Droid vs Droid 2 vs Droid X: Motorola’s Android Family ;).
Now that perhaps the most leaked Android phone ever, the Droid 2, has been announced, you may be wondering how it stacks up against Verizon’s other Droid offerings. After all, Motorola and Verizon are bringing a lot of innovative and desirable hardware to the smart phone scene these days. The Droid X is going to be in direct competition with the Droid 2. But what about the original Droid? Should users of that phone consider an early upgrade?
In the world of 2-year mobile contracts, the prospect of making a purchase can be stressful. We shudder to think what would happen if you make the wrong choice; Verizon is enforcing a $350 early termination fee these days. So read on to learn which of these Droids is the one you’re looking for.
Droid 2 vs Original Droid
We have a real soft spot for the original Droid. This was the phone that took Android from a Google science project, to a real market contender. Millions of these handsets have been sold since launch, and the Droid 2 is now taking its spot in the Verizon line up. The hardware of the Droid 2 is going to feel very familiar to users of the Droid. We’re looking at the same 854×480 resolution touchscreen that was on the original Droid. There’s not much to complain about here; it was a great screen last year, and it’s still pretty good today.
The internals have gotten quite a bump up. The Original Droid runs on an OMAP 3430 clocked at 550MHz (though some users are reporting the 2.2 update brought it up to 600MHz). The Droid 2 ups the ante with a 1GHz OMAP 3630. We expect this, combines with the doubling of RAM to 512MB, to give the Droid 2 the extra snappiness the first gen Droid tends to lack.
The Droid 2 has the same 5MP camera as the original Droid, but we’re hoping the sensor is of better quality. Image quality on the first Droid was usually poor. The keyboard on the Droid 2 looks much improved. The Droid’s flat, membrane keys were not a joy to use. While we did adjust to it eventually, it always felt unnecessarily clunky. The Droid 2 loses the directional pad in favor of arrow keys, and makes the keys more rounded. We are looking forward to giving it a try.
The industrial design has been tweaked a little in the Droid 2. The harsh lines of the Droid are now replaced with a smoother curved look. There the original Droid had gold accents, the Droid 2 has silver. We actually rather liked the angular look of the original – it was unique. The Droid 2 looks a bit more sophisticated, but maybe more boring as well.
If you want to spice up the look, Verizon is selling an honest to goodness R2-D2 version of the Droid 2 via a special online portal. We’re are trying very, very hard to suppress out nerd glee right now. This limited edition version of the Droid 2 will reportedly be designed to look like everyone’s favorite scrappy little astromech droid. The portal is up, but there aren’t any pics just yet. We wait with bated breath.
In the software department, both phones are running Android 2.2. By all accounts, the Droid 2 will be running Motorola’s new, less obtrusive Blur implementation of Android. With Blur, you get the much improved Swype-infused software keyboard. The Droid 2 will have a portable hotspot app built in, but it will cost you $20 per month. The Droid 2 was recently denied this feature in the Froyo update under suspicious circumstances. We’re not thrilled with where Motorola is going with the Blur UI, but you never know, it might be right up your alley.
The original Droid runs stock Android, and depending on your feelings, that can be a big plus. The Droid 2 will probably come loaded with the same crapware we see on the Droid X. The original Droid is the closest thing to the pure Google experience this side of the Nexus One. Blur brings a revamped UI with some social networking integration, but we feel like Android 2.2 doesn’t need the help anymore.
Droid X vs Droid 2
When consumers walk into their local Verizon Wireless store, these two phones will be staring them in the face. There are some clear similarities, but also stark differences. The similarity is first apparent in the software department. Both run Blur on top of Android. The Droid X is still on Android 2.1, but a bump up to 2.2 is reportedly coming soon. At that point, both will have features like Flash 10.1 and apps2SD.
The internal specs are also almost identical. Both phones are running on the same 1GHz OMAP CPU, and have 512MB of RAM. Both phones have 8GB of internal flash storage, as well as a microSD card slot. We imagine performance (once the X makes it to Android 2.2) will more or less identical. When you move the design of the phones, that’s where things start to diverge.
The Droid X is rocking a 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen display at 854×480. The Droid 2 is a little smaller with its 3.7-inch screen, but the resolution is the same. So you’re looking at a slightly sharper screen on the Droid 2, but the Droid X will have that spacious feel that can only be had on these larger screen phones. One thing to take note of is that the Droid X is actually bigger than the HTC Evo 4G. Since The X is a 16:9 screen ratio, the display is taller than the Evo. This means that people with smaller (or even average) hands may have trouble reaching the top of the screen when holding the phone one-handed. A 3.7-inch phone (like the Droid 2) is perfectly usable with one hand.
Where the Droid X is relying upon its large screen exclusively for text input, the Droid 2 has the full QWERTY mentioned earlier. We can’t speak to the quality of keyboard as of yet, but assuming it’s as good as it looks, we’d call this an advantage. Having a physical keyboard means the Android home screen will rotate to landscape when it’s open. Many people like this and will use home screen replacements to get the functionality on touchscreen only phones.
Where the Droid 2 may have a win with its hardware keyboard, the Droid X has physical buttons. The Droid 2 has capacitive buttons just like the original Droid. We prefer physical buttons to capacitive ones because they’re easier to use, and allow you to wake the phone. But we can understand the sleek aesthetic of the Droid 2 is better served by the capacitive buttons.
Of course, having a slide-out keyboard is obviously going to mean a thicker phone. The Droid 2 is 0.54″ thick compared to the Droid X at 0.4″. While the Droid may be pocketable by more people, the Droid X will be less bulgy if it you can maneuver it in your pants in the first place. In general, as long as you’re not wearing skinny hipster jeans, either should fit. We also would suggest looking at the sliding mechanism on the Droid 2 if you’re on the fence. Make sure it feels solid to you. The last thing you want is a phone that will slide open in your pocket.
The Droid 2 looks like a very interesting phone. The internals are almost identical to the Droid X, but it offers the benefits of a physical keyboard, and a more manageable form factor. For those that want a larger screen phone, that second point may turn out as more of a negative. Owners of the original Droid can take heart that they still run stock Android, which we think is a plus. Motorola has fixed up Blur in the last few months, but most people you ask will say stock Froyo is still better. One thing for first gen Droid users to envy is the Droid 2 keyboard. It looks like a vast improvement in that department.
Perhaps we’re being a little biased here, but any phone that comes in an R2-D2 flavor gets bonus points from us. Is anyone out there considering buying a Droid 2? If so, are you an original Droid owner?
Who said? Ryan Whitwam said ;).