Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Motorola Droid RAZR

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Motorola Droid RAZR

It's not often that two high-profile phones launch on the same day. This week, though, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Droid RAZR officially entered the world within the same 10-hour span. 

The Droid RAZR and Galaxy Nexus are both incredibly impressive devices -- with incredibly different types of appeal. The Droid RAZR is thin and light, with lots of Motorola-made software customization; the Galaxy Nexus boasts a giant screen and cutting-edge software straight from Google.

So which phone is right for you? Check out the chart below for a side-by-side comparison, and read on for some more specifics.

SEE ALSO: Android 4.0 and the Galaxy Nexus: My in-depth reviews

Galaxy Nexus vs. Droid RAZR Comparisons

Galaxy Nexus - Droid RAZR Comparison Chart

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Droid RAZR are different in both form and function. The Nexus is larger, thanks in part to its 4.65-inch display compared to the RAZR's 4.3-inch screen; it's also slightly thicker and heavier, though only by 0.1 inch and 0.3 ounces, respectively. And as you can see from looking at the images, the two phones have very different designs.

In terms of pure processing power, the devices are fairly well-matched, both running dual-core 1.2GHz processors with 1GB of RAM. The Nexus has an option of either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, while the RAZR comes with 16GB. The RAZR, however, also includes a 16GB external storage card, expandable up to 32GB, while the Nexus does not offer external storage support.

The Galaxy Nexus has a 5MP rear camera compared to the Droid RAZR's 8MP camera. Remember, though, that megapixels alone don't determine image quality; most early reports, in fact, suggest that the Galaxy Nexus's camera is actually quite good.

The phones have a few other hardware differences: The Galaxy Nexus has NFC support, while the Droid RAZR does not; the Droid RAZR has a dedicated micro-HDMI port, while the Galaxy Nexus offers HDMI functionality through its micro-USB port (with the use of an adaptor).

The biggest differentiator, however, may be the software: Samsung's Galaxy Nexus runs the brand new Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS, which is chock-full of new features and improvements. Motorola's Droid RAZR, meanwhile, ships with Android 2.3.5, aka Gingerbread -- the previous Android phone version that launched last year. Motorola says it plans to upgrade the RAZR to Ice Cream Sandwich sometime in early 2012, but until that happens, it faces a clear disadvantage compared to the Nexus.

That brings us to one final important difference between the devices: The Galaxy Nexus is a "pure" Google experience phone, meaning it runs an unmodified version of Android straight from Google. As such, it will be first in line for future Android upgrades and is guaranteed to always run the latest and greatest Google software, with no bloatware or extra junk baked in.

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The Droid RAZR, on the other hand, features a version of Android that's heavily modified by Motorola. Depending on your perspective, that could be a good or a bad thing: Motorola's additions include some potentially useful features such as a data-streaming utility, word processing software, and numerous tweaks to the Android OS. Many of those features, however, could be accomplished via third-party apps that you install on your own; by baking them into the system, Motorola makes it impossible for them to be removed. This type of OS-level modification can also cause extra delays in future Android upgrades.

Ultimately, neither phone is inherently better than the other; they're both standout devices, and it all comes down to what you want and what's important to you in a phone. The Droid RAZR launches on Verizon Wireless in November for $300 with a new two-year contract; the Galaxy Nexus is scheduled to launch in November as well, but thus far, no pricing or U.S. carrier details have been announced.

UPDATE [12/14/11]: Verizon Galaxy Nexus release date officially confirmed

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

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