Apple iPhone 5 vs Motorola Droid Razr HD Maxx

September 12, 2012
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[Updated] This article was modified to be more balanced. The previous version declared the Razr Maxx HD the clear winner.

ZOMG! So like, has the iPhone 5 finally arrived!? Forgive us for not sharing the seemingly blind enthusiasms that many are feeling, but it comes with the territory when you’ve been spoiled with such a diverse and impressive Android lineup this year. A 4-inch display? Welcome to 2010, Apple.

It doesn’t mean that we’re dismissing the wide appeal of Apple’s latest phone — specs, features, and what it can bring to the smartphone table, no siri siree! Here at Android Authority, we’d like to lay bare the cold, hard unadulterated facts. Rest assured that we will be reasonably objective when we lower the iPhone 5 and the Droid Razr Maxx HD into the fight cage for their duel.

Let’s first meet the two participants in this edition of VS.

Apple iPhone 5

Ah, the iPhone 5. We can’t say that we’re not entirely pleased to see you arrive — if only to give a jolt to Android phone makers to push the envelope some more. People were expecting the iPhone 5 to come out last year, but what they got instead was the iPhone 4S and Siri. So it’s understandable that the expectation this time around is higher and that much more intense.

The numerical jump, and not just an added alphabet on the back, traditionally signifies big changes for Apple’s iDevices. Will the iPhone 5 successfully please those on the other side? Quite likely. The more pressing question is whether or not it proves that Apple still has what it takes to innovate — something we haven’t seen in a long time. Is the iPhone 5 a Droid Razr HD Maxx killer? Now let’s not get too hasty. We have yet to properly introduce the competition.

Motorola Droid Razr HD Maxx

As one of most prestigious members of the Android family, the Droid brand has successfully emerged from a slump with the release of the Razr series. The new Droid Razr HD Maxx built upon that fine reputation and took it a few notches further. Meanwhile, seeing the Maxx on the back of the name brings great pleasure to those who need their phone to come with nuclear-like power source. OK, maybe it won’t last for eons, but it still has the biggest built-in battery (capacity-wise) on a smartphone.

Now that you know a bit about the contestants, better get the aprons ready. The battle between the iPhone 5 and Droid Razr Maxx HD is likely to get messy. And it starts, NOW!

Design

Apple has released some pretty iPhones in the past. The iPhone 5 continues the rounded-corner theme, minimalistic look and hardware home button tradition of past iterations. We’re not going to say it’s getting boring, but it wouldn’t hurt for Apple to shake things up a bit on this front.

Apple is using an aluminum and glass combo for the next generation iPhone. This time around, however, you’ll find that the back comes in two-tone colors – possibly an homage to the original iPhone. Kudos for making the iPhone 5 thinner than ever, as it measures just 7.6mm. It has also lost some body weight, and is now only 112 grams.

The Droid Razr HD Maxx has a highly distinctive design that makes it stand out from its peers. Some may say that the Razr looks more well-balanced compared to the rather awkwardly tall iPhone 5, but that’s not something that really pops. The Razr Maxx HD features a distinctive Kevlar backing, which now envelopes the side of the phone as well, not just the rear. If you dislike the hump that the previous iteration sports, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s now gone.

The phone packs monstrous battery and screen, surely it will be thick as a brick? Not really. The Droid Razr HD Maxx weighs a hefty 157 grams and is 9.3mm in thickness.  As handsome as the device and its edge-to-edge screen is, the Verizon logo on the front rather ruins it and we so wish that it’s not there. Maybe we’ll get our wish when and if Motorola decides to release an international version of the phone.

iphone 5 vs droid razr maxx hd

For inquiring minds, here are the dimensions for the two phones:

  • Apple iPhone 5: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
  • Motorola Droid Razr HD Maxx: 131.9 x 67.9 x 9.3mm

Winner:  iPhone 5. Apple has always led the industry in terms of design and the iPhone 5 continues the tradition. The phone just screams high quality, and aluminum beats Kevlar in terms of appearance. Plus, the iPhone 5 is way lighter and thinner than the Razr Maxx HD.

Hardware

The iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen (1136 x 640 resolution) is a welcome and long overdue addition, but it pales in comparison to the Razr HD Maxx’s gargantuan 4.7-inch Super AMOLED HD display, despite the slight pixel density advantage of the former (326 vs 312 ppi). In reality, the pixel density difference won’t be that noticeable if at all.

Running the show on the latest iPhone is the new A6 SoC, which provides 2x faster CPU and graphics, or so Apple claims. Anandtech believes the A6 is based on the ARM Cortex A15 of the dual-core variety. Other notable features include an 8MP rear camera with f/2.4 aperture and backside illumination sensor, as well as a 720p HD front-facing camera.

All the hoopla about the phone sporting a 4G radio materialized on September 12, but as per the company’s habit, it’ll be known as Ultrafast Wireless. Check out the full specs of the phone right here.

The Droid Razr HD Maxx boasts the tried and tested Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, which is clocked at 1.5GHz. It also comes with 1GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage,  microSD slot, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, WiFi a/b/g/n, and GPS. Similar to its predecessor, the Razr HD Maxx has a 3,300mAh battery to power the phone for days.

Winner: Droid Razr HD Maxx. Given the similarity between the two SoCs, we can expect the phones to perform similarly in terms of raw speed. But the Razr HD Maxx powers through thanks to its NFC chip, expandable storage, and of course, amazing battery life.

Software

The iPhone 5 ships with the equally brand new iOS 6, which was already previewed earlier in the year. Some fresh features that the new OS brings include an improved Siri (can now launch apps by voice, gives sports updates, hands-free usage while driving, etc), FaceTime over cellular network, turn-by-turn navigations, and a better Facebook integration.

Another feature that’s being touted by Apple is Passbook, which lets you store and access digital copies of movie tickets, airlines tickets, boarding passes, vouchers, coupons, and the likes.

We’re glad that the features above are finally arriving on the iPhone, because let’s face it – some have been available on Android for as long as we can remember, either through third-party or Google’s homegrown apps.

The audience may have gasped when the Do Not Disturb feature was introduced for the iOS6, which lets users put the phone on silent mode and stop notifications from coming in according to a set schedule, but Moto’s Smart Actions does that and so much more.

UI-wise, it’s still pretty much the same experience on the iPhone 5. The rows of icons and folders on the home screens are as simple as they come, but they get the job done. As you’d expect, everything is polished and intuitive.

Razr Maxx HD runs a light skin on top of Android OS. It’s one that doesn’t distract users from enjoying a wholesome Android experience, but rather enhances it.  There’s a slight disappointment in learning that it will only ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich outright, but an upgrade to the buttery Android 4.1 is promised soon.

Google’s influence on the Razr HD Maxx is pretty obvious, as it – along with the other two new Razr phones – comes preloaded with Chrome browser. It’s very comforting to know that the phone will not be left in the cold from getting timely updates in the future, though it remains to be seen how Moto and Google will walk the walk.

Winner: Tie. For most users, the polished experience provided by iOS is superior to the more complex Android. If the Motorola Razr HD Maxx had come with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, we might gave it the first place. Truth is both OS are highly attractive and choosing between them is a matter of taste and personal preferences.

Ecosystem

Moving on to content and service that the two camps provide, Apple clearly has set a high standard with its ecosystem, one that happens to pre-date the iPhone. But Apple also has no problem locking down its users, which would make them think twice about jumping on to another platform. Except for songs bought on the iTunes, most purchased digital contents (TV shows and movies come to mind) won’t run on non-iOS devices.

We’d like to think that Google has been doing a better job as of late in making its Google Play Store more desirable by providing a steady stream of multimedia content. The recent introduction of Google Play voucher is also a step in the right direction; one that will make it easier for customers to purchase digital goods, and subsequently create a more conducive environment for developers and content providers. All in all, we’re in for a good ride.

Winner: Tie.  Apple has the slight upper hand, but Google is fast catching up with no signs of slowing down.

Wrap Up

This piece isn’t meant to persuade Apple fans to climb over the picket fence and change allegiance, but we’re merely showing how the two phones differ. While simplicity seems to be Apple’s mantra, the same experience can be had on Android if one desires. That’s one of the best things about Android, as the overall user experience can be made as simple or as complex as the users like it to be.

Aside from the obvious hardware advantages, this is what the Motorola Droid Razr HD Maxx offers. However, we understand that not everyone wants a big phone (even one that comes with a huge battery). Also, the classy design of the iPhone 5 is a major attraction point for many people.

So, is the iPhone 5 a Droid Razr Maxx HD killer. Or the other way around. Difficult to tell. We’ll call it a tie and let you decide. You want simplicity, elegant design, and ease of use? Get the iPhone 5. Do you want a large display, a modern design, and extra long battery life? Get the Razr Maxx HD.

Leave your comments and thoughts below.

[Updated] This article was modified to be more balanced and objective. The previous version called the Razr Maxx HD the clear winner.

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