Cell Phone Battle, my old MotoRazr V3xx Vs. iPhone 3G

I finally took the plunge and updated my cell phone from the classic 2006-vintage Motorola Razr V3xx to an Apple 16GB iPhone 3G (not the S version, I’m a stingy bugger, the iPhone is an Apple refurb, but you could never tell by looking at it, it looks brand new)

While the iPhone is a great multimedia device (it’s clearly more than just a plain cell phone), surprisingly, it’s not a runaway success at everything, there are things the Razr still does better than the iPhone, which totally surprised me

Ergonomics; Winner-Razr, this should be no surprise, when it comes to actually making calls, the Razr is angled to fit the face more comfortably, and the microphone actually comes close to the mouth, the iPhone is a simple “bar” design, and less comfortable, since I don’t use a Bluetooth earpod (I don’t want to end up “Upgraded” by the Cybermen… :wink: ), I have to rate both phones as they’re held up to the ear itself, and in this case, the Razr wins

Pocketability; Winner-Razr, it folds up to a much smaller, more pocketable size, and the display is protected from damage because it’s on the inside of the phone, the iPhone is a chocolate bar sized stick phone, and slightly less pocketable

Durability; insufficient data, I’ve dropped the Razr, put it in my pocket with keys, sat on it with it in my back pocket, and the Razr laughs it all off and comes back for more, the iPhone, i’m a bit more concerned with it, mainly due to that huge glass panel on the front of the phone, and the large, delicate LCD behind it, two big potential failure points, the Razr has a more industrial “drop it in your pocket and forget about it” feel, the iPhone has a far more “swiss watch-take care of me” feel to it, i’m giving the tentative durability nod to the Razr for now…

Sound Quality (handset-to-ear); Winner-Razr, the phone conversation sounds richer and more detailed than the iPhone, which sounds slightly “tinny”, nothing you’d notice unless you were comparing them side-by-side though

Sound Quality (Speakerphone); Winner-Razr, the speakerphone is loud and clear, audibly louder on max settings than the iPhone, which seems slightly quieter

Signal Strength; Winner- iPhone, one of the things that annoyed me is that at home I’m in a weak cell zone, the Razr generally got zero to two bars of signal, the sound quality was staticky, and dropped calls were commonplace, the iPhone gets 2 to 3 bars of signal, only occasionally dropping to 1, and so far, has not dropped a call

In Car Safety** (receiving calls); Winner-Razr, when you receive a call on the Razr, all you need to do is flip the phone open (making the star-trek TOS communicator sound with your mouth is optional :wink: ) put it to your ear and start talking, to end the call, close the flip, there’s no need to look at the handset or take your eyes off the road, this is not endemic to the Razr itself, though, this is an advantage of any flip-phone, since the iPhone is a stick-phone, it requires you to look away from the road to unlock the phone, then push the answer call “button”, and due to the touchscreen design, there are no physical buttons on the face of the phone you can feel for, the iPhone requires you to take your eyes off the road to interact with the device, and therefore is, IMO, far more unsafe to use when driving, as is any touchscreen stick phone

In Car Safety** (placing calls); Winner-Razr, both devices require you to look away from the road to interact with the device, however, the Razr, having a physical keypad, is slightly less dangerous to use to make calls, you can assign phone numbers to the numberpad on the phone and use the number buttons as a speed-dialer (hold the number down for 2-3 seconds), so you can place calls to commonly used numbers without looking at the phone, the iPhone (and any touchscreen phone) requires you to take your eyes off the road to interact with the phone, far, far more risky, I will not be using the iPhone to place calls from the car when it is in motion, the OnStar phone is far safer

Multimedia use; Winner-iPhone, as if there was any doubt, the iPhone is, in all actuality, a pocket computer that just happens to have a phone in it, and as a result, absolutely STOMPS and obliterates the Razr into tiny little bits, and continues on jumping on the bits until it gets blisters, or can think of something more unpleasant to do to them.

It’s got a bigger screen, a far better multimedia MultiTouch interface, Wi-Fi (AirPort) support so you can surf the net in a hotspot without having to use the cell network, it’s just a phenomenal multimedia device, it’s a MacBook Air that fits in your pocket, in fact, all Apple needs to do to create their own Tablet computer, is to take the iPhone and scale it up, put a 13-15" display in it, port over the iPhone OS (which is a trimmed-down version of OS X anyway), and you have your TabletMac, maybe put in a slimline optical drive, but that would be the extent of the additional features needed

the Razr has a far more limited multimedia featureset, a smaller screen, and an absolutely horrible interface for text input, it wasn’t bad in it’s heyday, but it’s hopelessly obsolete by today’s standards

So, comparing the iPhone against the Razr as purely a phone, the Razr is still able to hold it’s own, and in fact, is in many ways still superior as a phone, but compared to the iPhone as a multimedia device, the iPhone handily stomps it into oblivion, I’ve used the iPhone far more as a Wi-Fi multimedia device than a phone so far, I’m not a big cell phone user (I’m on the bare bones 450 minute AT&T plan and have about 4,500 Rollover minutes stored up), but having, for all intents and purposes, a Mac that fits in my pocket and can access the internet anywhere is just plain cool!

I fully intend to keep the Razr as a backup, just in case something happens to my iPhone, but I think the Razr is going to be gathering dust from now on

**yes, yes, we all know we shouldn’t be using a cell phone in a moving vehicle when we’re driving, but most people do (not me, when I need to make an in-car call, I use my OnStar phone, I pull over for longer conversations, and for quickies, I do call from the moving vehicle, but the call is treated as secondary, the caller is notified that I’m driving and paying attention to the road, so I may pause the conversation with them if necessary

Time to make one change in the ratings…
Sound Quality (handset to ear); Winner-iPhone, it turns out I didn’t have the volume up high enough, I just placed a call on the iPhone, and the sound quality was much crisper and sharper than the Razr

The Razr’s speakerphone is just slightly more usable and a hair louder though

Comparing the two devices as cell phones only, the Razr is still a worthy contender, if I wasn’t so enamored with the multimedia prowess of the iPhone, and was looking only for a plain-jane cell phone, I’d be returning the iPhone to get my money back as it’s not that much better than the Razr as strictly a phone

So, why didn’t I simply get an iPod Touch (a phone-less iPhone) and keep my Razr?

well, I accidentally killed my iPod Nano 3G, even though it was in a Contour hardcase, I made the mistake of dropping it in my car-keys pocket and ended up shattering the screen, thinking I could simply order a replacement screen and fix the Nano myself, I took it apart (very delicately, as there’s a lot of tiny, delicate stuff in there), carefully removed the screen, only to have one of the microscopic friction connector closure levers come off the friction connector, so I was down one iPod

I needed to replace my Nano, and was getting fed up with my Razr, so I figured why not kill two birds with one shotgun shell, and get an iPhone, that would replace both my Razr and my Nano…

Thanks for the review. I have a Razr…because when they first came out I was all “omg I totally want one!” and two years later or something, I got one. heh

People keep telling me I need to get a Blackberry or an iPhone or something more fancy. But I keep saying all I do is call and text, and I like my Razr for that. I also like the size, shape and durability, which you prefer too.

Since I don’t do multimedia or data, I am glad to know I’m not crazy for sticking with the Razr.

My RAZR has gone through the laundry and lived. Didn’t know about it until all the clunking started coming from the dryer.

Recently, we thought it was time to update our aging phones. My RAZR is about four years old. Looks like hell, but works fine. We picked some sort of Sony “walkman” phones that looked nice. After a couple of days, we realized the ergonomics are crap for adults. Probably just fine for teens though. The audio quality seemed an afterthought - they probably meant for the phone to be used only with a Bluetooth.

As chance has it, our new Motorola Tundra phones arrived today and are taking their first charge right now.

Interesting comparison!

I naturally lust after an iPhone but can’t quite get past the purchase price and big data-plan commitment.

Oh, and my phone (an LG ENv) has voice dialling which I gather is absent from the iphone so far. I hit a button on the phone (or on the bluetooth) and say “call Jane Doe” and it looks up Jane Doe’s number in my contacts list, and says “did you mean Jane Doe Home?” and I say yes and it connects me. Total hand-off-steering-wheel time, about half a second.

Yeah, in your case, the only advantage the iPhone would give you over the Razr would be ease of texting, thanks to the qwerty software keyboard

however, it wouldn’t make sense for you to switch unless you do plan to use the multimedia features

I posted this from my iPhone, the keyboard actually has a nifty little autocorrect feature that’s quite useful :slight_smile:

One other thing I just thought of…

It would have cost MOREfor me to replace my nano with an iPod Touch than it did to pick up this iPhone…

Refurb 16GB iPhone - $99
8GB iPod Touch - $199
32GB iPod Touch - $299

Did you pay for a data plan with your Razr? That’s what’s keeping me from getting an iPhone. A few hundred dollars for the phone is nothing compared to the extra $40 a month I’d spend on the phone plan.

Yep, I got stuck with the data plan on the iPhone, but considering it’s unlimited internet usage and the iPhone is actually usable on the 'net, it doesn’t bother me that much, the internet package on the Razr was $15/mo additional, and it was an extremely limited internet experience, the iPhone is a viable and usable portable internet platform, no need for specialized “phone browser” pages, i tried the data plan on the Razr long enough to download a few games then I deactivated the data plan

internet use at work is limited and has a lot of blockers, even the news and weather sites are blocked, with the iPhone, i’m not cut off or limited in any way

someone made a good point when they bought the 32 Gb iPhone. They said, ‘what’s an extra $100 when you consider what the whole thing costs of the 2 year plan?’

(hint: 4.5% $2200 rather than $2100 )

Voice dialing isn’t part of the iPhone’s OS, but as they say, “There’s an app for that.”

Several, actually. Two I’ve used are Melodis Voice Dialer and VoiceBox Dialer. Both are free and pretty easy to use. You touch an onscreen button and say a contact and it will dial for you. If neither app recognizes the spoken contact, both will display ones it recognizes that are close to the spoken one and let you choose the one to dial. They’re about as accurate as built in dialers, in my experience.

Bluetooth support The iPhone in a walk. I could never keep my razr synced to my bluetooth headset. Thought it was the head set. I tried oh maybe three or four different ones. Middle of the day boop-boop-boop in my ear as it uncoupled. Then a few seconds later beep-beep-beep as it resynced.
Bought an iPhone. Turn on the bluetooth (and of the 4 i have) it syncs and stays synced. All day.

One issue I have with my iPhone (had it a month) vs my last phone (an LG similar in appearance to the Razr) is issue the OP brought up about it not feeling as rugged, so to speak. I scratch the screen the first week. I have no idea how, since I keep in a belt holster and was very careful with it. I’ve had a plastic stick-on screen protector on it the past 3 weeks, and it works well.

But, one thing I LOVE is the ease of synching with my MacBook. I just plug the phone in and all my contacts, calendar, photos and Safari bookmarks synch. Also, the iPod functionality and control (especially creating playlists) is much better than with a Nano.

So far I love it. Hated the first bill, though.

I found another way to reduce the phone bill portion of my iPhone, I installed Skype, I still have around $8.00 of skype credit left, so whenever I need to make a call in a Wi-Fi zone, I’ll use skype to place the call over the Wi-Fi network instead of using the cell network

Dammit, Apple foiled my [Baldrick Sodoff]“Cunning Plan”[/BS]…

I had originally planned to get the iPhone, mainly as a cheap way of replacing my broken iPod Nano 3G, use the iPhone for a month or less, then call up AT&T, switch back to the Razr and drop the iPhone data pack, dropping me back to the $39.95 bare-bones plan, and just use the iPhone as an iPod Touch (with the phone feature disabled)

Thing is, now that I’ve spent some quality time with the iPhone, I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK to the Razr, I love how well everything is integrated, taking notes in the Notepad app, any phone numbers become clickable and dialable with a touch, street addresses open up in the Maps app, showing right where the address is located, and I can get driving directions to the location with a couple taps, it even has a better mapping subroutine than my dedicated Mio “I Love The Backroads” DigiWalker 230 GPS…

plus, all the other cool apps like UrbanSpoon, Weather Channel, the Social Network apps, and games that are actually pretty decent, make me hesitant to go back to the primitive, clunky, yet reliable Razr

I mean, I was in a car a few days ago, driving down with a co-worker to pick up another car for the dealership I’m working at, on the drive down, he was driving, and I was able to surf the internet at 65+MPH, how cool is that?..

DAMN YOU APPLE!, why must the iPhone be so frakkin’ cool?

I have not kept up with the competition since buying my iPhone, I just haven’t seen the need. But before I got the iPhone, the industry was composed of companies that, I suspect, never actually USED the phones before shoving them out the door to the willing masses.

I’ve used windows mobile, Nokia, Motorola, LG and NONE of them came with the attention to the user experience that the iPhone did. When I ask about friend’s Blackberries and Android phones, they’re usually prefaced with a ‘but’. “I really like my G phone…but the battery life isn’t long enough.” “I really like by Blackberry, but it’s kind of boring.”

I’m under the impression that the ‘post-iPhone’ products from companies are better, but they still don’t have the full-package level of polish the iPhone does.


Once you distill a device down to the bare minimum functionality, where do you go from there with a fickle audience? The iPhone is already a pretty featureless block, you can’t make it MORE featureless. The phone itself is approaching the limit of interesting things they can add. (approaching, they’re not there yet). Sure, they can add a front camera and a flash for the other side, perhaps an FM radio and more storage, but I don’t see them doing more than incrementally adding to the featureset.

How do you improve on pretty damn good after everyone owns one already?

The 3Gs has voice dial baked-in. Pretty damn good voice dialing to boot!

Do you know if the Melodis dialer has been discontinued? I tried searching the app store for it, and all I could find from Melodis is a song recognition app.

Is it an easy, one-touch-without-looking voice-dial? That’d be the requirement before voice-failing is more than a gimmick, frankly. I don’t want to have to even glance at the front of the phone, let alone using an app (with the older phones and third-party apps folks have mentioned).

I like the fact that with my two year old dinosaur, I can tap my headset and that’s all the hand motion required to activate it. Until the iPhone does something like that, it’s not usable for voice dialing IMHO.

Quite possibly the 3Gs does just that… in which case I feel… my… resolve… weakening… :smiley:

Just press and hold the button, and voice dial is activated. Actually, I believe it is more like voice command; allowing you to search the phone and call up songs as well as dial.