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Big Fight – Galaxy Note v/s Razr XT910 v/s Galaxy Nexus
Shayon Pal, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 28, 2011
First Published: 13:13 IST(28/11/2011)
Last Updated: 15:50 IST(28/11/2011)
Samsung
Everybody wants an Android, these days. What the heck, everybody seems to be even sporting an Android these days. As if it’s the new Symbian. And quite rightly so, if I may add. Nokia themselves have decided to phase out Symbian and have embraced Windows Phone 7 instead. RIM is still struggling to decide whether the next refresh of the Blackberry OS 7 be named OS 7.1 or OS 8. And I am still wondering what happened to those refreshing BBX devices that we were promised in October? iPhone seems to be a reality only for the rich and famous.

Steve Jobs had accused Android for being very fragmented many times in his life. Looks like it is the very fragmentation of the OS that helped it become popular in the price conscious market of India. Why? Because it is this fragmentation that gives the potential owners the choice to make decisions on various aspects of the phone they wanna buy – the display size, resolution, processor, quality of camera and the price that he can afford. It is thanks to the very fragmented nature of Android that today the market presents the consumer a plethora of choices between 2.5-inches and 10-inches.

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3 phones that are currently on everybody’s mind and actually deserve to be compared against each other are the Samsung Galaxy Note, Motorola Razr XT910 (Droid Razr is not officially available in India) and the Google Phone, Galaxy Nexus. They don’t just have beastly screen sizes, but are also unique devices in their own right. While the Galaxy Note is the only 5-inch phone that has managed to become extremely popular among the consumers, the curved screen and super high resolution of Galaxy Nexus has won everyone’s hearts. Similarly, even though Motorola has dumped Motoblur for the Razr, the heavily skinned Gingerbread (Android v2.3.5) is an absolute pleasure to use.

Which are the aspects do you usually consider while discussing the merits of a phone? For today’s comparison, I have decided to take a mathematical approach. Below, I have listed out 10 characteristics on which I plan to rate the 3 phones in question. Beside the criteria, I have also mentioned a number, which is actually weightage given to that particular criterion (in a scale of 9) depending on how important I think they usually are, while comparing 2 or more phones. Higher the number in brackets, higher is its importance.

Decision Criteria

So, today’s criteria on which the Samsung Galaxy Note, Motorola Razr XT910 and Galaxy Nexus will be judged are –

1. Processor & Memory [9] – The brain has to be the most important part of a phone. It is the CPU and the RAM that dictates the kind of experience you have on a device. If the CPU is a laggard, then no amount of megapixels on the camera and gigs of storage space can help a device succeed.

2. Dimensions [4] – The size of a phone does play a decent part in the overall experience. Too small and one shall have to scrounge to type on the touch screen. Too big and it won’t fit into the pocket.

3. Storage [1] – In today’s date of cloud storage and high speed Internet access, super high storage spaces are hardly needed. Not so long ago we still needed big storage spaces to house our MP3s. Thanks to music streaming services like Saavn, Dhingana & TuneIn Radio and high speed 3G connections, who would care to listen to the same collections stored on a physical drive?

4. Display [7] –Especially with Android devices, the display size has become a very important deciding criterion because of the multitude of sizes in which mobile phones are available in the market, today.

5. Camera [2] – Yes, Indian consumers do consider the “megapixels number” an important statistic while buying their mobile phones, but the mind set is gradually changing. Slowly, people have started to realize that just the “megapixels” says only half the story about a camera. Plus, with increasing sale of digital cameras every year, not many are satisfied with just a phone camera anymore.

6. Battery [8] – Personally, I’d have ranked the battery rating right at the top since I am always connected to Vodafone’s 3G network, continuously tweeting, responding to my emails, tethering on the PlayBook and also listening to music. Yet, I realize that once a certain bit of battery life is guaranteed, the average consumer doesn’t worry about the battery life much. Neither do they hog mobile data as heavily as I do. Nonetheless, it’s still a very important criterion because once you lost the juice, you are left with nothing but a speculation whether all the squeeze was worth it!

7. Operating System [5] – Of course, we are comparing all Android devices here. But then even Android is available in various versions. These versions are important to take note of since they make or break a lot of important functionalities in the phones.

8. User Interface [3] – Since Android is an open source Operating System, almost every manufacturer has skinned the OS to make it look unique on their devices. Additionally, all these different skins also means extra but different functionalities on the devices, thus making the phones unique in their own way, even if they have the same version of Android installed in them.

9. Price [6] – Nobody shall ever deny the fact that India is a very price conscious market.

10. Return of Investment (RoI) – This should be self-explanatory. However, for the purpose of this comparison, RoI shall be calculated by dividing the final scores of the devices with their prices. It is only fair because even if a gadget is technologically very superior to the other, it will never succeed unless the pricing is just right. One perfect example will be Steve Jobs’s company NeXT Computer Systems.

Scoring Mechanism
Each of the phones shall be given points individually on every criterion. Then that score shall be multiplied with their criterion’s weightage (mentioned in brackets above) to get an overall score for that criterion. Then all the scores shall be added together to get the final score for that device.

As mentioned above, RoI shall be calculated by dividing the final score of every device by the price at which the phone’s being sold in the market.

For example, let us say the Galaxy Nexus scores 5 in battery life. The weightage assigned to Battery is 8. Thus, the Nexus’s final score on battery life will be 40.

The Big Fight

Before we move ahead with the Big Fight, here’s a little table to help you quickly compare the 3 devices side by side.

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1. Processor & Memory [9] – The Galaxy Note has a dual core 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor with 1GB of RAM. In contrast, both the Razr Xt910 and Nexus have 1.2 GHz dual core Cortex A9 CPU with 1GB of RAM. As evident, there shall hardly be any performance difference between them. However, these are not the fastest mobile processors available in the market.

Thus, Galaxy Note getsa score of 8 while both Razr Xt910 and Galaxy Nexus get 7 each.

2. Dimensions [4]– When it comes to sizes, slimmer is always better. Consumers are actually unforgiving when it comes to the girth, irrespective of how much hardware has been packed inside the casing. And in this case, no one can win the competition other than the super slim & sexy Motorola Xt910.

Therefore, Galaxy Note gets a 8 while Razr Xt910 gets a perfect 10 and Galaxy Nexus gets 9.

3. Storage [1] –Galaxy Note comes in both 16GB and 32GB variants, bundled with a 2GB microSD card, that is expandable upto 32GB. Razr Xt910 is available only in 16GB variant even though there is also a 32GB version for the Droid Razr. Galaxy Nexus comes in both 16GB and 32GB variants, but it doesn’t have a microSD slot.

This means, Galaxy Note should get 9 but Razr gets a 7 for not shipping the 32GB variant too, and Nexus gets 8 for not having a microSD slot. Galaxy Note should have gotten 10 had it shipped with the 32GB card.

4. Display [7] – All the three phones sport bright super AMOLED displays. However, the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note rocks a non-standard resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels [285 ppi] and the 4.3” Razr Xt910 too sports a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels [256 ppi]. Unfortunately, both the resolutions are optimal for neither Gingerbread nor Ice Cream Sandwich. However, the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus ships with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels [316 ppi] that is native to ICS.

So this time, the Galaxy Nexus has to get a perfect 10 for absolute perfect resolution and a screen size that’s neither too big, nor too small. The Galaxy Note gets 7 for being able to maintain its pride (and high ppi) but the Razr Xt910 gets only 5 for both low resolutions and ppi count.

5. Camera [2] –Both Galaxy Note and Razr Xt910 have 8 megapixels cameras in the rear, in contrast with the Nexus’s 5 megapixels. However, both the Razr and Nexus sport 1.3 megapixels cameras in the front while the Note packs in 2 megapixels. All the three phones’ cameras have autofocus and record videos in full HD.

Here the Note has to get a 10 for exemplary camera but the Razr deserves just 8. Galaxy Nexus should get a 9, despite having dismal numbers to Razr, for its continuous shooting feature and has absolutely no lag between two successive shots.

6. Battery [8] – Not surprisingly, Galaxy Note has the biggest battery of 2500mAh. Razr Xt910 and Galaxy Nexus’s battery capacities are 1780 mAh and 1850 mAh respectively.

For having the largest battery, Note scores a 9 whereas Razr gets 7 and Nexus gets 8.

7. Android versions [5] – While both the Galaxy Note and Razr Xt910 are supposed to get the ICS update, they sport v2.3 and v2.3.5 respectively, out of the box (OOTB). Plus, neither their OOTB versions nor ICS are optimized for their resolutions.

Both Note and Razr deserve 8 here. However, the Galaxy Nexus should get a perfect 10 for already shiping with the latest and greatest version of Android (ICS) and for being the first in line for every single future updates.

8. User Interface [3] –The Galaxy Note has the tried and tested TouchWiz 4.0 UI developed by Samsung. Motorola has finally chucked MOTOBLUR out of the Window, and have come out with a very sexy customized interface on Android. Additionally, some little tweaks done in the basic functionality of the OS and a few nifty widgets have made the phone a pleasure to use. Looks like Google acquiring Motorola Mobility has something to do with it. Galaxy Nexus, has always, sports pure Android goodness. And with the improvements in the new Ice Cream Sandwich, the UI too is pretty kick ass.

This means both the Galaxys, Note and Nexus, get 9 points each. But, Motorola Razr Xt910 deserves a perfect 10 here for finally thinking out of the box and coming up with a really innovative UI.

9. Price [6] – This will be a little tricky since Galaxy Note and Motorola Razr Xt910 are currently available in the Indian market, but Galaxy Nexus is not. However, I have still put a price on the Nexus by considering the price at which it’s selling in US, and then converting it to Rupees using current exchange rates.

So, Galaxy Note is can be purchased at Rs 33,500 while Razr Xt910 costs Rs. 33,990. The Galaxy Nexus is available at $689.95. This translates to about Rs 36,300.

Since the configurations of all the phones are almost the same, definitely the lowest price will get benefitted more. Therefore, Galaxy Note gets a 10, while Nexus and Razr get 8 and 9 respectively.

Now, let us summarize the points awarded and the subsequent scores in the following table, where A is the column of points awarded to a phone on a particular criterion, B is the weightage given to that particular criterion, and C is the final weighted score of a device on that criterion [C = A x B]. The ROI has been calculated by dividing the final price of the devices with their respective prices in rupees.

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Verdict
Above score sheet makes it pretty evident that even if the race was very close, Motorola Razr Xt910 is not quite ready to battle the big, bad boys. And what a close shave between the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus! Even though Galaxy nexus has edged ahead of the Note is terms of absolute scores, the Note turned out to be a better investment, thanks to its lower price.

In the fight between Galaxy Note, Motorola Razr Xt910 and Galaxy Nexus, we can easily discount the Razr. Now it boils down to explicitly your preferences when it comes to choosing between the Note and Nexus. If you are impressed by the huge 5.3-inch screen and don’t wish to get into the hassle of importing the Nexus from other countries, the Galaxy Note is an amazing choice. However, if you think 5.3-inch is too big for you and would love to pay a bit of premium to get the unadulterated Google experience, Galaxy Nexus has to be your ‘the one’!

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