Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Motorola Droid RAZR HD

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The Motorola Droid RAZR HD and the Samsung Galaxy S III are two of the most high-end smartphones available from Verizon. How do they measure up against each other? Brighthand investigates.

I’ll match your specs…

Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Motorola Droid RAZR HDWhat makes it difficult to compare the RAZR HD and Galaxy S III is that they have fairly competitive specifications.

For instance, they both feature 1280 x 720 pixel HD resolution AMOLED screens (a resolution often referred to simply as “720P”). They also sport 1.5 GHz dual-core processors which give them similar speed, microSD card slots for expansion, roughly the same amount of memory, same 4G technology, same camera, right down to the Gorilla Glass that protects the touchscreen. While the Galaxy S III’s screen is a tenth of an inch larger than the RAZR’s, you’re not likely to miss the difference.

As far as the spec sheets go, they might as well be twins in most of the important areas.

…and raise you a better user experience

The place where the S3 and the RAZR HD part company is in how they perform for the user. As I mentioned, both devices are similarly fast. But the RAZR HD can be fast far longer than the S3 thanks to the RAZR’s much better battery life. The RAZR includes a 2530 mAh battery, whereas the S3′s is only 2100 mAh. That might not sound like a huge difference, but it means hours more of use out of the RAZR on a single charge.

Granted, the S3 has a removable battery, and you could buy a larger extended battery, albeit at the cost of thickness and weight — even though the S3 is already in its regular version thicker than the RAZR HD. But most people won’t bother to do that, and considering the “out of the box” experience, there’s not much competition. The RAZR HD simply lasts longer.

That’s far from the only difference, though… and those differences are living proof that it’s sometimes the little things that make all the difference. For instance, both devices feature an HDMI output. But the S3 does HDMI via MHL connector, which means that you need to have a special adapter (which is not included in the box) plus an HDMI cable, plus a power supply, and presumably, plus the cable to go from the power supply to the adapter where it plugs in. All told, that means at least three, almost certainly four pieces that you need to carry in order for you to simply connect to an HDMI-ready TV. The RAZR, on the other hand, features a standard micro-HDMI port, right next to the micro-USB connector. All you need to hook up to any HDMI ready device is one simple, standard cable. Easy as cutting a cake.

Or let’s look at the completely on-device experience for a second. The S3 features a small LED light in the top left corner above the screen to show alerts, such as new emails, messages, and so forth. It’s tiny, a small round bit about the size of of the (otherwise invisible) light sensor. Small, and easy to miss if you don’t know to look at it. The RAZR, on the other hand, has a large and clear LED for notifications that’s almost an inch wide, bright enough to be seen in a well lit room, but not SO bright that it’s a distraction in a darkened room, or while you’re trying to sleep. It’s the right balance between intrusive enough to see, but not intrusive enough to bother you when you don’t want to be bothered.

While those might sound a little bit petty, they’re the most visible points of a much larger issue: the RAZR HD is simply a little more user friendly than the Galaxy S III. Certainly, you could buy either device and have a grand old time, and be very satisfied with your gadget. But when writing a comparison of the two, the underlying fact is clear: for me, at least, I find the RAZR HD provides a better experience, and more comfort for the user than the Galaxy S III. Battery life, HDMI, and simple usability.

Conclusion

As much as I’m normally a fan of Samsung’s devices, this really is fairly simple. The RAZR HD does all the things that the Galaxy S III does, and it does them longer and better. Whether it’s the longer battery life, or just the little things like having an easy-to-use HDMI port, better notifications, and an easier menu, the RAZR wins the day.

The main weakness of the RAZR HD is having a non-removable battery… and with its excellent battery life, that’s not all that much of a weakness. For new users or upgraders looking for the most cutting edge device, I would say that the RAZR HD is the better of the two… although I might wait to see how the RAZR MAXX HD performs before signing a new two year contract.

Want to learn more about one or both of these? Read our in-depth reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Motorola Droid RAZR HD.

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