Motorola RAZR i: Android on a Hyperthreaded 2GHz Intel Processor

By all respects, the newly announced Motorola RAZR i looks an awful lot like the Editors’ Choice award-winning Droid RAZR M; it sports the same bright, colorful, nearly edge-to-edge Super AMOLED display, the same 0.32-inch thickness, the same Kevlar aesthetic and Motorola’s distinct circle-centric Android skin. But just like your mother used to say, it’s what’s inside that counts.

Whereas the U.S.-based Droid RAZR M runs on a 1.5-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU, the European RAZR i is Motorola’s first phone with Intel inside. The Atom Z2480 “Medfield” processor powering the RAZR i only packs a single CPU core, but it’s clocked at a whopping 2GHz and includes Intel’s hyperthreading technology.

So, what does that mean in terms of performance?

The dual-core Qualcomm-powered RAZR M blazed through our gauntlet of performance evaluations, and when Engadget got its hands on the RAZR i for some basic benchmarking, the Intel-powered version performed almost as well as its counterpart in every test, with two notable exceptions: the RAZR i blew away the RAZR M in SunSpider (JavaScript) benchmarks, while the RAZR M easily bested the RAZR i in CF-Bench, a CPU-focused test. In a nutshell, Intel’s Atom Z2480 is a pretty potent processor.

The RAZR i can also capture 10 camera shots in less than a second, something the RAZR M can’t claim. CNET reports that Motorola SVP Jim Wicks claims the RAZR i’s battery lasts slightly longer than its U.S. counterpart’s, which should bring a smile to the faces of Intel engineers; CPU power efficiency is a major advantage for ARM in the mobile arena.

The phone is slated to ship with Android 4.0 ICS, though Forbes notes that the handset should receive a “competitively-scheduled” Jelly Bean upgrade. Intel’s Mike Bell recently announced success in porting Android 4.1 over to Intel’s CPU architecture.

While the Motorola RAZR i is bound for Europe and Latin America rather than the U.S., its penta-band antenna will let the phone run on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. All in all, the RAZR i looks to be a promising omen for the future alliance between Intel and Motorola.

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