Galaxy Nexus vs Razr Maxx

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  1. Rhyno37

    Rhyno37 Member

    Hey guys, switching to verizon today and stumped on which phone to get. Before someone says this has been discussed a million times, all the treads I find are from months ago, and with updates and the Razr getting ICS finally, this could change some things.

    Now before I start, I would get the phone from Amazon, so the Gnex is only $.01 and the Razr is $99, just to keep in mind. I am currently a US Cellular customer and have a GS2 and love it. Because of this, I am somewhat leaning towards the Gnex since its a samsung, and itd have quicker upgrades. My only worry is the signal strength that bad? Everyone touts the Moto for having the best radios and insane strength.... How does the Gnex compare to the GS2?

  2. damewolf13

    damewolf13 live~laugh~love VIP Member

    Moved to "Device Comparison" forum.:)
  3. Rhyno37

    Rhyno37 Member

    Did not know we had this, thank you!
  4. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

    I am currently switching from the Galaxy Nexus to the Razr Maxx. This is has to do with a calling issue that some are experiencing with the Nexus.

    In my experience the Nexus is a great device and has an amazing screen. The battery life is great if you can connect to wifi during the day and/or get an extended battery. I can currently get 16-17 hours out of a charge and I use my phone quite a bit. You are also talking about a phone that has a pretty large developer base so ROMs and MODs are pretty common. With it running ICS it is very smooth too. The battery is removable on, but the memory is not expandable. Reception has been a bit hit or miss for a lot of people with the Nexus. On Verizon there has also been a muted call issue were people on the other end are unable to hear you.

    The Maxx has a huge battery and just about everyone is getting a day to a day and a half out of one charge. The screen is qhd which is not going to be as nice as the Nexus, but if you aren't comparing the two side by side it isn't as noticeable. Moto really stripped down blur with ICS so it is as custom and more like stock. There is still some bloatware (on Verizon anyway), but with ICS it can be disabled. The battery isn't removable, but there is an SD card slot. Moto hardware and radios have typically been great with very few problems to report.

    If you want to root and rom the phone or getting updates (supposedly) faster than anyone else is important to you then get the Nexus.

    If you need a battery than can keep going like a pink bunny and/or reception that will pick up in the deepest darkest places then get the Razr Maxx.
  5. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

    This is my overall view of the Galaxy Nexus and the Droid Razr Maxx. None of this is intended to say that one phone is better than another phone. In many ways it is simply the view of the Droid Razr Maxx from the perspective of a Galaxy Nexus owner. Everyone is going to have their own opinions, needs, wants and experiences with what they consider to be best. The only thing I can offer here is my experience and impressions of each phone. I hope that some of what I have to say can help people that are having problems with a phone or a decision.


    Like many I was very excited when I first learned that a Nexus device would be coming to Verizon. Verizon customers had not seen pure Android since the release of the original Motorola Droid. I watched the announcement of Android 4.0 with rapt attention as a new design and new features were shown. I believed, as did many others, that the Galaxy Nexus running Ice Cream Sandwich could be the perfect device that so many wanted. A great marriage of design, hardware and operating system all on an incredibly fast network.

    Finally, after many delays, it was released and like so many I was waiting in line to be one of the first. I bought my device and I was amazed. The phone and OS worked so well together. As soon as developers started to update their apps it only made things even better. I was thrilled that there was zero lag on my phone. I loved that I could really multi-task and not worry about performance in any way. Then, I found a problem. Not a small problem for a smartphone, but a huge one. My phone had a serious problem with phone calls. I could be talking to someone and suddenly I was a ghost on the other end of the conversation. I could hear them fine, but they couldn’t hear me at all. This I knew would not work at all, so I returned my phone for another. With the second Nexus my joy for the device returned.

    Time went by and I had very few problems. My calls went through fine and only one out of every ten would mute and need to be restarted. Then things began to get worse. Not just one in ten anymore it was happening on almost every call. No matter the length I’d eventually hear, “Hello? Are you still there? I can’t hear you.” Click. This eventually turned to, “Lost you again.” Click. as more and more of the people I spoke with expected it to happen. Talking with tech support I learned of a fix that would soon come. When the update to 4.0.4 finally arrived I was really excited because the announcement even stated that it was a fix. Unfortunately, there was no fix. Like others that had this problem before, it still remained with 4.0.4. So back to tech support I went.

    We discussed the possibilities and a 3rd Nexus was sent to my door. This one couldn’t even hold a signal for more than a couple of minutes. I wasn’t able to connect to 4G at all, let alone make a phone call. So I sent it back and held on to Nexus number 2. Further discussion with tech support focused around analyzing my calls while I reported them as they happened. They couldn’t find anything. I explained that many were seeing this as a localized or regional issue, but they still found nothing. Finally, I was offered the only solution for someone who wishes to make calls. I could get another phone. With a little discussion and some persistence on my part I was offered the Droid Razr Maxx. I have to say that I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. I wanted a Nexus and I wanted Ice Cream Sandwich. I didn’t want to go back to Gingerbread at all. Then I found that 4.0 was coming to the Razr soon. Not typical Verizon soon, but actually soon and I decided to try it out.

    Razr Maxx meet ICS

    When I first received the Razr Maxx I was really upset that it still had Gingerbread. Coming from ICS, Gingerbread is a horrible user experience. It was very laggy and I honestly thought there was something really wrong with the phone. The touch screen and capacitive buttons were not very responsive and many of the widgets I tried to install wouldn’t function. I was frustrated to say the least and about to box the phone back up. Then I read that the update to 4.0.4 was set to be released to every Razr and Razr Maxx owner, that hadn’t received it yet, on June 30th. At that point I figured I could wait one more day and see what happened. So I stayed up and did a check status to discover that I did indeed have an update. I downloaded and installed it. Once it booted back up I immediately did a factory reset, as I do with most OS updates, and then began to set up my phone.

    The first thing I noticed was how similar the Razr functioned with regards to the Nexus. It made me realize how much of the Galaxy Nexus’ performance and smoothness really was due to ICS. I had been partially under the impression that the hardware made a big difference, but I was wrong. The hardware on the Nexus may help with performance, but the real hero is Ice Cream Sandwich. The OS just makes the phones run better and I was seeing that first hand with the Razr Maxx. Where Gingerbread made me want to throw the phone across the room like a thirteen year old girl who can’t get the new Katy Perry album, ICS made me want to cuddle up with it and give it a pet name. The phone was night and day different.

    This Vs That

    Really comparing the two phones is hard. Before the update I could have summed it up in a short sentence, “Gingerbread sucks, keep the Nexus.” (did I mention that I love ICS and hate Gingerbread by chance?;)). There are so many similarities now that even some of the hardware comparisons people might make are rather moot. I’ve picked some of the main differences that people will notice. There may be a few things I’ve overlooked, but I have only had the phone a few days and these are the most important to me.

    Anyone with half a brain will look at the specs and know that the Nexus has a better screen than the Razr. We are talking about 720P HD resolution vs qHD resolution. I don’t really consider the size a factor because the Nexus has some space taken up by the on screen buttons majority of the time. So they both end up being about 4.3” when using the phone and not watching movies or playing games. In any case, I can’t argue that the screen on the Nexus is just gorgeous. Everything about it is crisp and clear. Anything you are viewing on it is beautiful. None of this to say that the Razr’s screen is garbage. It is actually pretty nice and quite honestly, unless you have the best of eyesight or you are constantly looking at the two phones side by side, you will quickly get over the difference. I’ve been using the phone for a few days now and unless I boot up the Nexus, I find the Razr screen to be great. I don’t see anyone writing sonnets about it like some want to do with the Nexus, but it is a quality Super Amoled Advanced screen and it looks really good.

    Call quality:
    What the Razr lacks in poetry inspiring screens it makes up for with call quality. It makes up for it in spades. It has some of the best I have ever heard and I have played with a lot of phones, seriously a lot. I put people on speaker phone and they didn’t even realize it. I placed call after call and the true sign was when people asked me right away if I had a new phone. The Nexus may do a lot of things really well, but calls has never been one of those things for me. The Razr Maxx makes calls and most importantly it doesn’t mute me out of the conversation at any point in time during those calls. Overall I can't compare the Razr Maxx to another cell phone because this thing has land line clarity.

    I have not been able to travel as extensively with the Razr Maxx as I have with the Nexus, but I have to say that the connection is better. We all know that Motorola is really good with their hardware and this phone is no exception. The radios work really well and I have been staying on 4G in areas that the Nexus couldn’t. The switch between 3G and 4G hasn’t been that different between the two, just the ability to maintain the connection. Running a few comparisons for signal strength I would normally get around -98 to -104 dBm at home with the Nexus while the Razr Maxx is showing signal of -85 to -90 dBm in the same location. At my daughter’s school I was used to losing 3G and forgetting that 4G was ever invented, but the Razr was holding 4G and at -101 dBm. Keep in mind that the Razr now reads dBm the same way the Nexus does with ICS installed. Overall the ability to get a solid signal and keep it is better with the Razr.

    Just to bring up speed tests as a side note. I'm getting roughly the same speeds over 4G with both phones. I have not seen enough of a difference for it to be an issue. On Wifi however, I am seeing better speeds with the Razr for some reason. While the Nexus never had an issue in this area for me I am seeing a difference between the two.

    I’m not a photographer. I don’t know what many of the settings on the camera do and I typically don’t mess around with them. I also don’t plan on taking award winning photos with my smartphone anytime soon. I do use the camera though. I use it to capture those moments in life that go by so fast and I use it to send friends and family updates on our lives. I want the pictures to come out and I want them to look good. I also want them to be taken quickly so none of those moments are missed. The Nexus was pretty good at this. The camera was very fast and the photos usually came out nice. I’d get a few here or there that looked like a giant blur, but that is to be expected. With the Razr, the pictures are better. They are always in focus and the camera takes photos very quickly. The speed that the Nexus had over the Razr (I’d seen a big difference in previous reviews) is gone with ICS. I’m finding that the photos are just better with little to no effort on my part. That makes a good smartphone camera in my book.

    There is no other way to say this, the Razr beats the crap out of the Nexus in this category. Even with the volume boosting apps out there, the Razr is better. I can hear the notifications on my phone from the other room. The audio coming out of the headphone jack is even cleaner and louder. Music sounds like it should even without touching Google Music’s EQ. The Razr just has better audio quality than the Nexus.

    This is a category I really don’t need to go into detail on. I was charging the Nexus in short bursts to get through a complete day before I picked up the extended battery. After I had the extended battery I still had to double check before leaving the house sometimes just to make sure it wouldn’t die on me. 15 hours on one charge was my average with 17 hours being my all time best. I’ve had the Razr Maxx off the charger for just under 16 hours now and I still have 40% battery life left. This is with the screen on for a little over 4 and a half hours. I think I could get used to only owning one charger.

    Motorola Differences:
    There are some differences with ICS on the Razr compared to the Nexus. This isn’t pure ICS. There are plenty of bloat Verizon apps on the phone. I disabled most of them (uninstalled others), but there are some I am going to give a try. Things like Motoactv and Motocast might be nice to have once I’ve played around with them a little. I can easily see myself using Smart Actions which is like Motorola's version of tasker. I like the 4 option lock screen much better than stock. Some of the other little tweaks like adding color to the menus is also nice. Not being pure ICS will obviously bother some, but overall this is a much less blurry version of blur and it is nice.

    This is a big one for some. I can understand it if you are a ROM junky and want to mess around with different Kernels. ROMs are still available although they can’t be as customized because of the lock. In the end this is a show stopper for some and a shrug of the shoulders for others. It all depends on what you like to do with your phone.

    During pre-release discussions about the Nexus I saw many people commenting about Verizon's push to sell the original Razr over the Galaxy Nexus. Like many others, I assumed that this push had to do with bloatware and the exclusivity that Verizon had with the Razr. I never stopped to think that maybe they were just pushing what they considered to be the better phone. Now, I am rethinking that a bit. It is just my speculation, but I think Verizon may have foreseen some of the issues that the Nexus may or may not have had and they were simply pushing the phone that they knew would work better for most of their customers. This may also point to why they are so ready to switch someone out who is having a problem. As far as which I consider to be the better phone, I can put it this simply, the Razr Maxx won me over.

    Being able to make phone calls without issue is a must for a smartphone or any phone for that matter. It is a phone after all. The Razr does it and as I said the clarity in those calls is among the best I have ever experienced. Even though I didn't bring it up in the review, the clarity over bluetooth is just as good. The battery is also a big selling point for me. Anyone who has used Android for any length of time knows that battery life can really suffer on such powerful phones. With this phone I feel like I have the original flip Razr in many ways. Great call quality and a battery that keeps going and going like our favorite pink bunny.

    There are certainly things I will miss about the Nexus. The screen and vast developer support being the biggest, but most of these are overshadowed by the calling issues I had. I could probably soldier on and hope for a future update to solve the problem, but life is just too short to spend every moment waiting on a maybe. I would really encourage anyone living in Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, Northern California, New Mexico, Virginia and Pennsylvania to stay away from the Galaxy Nexus. These are all known trouble spots for the muted call issue that I previously described. I know that there are going to be people that say it has never happened to them in these areas, but there are a bunch of other people that will tell you it has. This experience has more than a little soured me for Samsung phones on Verizon. My previous Samsung phone had connectivity issues as well. I really hope that the Galaxy S3 does a better job, although I am hearing about issues on the Sprint version already. On the plus side it has given me renewed faith in Motorola and the Droid line. The build quality and reception I am seeing with the Razr Maxx is really impressive and I will be very interested to see what the Razr HD has to offer. After all of this, I am happy to say that I am now a very proud Droid Razr Maxx user and my Galaxy Nexus will be wiped and mailed back later this week.

    I hope this has been somewhat helpful to those thinking about either of these phones. I really hope it has helped those that are struggling with the same issues that I had. I am really happy with my new phone. Actually it is a refurb so don’t let that part scare you either. I also have to apologize for the length of this little comparison/review. I tend to be rather long winded in the first place and trying to offer detail just makes matters worse.
  6. Bramsy

    Bramsy Well-Known Member

    zzzzz too long
  7. Bramsy

    Bramsy Well-Known Member

    J/K OTD. i read it all, good write up!

    you certainly had a lemon!!!
    i have a beautiful peach!

    hope the MAXX works swell!!
    OfTheDamned likes this.
  8. jbdan

    jbdan Well-Known Member

    A seriously great review OTD thanks for sharing
    OfTheDamned likes this.
  9. breadnatty08

    breadnatty08 pain rustique VIP Member

    Wow, incredible comparison. (one other reason why we have the best Mods of any forums).
    I really enjoyed the first part of your conclusion. I think the bloat is certainly part of Verizon's plan to sell it, along with their marriage with Moto, but perhaps it was because they felt it was a more solidly built phone (with less potential returns).
    I've yet to have the one way voice problem, but I don't make too many phone calls. I miss the voice quality of my Bionic and wish I had the battery life of the Maxx, but for me, it's Nexus all day! Glad you're finally happy again with Android. :)
    PS: You need to get Trophynuts on this bandwagon, I think he hates his Nexus. ;)
    OfTheDamned likes this.
  10. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven -.. --- - / -.. .- ... .... Moderator

    Great job on the objective and impartial review. Very long but certainly no wasted words. Certainly something we can point users to that ask about GNex / Razr comparisons. Thanks for the write up.
    OfTheDamned likes this.
  11. AntimonyER

    AntimonyER AF Addict VIP Member

    Haha, my page was such, that I only saw your first post, I was like... well, your dead. ;)

    I enjoyed the read OTD. Convinced me that the GNex was the right phone for me. (I know, you might ask, how?!, but I make few calls, am at a desk with a charger all day, and love pure Android.)
    OfTheDamned likes this.
  12. Adauth

    Adauth Well-Known Member

    Had a Gnex back in December. Returned it for a Razr and that was before ICS was even a thought on the razr. Now with ICS It wouldn't even be a contest in my opinion. Just my $.02.
  13. red66charger

    red66charger Well-Known Member

    That was fantastic and greatly appreciated.
    OfTheDamned likes this.
  14. Boldy

    Boldy Member

    OTD, thanks for the great comparison! Glad to hear ics improved the performance of the Maxx. Your review will help me decide if I should swap my nexus for the Maxx too (due to the muting issues).
    OfTheDamned likes this.
  15. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

    We went out to eat last night and I looked at my phone while we were waiting for drinks. I figured I'd share this little screenshot for anyone that has been having reception issues, because I really didn't even know this was possible. I've been to that restaurant before with the Nexus and this never happened.


    I have had full bars plenty of times, but I don't remember ever having anything better than -78 dBm before.
    red66charger likes this.
  16. Blue218

    Blue218 Well-Known Member

    I am getting ready to get my hands on a Razr Maxx and I am ditching my galaxy way calling is killin me.
  17. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

    There is a Target a few miles from my house that is notorious for having zero cell reception for any carrier. Most of the shops around it don't have much of any either. Every time I go there I see people standing out front making calls or finishing them. Today, I made a call in the middle of that Target with my Razr Maxx. I have been in that store with a Nexus, Fascinate, Droid, Charge and Rezound and never had even a single bar, but the Razr had 3 bars of 3G today. I was getting some really odd looks while I was walking around on that call. I think some even thought I was faking it. :D

    This phone amazes me every single day.
  18. red66charger

    red66charger Well-Known Member

    I just made the GNex to Maxx switch and am very happy with the signal improvement. Still feeling everything out. My main issue is, the slightly smaller screen makes using the keyboard a bit tricky. I'm fat-fingering keys quite a bit. Man, I don't get all the hate this device has had.
  19. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

    I don't get it either. Despite the screen difference I see it is as being better than the Nexus in most aspects. The switch from Gingerbread has really upset some though. Some have lost features that they liked with the older Blur and some apparently just don't like ICS. As I said, I think it made the phone amazing.
  20. Metroid Prime

    Metroid Prime Oil Can!!! Oil Can!!! VIP Member

    Very nice OTD. :)
  21. red66charger

    red66charger Well-Known Member

    Now there's something I never thought I'd read. Blur...go figure. :)
  22. worknman

    worknman Well-Known Member

    I am also a member of the Galaxy Nexus 'one way call club'. In my case though, I don't cut out completely, but I break up instead.

    Anyway, I've always had signal issues with this phone, but it was always tolerable. The call quality issue just recently started up, and now I've got a tough decision to make if I can't find a technical solution. Giving up my Gnex and all the awesome custom ROM tweaks would be heartbreaking, but I gotta be able to make and receive phone calls.

    Question is. how do you go about scoring a Maxx? I've had the Gnex since December on a new plan, plus it's modded with a custom rom/bootloader, so I'm assuming I couldn't just make a switch for free (esp since I haven't bitched about the phone to them before), but hoping I don't have to pay full price for one iether.
  23. kidnice15

    kidnice15 Member

    I would do craigslist. That is how I got my Razr Maxx. I had a GNex and didn't want it anymore. So I went on craigslist and found somebody who wanted a gnex and they had a maxx. Straight up trade.
  24. worknman

    worknman Well-Known Member

    How do you know in advance that the phone you're trading for isn't stolen/blacklisted?
  25. AntimonyER

    AntimonyER AF Addict VIP Member

    Well the way I did it was to call vzw to check the IMEI number before making the transaction. Even better, meet up at a VZW store.

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