Verizon’s Motorola Droid RAZR and Motorola Droid X2 were both designed to appeal to a very similar market: those looking for a fast, sleek-looking Android phone. So is the RAZR that much better that it justifies its bleeding-edge pricetag?
Speed Versus Speed
With a 1.2 GHz processor up against a 1 GHz one, you would expect the Droid RAZR to smoke the X2 in benchmarks. And you’d be wrong. In fact, the 1.2 GHz RAZR averages a score of 2700 in Quadrant standard benchmarks, while the 1 GHz X2 scored an average of around 2660, putting it barely behind the RAZR at all. (I suppose I could make a pun about “razor thin margins”… but that would be wrong.)
So what accounts for these two devices being so close despite their processors? Simply put, not all gigahertz processor are created equal. The Droid X2 features a Tegra 2 processor, a chip which is very highly regarded for providing solid performance. Meanwhile, the Droid RAZR features a Texas Instruments chip, which doesn’t fare as well in benchmarks. In comparison, the Droid Bionic — which is also based on the Texas Instruments processor, and should have scored the same as the X2 if the chips were equal–only averaged 2400. Compared to that, the RAZR does have an almost 20% speed boost.
What does this mean to the end user? Well, the fact is that all other things being equal, the Tegra 2 is a little faster. But with the difference in rated speeds, they’re practically the same–and you wouldn’t be likely to notice so relatively small a difference anyway. Even if it were 2700 versus 2400, it would be hard for most people to notice.
Beyond the Processor
But pure, raw speed isn’t the only measurement of a smartphone. Display, memory, and other features count for even more than horsepower. The RAZR and the X2 have the same screen resolution and size, sporting 4.3 inch displays at 960 x 540 resolution. But where the X2 has a regular LCD, the RAZR has an AMOLED screen. AMOLED screens use newer technologies which make them thinner, lighter, and more importantly, provide better display quality. Black is actually black, instead of dark gray, colors are more vivid, and contrast is higher. It’s no exaggeration to say that AMOLED is clearly superior to LCDs.
Things don’t get any better for the X2 when it comes to memory. It features 8 GB internally, and comes bundled with an 8 GB microSD card, whereas the RAZR features 16 GB internal memory, and a 16 GB MicroSD card. That’s a pretty substantial difference.
Last but not least, the RAZR is thinner and lighter, measuring just 0.38″ thick over most of its body.
3G versus 4G
The Droid X2 is one of the last “high-end” Verizon devices that was released without 4G support, while the RAZR makes a big point of being fully 4G capable, as well as having a battery to handle it. Verizon’s 4G LTE service provides noticably faster data transfers than its 3G EV-DO service, so you can enjoy quicker web browsing, file downloads, etc.
4G isn’t without its drawbacks for sure, first among them power drain, and continuing through the fact that you can blow through your entire monthly data allowance in less than half an hour if you’re not careful. But the fact of the matter is that if you have it, you don’t necessarily have to use it all the time, whereas if you don’t have it, you simply don’t have the choice. And there are a few things you can do with 4G, like streaming very high quality video, that are difficult on 3G. So it’s nice at least to know you can use it, even if you don’t.
Despite being a slightly older model, the Droid X2 pulls extremely close to the RAZR in sheer speed. But in the end that’s not enough to overcome the RAZR’s superior screen, better design, and tons more memory.
So do you really need what the RAZR offers? Frankly, it’s a toss up. There’s no question that the RAZR is technologically superior to the Droid X2. But the RAZR packs a very hefty pricetag for its evolutionary updates. If you’re not an extreme power user, it’s likely that the X2 will fulfill your needs — and if you are, you’re more likely to be looking at the Samsung Galaxy Nexus rather than picking up the RAZR.
The RAZR is a nice device — it’s both slim and powerful — and I’m sure many people will be very happy with it, but it’s not so nice as to merit an unmitigated recommendation.