iPhone 5 vs Motorola Razr i: spec comparison

Continuing our iPhone 5 spec comparison series, we couldn't resist the chance to see how Apple's clever handset matches up to the Motorola Razr i. This addition to the popular Razr range is pitched at a slightly different level than the iPhone, but the cheaper Motorola phone still manages to come up trumps in some areas. Is the Razr i impressive enough to make a money-saving move in this particular instance? Let's find out.

Click here to buy the iPhone 5

Click here to buy the Motorola Razr i

Size and weight

Both the iPhone 5 and the Motorola Razr i occupy the seriously svelte end of the smartphone spectrum - it's a matter of a few millimetres here and a couple of grams there. To be honest, there's little to choose between the two: neither device is going to represent an unsightly bulge in your pocket or make you feel like you're in a shot put competition every time you make a call. There's plenty to differentiate the two handsets, but size is one area that's legitimately possible to gloss over as both are an equally attractive option.

Display

Despite being a fraction shorter than the 123.8mm iPhone 5, the 122.5mm tall Razr i actually sports a larger display - at 4.3in - than Apple's new smartphone and its vaunted 4in screen. The Razr i is definitely the "full-screen phone" its manufacturer claims, lacking the Home button of its Cupertino-imagined rival.

Unfortunately, Motorola doesn't really put the extra screen space to very good use. The Razr i's Super AMOLED Advanced display looks poor in a hands-on environment and with a slightly subpar resolution of 960 x 540 pixels at a paltry 256 PPI, it's really no surprise. The iPhone 5's 'Retina' display, however, offers a standardly impressive resolution of 1,136 x 640 pixels at 326 PPI and wins this round quite comfortably if you're intent on keeping score.

Storage and memory

This is where things start to get a bit tricky and, on balance, could be seen to favour the Razr i - if you specifically crave a 32GB capacity smartphone, at least. Sure, the latest Motorola gadget features only 8GB of internal storage, where even the most basic iPhone 5 offers 16GB to play with. But the new addition to the Razr range does sport a microSD slot, which Apple's handset is notable for lacking. This means it's possible to expand storage on the Razr i up to 32GB for very little - around £20 or less being the going rate for a decent microSD card. The iPhone 5, however, is restricted to three flavours: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Upgrading from the entry-level 16GB iPhone 5 to a comparable 32GB capacity will run you an extra £70, making the Razr i the more prudent option financially. If you want to max-out your internal storage capacity, however, the Razr i obviously can't currently best the 64GB iPhone 5.

Processor

The Razr i stands as proof that spec sheets can be deceiving, and that more cores are not automatically better. Sporting a single-core Intel Atom processor clocked at 2GHz - the first phone to reach this speed - Motorola's latest handset performed impressively, switching between screens and across applications smoothly and quickly. Apple's custom-built A6 processor is still shrouded in mystery, though speculation points to a dual-core SoC that offers a considerable upgrade over the 4S. It's difficult to pick between the two without doing a direct hands-on comparison.

Software

A classic iOS vs Android grudge match. The iPhone 5 will run Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, while the Razr i is set to arrive pre-loaded with one of the most recent versions of Google's native OS, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Some people prefer the former, others swear by the latter, but both are market leaders for a reason: they're easy to use and feature an impressive selection of apps. iOS arguably offers a higher-level of integration, especially if you own other Apple products, while Android boasts a fanatical fanbase based on its open-source principles. Personal preference is the single biggest factor when it comes to choosing between the two software platforms - what's yours?

Camera

On paper, the primary camera featured on both the new iPhone and the latest Razr should be equally attractive, with both clocking in at 8-megapixels. Having said that, it's difficult to imagine that the snapper on Motorola's handset boasts the same level of intangibles - things like the iPhone 5's ultra-resilient five-element sapphire lens - that Apple's latest handset does. Moving on to front cameras: the iPhone 5 is superior, providing 1.2-megapixel image capturing where the Razr i offers a frankly embarrassing 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera. Again, price has to be considered as a contextualising factor - the iPhone 5 offers much better camera specs than the Razr i, but you're going to pay for them.

Battery

Good battery life is one of the obvious exceptions to the general rule of "you get what you pay for" in the smartphone arena. An Apple iPhone, new or old generation, is rarely going to match up favourably against its competitors in terms of power consumption, and Motorola's Razr range - particularly the Razr Maxx - has a particular reputation for longevity. The Razr i looks to be a standardly strong addition to the line in this respect, featuring a 2,000 mAh battery with a claimed mixed use life of 20 hours. Even on 3G, that's likely to be a good few hours better than the eight-and-a-bit hours offered by the iPhone 5. As ever, if intense usage and long periods of time without access to a charger characterises your smartphone behaviour, then Apple's handsets haven't the best reputation...

Connectivity

If the Razr i is clearly superior in terms of battery life, then the iPhone 5 notches a similar hands-down win with regards to connectivity options. Apple's latest smartphone is set to join the UK's new 4G spectrum as soon as it arrives, while it looks like the Razr i will stay stuck on 3G for the foreseeable future, if not forever. For some consumers, that alone is enough to send them on a camping expedition to Regent Street. It's a feeling that is only going to intensify in the coming weeks and months as more and more mobile enthusiasts and their pocket-liners of choice begin to enjoy the benefits of the vastly expedited new network. Having said that, the fact that the Razr i comes NFC-ready shouldn't be underestimated - the lack of NFC is a major shortcoming of the iPhone 5, and Apple handset users are now looking at a wait of at least one more year before they can enjoy a device that supports the latest smart payment technology. On balance, 4G is more important, but the connectivity comparison isn't as one-sided as it initially seems.

Price

Ultimately, iPhone 5 vs Razr i needs to be put into perspective. For the average consumer - those that wouldn't chain themselves to a tree in defence of Google's Android OS - the iPhone 5 is fairly obviously the superior phone. But its features come at price, when Apple's handsetfirst came out, it cost between £529 (16GB) and £699 (64GB), with the £599 32GB model sitting in the middle. Still a fairly heft price tag for an old phone, but nowhere near what it was, an iPhone 5 16GB can now be picked up for around £357. At £335 when it was released, the Razr i was the best part of £200 cheaper at least, and fandroids will no doubt be thinking they could get a Jelly Bean-running Nexus 7 tablet for the extra dosh. If you are still in the market for a new device, and don't want to pay the extortionate prices of handsets when first released, the Razr i can now be easily picked up for around the £200 mark

Motorola's latest handset is far from a bad phone, with its Intel processor looking especially good value for money. For the premium, you'd really hope the iPhone 5 was vastly superior, which it is. In all fairness, it's not really the most equitable comparison: the highest of the high-end being pitted against a solid mid-range product in the Razr i. Arguably, the Motorola devices makes for a better comparison with Apple's previous generation smartphones, the iPhone 4S and 4 models.

For a closer look at both handsets, check out our reviews of the Apple iPhone 5 and the Motorola Razr i.

iPhone 5 Motorola Razr i
Display
Screen size 4in 4.3in
Resolution 1136 x 640 pixels 960 x 540 pixels
Pixel density 326 PPI 256 PPI
Type IPS LCD Super AMOLED Advanced
Processor and battery
Family Apple A6 Intel Atom
Cores TBC Single
Clock speed TBC 2GHz
Battery TBC 2,000 mAh
Claimed talk time 8 hours (3G) 20 hours (average mixed use)
Storage and memory
RAM 1GB (speculative) 1GB
Internal storage 16 / 32 / 64GB 8GB
microSD No Yes
Camera
Megapixels 8MP 8MP
Resolution 3,264 x 2,448 pixels 3,264 x 2,448 pixels
Flash Dual LED Single LED
Aperture f/2.4 TBC
Stabilisation Video TBC
Video 1080p 1080p
Front-facing camera 1.2MP 0.3MP
Wireless
UK network 4G LTE 3G
Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b /g / n 802.11 a / b /g / n
NFC No Yes
Bluetooth 4.0 2.1 with EDR
Charging No No
Dimensions
Size 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm 122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3mm
Weight 112g 120g
Operating System iOS 6 Android 4.0 ICS
Price £357 (16GB) £200
UK Availability Available Available