Friday, October 21, 2011

Is Being Thin Enough?

My brother and I often spar over which is the better platform--Android or iOS. He is a solid Android supporter while I tend to lean in the iOS direction (possibly because I'm an iPad and iPhone owner). I think both really have their merits and place and, really, if I wasn't entrenched in the iOS world, I don't think I'd be opposed to an Android device. The thought of re-buying all of my apps, though, keeps me away. But that's another topic altogether. What I'm leading into is talking about Motorola's Droid RAZR.

Feature comparisons
This smartphone really feels like Motorola is trying to recapture their glory days of when the original RAZR phone was the most dominant phone on the market. Making a thin phone was a great idea with the RAZR, but simply making a smartphone "thin" and not doing much else I don't think will cut it in today's smartphone market, especially when you compare its vital statistics to those of other similar smartphones (see the diagram to the right from Gizmodo).

When the iPhone 4S was announced, I was a tad let down as there wasn't anything truly revolutionary announced (although, Siri could be...), but there were some great improvements. From what I've seen and read about the camera, it's simply amazing and takes phenomenal pictures better than most point-and-shoot digital cameras.  Siri seems like it has the potential to be revolutionary if it can really do everything it is touted to be able to. Controlling your phone and executing tasks almost exclusively by voice control... that could be wicked awesome.  But, in the end, the 4S was really a beefed up 4.

With the RAZR, I'm having a hard time finding anything to point out about it other than "it's thin."  And you'll pay a premium for that thinness. With contract you'll shell out $300 for it instead of the usual $200 for an equivalent Android handset or an iPhone. You'd think that the extra $100 would get you something more, but instead you're paying extra for having less phone in your pocket, which I didn't think was really a problem in the first place, especially when you consider most Android phones tend towards being larger as that's what people want--more screen real estate.

The rest of the phone's stats don't lead me to think much of it either. The screen's resolution is slightly better than other Android phones, but still doesn't match the Retina display of an iPhone. The dual core processor and 1 GB of RAM equals other phones (yes, the iPhone's specs are lesser, but iOS is tightly integrated with the hardware so you get more out of lesser hardware). Storage is the standard 16 GB. The cameras are pretty standard in comparison to their Android peers and don't appear like they'll match the iPhone 4S. It only has an accelerometer.  It lacks the gyroscope, compass, and magnetometer that equivalent phones have. And they didn't add NFC which newer Android phones will have.

Really, there's very little that's compelling in any way. Yes, it will get Ice Cream Sandwich in the winter, but other Android phones will have it before then. The only differentiating factor this phone has is that it is smaller and I don't think that it will be enough this time around. Motorola is trying to re-use old ideas instead of coming up with new ones and it's going to hurt them in the long run. They had a hit with the original Droid phones, but now they've been eclipsed by Samsung and HTC. Consider me wholeheartedly unimpressed.

1 comment:

Erik said...

I have not really liked any of the Android phones I've seen or handled. The over-sized screens make them unwieldy and feel clumsy and prone to dropping.

There is no choice for me, I'm a fan boi and love my Apple gear!