Motorola's new Droid X should give iPhone 4 shoppers pause. It has a bigger screen, better camera, and the Verizon Wireless network backing it up.
If you read through the early reviews of the iPhone 4, you may have noticed a theme. Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, for example, said the phone itself and the experience of using it are great. He cautioned, however, that it still pretty much fails as a phone. He specifically warned people who are dissatisfied with AT&T's network to stay away, as there appears to be no real improvement in voice performance.
Enter Motorola with its Droid X and Verizon's 3G network. The Droid X itself has several advantages on the hardware level when compared to the iPhone 4. The screen is a movie-lover's dream, measuring 4.3 inches. That bests the iPhone 4's 3.5-inch display by 0.8 inches. That may not sound like a lot, but it is. You could argue that the iPhone 4's "retina display" offers a superior visual experience. The Droid X's 854 x 480 display is fully capable of playing HD content. Do those extra pixels matter?
The Droid X also has an HDMI out port, which means it will be easier for Droid X users to share the HD content they create via HDTVs. Apple is not pitching the iPhone 4 as a device meant for sharing HD content.
The iPhone comes with a maximum 32GB of storage. The Droid X will come with 8GB built in, but it can be expanded up to 40GB with additional microSD cards. The Droid X has a 1500mAh battery. Motorola Sanjay Jha said that the company will also offer a 1900mAh battery pack in the near future. The iPhone's battery is, of course, not accessible.
iPhone lovers will argue that the Apple experience is overall better, and they are probably right. Seamless iTunes integration alone goes a long way to making the iPhone user's life easier. Motorola's Jha did say that the company will soon offer a desktop client for managing media, but couldn't say when.
We could argue the finer points of the hardware all day until we're blue in the face. The real advantage the Droid X has over the iPhone 4 is its network. I have been both an AT&T and a Verizon Wireless customer for years. I can say that in my experience, Verizon's network is simply better. That means fewer dropped calls and more consistent data sessions for the Droid X.
Verizon Wireless made it clear during the press event today its $30 monthly data plan remains at 5GB, and tethering (with Wi-Fi hotspot creation) will cost an additional $20 per month. That means you can get rid of your MiFi and use the Droid X as a wireless modem / hotspot creator instead. Right now, AT&T is offering 200MB for $15/mo and 2GB for $25/mo. AT&T is offering tethering for $20 extra per month, but no Wi-Fi hotspot creator.
The difference between AT&T's $25/mo for 2GB and Verizon's $30/mo for 5GB is enormous. Droid X owners may pay $5 more per month, but are much freer to consume content with the device -- and avoid overage charges at the same time.
For the serious smartphone shopper, the Droid X couldn't be launching at a better time. It costs just $200 with a new contract, and offers nearly everything the iPhone 4 does -- all on a better network.
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