Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD vs Apple iPhone 5 Comparison

Motorola Razr Maxx HD and Apple iPhone 5 mobile phones

In this post I will be comparing the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD versus Apple iPhone 5 smartphone.  Both phones were announced on Septemebr 2012 and are very attractive smartphones in terms of technology. The MAXX has unique features that I will talk about in more details in this comparison and we’ll see whether it’s a worthy alternative to the iPhone 5 — as for time the time of writing this article, Apple’s latest mobile phone. I will start with a short introduction of each phone and continue to the comparison.

Motorola Droid Razr MAXX HD

Motorola Razr Maxx HD mobile phoneThe Razr MAXX HD is incredible piece of technology, a phone that certainly worth a second look when considering buying a high-end cell phone.  It all starts with a premium construction, the phone utilizes DuPont™ KEVLAR® fiber rear cover, which is five times the strength of steel based on an equal weight basis. This fiber was actually designed for steel in racing cars and due to its durable properties Motorola has chosen to use it on some of its high-end devices. The Kevlar cover also ads grip and a softer to touch.  It’s won’t provide 100% scratch-resistant but it has a good degree of protection against scratches. The Droid RAZR MAXX HD also provides some degree of protection against water with its water-repellent nanocoating, so it can survive some occasional splashes (It’s not a waterproof phone!).

The Droid Razr Maxx HD comes with a 4.7-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The device comes with 16/32 GB internal memory, 1GB of RAM, Dual-Core 1.5 GHz CPU, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, NFC but no infrared port. It features a 8 MP camera with LED flash, autofocus and image stabilization and a 1.3MP front-facing camera. The rear camera can shoot 1080p30 videos, the front only 720p30. The devices runs on Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and upgradable to 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean).

The Maxx HD was designed to fit the RAZR brand name with a 9.3mm thin profile. One of the great features of this device is its long battery life, with up to 32 hours of talk timee, 13 hours of HD movie viewing and up to 372 hours of stand-by time. Every one want to have a long lasting battery that can power up the phone all day long, with the MAXX HD you won’t have to worry about your battery dying on you during the day, even on heavy multimedia and wireless connectivity use.

Motorola Droid Razr support 4G LTE networks for super fast downloads and fast web browsing.  This goes hand-in-hand with the incredible battery life, so you won’t have to change to a slower network connection in order to save battery life.  It also worth mentioning that the Droid Razr Maxx HD got some very fluttering reviews by leading mobile phone’s and gadgets’ website, including CNET, Android Central, Ubergizmo, Laptop and others.

The Maxx HD is a great devices for anyone with active lifestyle, one that needs the extra protection, but also for the demanding user that needs a powerful device, long-lasting battery life and a large-screen display.  The Razr Maxx HD might also be compared to the Sony Xperia Z due to its durable properties, but the Xperia Z is a waterproof 4G phone, you can put it under water and it will survive and it’s also a very elegant devices as well. So it seems that the splash-proof durability is behind what we see on some other devices.

 

Check this Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD unboxing video out by Scotty D:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rczFdMzk3kw

 

Apple iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5 mobile phoneWhat more be said about the iPhone 5, it’s one of my personal favorite cell phones due to its build-quality, UI responsiveness, size and style.  It features a 4-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD 1136-by-640 pixels with 16:9 aspect ratio touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass (more durable glass against scratches and bumps) and oleophobic coating (anti fingerprint coating). The most noticeable change from the 4S is its design. The iPhone 5 is taller (123.8 mm vs 115.2 mm) but yet thinner (7.6 mm vs 9.3 mm) than the iPhone 4S, both are of the same width (58.6 mm).  Apple wanted to increase the screen size but at the same time make the phone more comfortable to hold in your hands, especially for people with small hand size.  As the days of large-screen smartphones, it seems that Apple will need to either offer to distinct devices to conquer more market share.  Still, that doesn’t prevent the iPhone 5 to be the best selling smartphone in the world for 2012.

The iPhone 5 is equipped with a powerful A6 Dual-core 1.2 GHz chip to power the new iOS 6 OS and a PowerVR SGX 543MP triple-core graphics processor. If comes with a 8-megpaixel rear-facing camera that can shoot gorgeous photos and can record Full HD videos at 30 frames per second. The front-facing camera is a 1.2MP and record 720p HD videos at 30 fps. The iPhone 5 is a LTE device that provide ultra fast wireless connectivity for the demanding user. The iPhone 5 is backed up with many new software-based features to improve the user experience, productivity and fun for those who are using it. For example, it includes Siri, which is a voice recognition application which allows you to control some of the phone’s functionality by using voice commands without touching the device.

The Apple iPhone 5 was criticized for its relatively higher price, poor maps implementation and OS that lags behind the competition. I personally eager to see what Apple will come up next, because the “outer world” doesn’t wait for Apple to catch up. More amazing new powerful Android mobile phones are being released to the market each month and its hard to see how Apple is going to compete against it in the future (for some reason I am not worry for Apple).

Apple is updating its iPhone lineup every single year.  Each device was designed to run the latest and future 3D games so iPhone users won’t left behind with laggy performance when new high-demanding 3D games are released to the market. Still, large-screen phones provide much better gaming experience. This is why I assume that Apple will have to make some kind of a move and also offer a large-screen iPhone at some point.

Apple was also criticized for going with the “lightning” cord with a new type of connector. Customers who have an older iPad or iPhone devices with a 30-pin connector will either need to buy a new cord or use an adapter that doesn’t come cheap.  Furthermore, there is no stereo device on the market compatible with this new connector.

All in all,  we know that Apple is well known for its closed ecosystem, but overall it’s hard to dislike the iPhone. Whether it’s worth upgrading from the 4S is question for a new article. For me it seems that the iPhone start losing its spark in the wide ocean of new smartphones that are on the market today. It certainly a time for a new iPhone 5S/iPhone 6 and I personally eager to see some new technology innovation ideas that are expected from a company like Apple.

Take a look at this very informative video that compare the iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S by pocketnowvideo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmTBV9H7dbA

 

 Razr Maxx HD vs iPhone 5 – Comparison

As you’ll soon see, there are a lot of differences between the two devices. The next side by side specs comparison table will give you a better overview of those differences with an explanation about them.

Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD and Apple iPhone 5 side by side

Droid Razr MAXX HD and iPhone 5 size comparison (via mobiledevicesize.com)

 
Droid Razr Maxx HD
iPhone 5
 
Announced2012, September2012, September
Dimensions131.9 x 67.9 x 9.3 mm (5.19 x 2.67 x 0.37 in)123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm (4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 in)iPhone 5 is a much more compact device, makes it more pocketable, easier to type with one hand and overall more comfortable for people with small hands. iPhone 5 is 18% thinner and 20% lighter and have 12% less volume than the iPhone 4S
Weight157 g (5.54 oz)112 g (3.95 oz)iPhone 5 weights 45g less
Splash ResistantYesNoMaxx HD splash resistance will make you more confident when you take it to the beach, use it in humid areas and overall more durable for people with active lifestyle. The Maxx HD is NOT a waterproof phone
Build Quality- DuPont™ KEVLAR® fiber case case
- Corning® Gorilla® Glass for the display
- Side is wrapped in a silver metal band to reinforce the sides
- Metal buttons
- Metal body
- anodized aluminium case
- Corning® Gorilla® Glass for the display
- Side is wrapped in a silver metal band to reinforce the sides
- Metal buttons
Iphone 5 anodized aluminium surface was criticized for being scratched quite easily and its pretty noticeable due to the thin pain layer on top of the surface.(more noticeable with the black model).. The iPhone 5 backplate is made with anodized aluminum compare to Corning glass as in the iPhone 4/4S (more info: techcrunch.com, and watch this video. In terms of build-quality & durability, the Maxx wins - however, in both cases, I would use a protective cover and screen protector
Display4,7-inches
Super AMOLED
720x1280 pixels
~312 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass
4.0-inches
LED-backlit IPS LCD
540x1136 pixels
~326 ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass, oleophobic coating
IPS LCD will provide more subtle realistic color render compare to the (over) saturated colors of Super AMOLED. S-AMOLED provide deeper blacks and the overall image compliment photos and videos. Some like the vivid view of the S-AMOLED, others don't (is there away to control the saturation in the phone (?!)
Card SlotmicroSD (up to 32GB)NoNo way to expand internal storage memory with the iPhone :( Apple makes lots of money from selling devices with a higher storage capacity so it won't shoot itself in the leg
Internal Storage16/32GB (26GB user accessible)16/32/64 GB
RAM1GB1GB
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspotWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
BluetoothYes, v4.0 with LE+EDRYes, v4.0 with A2DP
NFCYesNoNear field communication for radio connection when two devices are in a very close range/touching each other
CameraRear: 8MP 3264x2448 pixels / 1080p30

Front: 1.3MP / 720p30
Rear: 8MP 3264x2448 pixels / 1080p30

Front: 1.2MP / 720p30

*FaceTime over Wi-Fi or Cellular
OSAndroid 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich), upgrdable to 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean)iOS 6, upgradable to iOS 6.1.3
ChipsetDual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4A6 Dual-core 1.2 GHzGeekbench 2.3.5 benchmarks, overall the iPhone 5 shows better performance (1605 vs 1484) but Maxx HD performed better in floating point benchmark (2,320 vs 2,095). In GL Benchmark 2.5 Onscreen Razr Maxx HD 22 fps vs 40 fps of the iphone (Egypt HD test) and Razr Maxx HD 13 fps vs 29 fps of the iphone in offscreen Egypt HD benchmark. So overall you can expect better overall performance as well as better 3D gaming performance with the iPhone 5.

source
GPUAdreno 225 PowerVR SGX 543MP3GFLOPS @ 200 MHz: Adreno 225: 12.8 GFLOPS, PowerVR SGX 543MP3: 19.2 GFLOPS
Battery3,300mAh

up to:
- 21 hours talk time
-10 hours video streaming
- 13 hours video playback
- 27 hours music playback
- 372 standby time

*Non-removable
1450mAh

up to:
- 8 hours talk time on 3G
- 225 standby time
- 10 hours video playback
- 40 hours music playback
- 8 hours on 3G and 10 hours on Wi-Fi for Internet use

*Non-removable


The Maxx HD could have been made even thinner if it wasn't for that large battery. Overall much better battery life for the Maxx HD and this is one of the great pluses about this phone
SensorsAccelerometer, proximity, compass, barometerAccelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
GPSYes, with A-GPS, S-GPS support and GLONASSYes, with A-GPS support and GLONASSGLONASS (Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema) is Russia’s version of GPS. Combined access to GPS and GLONASS can improve location accuracy mostly in the northern part of the globe
CarriersVerizon Wireless onlyAT&T Wireless, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, T-MobileT-Mobile will start selling iPhone 5 from April 12, 2013

As you can see, some of  the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD advantages are: bigger display, more durable and splash-resistant property, Super AMOLED display (if you like the saturated colors), microSD card slot, NFC and Mind blowing battery life. It got an overall very good performance too and it’s a great combination of a stamina, design and power that makes this smartphone so attractive.  On the other side we have the Apple iPhone 5, which is more compact in size and weight less than the Maxx HD, it’s proven to be more powerful in both system and 3D benchmarks. It lacks the durability properties of the Maxx HD, has a smaller 4-inch display and with IPS LCD which result in a more subtle colors (some people like it better than the AMOLED\s , other don’t). The iPhone 5 also lacks a memory card slot  too and I personally don’t see Apple adding this feature to their next iPhone (iPhone 6?).

I personally want Motorola to do what Samsung has done with the S4, invest more effort and develop new software-based features that comes integrated with the phone itself. Samsung has done an incredible job with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and I want to see Motorola pushing in this direction in future models. Even when you look at the Droid RAZR MAXX HD product page there is almost nothing about built-in apps other than the camera’s one and the fact that the device runs on Android 4.1. The emphasize is on design and hardware specs, where Motorola is really good at.  If you are searching for a mobile device with a relatively larger size AMOLED display, ridiculous battery life, durable construction yet slim profile and one that runs Android Jelly Bean, the RAZR MAX HD is the way to go.

There are tons of positive opinions and reviews about this phone and for a good reason.  Maybe it’s a shame that it’s only available on Verizon wireless :(

The iPhone 5 is available on AT&T Wireless, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile carriers.  It’s a much more compact device so it will be more convenient to carry in your pocket. Furthermore, due to its smaller width it will be more comfortable to hold and might be even more comfortable for single-hand typing for people with small hands.  The iPhone 5 also was able to outperform the Maxx HD in most benchmarks, not a huge difference but one that will be more noticeable when playing 3D games that really can put a computation stress the phone’s CPU and GPU.

Camera & Image Quality Comparison

Both phones have a 8MP rear-facing camera. You are probably familiar with the iPhone 5 great image quality.  You probably ask yourself if the the Droid Razr Maxx HD outperforms the iPhone 5 in terms of image quality, camera features and UI? – I was interested as well.

Digging deeper into the MAXX HD UI, it’s a simple UI with a slide bottom menu with settings like choosing the image effect (Black & White, Negative, Solarize, Aqua, etc.), image resolution, video or stills, audio scenes (stereo, wind reduction or concert). You can easily switch between front and rear camera with a click of a button.  When it comes to video, the video lamp does incredible job lighting up the scene and making the colors just pop out when shooting in very low light. The camera does a very good job in terms of exposure for both stills and video.

The iPhone 5 user interface UI is a bit different but overall the functionality is quite similar with being able to easily change from photo to video, change to the back camera and fast access to the other functions. I think that whatever UI you are used to, it will take some time until you feel more comfortable with using a new one. After all, there isn’t too much to do when shooting photos. We usually set the resolution that we would like to shoot and go on shooting.  Both phones have support for HDR, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection and image stabilization. The RAZR MAXX HD utilizes a F2.4 lens, same as the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 has a sapphire crystal lens cover to protect the lens against scratches but the cover itself is very durable and very hard to scratch. I have a wristwatch with a sapphire crystal for over 16 years and it doesn’t have a single scratch on it. I haven’t heard anything about the MAXX HD lens cover, which material is used for it – if you do, please comment below.

Image Quality – iPhone 5 vs Droid MAXX HD

Of course what we all care about is the image quality. This will be a good comparison because both cameras have the same sensor resolution and the same lens aperture. I use gsmarena.com photo quality comparison web app in order to see the difference in image quality between two or more devices. Here’s my conclusion:

  • Razr Maxx HD images are sharper in high contrast areas of the image (so I assume that is due to a more aggressive in-camera sharpening), but the iPhone seems to resolve details better than the Razr
  • iPhone 5 images seems to result in a higher dynamic range and better micro contrast
  • iPhone 5 produces images with much less noise
  • iPhone 5 images are more saturated and with warmer skin tones. When looking at gray and white areas I can clearly see a yellow tone and I assume that this was done deliberately in order to produce an overall warmer tone to the image. It doesn’t look good on an ISO 12233 and gray chart but will compliment outdoors and portrait photos better.  Some people like the natural “colder” tone, others the warmer one. I think it’s a bit too yellowish to my taste though but I have to agree that for beach and nature shots it looks more appealing.

 

Overall I  liked the iPhone 5 image quality better. The warmer tone can be fixed using a photo editing software or using an app for those who seems that it’s a bit too much saturated or has too much warmth. I think that most people will love the image quality as it is out-of-the-box.  From my observation the Motorola RAZR MAXX noise is mainly caused by high amount of sharpening that is applied by default. You can even see some jagged edges. Some companies increase the amount of sharpenning do that to give the impression of more details. Overall the two cameras result in a very good image quality, and I must be honest and say that I did some massive pixel-peeing.  On a smaller image scale it’s hard to notice the difference, other than the more saturated colors that are produced by the iPhone 5 camera compare to the more subtle ones on the RAZR MAXX.

In videos it looks like the other way around. The RAZR MAXX looks much more saturated than the iPhone. I compared the iPhone 5 vs RAZR MAXX  vs Nokia 808 PureView and the RAZR MAXX was more saturated. In low light both the RAZR MAXX and the iPhone 5 produced almost similar look in terms of colors, but the iPhone looks sharper and suffer much less from noise. Nokia 808 PureView beat the two of them but that’s due to its much larger sensor.

Sample Videos

Let’s take a look at two sample videos and see if you can spot the difference yourself in real-world shooting scenario (shot by PhoneArena).

First is the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD Sample video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNp0y7fwQA4

 

Second is the Apple iPhone 5 1080p sample video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADPmjP486BQ

 

What do think, which one looks better in your opinion?

 

Conclusion

So there you have it, two excellent smartphones thrown against each other, each one with its own cons and pros. The Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD is certainly an alternative to the iPhone 5 in my opinion. It’s has excellent build quality and it’s very durable and let’s not forget that it’s resistant to water-splashes as well. It has a larger screen but at the same time is a larger device. You can still put it in your pocket, but that of course depends on the size of your pocket as well. I can put it in my jeans’ pocket without a problem, but the iPhone 5  is indeed more comfortable to carry around. The RAZR MAXX HD Super AMOLED display result in more saturated color that compliments photos and videos better in my opinion. The iPhone 5 was proven to be a more powerful device, not by a huge margin, but enough to convince some casual gamers to get it over the MAXX HD if they want a more future-proof device when it comes to gaming.

I liked the iPhone 5 camera’s performance better, but that doesn’t make the MAXX HD’s camera a bad one either. When viewing images at a lower scale it’s hard to notice any differences other than the obvious highly saturated imag eof the iPhone 5. If you are on Verizon wireless you should certainly consider getting the DROID RAZR MAXX HD. As for the time of writing this article the Apple iPhone 5 16GB is being sold on Verizon Wireless for $649.99 with month-to-month service and the 32GB for $749.  The Droid RAZR MAXX HD 32GB is being  sold for $649.99 with a month-to-month service. So the 16GB iPhone version costs the same as the MAXX HD  with a month-to-moth service.

The Motorola Razr Maxx HD has an AMAZING battery life and this is one of its best selling point.  I find it very attractive for people on the go, for example, when you are on a bus on a trip and want to watch a video, browse the web and play games without the battery dying on you very fast.  What counts are the customer’s opinions and the RAZR MAXX HD doesn’t disappoint. If you are searching for a good iPhone 5 alternative, I highly recommend checking the RAZR MAXX HD, it’s really an all-around winner — Highly Recommended!

 

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