streaming TV on, although in both cases, it’s still a case of squinting at a mobile phone.
The iPhone has the potential to be an awesome video-playing device by dint of its large screen alone, especially if Apple manages to launch downloadable TV shows and films on the European iTunes Store by the time the handset comes out here. I’m dribbling over the prospect of wide-screen viewing on the device (although also fearful over the implications for battery life).
Both the iPhone and RAZR 2 have two-megapixel cameras built in, which is fine for printable snaps. The RAZR also has a neat multi-shot feature to boot.
However, the N95 beats them hands down with its five-megapixel camera, which makes a strong case for ditching your proper digital camera for good. N95 features like posting your photos directly to Flickr are also welcome, although it remains to be seen how tightly the iPhone will integrate with Apple’s iPhoto application.
The iPhone’s big Achilles heel at the moment, as it’s a 2.5G phone, compared to the HSDPA offered in both the N95 and RAZR 2. For over-the-air music and video downloads, they’ll beat Apple’s phone hands down if this stays the case. However, the RAZR 2 doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, which the N95 and iPhone both do.
Nokia has been making great play of the N95’s GPS functionality, and has cleverly ensured there are applications and mapping services preloaded on the device to get users started, along with location-based search. It’s still early days for mobile GPS, but it’s certainly a big selling point for the N95.
The RAZR 2’s special features veer more towards the novelty, although mobile veterans will relish its CrystalTalk tech if it really does make your voice calls sound clearer. The RAZR 2 V8 model can also read menus, contacts and messages aloud, which is a nice touch, while an intriguing ‘See What I See’ feature lets you stream video to the person you’re talking to (presumably only if they have a RAZR 2 as well).
And the iPhone? Well, it’s a mobile phone made by Apple, which is all many consumers will need to flash their cash. The interface will also be a powerful draw, with expectations that the iPhone could spur a revolution in the way we interact with our phones.
The N95 has already been criticised for the performance of its battery life, requiring regular recharging, especially if you’re using the GPS and camera heavily.
As for the iPhone, apart from its 2.5G sluggishness, its high price tag will undoubtedly put off many people initially, while there are rumblings about Apple strictly controlling which developers are allowed to make games and applications for it, which could stifle innovation.
And the RAZR 2? Well, it’s an evolution, not a revolution – as I wrote earlier. The original RAZR was iconic, but there’s a danger the RAZR 2 could look like a slightly paler retread of past glories – which considering the original attracted mobile users who want to grab attention by having a cutting-edge handset, could impede sales (i.e. they all own the Prada phone now).
Well, it’s too early to reach a definitive decision on which handset is best, seeing as the RAZR 2 was only announced yesterday, and the iPhone isn’t available to buy yet. Both the iPhone and N95 have very clear selling points – music for the iPhone, and the GPS for the N95.
By contrast, the RAZR 2 is more of a base-covering handset, trying to appeal to existing RAZR fans by squeezing up-to-date features into the classic design. Particularly with some tempting operator deals, it’ll be a phone to reckon with when it comes out in June.