Motorola RAZR vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Motorola has just announced a serious thorn in the Galaxy S II's side, unleashing a handset that boasts specs just a hair's width apart from the Samsung flagship model. Both are their respective company's flagship Android handsets, but which one emerges victorious in an out and out phone fight?

For a long time the Galaxy S II has reigned supreme, knocking back just about everything the competition could throw at it, even in some cases Apple. But has the rest of the Android gang caught up? Read the Motorola RAZR vs Samsung Galaxy S II to find out.

Form Factor

1st: Motorola RAZR
130.7 x 68.9 x 7.1mm, 127g
2nd: Galaxy S II
125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm, 117g

We all like to know that whatever we have in our pockets is the thinnest thing out there, and for a long time it was between the iPhone 4 and Galaxy S II. Now enter the Motorola RAZR, said to be the thinnest smartphone created. If you go for sheer pocketability, the Galaxy S II manages to grab it by just a few millimetres in the length and width department. The RAZR however is absurdly slim at just 7.1mm.

The RAZR also sports a rather edgy looking Kevlar back, to the Galaxy S II's black piece of hatched plastic, a possible win in the style stakes too. There's even Splash-guard technology to encourage water to run off the device should you get it wet. We also prefer the way that the RAZR feels in the hand, sure it might be 10g heavier, but it's light enough still.

Display

1st: Motorola RAZR
4.3-inch, 540x960px, Super AMOLED Advance, 256ppi
2nd: Galaxy S II
4.27-inch, 800x480px, Super AMOLED Plus, 217ppi

The Galaxy S II is no slouch when it comes to the display department. The contrast, deep blacks and all round brightness of its Super AMOLED Plus display is pretty tough to match. It looks, however, like the RAZR might have just managed it, certainly on paper. Not only do you get an extra 0.03 of an inch to enjoy (vital we know) but you also gain a significant hike in screen resolution and pixel density. What does this mean? Well apps look sharper, text is easier to read and video and web content is generally a better experience and, when you bear all that in mind, we're going to have to hand this one to the RAZR.

Engine Room

1st: Galaxy S II
Samsung Exynos
2nd: Motorola RAZR
TI OMAP 4430

Even-stevens on the processor front here. Both SoCs contain a 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core CPU. On top of that, both phones have 1GB or RAM to play with - loads for multitasking. The real clincher is the GPU which, for power fans, particularly gamers, has to go to the Galaxy S II which carries just that little bit of extra oomph. The Mali-400MP GPU beats the PowerVR SGX540 in most tests quite convincingly, granting the Galaxy S II the power-prize round.

Imaging

1st: Galaxy S II
8MP rear, 2MP front, 1080p
2nd: Motorola RAZR
8MP rear, 1.3MP front,1080p

We love a good smartphone camera over at Pocket-lint, especially the 1080p kind. Both the RAZR and the Galaxy S II are pretty mind blowing image wise, especially when you consider they are primarily a phone, not a camera. In out-and-out megapixels the Galaxy S II just grabs it, thanks to the 2-megapixel webcam camera stuck on the front. This means PC quality, high resolution video calling on a smartphone, not many other devices can boast that.

Connectivity

1st: Motorola RAZR
4G, BT 4.0, DLNA, Wi-Fi tethering, HDMI, Webtop dock
2nd: Galaxy S II
4G, BT 3.0, DLNA, Wi-Fi tethering, HDMI, NFC

It's pretty much neck and neck in this round with not a lot that's actually useful to separate these two handsets. You can argue about Bluetooth standards if you can take a few minutes from watching paint dry, but it's the lack of NFC on the RAZR that will draw the most attention.

Now, controversially, we're going to hand the connectivity crown to Motorola all the same. Why? Well, because the company also sells a laptop dock where you can slot the phone into the structure and interface with your device with a keyboard and on the big screen too. For our money, that Webtop use, as Motorola calls it, beats a technology that will be great in the future, but will probably be largely useless during the life cycle of these two handsets.

Battery Life

1st: Motorola RAZR
1780 mAh
2nd: Galaxy S II
1650 mAh

We haven't faced any major issues with the Galaxy S II's battery life and 1650 mAh is usually good enough. Then again the RAZR pushes things all the way up to 1780 which should translate to a marked improvement in time between charges. Even though the RAZR has a larger screen to power with more pixels burning, it still takes the lead with a whopping 12.5 hours of estimated talk time on a single charge compared to the Galaxy S II's 8.5 hours. Victory to the RAZR then.

Software

tie: Motorola RAZR
Android 2.3.5 + Motoblur 
tie: Galaxy S II
Android 2.3.4 + TouchWiz 4.0

Again, we're not going to quibble about a 0.0.1 difference in software version, particularly with Ice Cream Sandwich now on the scene. What this really comes down to is the user-interfaces that the manufacturers have stuck on top.

Mercifully, both TouchWiz and the revamped version of Motoblur are inoffensive. You can pretty much strip either down to give you a close approximation to a Nexus phone, if you really want. As it goes, each has a decent set of pre-installed apps, ranging from Samsung's AllShare DLNA software to Motorola's macro-type Smart Actions which you can read more about in our Motorola RAZR pictures and hands-on piece. Ultimately, you can probably find third party apps to make up for anything that's been missed from one to the other.

Probably the more important consideration on the software front centres around when each will get an update to Android 4.0. Currently both are committed to making that possible, but we just don't know who'll be first to the punch.

Storage

1st: Galaxy S II
16/32GB + microSD
2nd: Motrola RAZR
16GB + microSD

Not much difference here bar the fact that the Galaxy S II comes in both 32GB and 16GB form. Bigger memory gives the Samsung the win on this one. Simple enough.

Price

1st: Galaxy S II
£410 (16GB)
2nd: Motrola RAZR
£450

The Galaxy S II is cheaper, simple as. The difference is that it's not anywhere near as new a handset. A few months after launch, the RAZR might drop down into line but it's more likely that the SGS2 will remain the cheaper.

Conclusion

1st: Motorola RAZR

2nd: Galaxy S II

As ever, there are wins on both sides but, on paper, the RAZR looks to be a better handset. The screen is more impressive, the battery lasts longer and it's nicer in the hand and pocket. In a more strict, match play kind of approach, the result might not be the same, but the odd loss by 0.3 megapixels or 16GB probably isn't worth getting your knickers in a twist about. Really the only place where the RAZR is seriously lacking is with the lower-end graphics processor.

Naturally, the full Motorola RAZR review might tell a different story to the spec sheet once we get the handset locked down in the Pocket-lint labs but, so far, we like what we see.

What do you think? Which phone should take the win? Let us know in the comments below...