Fight: HTC Rezound vs. Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Droid RAZR.

Three of the top Android manufacturers have unveiled their flagship phones going into the holidays. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is considered by many the benchmark thanks to its “pure Google” experience. Meanwhile the DROID RAZR and HTC Rezound feature their own unique software tweaks considering the hardware isn’t too terribly different — the same but different. Truth be told, as similar as the devices seem there are quite different in day-to-day use. Hop past the break as we compare the trifecta of Android devices…

Galaxy Nexus

A bit bias…? Yeah, we’ll admit that we have a soft spot for the un-skinned Galaxy Nexus. Because of its lack of custom carrier/manufacturer software, the Galaxy Nexus ships with the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software, and will more than likely get future upgrades before other devices. Being “plain” has its perks. There isn’t any added wait time for 3rd parties to test their own customizations.

Software perks aside, the Galaxy Nexus is a gem when it comes to hardware. It features a large 4.65″ 720p (1280 x 720) display, fast dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, 5-megapixel (rear) camera with 1080p video recording + 1.3-megapixel (front) camera, 2G/3G/4G, and WiFi/Bluetooth/GPS/NFC.

Initially a Verizon exclusive when it launches later this month, the Galaxy Nexus will eventually come in other forms to different carriers.

HTC Rezound

The just announced HTC Rezound won’t ship with the latest and greatest Android 4.0, instead making do with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. But what it lacks in software it more than makes up for with potent hardware. In some cases the Rezound is better than the Galaxy Nexus thanks to its faster 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. RAM is the same as most high-end Android device at 1 GB and storage is generous at 32 GB (16 GB built-in + 16 GB SD card). Wireless support is as one would expect — 2G/3G/4G + WiFi b/g/n + Bluetooth + GPS — on a handset of this caliber.

While the display is considerably smaller (4.3″ vs. the Galaxy Nexus’ 4.65″ display), the pixel density is much higher on the Rezound. On paper at least this translates to a sharper (read: better) image. But only a true hands-on test will determine how awesome HTC’s display chops are.

One unique aspect of HTC’s newer phones is the “Beats Audio” integration. The partnership that was formed earlier this year promised to bring improved audio to the world of mobile phones. From what we’ve seen and heard so far, the Beats powered HTC devices do sound considerably better than your standard smartphone. For audio junkies, the Rezound is the only choice.

Like the Galaxy Nexus, the Rezound is also a VZW exclusive scheduled for release in just a few short weeks — November 14th for $299.

Motorola RAZR

Oh Motorola. How we love/hate the RAZR name. What was once used to market some of the thinnest flip phones money could be has now been re-purposed for crazy-thin LTE smartphones.

Despite the thin case, the Motorola RAZR is no slouch when it comes to hardware. Somehow Motorola’s engineers managed to cram a blazing TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor @ 1.2 GHz under the hood along with 1 GB of RAM, LTE, and a 1780 mAh battery, making it one of the largest power bricks to ride shotgun in a modern (thin) smartphone. The weakest point of the Droid RAZR when compared to Galaxy Nexus and HTC Rezound is the display. At 4.3″ it’s far from small. And the 540 x 960 resolution is still a treat (in most cases). But ultimately, 540 x 960 is so last year.

Software on the RAZR is also a step behind the Galaxy Nexus as Moto has chosen Android 2.3 Gingerbread to pull daily duties for emails, messaging, games, and phone calls. But don’t worry. Motorola has already promised to be bringing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to as many handsets as possible and as fast as possible once the new OS officially launches in the next few weeks.

One unique feature the RAZR (and other Motorola handsets will have in the coming months) is Motorola’s new “personal cloud” called “MOTOCast”. Essentially it is a cloud of sorts that resides on the users’ computer and allows them to stream content to and from it.

Release: Scheduled for November 10th @ $249.

**We’ve heard a few rumors that the Droid RAZR has possibly been pushed back a day to November 11th.

Which One Should You Get?

With three very good options from three different manufacturers, which one should you choose?

  • Bleeding edge nerd/tech geek: Galaxy Nexus. It’s the highest spec’d, most modern Android phone to date. The hardware is sleek and the software is the latest Google has to offer. It will also continue to be on the cutting edge thanks to the “Pure Google” experience which lacks any and all 3rd party skins.
  • Audio Connoisseur/Music Junkie: Its hardware may not be quite as potent as the Galaxy Nexus Its software may be skinned meaning slower/more delayed updates, but if audio is a driving force in your life there’s no denying Beats Audio can transform the mobile music experience. Considering Android’s music player and audio quality have always been average at best, we’d take the Rezound in a heartbeat if audio performance is your greatest desire. And thankfully, HTC is relatively quick with most major Android software updates.
  • For the person who just wants a great Android phone:The RAZR may not have any stand out hardware or software features but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great phone. If you would have asked us a year ago about the state of Motorola’s design for Android devices we would have summed it up with one short sentence: It sucks. The boxy, edgy design that debuted on the Droid X was cool — for one or two devices. It quickly grew old. The Droid RAZR (and new XOOM 2) feature a refreshed design that is software and more rounded than its “manly” predecessors. Quite frankly, the RAZR is now up there on the podium next to Samsung and HTC when it comes to hardware design. If you can get past the (in our opinion) ugly MOTO BLUR interface, you’ll find the RAZR is a more than competent digital companion.
  • Nscian2

    Try being  a little more fair with the rezound I know its the first with 4.0 but it really has NOTHING else better than the rezound :/ revise this post

  • Trob6969

    What?! The rezounds hardware “not as potent” as the nexus?! Rezound has 1.5 dual core processor while nexus has 1.2, rezound has higher pixel density, and BOTH of rezound’s cameras are better!

    • The Gadgeteur

      Honest answer — I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I wrote that sentence. 

      FYI: I have a Rezound review unit for the week and have been impressed so far — one of the best (skinned) Android experiences so far in regards to speed. The 1.5 GHz dual-core really zips along.

  • Rageboardr

    Sounds like the Nexus for me. The biggest plus i see on the Razr is the water resistance, and sturdy steel and kevlar build. Since my phone in my pocket is currently broken, it was my first choice initially, but i have alot of friends and family that cant stand Blur, so its kind of a turn off. I currently hold a Eris, and have no problems with HTC or Sense, but the Rezound is so thick. At 13+mm it is nearly twice as thick as the Razr at 7.1mm. Nexus is 8+mm. And i rarely use headphones, so the Beats tech doesn’t really thrill me. As long as the battery, and the camera on the Nexus don’t suck, I’m in. Vanilla ICS looks awesome, and gonna love quick updates. Still rockin FroYo. 

    • The Gadgeteur

      Woah!  FroYo.  Yeah, I’m in the same boat regarding software — I’d much rather take the latest (in this case ICS) software and get guaranteed updates instead of taking a crapshoot by way of another manufacturer.

      • Dfgdfgdfgdgf

        re re its gingerbread