Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side

Motorola DROID, Apple iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre: side by side
Have in mind that in Europe, the Motorola DROID is released as the Motorola MILESTONE. Although they are almost identical, there are a few differences between the two phones. You can learn more here.


The smartphone war is in full swing with nearly every major domestic wireless carrier calling one handset on their lineup as their premier smartphone. This past year we’ve seen some fantastic products delivered by various manufacturers that truly offer an immerse experience that caters to the needs of individuals. Unlike the PC market where one or two platforms dominate the scene, mobile phones offer users a variety of operating systems to really provide their own unique experience. Palm came out of the pits of nowhere to launch the Palm Pre on Sprint where it received praise for its revamped platform in the form of WebOS. Soon afterwards, the Apple iPhone 3GS for AT&T was released that built upon some of the successes of the previous incarnations to deliver a faster and responsive interface. Finally, Motorola also sprung back to life with the best Android handset to date with the DROID for Verizon Wireless. We’ll compare and contrast these premier devices and see which ones really cater to the specific individual.


The Apple iPhone 3GS really didn’t change in design from the previous generation, but it still exudes one of the best looking and constructed smartphones out there. The chrome bezel outlining the sides accents well with the hard plastic used for the rear – it still radiates a sense of fashionable appearance from afar. Between the three, the iPhone 3GS has the brightest screen – which can cause you to squint if you view it in complete darkness.

With a slightly more pocketable form factor, the Palm Pre integrates a sliding out portrait QWERTY to its stone polished look; making easy for those who prefer a physical keyboard to input characters. Although the black shiny plastic material doesn’t give off that high premium feel, we question its durability over time – especially the sliding mechanism holding the phone together. Having the smallest screen size, it still does not deter us from being able to clearly see text on-screen.

Then there’s the Motorola DROID which will appeal to those looking for something with an industrial design. You get a sense of relief of quality construction and premium materials when you first hold it in your hand. On top of sporting the largest and most detailed touchscreen, it tucks away a QWERTY keyboard that’s roomier than the one of the Palm Pre.

One item that’s a standard feature on all of them is the 3.5mm headset jack – so picking up your own pair of headphones and using it on any of the phones won’t be an issue. While the Pre and iPhone 3GS stick to using physical buttons for just about everything, the Motorola DROID ditches it with touch sensitive ones. Although it works well most of the time, there are instances when it is accidentally pressed causing you to lose focus on what you are doing.  The Pre adds in the gesture area which give you finger friendly method of navigation or accomplishing certain functions. Both the Palm Pre and Motorola DROID will make it easy for everyone with their microUSB ports. With the iPhone however, you’ll have to put up with Apple’s proprietary standard. Finally, the Pre and iPhone 3GS limit you to the amount of memory you have because there’s no expandable source. Luckily for the DROID, it’s more flexible with its microSD card support – so you can even swap out cards at will. The Palm Pre is by far the most compact and doesn’t feel too overbearing in the hand. If text messaging is your kind of thing, then the Motorola DROID will be able to accommodate you with its full line of QWERTY keyboards. Finally, the iPhone 3GS has a uniform body that still can appeal to almost anyone thanks to its solid construction.



1. Phullofphil

Posts: 1846; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

why do any comparisons at all the last two i looked at did not come to a complete conclusion. I can compare a 1985 mustang and a 2006 tacoma and tell you what i think is better. It does not matter what or when they came compare how it is today its easy.

2. MarcMaiden

Posts: 25; Member since: Nov 24, 2009

cool comparison Phone Arena... I think its better to stay neutral because these phones are so similar that picking a phone would be just like playing favorites

4. tshow84

Posts: 65; Member since: Jun 11, 2009

playing favorites you say? and look who won....

3. jcoberg10

Posts: 112; Member since: Oct 30, 2009

overall not a bad review. They tried to stick to the facts. Only getting lost in the Iphone 2-3 times. However, at the end They awarded the Iphone the Multimedia phone. Which i would very much disagree with. Itunes is the worst Music program, a open system with the ability to play any music file type is far superior. Plus, during the review the droid got more praise for its video player and options(this is still considered multimedia right?). Also, the droid received credit for having the best speaker, which i feel is very much in the multimedia area. When comparing the cameras, phoneareana failed to mention that the Droid has a nice LED flash. Now, I have not had a problem being able to find the app i'm looking for in the android market. 50,000 or 100,000 it doesn't much matter at that point, everything after that is a duplicate anyway, and all the new intuitive apps will more than likely be releasing on android because of apples strict filters on their app store. Now I have reviewed the review. And I think the droid has surpassed the Iphone in nearly every way. The only thing left is opinion, which for the most part can not be changed. but facts are facts, and they seam to stack up in the droids favor.

7. Iphoneluv

Posts: 59; Member since: Nov 13, 2009

Are you kidding...... The droid is no where near a better phone than the Iphone...c'mon, you dont even believe that yourself.

9. tonyc_42

Posts: 61; Member since: Aug 18, 2009

you so it's not a better PHONE??? how can you say it's not a better phone when it doesn't have the dropped calls or service issues. iphone may be a better multimedia device (for now...) but the clear winner as a phone is the droid.

11. vzw fanman

Posts: 1977; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

the droid is wayyyy better than the iphone.

13. vzwman

Posts: 385; Member since: Oct 26, 2009

face it iphoneluv droid is the shit now

67. batman888

Posts: 37; Member since: Dec 06, 2012

u all forgotted pre thats best sphone

22. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

It looked like the iphone won to me. The droid is great but you guys are getting ahead of yourselves. How many iphone killers are there going to be! Part of me is just hoping that a phone comes out of nowhere and beats the iphone so we can get this over with. I mean some of you guys even called the Storm an iphone killer. Come on. Verizon is probably already preparing for their next Android device. And based on the pictures taken, I'd say the iphone's picture quality look the best. Just look at the color of the pictures, even in low light. And if a developer had to choose between developing for Android or Apple, they would go for Apple because there are so many iPod touches and iPhones that are out there and growing everyday around the world. And one thing that they like is the uniformity. If you develop for one, most likely it will work for every single one out there. You can't say that for Android. Some graphic intense games on the Droid (if there are any) probably won't work for the Eris and the G1. Take Gameloft for an example. Although they receive 13% of their profits from Android, it probably costs them more to pay their laborers to convert each of their games to work with each Android device. (That has to be the reason why they are not making any more apps for Android because I don't see why Gameloft would drop that 13% of profit) And I hear that Android won't only make smartphones because they want all phone users to be able to customize. That's tears up the uniformity even more. And everyone keeps on saying that the Android app store will grow and grow very soon. But sadly, that's the same exact thing the Pre owners were saying. And I guess I can stop talking about how bad the iPhone's battery life is because it looks like it is much better than the Pre's and Droid's. And they didn't emphasize how bad the keyboard sucked. On the Droid website it boasted about having the thinnest keyboard in the world, but it stinks really. It probably would have even helped them out if they made it a little bit more thicker. And after two years the iphone still has the best online keyboard and easy to use interface? Really? Still? And everyone keeps complaining that its outdated. If these phones can't beat an outdated phone, then that makes everything even more sad. And its a good thing that the Droid users have removeable battery because I'm reading that removing the battery often to fix problems is not uncommon. And is backgrounds really featured on the Android Market? More than a year later and backgrounds is featured on their market? That app is so done now. I wouldn't call it useless, but its bordering that area.

23. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

There we go. I reviewed the reviewed review.

26. smartphonelover

Posts: 37; Member since: Nov 26, 2009

The Iphone doesn't have the high specs that the droid and the droid is also on Verizon It's like comparing an off the line Ford Mustang to an off the line Dodge Challenger. The challenger is gonna win cause of specs are just better and plus with the Iphone on AT@T network it's like the mustang will lose spark at random times lol, stupid metaphors Iphoneluv just except it, the Iphone is beaten this time by the droid. Plus if Verizon gets the Palm Pre next year like rumored then Verizon will have two Iphone challengers, and with the htc dragon/passion that means Verizon will have at least 3 Iphone challengers. Meaning Verizon will definitely draw a lot of attention from AT&T and the Iphone

30. Quemical

Posts: 162; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

Well said smartphonelover. The Droid is the clear winner, without question. So iphoners, when's your next Droid killer coming out? DROID FTW

31. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Since when has anyone cared about the high specs of the iPhone? That's not why so many people like it. But I'm pretty confused why the iPhone renders web pages faster while the Droid falls behind the Pre, even with the highest specs. And why does the Picture quality not look as good as the iPhone or even the pre? Go specs!

32. vzwman

Posts: 385; Member since: Oct 26, 2009

all you iphone lovers got it all wrong the droid is not an iphone killer but it is an iphone competitor

33. vzwman

Posts: 385; Member since: Oct 26, 2009

E.N. im sorry to say that your full of crap you obviously dont know squat about the performance any of the three smartphones mentioned in this article

34. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

BS. I probably know much more than you.

36. vzwman

Posts: 385; Member since: Oct 26, 2009

i own 2 droids my brother has an iphone 3gs and a friend of mine owns a pre from sprint oh and not to mention my droid eris NIB havent opened it yet

38. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Okay? What does that prove. You know a lot of people with phones. I'm happy for you. That doesn't mean you know more. You probably still think that the web browsing on the Droid is better than the iPhone. And why would you have two droids and an Eris?

40. Quemical

Posts: 162; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

"But I'm pretty confused why the iPhone renders web pages faster while the Droid falls behind the Pre, even with the highest specs. And why does the Picture quality not look as good as the iPhone or even the pre? Go specs!" Are you KIDDING ME? As far as rendering, CDMA 3G and THE FASTEST PROCCESSOR AVAILABLE + webkit = PWNGE, have fun surfing on GSM! PICTURE QUALITY????? Do you know anything about the DROID???? How about 720p Bluray video on my Droid, I just compared to my brothers Iphone and its not even close!!! Its sad really how much you are in denial. You could make an argument for speed but picture? Thats just being woefully ignorant.

41. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Go back and read the review. Look at the video of the web browsers and tell me which is better of the three phones. Look at what phonearena wrote inregards to speed and data rendering. Look at the pictures phonearena took and then come back and we'll see what else you can scream about. It's not like I made this up what I said out of nowhere. And again you're throwing out specs that I dont really care about. All I know is that the pictures taken by phonearena on the iPhone 3GS looks better than the Droids. (We all know that the Droid's video quality is superior. I was talking about the photo camera.) Everything I jsut said came out of this review. So if you're going to get mad, get mad at the information and video posted. The Droid has two processors and that's the best it could do with web browsing? Please point out what else I said that was incorrect.

43. vzwman

Posts: 385; Member since: Oct 26, 2009

I own two droids cuz of the simple fact that it's an awesome phone (one is mine and the other my wife's duhh) and the Eris is just to add to my collection -lg dare -lg voyager -lg env touch -blackberry storm -samsung omnia -2 motodroids -and last but not least HTC droid Eris

56. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

your fanboyism doesnt change the fact that the iphone is pretty much the same as it has been for 3 years. it is outdated and old. its been replaced my Android handsets left and right that can do more, better.

59. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Okay, Sparky (E.N.), let's review your review of the review of the review. 1. There have been exactly TWO "Iphone killers" Verizon has released. One was the Blackberry Storm (which was FAIL, admittedly) and now the Droid. As fast as the Droid is selling, and considering that as dead as my store is I've already sold two (and seen plenty more go to the direct store down the street to buy it) I'd say we have a winner here. Add to this that the Droid, unlike the Storm, has had ZERO performance crippling bugs and very few returns relative to the Storm, that's saying quite a lot. 2. yes, Verizon is working on more Android devices, but they're all more "budget" phones so far. 3. You obviously haven't fact checked before spouting off your predictions about the app market. The Android app market has doubled in size since the DROID premiered, from 10,000 to 20,000 apps. This puts it at roughly a fifth of the size of the Apple market, which has been around for THREE YEARS. The picture quality at good light levels on the Droid were the best looking out of the three. And the video quality on the Droid is excellent. 4. Your statement that "13 percent of Gameloft's profits come from Android" followed by the statement that they lose that profit paying people to convert apps is demonstrably stupid because it reveals your absolute ignorance of economic terms. PROFIT is the money you have left over AFTER costs, INCLUDING costs of labor for any app conversion. So that 13 percent is perfectly intact. Also, since the battery is usually the first thing to die on any phone, it's a good thing that the Droid has a removable one, because you don't have to throw the phone away and get a new one when the cells blow on it. So, E.N., you're obviously totally biased in favor of the Iphone. I sell Verizon products, and I'm not afraid to admit the Iphone would be a cool addition to our lineup. It's a good phone, it works well, most people love it. But the Droid is King, and it's coming to claim its throne.

60. haste_the_day

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 27, 2009

@ E.N. - Not to mention that rendering pages on a smartphone work off the processor speed as well as the network connected to it. Beat, and beat. And if you have anything to show otherwise as far as specs, please, post them, bc i have yet to see anything showing otherwise.

62. DonkeyPunched

Posts: 321; Member since: Jan 10, 2010

LMAO I like seeing you verizon fanboys get all crazy. It's hilarious. By far, Verizon is the most communist company out of all four of the major ones. Yea, their coverage is definitely great, by far, but their customer service is complete crap. And they just doubled their cancellation fees? Ridiculous. I'd rather use Sprint if you wanna say CDMA is better. Plus where do you all live anyway? Whenever I have a problem with reception with AT&T, everyone else has reception problems with every other service (why did I pick friends who I can't get mobile to mobile with...) AND, I love being able to use all the foreign phones that CDMA users can't use. 80% of the world is GSM, not CDMA, so suck it. But anyways, phone wise, I will say the Droid is a great phone as well, so I'm not gonna try to hate on it much, but I can't get over the iPhone, along with the majority of users that use iPhones. I absolutely see no reason to switch to a Droid. And sorry, I'm just gonna leave the Pre out of the game because we can all agree right now it just can't compete yet till it starts updating and making a better variety of hardware. To clarify, I'm probably like most of the commenters on here. I have something different from what everyone uses. When the first iPhone came out, I bought it and was so happy. Now that everyone has an iPhone, it turned me off. I currently do not use the iPhone because I wanted a phone no one else would have, so I bought the LG Crystal and I'm actually satisfied right now. Just to clear this too, iPhone pictures kick ass. People can say "oh droid has more megapixels." I have found the more megapixels, the crappier they look, out of experience. And no one wants a big crappy picture. iPhone apps win hands down. Yes, there are pointless apps, but they literally do have an app for everyone. I'm fed up of people trying to hate on it. No matter what, the facts stand out and show the Apple App Store definitely wins. At least for now... Biggest standpoint, the syncing. Someone said iTunes is the worst program. WTF are they talking about? Browsing, syncing, updating, ect., is amazing. Go ask people about what Android syncs with and I'm sure most won't answer that. Apple was smart to include their music service to their phone because everyone and their mom already owns an iPod. Docking the iPhone is even easier because it can hook up to many iPod things such as alarm clocks, car stereos, rechargeable batteries, ect. I'm more likely to find a way to charge or play with my iPhone at someone else's place rather than a Droid. Also, I hate the Droid keyboard. I will say, I wish an iPhone would come out with a keyboard, but the Droid's keyboard definitely didn't cut it. It feels so cheap and crappy. Watching CES, I actually think the backflip looks good. I think the Milestone will be pretty awesome too, but honestly, I think I don't want my phone to look so sophisticated because I'll freak out about the scratches every second of the day, but ANYWAYS... I am open to every OS I'll say. I love the customization you can do on the Droid, multitasking, and the thing you do when you bring the top bar down and see notifications. That's pretty awesome. I mean, I probably could jailbreak an iPhone and do that, but I prefer not to do that...Apple is communist too at times :] Overall...I just can't wait for the next iPhone. I'm hoping for them to shut everyone up for another 2 years.

5. dsg_cobra

Posts: 35; Member since: Nov 25, 2009

where was the comparison with coverage? i was at the hospital yesterday and it was hilarious my uncle asked to see my droid so he could search on the internet, while he did that i was playing with his iphone and couldnt do nothing but play one of his games he already had. droid wins by a mile, i guess by balance they meant 80% opinion

6. Iphoneluv

Posts: 59; Member since: Nov 13, 2009

Iphone rules!! The pre, droid and anything else that comes out unless it is the 4th gen Iphone will continue to fall short.......Iphoneluv Out!!

8. rockstar323

Posts: 20; Member since: Jan 15, 2009

I've owned all 3 phones, and the Droid is by far the superior device. lol @ 4th gen iPhone, all they will add to it is maybe a flash for the camera and maybe some new colors.

10. Literati

Posts: 17; Member since: Oct 22, 2009

rockstar323, you can't fix stupid. Let this guy continue to live in his time vortex.

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