Apple iPhone 4 Vs. Motorola Droid X: Clash Of The Touch-Screen Titans Round 4

Lace Up The Gloves

Get the smelling salts ready! Yet again another contender has stepped into the ring to take on the iconic Apple iPhone. This time it’s the Motorola Droid X, a dark horse contestant that seemingly came out of nowhere and threatened to steal away some of the Cupertino cool.

The Droid X is making waves. It's in short supply, and that supply is getting shorter as the clock ticks. But does it have it? Does it have the moxie? The chutzpa? The gusto needed to go toe-to-toe with the Apple iPhone (Four)? The only way to tell is to put these two titans head to head in a battle to the death. We've played with them. We've examined their spec sheets and we've gotten familiar with them. Here we see how the Motorola Droid X and the Apple iPhone 4 stack up when put face to face in a no holds barred steel cage match.

Does the elusive Mr. X have what it takes to finally take down the iPhone (which has taken the crown all three times when it's clashed with other supposed iPhone-killing titans)? The iPhone has already schooled its biggest rivals: It took down the BlackBerry Storm and the T-Mobile G1 in the first round. In the second round, it dismantled the BlackBerry Storm 2. And in the third and most recent round, the Apple iPhone 4 pulverized the HTC EVO 4G.

Can the Droid X fare where others have fallen? Let's find out.

Camera And Video

In 2010, the camera and video quality can make or break a smartphone. Both the Motorola Droid X and the Apple iPhone 4 hit the market with flashbulbs blazing.

The Droid X packs in an 8.0 megapixel camera with digital zoom, auto focus, a dual LED flash and image editing tools. For video, it rolls with 720p HD video capture and HD playback via a host of different video types including MPEG4, HDMI and others.

Meanwhile, the Apple iPhone 4 storms the camera and video scene with a 5 megapixel still camera that features an LED flash and five times digital zoom. And for video the iPhone 4 offers 720p HD video recording at up to 30 frames per second, tap to focus for video and stills, photo and video geotagging and support of nearly every video format known to man. The iPhone 4 stands apart, however, by offering dual front and back cameras, which enable the ability to make video calls over FaceTime.

Winner: Apple iPhone 4. While the Droid X packs an impressive 8 megapixel punch, the dual cameras and the FaceTime capabilities of the iPhone 4 are enough for it to capture the camera and video crown.

Memory And Storage

Now that music, games, apps and pretty much everything is stored locally on a smartphone, memory and storage must be bulky, lest you run out of room and have to sacrifice.

The Apple iPhone 4 comes in two storage flavors: 16 GB and 32 GB.

Meanwhile, the Motorola Droid X comes with 8 GB of onboard memory and a pre-installed 16-GB memory card. But it can be beefed up to 40 GB with the addition of a 32-GB memory card.

Winner: Motorola Droid X. Expandable memory is a key differentiator here and the ability to swap in a 32-GB memory card gives the Droid X an 8 GB storage edge over the iPhone 4's max of 32 GB.

Device Pricing

You gotta pay to play, especially when it comes to packing the power of the latest and greatest touch-screen titan.

The Motorola Droid X is $199.99 for both new and existing Verizon customers who ink a two-year voice service contract that ties in a data plan for $29.99 or higher.

The Apple iPhone 4 starts at $199 for the 16-GB model and $299 for the 32 GB, each with a required two year AT&T contract.

Winner: Motorola Droid X. Roughly $200 is the going rate for a higher-end smartphone these days, so the Droid X hits right in that sweet spot. While $100 more gets you more storage bulk for the Apple iPhone 4 in a 32-GB version, the $200 price tag and the ability to upgrade the storage on your own terms is a deciding factor for the Droid.

The Network

The wireless network makes a world of difference. To get the most out of a smartphone requires a robust network that blankets pretty much everywhere you want to be.

As we all know, the Apple iPhone 4 is exclusive to AT&T here in the U.S. It runs on AT&T's 3G network or falls back onto quad-band GSM or EDGE where 3G isn't working.

The Motorola Droid X takes advantage of Verizon's 3G network, which has a larger coverage area than AT&T, and leverages GSM, GPRS and EDGE when 3G isn't available.

Winner: Motorola Droid X. Verizon has proven that its wireless network is stable and sound and the Droid X aligning with Verizon is a big win.

Voice And Data Plans

While the cost of a smartphone itself is important, the monthly bill could be a deal breaker (or a deal maker).

Neither the Motorola Droid X nor the Apple iPhone 4 open themselves up to budget voice and data plans.

For the Apple iPhone 4, AT&T offers two data plans: $15 per month for 200 MB and $25 per month for 2 GB. For voice plans, AT&T offers 450 minutes for about $40, 900 minutes for $60 and unlimited for $70.

Meanwhile, Droid X users are required to have a data plan that starts at $29.99 per month for unlimited personal email and Web access. Corporate data access adds another $15 per month to the bill. For voice plans, Verizon offers plans starting at about $40 per month for 450 minutes and up to $70 per month for unlimited.

Winner: Apple iPhone 4. AT&T offers more options, and while it came under fire when it deep-sixed its unlimited wireless plans, the $15 option for 200 MB is a nice alternative and the bulkier 2 GB for $25 is better than the $30 required for Verizon's unlimited personal data on the Droid X.

Additional Connectivity

Smartphone users just don't rely on 3G coverage anymore. They need Wi-Fi, they need Bluetooth. They need to stay connected everywhere.

The Motorola Droid X features Stereo Bluetooth Class 1.5, Over the Air Sync, aGPS and sGPS, just to name a few. It also acts as a 3G Mobile HotSpot and can connect with up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices.

The Apple iPhone 4 is no connectivity slouch either. It has 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, though the n is on 2.5GHz only. It also ties in Bluetooth and GPS connectivity. And the iPhone supports tethering, meaning users don't need a hot spot to surf the Web on their computer, instead, they can leverage the iPhone's 3G connection.

Winner: Motorola Droid X. Did someone say Hot Spot?

Size And Weight

Size and weight can also be a deciding factor when it comes to smartphone selection. When carrying a mobile computer, you don't want to feel like you have a Commodore 64 in your pocket, do you?

The Apple iPhone 4 clocks in at 4.8 ounces and measures 4.5 inches by 2.31 inches by 0.37 inches, 24 percent more slender than the Apple iPhone 3G S. Meanwhile, the Motorola Droid X weighs in at 5.47 ounces and measures 5 inches by 2.6 inches by 0.4 inches.

Winner: Apple iPhone 4. Size matters. And when it comes to smartphones, smaller is better as long as it doesn't impede performance. The Apple iPhone 4 jams a whole lot of power into a light-weight, compact frame.


The display makes the device. Images have to be sharp and vivid. Video must be crisp and clear. The multi-touch has to be responsive and agile.

Apple changed things up with the iPhone 4 adding a 3.5-inch display, which Apple is calling Retina. Retina is a widescreen multi-touch that offers 960x640 pixel resolution at 326 pixels per inch. The glass screen gets is named because it is designed to deliver image fidelity in tune with the human retina.

The Motorola Droid X features a full touch 4.3-inch WVGA display that offers 854x480 resolution and houses 400,000 pixels.

Winner: Apple iPhone 4. Apple is the reigning touch-screen titan for a reason. The Apple iPhone 4's touch-screen display is sharp and swift and tops in its class.

Battery Life

Don't want your smartphone conking out on you? Do you? Battery life is important. Smartphones have to be power camels, being able to last a while without a charge.

The Motorola Droid X offers up to 480 minutes of talk time and up to 220 hours of standby time. Motorola does not break down how much juice it gets for Web surfing and other activities.

Winner: Apple iPhone 4. Apple lays all of the cards on the table and lets users know what they can do and for how long before the battery goes kaput. The Droid X may be a power powerhouse, no pun intended, but the spec sheet doesn't offer any insight into anything other than talk and standby time.


Apps have redefined the mobile landscape. From productivity apps and games to widgets and other tools, everyone has an application marketplace.

Apple has set a high bar with the iTunes-based App Store for the Apple iPhone 4. Boasting billions of downloads and hundreds of thousands of apps, the App Store is the one to beat.

The Motorola Droid X has access to the Google Android Market. And while the Android Market has grown to an estimated 65,000 applications that range from games and entertainment to productivity apps, it has a high mountain to climb.

Winner: Apple iPhone 4. The App Store is the gold standard and the application store that all others aspire to be. The Android Market is gaining traction, but currently the Apple App Store is the big boss.


Smartphone makers have made a big to-do about the sensors they slap into their wares. And the Motorola Droid X and the Apple iPhone 4 are no exceptions.

The Droid X puts things into perspective with a three-axis accelerometer, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor.

Meanwhile, the Apple iPhone 4 offers an accelerometer and a proximity sensor, and ups the ante with an ambient light sensor. The coup de gras, however, is the iPhone 4's three-axis gyroscope.

Winner: Apple iPhone 4. While both are on pretty equal footing when it comes to sensors, the Apple iPhone 4's addition of a three-axis gyro pushed the iPhone 4 over the goal line.

Email And Messaging

The Apple iPhone 4 supports all major e-mail providers, like MobileMe, Yahoo, Gmail, AOL and others, along with most IMAP and POP e-mail systems. It also supports multiple Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync account for business users. Apple also unifies in-boxes, showing all e-mails in one unified pane, or users can access them separately. Most attachment types are also supported.

For messaging, the iPhone 4 also supports video, photo and text messaging (MMS and SMS). The iPhone also supports most instant messaging clients.

The Motorola Droid x is also a communications powerhouse. It features Google Gmail, push e-mail, Corporate Sync and IMAP/ POP3 support. It also supports SMS, MMS and most IM offerings.

Winner: Apple iPhone 4. While the Droid X doesn't lack any key messaging capabilities, the Apple iPhone 4 comes to the table with everyone you need to have a true communications hub in your pocket.

Document Viewing And Editing

Smartphones are the new mobile office, so creating, viewing and editing documents on the go has become a necessary capability.

The Apple iPhone 4 offers document viewing on the most popular formats and creation and editing capabilities are available view third-party applications.

Meanwhile, the Motorola Droid X lets users view most popular formats (Microsoft Office and Google).

Winner Tie. Since both devices are consumer-focused, the need to edit and create documents is a nice to have. Both offer the ability to view documents on the go, which is more necessary.


The mobile Web has taken over and smartphones have to have a solid browser to keep their users happy and connected.

Both the Apple iPhone 4 and the Motorola Droid X leverage Webkit browsers. But the Motorola Droid X kicks it up one notch over Apple's mobile Safari with the ability to support Adobe Flash 10.1 (as soon as the operating system is updated to Android version 2.2).

Winner: Motorola Droid X. Apple has made it very clear that it won't support Flash now or in the near future, but mobile Flash is just around the corner for the Droid X, which will be upgraded to Android 2.2 this summer.

And The Winner Is ...

Apple iPhone 4

The Motorola Droid X came close, but even antennagate can't kill the Apple iPhone 4's momentum. For the past three years Apple has made the iPhone the true touch-screen titan and while the competition continues to try to take away its crown, it hasn't happened just yet.

The Droid X made a valiant effort, but it just wasn't meant to be.

Final Score: Apple iPhone 4, 9; Motorola Droid X, 6