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… ), 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 ) 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