Motorola DROID 3 vs Motorola DROID X2

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

Last year, we mainly found the Motorola DROID X taking a lot of notoriety over the Motorola DROID 2 mainly due to its mammoth stature that gave Big Red its first larger than life Android powered smartphone. Fast forward to the present, we find their successors closely released to one another, and as usual, people are curious to find exactly which one is going to able to out-duel the other in being reckoned as the better one. Flaunting the same price tag of $199.99 on-contract, there is no doubt that a lot is at stake here – even more when they’re both quality products that are fighting for position at the top spot.

Design:

Retaining most of the defining characteristics of their predecessors, there isn’t one that’s able to drastically come off as being better designed or constructed. This time around however, the Motorola DROID 3 supersizes itself to closely meet the leviathan size of the DROID X2 – with their overall size very close to one another. Even though the DROID X2 appears to be one streamlined device, the thickest part of its body that houses its camera is actually thicker than the entire body of the DROID 3, which is rather impressive considering the physical keyboard it’s packing. Regardless, both are solidly built and constructed from fine quality materials to embody all of the qualities you’d normally associate with devices in the upper-end of the spectrum. However, we have to hand it to the DROID 3 mostly because it sports a refreshed design – whereas the DROID X2 is an exact facsimile to its predecessor.


Besides the subtle difference in size, their displays are very close in quality with one another, but more importantly, they definitely provide that wow factor in reeling people in. On one hand, we find a larger 4.3” LCD display with the DROID X2, but the DROID 3 is still able to impress with its 4” LCD panel. Considering that both offer qHD (540 x 960) resolution, the DROID 3 is able to crank out higher pixel density than its rival, but when we’re actually looking at them both, they’re both able to produce plenty of sharp details to make everything more than distinguishable on screen. Furthermore, the same can be said about their color production, brightness output, and viewing angles. So in the end, we’re content with the quality of both displays with neither one majorly triumphing over the other.



Finding physical Android buttons with the DROID X2, it’s nearly impossible to accidentally press on them. Meanwhile, the DROID 3 retains the usual set of Android capacitive buttons, but just like its competition, we don’t find ourselves pressing them by mistake often thanks to the lip present on it that allows us to comfortably grip the handset.

Already, we’re finding the DROID 3 in good light with its included front-facing camera for video chat – even despite being only a 3G device. Obviously, the DROID X2 doesn’t pack one on, which goes to show the added functionality available with its rival.


Between the two devices, we actually prefer the Motorola DROID X2’s dedicated power button and volume rocker since they’re decently pronounced and easily activated without much force.


Fortunately, the two Android powered smartphones feature the same microUSB and microHDMI ports on their sides – with the latter allowing both to give us a mirrored experience through a high-definition television set.

Turning things around towards the back, we find both devices packing along 8-megapixel auto-focus cameras – albeit, the DROID X2 carries a dual-LED flash as opposed to the single one with the DROID 3. Even though we like the durable feel exuded by the DROID X2’s metallic back cover, it’s just way too easily removed and we sometime find it coming off while sitting idly in our pockets. In contrast, the DROID 3 sports a plastic snap on back cover that’s just notoriously difficult to pry off – but at least it stays on tightly. Once removed, we’re given access to their batteries and microSD card slots, but adding to its capacity once again, the DROID 3 features a SIM card slot to allow it to work overseas.


Finally, the Motorola DROID 3’s iconic landscape style QWERTY keyboard manages to round out the handset’s exclusive set of features. Obviously, we utterly adore the convenience factor that it brings to the table as the updated layout and design is remarkably polished on so many levels – making it one of the better keyboards out there in the market.



Motorola DROID 3 360-degrees View:



Motorola DROID X2 360-degrees View:





Interface and Functionality:

As we all know, the Motorola DROID X2 managed to grab the prestigious title of being Verizon’s very first Android powered smartphone to pack a fully modernized dual-core processor. However, looking under the hood, the two handsets actually utilize two totally different chipsets – it’s a 1GHz dual-core NVIDA Tegra 2 CPU with the DROID X2, while the DROID 3 opts for TI’s 1GHz dual-core OMAP4 processor. Performance wise, the DROID 3 exhibits a slightly better response with its operation since we find more fluid movements while navigating its glitzy homescreen. It’s not to say the DROID X2 is slow with its performance, but rather, there is a subtle hint of choppiness that’s evident with its operation, which is only noticeable when comparing it side-by-side to the DROID 3. Despite that, it’s nothing serious that would hamper the experience entirely.  However, when you take into account the graphically superior look of the DROID 3’s user interface, it definitely makes you believe that the DROID 3 is the faster one between the two.

Well, here’s one pickle that sticks out sorely right from the start. Specifically, the DROID 3 is treated with the most up-to-date Android 2.3.4 experience and customized user interface from Motorola – with the DROID X2 looking outdated already with its Android 2.2.2 Froyo experience. Although the two share some of the fundamental aspects of MOTOBLUR, the DROID 3 kicks things up tremendously by being graced with the visually more appealing interface, which is beautified by some stunning 3D and transition effects. Conversely, the DROID X2’s customized interface shares the same basic elements, but its presentation is more on the static side with its 2D approach. In any event, personalization is on the same level with both since they offer resizable widgets that modify their layout accordingly. Moreover, they offer the same useful set of Motorola widgets that provide plenty of functionality directly from the homescreen. Absolutely, there is no denying it, but the DROID 3 is indeed getting more love.



We’ve said it once, but we’ll say it twice - the DROID 3 is the unanimous choice when it comes to the messaging experience – thanks to its extraordinary keyboard! Yet, there are always going to be people who would rather choose using on-screen keyboards instead.  Even though the DROID X2’s on-screen keyboard is minutely more spacious than the DROID 3, the two handsets produce responsive rates when inputting text swiftly. Additionally, they both offer the Swype and Multi-touch keyboards to give users the choice on which method to use. Nevertheless, we still have to go with the DROID 3 on this one just because its performance is no different, while offering the additional convenience of a physical keyboard.



Just because the DROID 3 has the newer customized interface, it doesn’t mean it’s going to see any major facelifts with its core organizer apps. Instead, the two handsets offer the same set off functionality and presentation, which so happens to mainly comprise of the normal stock ones. So whether it’s the calendar, address book, calculator, or alarm clock that you’re looking at, you’ll find not a single difference between the experience.




Internet and Connectivity:

Nothing too different in the web browsing experience, we’re presented with an overall satisfying web surfing with the two smartphones as they share many commonalities. Of course, they provide that near desktop-like experience thanks to Flash support on board – while maintaining accurate page renders. Without question, their ample displays allow plenty of content to be displayed simultaneously on screen without the need of scrolling too much as well. And even though they brandish choppy navigational operations, we’re still content with their overall performance that will no doubt satisfy the needs of most people.



Sharing the same exact CDMA radios internally, some people will undoubtedly find the DROID 3’s global capabilities significantly useful – allowing them to take the handset abroad. Yet again, we find one remarkably prevalent feature that’s tied solely to the DROID 3 that seemingly justifies the handset as having more value than the DROID X2. Besides that, the two share other connectivity options like aGPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and mobile hotspot functionality.



Camera and Multimedia:

Despite the fact that they’re sporting the same sized 8-megapixel auto-focus cameras, their qualities are vastly different from one another with the DROID X2 producing the better looking shots overall. Clearly, the DROID X2 produces sharper fine details and accurate looking colors with its results – thus, making it the more favorable between the two. Without question, the drab and bleak looking color production seen with the DROID 3’s shots absolutely stick out like a sore thumb more than anything else. Peering quickly at some of the samples we took, it’s obvious that the DROID X2 is the clear winner in almost every way imaginable! In fact, there is no competition in this category whatsoever!






Even though the DROID 3 is able to shoot higher resolution 1080p videos, we still find the 720p capture of the DROID X2 far more appealing with its overall quality. Granted that the two are able to shoot at the smooth rate of 30 frames per second, we continue to be irritated by the DROID 3’s offset color production, which can sometimes make videos appear to be in black and white. Needless to say, we don’t have any qualms with the DROID X2 since it is able to capture our attention more with its average details and prominent colors. Fortunately, audio recording is clear and distinguishable on both devices, but nevertheless, the results with the DROID 3 is entirely distracting.

Motorola DROID 3 Sample Video:




Motorola DROID X2 Sample Video:





Motorola DROID 3 Indoor Sample Video:





Motorola DROID X2 Indoor Sample Video:




Watching the same movie trailer encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080 resolution, they’re able to offer us a gratifying experience with their plentiful details and iridescent looking colors. Also, it helps that their playback rates are consistently smooth with no evidence of any slowdown or lag to muddy the experience. Sure we find a larger display with the DROID X2, but it’s not substantially enough to make it any more appealing than the DROID 3’s offering.

In total, we find 16GB of total storage available with both devices, but the DROID X2 breaks it down in half with an 8GB microSD card and 8GB of internal memory – whereas the DROID 3 packs 16GB of internal memory that allows it to keep its microSD card slot open.

Software:

In addition to the usual set of Google apps preloaded with most Android powered smartphones, we find many common third party apps with both handsets – like Amazon Kindle, Blockbuster, City ID, Lets Golf 2, NFL Mobile, Quickoffice, Skype, Slacker, and the usual trove of Verizon apps. However, it’s quite apparent that the Motorola DROID 3 is more equipped to handle the needs of business or enterprise users with apps like Citrix, GoToMeeting, and MOTOPRINT.






Performance:

Thankfully, calling quality is great on both handsets with their earpieces producing the same level of tones to make conversations more than audible to the ear. Additionally, voices are prominent and distinctive in tone to allow us to discern just about every uttered word – plus, it helps that there is no hint of background noise or static. But as we mentioned already, the DROID 3 takes a slight lead with its global function.

Using the handsets in mainly the same high coverage areas simultaneously in the greater Philadelphia region, they’re able to keep a steady amount of signal strength to the network – without fluctuating dramatically.

Even with their hard working dual-core processors, we’re able to get at least a solid day of normal usage with both handsets – though, it seems that the DROID X2 slightly puts out more life. But it’s only by a tiny bit. In terms of talk time, it easily goes to the DROID X2 with its 10 hours of continuous usage with a single charge – whereas the DROID 3 puts up a little more than 8 hours. Regardless, we’re more than content with their results, and more importantly, they beat out their 4G LTE brethren.

Conclusion:

Okay, we get that Motorola likes to have variety, but after checking out what the two handsets are able to bring to the table, it’s very hard to side with the DROID X2. When looking at their same $199.99 pricing, it’s blatantly obvious that the Motorola DROID 3 is packing a bit more gear under its carriage to increase its overall worth to the consumer – like its front facing camera, exceptional keyboard, global function, and an updated customized Android experience. Previously, size was undeniably the main driving force for the beloved DROID X series, but now that the DROID 3 is sporting a considerably larger frame than its predecessors, it’s no longer an alluring physical trait that the DROID X2 can count on. Even worse, the DROID X2 is already behind the curve with its outdated customized Android 2.2 Froyo experience. However, it’s not all bad news with the DROID X2, especially when it’s the favorable one in terms of shooting photos and videos – but that appears to be its only strong offering. Admittedly, there is no denying that the Motorola DROID 3 received more love and attention, and ultimately, it’s able to catapult over the DROID X2 in being the biggest and baddest DROID smartphone to date from Motorola.

Motorola DROID 3 vs Motorola DROID X2:





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