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Smartphone Death Match: iPhone 4 Versus Droid X

Our mobile expert pits the Apple iPhone 4 against the Motorola Droid X to name the better enterprise smartphone.

Barnes Motorola Droid X
(click image for larger view)
Motorola Droid X
Two of the hottest phones of the summer of 2010 are the Apple iPhone 4 and the Motorola Droid X. Are these two phones ready to take on the enterprise? Find out which will be better for your employees to take on the road in InformationWeek's head-to-head battle.

First, let's define the criteria. Worthy business smartphones need to have excellent battery life, solid phone performance (including a good speakerphone), enterprise e-mail/contacts/calendar support, and proper security protocols. Above and beyond the basics, employers should consider factors such as availability of enterprise applications, browser performance, and potential extra costs associated with the device.

Is Anybody Out There?

As much as we like to send e-mails, texts, IMs, and Tweets, most mobile professionals still conduct a fair amount of business over the phone. That means a business smartphone needs to work well for voice calls.

Features are similar on both phones. They each allow users to dial calls on software keypads or directly from contact lists. They can each make calls from phone numbers embedded in e-mails and Web sites, as well as add a third line to an ongoing call. The iPhone 4 has a slight advantage in that it can also surf the Web during phone calls. The Droid X can't do that. The iPhone can roam in Europe and Asia, meaning employees can use their phone and their number when traveling. The Droid X cannot.

The quality of phone calls made with the Droid X were as good as any I've made on a phone using Verizon's network. Voices in the earpiece were muffled from time to time, but for the most part, the Droid X fared well. Thankfully, earpiece volume is nice and loud. That means you can hear your colleagues and clients even when riding in a car. In a month of testing, the Droid X has yet to drop a call. The speakerphone also did a fine job, and was sufficiently loud enough to be used in a small conference room.

With "antennagate" still fresh in everyone's mind, it is worth pointing out that the iPhone 4 does perform better than the iPhone 3GS when it comes to call quality, sound, and the speakerphone. Apple reported that the iPhone 4 does tend to drop more calls than the iPhone 3GS, however. In the few weeks that I've used the iPhone 4, it has dropped a handful of calls. The iPhone 4 uses two microphones for noise cancellation, and the trick works. Earpiece volume is just barely loud enough, but the reduced background din makes up for it. The speakerphone has also improved noticeably over the iPhone 3GS. It is louder, and clearer.

The problem is, we're comparing the iPhone 4 to the Droid X. When it comes to all-around phone quality, the Droid X easily outpaces the iPhone 4 in call performance.

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