Motorola has launched the Motorola RAZR i in the UK, though we had until now expected it to be called the RAZR Edge. This European and Latin American model is very similar to the US Motorola RAZR M but contains one big difference; inside Motorola has eschewed the usual Snapdragon ARM processor and kitted this smartphone out with an Intel Atom chip running at a headline-grabbing 2GHz.
Having the same form factor and chassis as the US-centric RAZR M model means that the RAZR i is a “full-screen smartphone that fits in the palm of your hand. Its Super AMOLED Advanced 4.3-inch display spans from edge-to-edge with virtually no border.”
Motorola is proud of the quality and the materials used to construct the RAZR i; “Designed with premium protective materials, RAZR i is built to go everywhere. A diamond cut aircraft-grade aluminum4 frame surrounds the display, which is made of Corning® Gorilla® Glass, to deflect both scratches and scrapes. On the back, RAZR i is made DuPont™ KEVLAR® strong.” In addition you have a smartphone that is splashproof, coated with a water-resistant compound inside and out.
Intel launches a new MHz war
The previous Intel smartphone chips were clocked at a similar level to their top-of-the-range ARM competitors, at about 1.5GHz. However, with the RAZR i, Intel has twisted the clock speed-dial all the way up to 2GHz on the single-core Medfield Atom. Intel says this enables users to “Jump from a game to a text and over to a playlist, then off to browse the Web - all without stopping.” Also the extra speed can mean the phone is more responsive in that most time-sensitive of activities; catching the moment on your smartphone camera. “The power of Intel Inside means you also get an instant-launch 8-megapixel camera that can load in less than a second.” The RAZR i can take 10 pictures a second in multi-shot mode and also boasts HDR capabilities.
The 2GHz single-core Atom features hyper-threading to compete with the multi-core ARM efforts and Intel’s Eric Reid said to the BBC “We found with the Atom processor we can deliver performance on our processor that actually beats many of the dual core processors on the market today.”
What about battery life?
This is so important to smartphone users. A number of factors should help the battery life of the RAZR i -
- Single-core operation
- The 2GHz chip can finish a task very quickly and then step down the processor speed
- “A long-lasting battery that is 40 percent more powerful than the competition”
- SMARTACTIONS™ battery-saving rules, to auto switch-off features such as Bluetooth and GPS, helping to achieve 20 hours of daily use
The “40 percent more powerful” battery quote above is not very interesting to end users; it almost seems misleading to mention it. The daily use time is much more important, which at a full 20 hours of mixed activity is a fair amount. Most smartphone owners are used to plugging in to charge every night.
Chrome requires polish
The Motorola RAZR i comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but as yet the Chrome browser isn’t included/optimised for this phone. The Motorola RAZR M model in the US, powered by an ARM Snapdragon, has no such problem. Talking to the BBC, Jim Wicks of Motorola said “Chrome is not ready for pre-loading on this device.” He explained that while users can download the browser from the Play Store its hardware-accelerated page-rendering currently works only on ARM.
At this time Intel is treading comparatively lightly and equipping middle-market phones with its chips. It is expected that next year the company may come to market with a multi-core offering and make many more waves in the smartphone market.
It will be fascinating to see the Intel-based RAZR i and the ARM-based RAZR M compare to one another. Engadget has some early performance benchmarks which show the RAZR M is tangibly faster by most standards, though, of course, it's too early for any proper battery-stamina tests.