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iPhone 4 vs. Droid X: How do they compare?

iPhone 4 has some new competition: Motorola and Verizon announced their next Android phone, the Droid X. How does it compare to the iPhone 4?

By Dan HopeTechNewsDaily Staff Writer / June 25, 2010

iPhone 4: Jay Judih gets help from Rachel Varnnell after purchasing Apple's new iPhone 4 in Los Angeles Thursday. Motorola and Verizon have also announced their latest smartphone: the Droid X.

Nick Ut/AP

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On the eve of the iPhone 4 launch, Motorola and Verizon announced their next Android phone, the Droid X. With an impressive list of specs and some pretty hardware, the Droid X could be the best iPhone competitor yet. Here’s a look at how the iPhone 4 and Droid X compare.

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And in case you've already ruled out the Droid X as your next smartphone, we've also got a comparison of the iPhone 4 vs. the other top smartphones on every network.

Operating System

As we said in our previous comparison, it's a remarkably even fight between iOS4 (in the iPhone 4) and Google Android (in the Droid X) operating systems. Both feature multitasking and extensive app stores, although the iPhone still has a much larger selection with over 200,000 apps to Android's 70,000. The Droid X runs Android 2.1, which will presumably be upgraded to the latest 2.2 version in the near future. It also features the Motoblur 2 skin for Android, which is exclusive to Motorola. There is still a significant amount of debate over whether Motoblur actually improves the functionality of the Android interface. But in comparing the iPhone 4 and Droid X, the question of OSes simply comes down to personal preference.

IN PICTURES: Apple's iCandy

Display

At first glance, it would seem the Droid X easily has the better display. It has a 4.3-inch multitouch screen compared to the iPhone's 3.5-inch screen. However, the iPhone also has the "Retina Display" technology, which gives it significantly higher resolution. Apple uses IPS technology in the iPhone, which means it performs better in sunlight and bright areas than most other phones.

Ultimately, this comparison is another matter of taste: Would you prefer text and images displayed bigger because the screen is larger or sharper because the screen is higher resolution?

Processor

Sorry, but there's not a clear winner here either. Both phones use a 1GHz chip, which is pretty fast for smartphones these days. The chips are not identical, though, so there may be some small differences in performance. So far, users of both phones have expressed excitement over how snappy and responsive the phones seem to be.

Network

The iPhone 4 is available on the AT&T network, which is notorious for dropped calls and poor iPhone traffic management in metropolitan areas. The Droid X, on the other hand, is coming to the Verizon network, which has proven far more reliable with smartphone traffic. The new iPhone has a specialized antenna system built into the frame of the phone. Early reports indicate that the redesigned antenna helps reception on the AT&T network, but it remains to be seen how well AT&T handles the increased load of iPhone 4 traffic, regardless of reception quality.

Also keep in mind that AT&T instituted a 2GB data cap on smartphones, while Verizon still has unlimited data plans. It may not remain that way for long, though; Verizon is rumored to be considering data caps in the near future.

Storage

The Droid X easily wins in this category. The $200 iPhone 4 comes with 16GB of storage, while the $200 Droid X comes with 8GB of storage built-in along with a 16GB memory card included, bringing the total to 24GB of storage. There is a 32GB version of the iPhone for $300, and the Droid X users can buy a 32GB memory card to increase storage.

Wireless Connectivity

These phones are quite similar in connectivity options. They both have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G connections. However, the Droid X does have an advantage because it can rebroadcast wireless signals. That means it can use its own 3G connection to broadcast a Wi-Fi hotspot that other Wi-Fi capable devices can use.

Camera

While the Droid X has a higher megapixel camera, 8MP to the iPhone's 5MP, the iPhone is the clear winner here for one reason: it has a front-facing camera. The Droid X only has one camera on the back, whereas the iPhone's second, front-facing camera allows it to do video chat. Apple's FaceTime technology is also open to other developers to use, so FaceTime chat may start appearing on other devices, but only if they have front-facing cameras.

Both the iPhone 4 and the Droid X can shoot high-definition video (720p resolution) with their rear-facing cameras.

Flash Compatibility

This isn't even a contest. The iPhone 4 is not compatible with Flash, the technology that powers most of the video, animation and interactive elements on the Internet. The Droid X is not yet compatible, but the Android 2.2 update coming soon will make it compatible with Flash.

Battery Life

The iPhone 4 has one of the most impressive battery life specs in the smartphone industry. Apple says the new iPhone can get 7 hours of 3G talk, 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of WiFi browsing, 10 hours of video, 40 hours of music and 300 hours of standby. While real-world use rarely matches up with manufacturer estimates, it's still an impressive set of numbers.

Verizon and Motorola have yet to release official battery life estimates for the Droid X, but they have said it will have battery life comparable to the original Motorola DROID. The Droid X battery is larger than the original, but the processor is also faster, meaning it can use up more power faster. Early tests indicate the Droid X battery does perform as good or slightly better than the original DROID's, which is definitely good but might not be good enough to match the iPhone 4.

Size and Weight

Apple said the iPhone 4 is the thinnest smartphone in the world, during the unveiling. While that may be true, photos of the iPhone 4 and Droid X together show that the difference is minuscule. The official size and weight of the Droid X has not been revealed so a genuine comparison is difficult.

However, one physical feature is easy to compare: The Droid X hump. At the top of the phone, the Droid X has a raised portion nearly twice as thick as the rest of the phone. While it may bother some people, the whole phone is thin enough that it will likely be a non-issue.

TV Connection

Both the iPhone 4 and the Droid X can connect directly to a TV, but the Droid X has the advantage because it can connect via HDMI cable. The iPhone 4 simply connects via AV cables.

Miscellaneous

There are many other features that might seem minor but could help sway potential buyers one way of the other. Both phones have GPS functionality, but only the Droid X has a built-in FM radio. Both phones have noise canceling microphones, but the Droid X has a third microphone for better sound quality when shooting video. And finally, both phones have critically acclaimed onscreen keyboards for typing, but the Droid X also includes the new Swype functionality. Swype allows for faster typing on touchscreens by sliding a finger from letter to letter instead of tapping individual keys.

Price

It should not be surprising that Verizon priced the Droid X to compete with the iPhone 4. Both phones are $200 with a 2-year contract, although the Droid X requires a mail-in rebate. The iPhone 4 also comes in a 32GB version that sells for $300 on contract.

IN PICTURES: Apple's iCandy

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