Razr vs. Blade: Cloning Is Only Skin Deep

By DAVID POGUE The New York Times January 26, 2006

THEY say that looks aren't everything, but don't tell Motorola. Its breathtakingly beautiful Razr is the world's best-selling cellphone.

In just one year, this ultrathin metal slab has attained almost iPod-like popularity; 12 million people are now slipping Razr phones in and out of their pockets. You can buy the Razr in black, silver, pink or blue (for about $150), and there's more to come.

"The year of 2005 was the Razr," says Edward J. Zander, Motorola's chief executive, "and the year of 2006 is more Razrs."

All right, we get the idea. Thin is in.

Other cellphone companies get the idea, too. In fact, Samsung has already come up with a Razr clone, nicknamed the Blade. (Its official name is the A900. It's offered only by Sprint, for $200, although a Verizon edition is reported to be in the works.)

Whereas the Razr is a flat, rectangular, high-fashion flip phone, the Blade is a flat, rectangular, high-fashion flip phone. The dimensions are identical, too: 3.9 by 2 inches, and about a half-inch thick when closed. Both feel satisfying and James Bondian in your palm, and both snap shut with the cushioned click of a Lexus car door.

Each has a camera, a speakerphone, Bluetooth wireless capability, a totally flat keypad, crystal-clear and extremely loud ringers, a big color screen inside and a postage-stamp-size screen on the outside.

The phones are similar in their limitations, too. Neither has a Silence All keystroke for use in boardrooms, theaters or churches; you have to work the Volume Down key all the way to zero through the volume settings. The vibrate mode is so feeble, one layer of pocket fabric blocks it from your nerve endings.

FINALLY, skinny little phones have skinny little batteries. The Blade dies after three hours of talking, or less. The Razr's life is longer, but still not nearly what its Web site says ("seven hours"). Truth is, you'll probably have to charge either phone at least once a day.

But there are differences between the Razr and the Blade. Man, are there differences.

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