Apple iPhone vs. Moto RAZR2 vs. Moto Q9h vs. Nokia N95: The Battle that Isn't

As each new smartphone or multimedia phone is launched or announced, each one is touted as the latest 'iPhone killer'. We've seen the Nokia N95 termed such, the enigma that is the Deeda Pi, Samsung's double sided media phone, and most recently two new models from Motorola - the Q9h and the RAZR2.

As it turns out, in our humble opinion, none of these are iPhone killers, iPhone spoilers, iPhone ruiners, or whatever else they're being called.

The Nokia N95 isn't anymore of an iPhone killer than the iPhone is a Nokia N95 killer. We'll bet the new Motorola Q won't stop prospective iPhone customers from laying down their hard earned cash. Neither, we're confident to say, is the RAZR2 going to sweep the proverbial leg out from under the iPhone, Johnny.

As it turns out, the devices all put forth some impressive specifications. The reality of the matter is that each phone will likely serve a particular segment of the population. Sure, the demographic for each will overlap with that of the others in several ways, but each phone still has it's unique place in the market. These are not head-on clashes.

Since it's ever popular, and often valuable, to look a things side by side - the following table compares the specs of the Apple iPhone, the Motorola RAZR2, the Motorola Q9h, and the Nokia N95:

  iPhone Motorola RAZR2 Motorola Q9 Nokia N95
Size 114 x 60 x 11.6 mm 103 x 53 x 11.9 mm 118 x 67 x 12 mm 99 x 53 x 21 mm
Weight 4.8 oz (136 g) 4.4 oz (125 g) 4.7 oz (134 g) 4.7 oz (134 g)
Operating System OS X Motorola Synergy Windows Mobile S60 (Symbian)
Dimensons 3.5 in 2.2 in (main), 2.0 in (outside) Unknown 2.6 in
Resolution 320x480 (160 ppi) 320x240 (main), 2.0 in (outside) 320x240 240x320
Colors Unknown 262k 65k 16.7m
Built-in 4GB or 8GB 45MB 256MB 160MB
Add-on None MicroSD MicroSD MicroSD
Camera (megapixels) 2.0 2.0 2.0 5.0
WiFi 802.11 b/g None None 802.11 b/g
Bluetooth 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0
PC Sync Yes Yes Yes Yes
Headphone Jack Yes Yes None Yes
FM Radio None None None Yes
OTA Downloads Unknown Yes Unknown Yes
A2DP (Stero) Bluetooth Unknown Yes Unknown Yes
GPS None None Yes Yes
POP3/IMAP Accounts Yes Yahoo Yes Yes
Push Email Support Yes - Yes None
Outlook Sync None Yes, MotoSync Yes None
Price $499/$599 Unknown $680.00 $750.00

Each device has it's standouts.

Size and Weight

All four devices are quite compact, especially compared to many predecessors in the smartphone genre. The iPhone and the RAZR2 get the slight edge here by coming in a bit smaller than the others, especially in terms of their thickness. The Q9h is barely bigger. The N95, tips the scale in the thickness category, a negative for those of us who are getting used to paper thin devices.

The RAZR2, at 4.4 oz, might be noticeably lighter than the rest of the group.

Operating System

We're going to jump the gun an give the Apple iPhone the clear edge here. Though every techie has his/her opinion on what the best operating system is, and for various reasons, the most important feature in a phone operating system is useability. Even having not seen the iPhone incarnation of OSX, Apple is notorious for making it's devices wonderfully useable and we expect no less from the iPhone.

On top of the confidence we're giving Apple to put together a nifty iPhone version of OSX, the others have their faults. Symbian is not always the easiest OS to navigate, though improving - Motorola's Synergy UI is often painfully dumb and awkward, and Windows Mobile is well, Windows Mobile.

Screen and Video

All devices step up with impressive screens/displays. In fact, the RAZR2 bothers to step up with a pair of impressive displays. Still, the Apple iPhone gets the edge here again. Though we're not sure how many colors the iPhone display presents - the 320x480 resolution and extra inch or more it holds over the other displays give it the clear edge in screen real estate, and likely video performance. Add in that the few public iPhone displays have shown off what seems to be a true beauty of an LCD and the others fall behind.


Depending on your perspective, the iPhone can take a real hit here from the others by failing to include expandable storage in the form of a microSD, or other format of, memory card. Then again, the iPhone comes with 4GB or 8GB of included storage, while none of the others carry more than 256MB on board. Again, a matter of perspective.


With an extra 3 megapixels hanging over the heads of the rest of the group, the Nokia N95 forces the others into relative camera obscurity. No contest here.


The Nokia N95 is the standout here as well being the only one of the four to offer both 3G and WiFi connectivity. The two Motorola models fail to offer WiFi (we're still not sure about this based on preliminary Q9h specs) while the iPhone lacks 3G.

Though we too are dissapointed the iPhone isn't coming to the US with 3G, at least not a first, we're also willing to bet that most iPhone users won't be bothered by the lack of the high speed connectivity. With WiFi present, and most iPod converts used to syncing their music from their PCs, the lack of quick OTA downloads likely won't get in the way. At least not a first.


Though Nokia gets a nod for adding the wildly popular FM radio feature, we're going with the iPhone here as well.

It's music. It's Apple. Get serious.


Shame on Apple and Motorola for leaving GPS out of the iPhone and RAZR2. The Motorola Q9h and the Nokia N95 both managed to fit GPS in, and Nokia included many rich GPS features in the N95. Though many GPS features are hard to take advantage of on small mobile device screens (though this might not have been the case w/ the iPhone had they included it), many folks consider the lack of GPS on certain devices a deal breaker.


The Q9h is going to be the best phone for email here unless Apple shocks us. The N95 does a decent job in this category, though the lack of built-in push support is sort of annoying (push support can be accomplished via third party software on the N95 at around $50). The RAZR2 with it's non-QWERTY keyboard clearly pulls up the rear.


With the pricing information at the available time, there's no clear cut edge here. Though the listed iPhone prices are for 2 year contract commitments, the other manufacturers have slapped high price tags on their devices as well. Though the iPhone has been highly criticized for it's high price point, when compared with comparable devices - it lines up well.

All in all, neither of these devices are going to "kill" one another regardless of how well they do or don't match up. Each device is impressive in its own right. More importantly, these devices, regardless of what anyone says, aren't aimed directly at eachother. The RAZR2 may kill the RAZR, but that's about it. The Q9h may kill the first Q, the N95 is probably killing some other Nokia, and the iPhone may kill the iPod.

Consumers should avoid the suggestion that there's a "correct" phone for them to buy in this bunch. Learn about the features of each phone and experiment with each model, then buy the phone you like the best. Simple as that.



Walt - GPS doesn't always have to be an expensive addon. BlueSky Positioning has recently squeezed GPS onto a SIM card. In any case, there's no reason to assume a $100 price increase (or anything close) just to have had GPS included.

> Shame on Apple and Motorola for leaving GPS out...

No, those of us whose travels don't require one, or whose searches wouldn't be helped that much by finding the nearest starbucks, shouldn't have to drag around another $100 or more of useless electronics.

As your article implies, these things are all about the art of the integration, and physical location isn't nearly as important to me as good connectivity and usability.

It's worth pointing out that the iPhone is the only one of these phones scheduled to be available in the US.

You'll be able to get your hands on an unlocked version of both Motorola's, I'm sure ... and the N95 is already available unlocked. However, these phones are often for more technically inclined users.

Whether these phones one up eachother, for most US customers, doesn't even matter. Most people just want to go to their provider, buy a phone, and go home and use it.

where do you ge tthe idea these other phones will not be available?

The Q 9h is due to be released later this week int he US.

And it is unlikely it will cost the price mentioned above if it is bought on contract, which is a little misleadign sinc eht iphone requires a contract.

Also, the Q 9h is an enterprise class device that can connect to an Exchange server and will have remote wipe capability in the event the phone is lost if it is connected to Exchange 2007.

THe GPS should work ok with Google maps.

As far as Wifi goes, it's such a nuisance to find an available hotspot that Wifi is a non-issue unless you get athrill out of surfing the web from a phone in your own home.

Well, the 3G prediction is very close to 100% unlikely. Recent approval from the FCC, which will allow the iPhone to be sold in the US, covers EDGE operation and not 3G.

I would not be surprised if the iPhone has both GPS and 3G on initial release. I know they have held a few things back.

The fact that each phone has a completely different OS also sharply segments each for a specific group of customers.

Agreed. I bet the majority of iPhone buyers will be iPod faithfuls for whom the others don't come into play.

One thing that puts the Q in favor over the others, at least in my book, is the ability to get your digital music wirelessly through the "M" app from Mercora (already available). It may not win in all areas, that but that is one area that is very important to me as a consumer.

Sam - thanks for the head's up on the typo for the connectivity info on the N95. The N95 absolutely does offer HSDPA (as referenced later in the connectivity evaluation of the devices).

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I believe the future of telecommunication will be having an iPhone type device that has a video camera and allows to connect to software like skype. I would like to talk and see who I am connected with. If the device has a screen, connects to the internet, and has a video camera then it should be able to do video VoIP calling.

Hah, there is big mistake on our specs collection. Nokia N95 includes HSDPA and of course 3G and not only E-Gprs. Also it's kind of ridiculous that OSx is considered as best operating system.

Ridiculous that OS X is considered the best OS? Come out of your PC daze.

razr2 does have integrated GPS.

Type: A-GPS
supports sGPS

Instead of making a comparison, here is a list of differences between the iPhone and the N95

iPhone - May work, but is a very limited and closed system with few practical uses.
Nokia N95 - Has A2DP and AVRCP. This means you can
Use it as a wireless music storage device in your car to transmit your music in excellent quality to your car stereo to play back the music.
Control the phone's playback of your music collection from your car radio.
Use both cameras of the phone as an excellent wireless webcam for your PC with Mobiola Webcam.
Use microphone of the phone as a wireless microphone for your PC with Mobiola Microphone Remote.
Use a wireless keyboard such as space saver Think Outside keyboard or any typical BT wireless keyboard.
Use high quality wireless headphones (Sony, Bose, Motorola, etc.) that allow control of the music playback on the phone.
Use your PC wirelessly to move, copy, delete, and edit files directly on the phone.
Use your PC to wirelessly control all the features of the phone and at the same time display the phones screen on your PC, recording it if your wish, with Mobiola Remote Phone Control.
Access and utilize external Bluetooth GPS positioning devices.

Computer access
iPhone - Very limited closed system with no direct access to the data for repair if it were corrupted.
Nokia N95 - With cable, WiFi, and Bluetooth you can
Drag and drop, synchronize, share, and stream files, (music, pictures, video, documents, files, and folders) to or from any PC on your network, to any uPnP device.
Map network drives on your phone for access from PC's, access mapped network drives on your PC's from your phone with SymSMB.
Access and download all the data on your PC's and listen to and watch your entire PC media collection of streamable media (music and movies) from anywhere in the world with Orb.

iPhone - Works
Nokia N95 - Works and is reported to stream data at a faster rate than the iPhone.

Bar-code reader
iPhone - None
Nokia N95 - Get contact information instantly at trade shows from the other members cards.

Record sounds and voice
iPhone - None
Nokia N95 - Excellent microphone with which you can
Record anything you want, including calls. No limit in length.
Remove the required 5-second beep with Ultimate Voice Recorder.

iPhone - Cell tower emulated triangulation. Voice instructions.
Nokia N95 - Built in real GPS hardware, cell tower emulated triangulation, External Bluetooth hardware capable, Assisted GPS or any combination of all three. You always have some kind of fix. With the GPS you can
Find your current location in a foreign city at night and find and get direction from where you are to where you want to go.
Get directions to services of all kinds.
Use third party add-ons such as Tomtom.
Use the Nokia Sport Tracker for walking, riding bikes, hiking, etc. This provides several different statistical analyzes of distance, elevation, time and distance, including laps and the actual path taken with the ability to save and compare your results with other results.

iPhone - 2 mega pixel. A common place phone camera that will not produce images that most people would want if they went to a concert or show.
Nokia N95 - 2 cameras. 5 mega pixel and VGA for video conferencing on EU networks. The 5 meg camera takes stunning pictures day and night. Carl Zeiss optics. Comes with editing software right on the phone. With third party applications your can take pictures of pages and email them or fax them.

Video capture
iPhone - None
Nokia N95 - 640 x 480 @ 30 fps. Stunning quality, even at night, with audio. Includes digital stabilization.

iPhone - 2 year contract that adds up to quite a bit.
Nokia N95 - Buy it unlocked from Nokia or Dell directly and have a warranty and no contract to take it where ever you want.

iPhone - None
Nokia N95 - Works great. With it you can
Transfer data.
Control all the Infrared devices in your house and office.
Connect to your PC and use the phone as a modem.

iPhone - Very nice large touch screen. (finger print prone). Requires 2 hands to operate easily.
Nokia N95 - Smaller screen than the IPhone. A larger screen would have been nice. Easy one handed operation.

TV Out
iPhone - None
Nokia N95 - Works great with the supplied cable. Use it in a hotel room with a BT keyboard to read email and edit office documents, Use it on your TV to play video games, movies, and share pictures.

Cable Interface
iPhone - proprietary iPod type connection.
Nokia N95 - Mini USB and a standard mini plug that all ear buds use. (same plug for TV Out)

iPhone - ?
Nokia N95 - People do not even know I am on it.

iPhone - Mono sound
Nokia N95 - Probably the best set of stereo speakers every installed in a cell phone.

Ring tones
iPhone - Is it even worth mentioning?
Nokia N95 - Use pretty much anything you want. Any audio track on the phone can be used. Create your own mix right on the phone itself and save it as a new mp3 or ring tone.

iPhone - You are locked to ATT, period.
Nokia N95 - Unlocked and support for various networks across the globe. If you are traveler, the iPhone is not even a consideration if you do your research.

Sexiness (I am putting this here because CNET mentioned this)
iPhone - Sleek and cool looking, but viewed as a toy in the workplace.
N95 - Viewed as THE phone of a technologically competent professional.

IPhone - Longer lasting than the N95, but not removable
Nokia N95 - Replaceable battery. If you find yourself in the EMERGENCY situation where you need to make a call and do not have access to a charger and your battery is dead, you can just replace the battery with a spare. With the iPhone you could be stuck off the side of a cliff in a car with no power and trapped. Unfortunately, Apple seemed to overlook this MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE OF HAVING A CELL PHONE IN THE FIRST PLACE. EMERGENCYS!!! I would actually be willing to get my wife this phone if it were not for this issue.

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
IPhone - None
Nokia N95 - Excellent on board chip for hardware decoding of video and 3D games. Supports DirectX and OpenGL. Stunning game playback on the phone or your TV that the most hard core XBOX/PS# games are impressed with.

Additional third party applications
IPhone - None at this time.
Nokia N95 - Several different office applications, programming, game emulators such as MAME (allowing playing pf 1000's of known arcade game classics), Synch applications, Tune musical instruments, Gmaps, Google maps, Phone Guardian, GSM Tracker, ybroswer, FExplorer, SysExplorer, studio nokia, mobile web server, cCam, Carbide ui, SymSMB, Instant Messaging, VoIP,, SSH/Telnet, rar files with Mobilerar, stream with Orb or TVersity, Mobiola Webcam, Mobiola Microphone Remote, Mobiola Remote Phone Control, Tomtom, NavXS and others, Aspicore GSM Tracker, ultimat voice recorder, really nice 3D games by the hundreds, HourPower, Digital Clock, Mobisophy InteractiveVoice Call Master, Webgates Advanced Call Manager, MobieGenie, Divx player, CORE Player, Flash 5 player, PeerBox, TextQuick, Mobile Weather, eBuddy, MSN, Mig33, ScanR, Palringo, Adobe PDF support preinstalled, MS Excel and Word support pre installed, S60 Internet Radio, VCEL, ShoZu, TypePad Mobile, OperaMini, The Kaywa Reader, Jaiku, Nokia Sensor, Nokia Team Suite, Gmail Mobile, Symella, SymTorrent, Python for S60, PuTTy, QReader, ReadM, Chords for S60, S-Tris 2, Nokia - Wellness Diary, Acala 3GP Movies, studio_nokia, MyStrands, OggPlay, JabpLite, Calcium, GCalSync, Autolock, MobileRar, Nokia Local Search, Scenetone, Tasky, Nokia DJ Mixer, Fring, WorldMate, CellTrack, Loc Bluepulse, Spodtronic, Mobixie, Hibaru, DJMixerNSeries, SafeTxt, GamesFlash, Market Simplified for Mobiles, myNumbers, Qibla Compass for Mobiles, Handylearn Counter, Weight and Measures Quick Study Guide, mShell, Virgin Radio & Podcast Player....

I could add to this list for hours. Many of these applications are free. Most of these programs are well written and feature rich. These are not trivial little tidy bits. If you really want a smart phone, it has to be smart enough to know that it will not do everything out of the box and some things should be left to outside programmers to develop. The iPhone 's application list is not even a bad joke compared to the N95. The problem with comparing the two is that it takes months just to get a handle on the capabilities of an N95. Most N95 users do not take the time to respond to such comparisons, as the comparison is not only foolish, but requires quite a bit of time to accurately list the N95's capabilities.

To update the bit on service, T-Mobile is now offering iPhones as Apple has released unlocked iPhones to them and I believe Sprint.

The folks that wrote this article said, "Shame on Apple and Motorola for leaving GPS out of the iPhone and RAZR2. The Motorola Q9h and the Nokia N95 both managed to fit GPS in, and Nokia included many rich GPS features in the N95" Uh, first off, Motorola doesn't make the RAZR2. Secondly, in the very next sentence you state that Motorola managed to fit in the GPS into their phone. I know, just a mix-up. Happens to me too. However, considering the age of this article, you haven't had time to fix it yet?

A few things,

Storage: You might want to revise this as the RAZR2 has one particular model, the V8 for T-Mobile that has a built-in 2GB of memory, which defeats the point of all else being 256MB compared to the iPhone's actually quite minuscule 8 or 16GB. *Note how much cheaper an iPod is with much more memory*

GPS: Again, the V9m model of the RAZR2 that is offered by Sprint does provide GPS.

Price: Unknown needs an update as the RAZR2 is at a max of $369.99, which can be cheapened down to $199.99 as long as you buy the service, which should probably be an obvious idea. So, at its worst, it beats out the $499/$599 of the iPhone, whose 16GB model has gone for $699.

Screen: Note how the RAZR2 is also has two screens, one with at least partial touch sensitivity. While the one 3.5 screen does give it an edge on a screen, it does not compare to two different displays, each significantly large and crisp. I'd rank this more a tie.

Sound/Music: If you want software, fine, iPods have dominated the MP3 player for a long long while. However, it has already been well-noted that the sound quality of the iPhone is not very crisp. The RAZR2, however, is.

Lastly, you leave out that the RAZR2, depending on company, also provides streaming video.

Now, to point out the conclusions, what you say is obvious, but for one flaw: The iPhone is not killing the iPod. The iPhone, while providing the best iPhone to date, also costs that much. As for competition being nil, that could potentially be true, however, it seems the consumers of iPhones are more interested in the glam-factor of purchasing the phone rather than actual functionality. The hype over the touchscreen is all that it is. It's not very precise, it requires electrical conductivity rather than pressure sensitivity, and the 3.5 screen quickly stops being so wonderful when you have to constantly zoom in and out for various applications, eg. internet.

Let's be clear that I'm not trying to promote the RAZR2. It was only due to the erroneous/not-updated information on it. Actually, I was wondering if you could do a comparison of the new Voyager to the iPhone. Both have the touchscreen, but the Voyager also has the texting-friendly full keyboard, however functionality may be the deciding factor on how much of an "iPhone killer" it would be.

For me the two companies have their own strategies and version on how to improve their gadget. There is no need to compare the products of the two companies. A few large retailers including Best Buy, AT&T, currently sell the iPhone, which is Apple’s most popular product on the market, and of course, Apple Stores. At this time, however, it appears there is a new retailer being added to that list – Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, who has been sturdily down to business to better consumer electronic buyers’ experiences, is rumored to be offering the iPhone’s 4GB model for $99 by December 15th, according to the article. This would allow shoppers to get the must-have product on their shopping lists in time for Christmas. In another rumor, it places the release date on December 28th, after the holiday season and instead of the 4-gig model it is expected to be the 8 GB model, which is said to be sold at $197. As always, Wal-Mart’s objective to provide consumers with the lowest prices on consumer products will take effect – they will offer the iPhone for two dollars less than any other retailer. It may not seem like a huge discount, but I guess a little savings beats out no savings at all. Apple obviously is aware of the tremendous traffic seen at the nation’s largest discount retail store, and wants to take advantage of it. Wal-Mart would certainly profit from the deal since it will help increase their consumer electronic sales. Click here to read more on the payday loan store.