Verizon iPhone 4 vs DROID 2 Global

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

For the better part of the last year, Verizon has been relying on its DROID handsets to spur business and take away any  magic from the iPhone. But now that the beloved iPhone 4 has finally joined the ranks, it presents somewhat of an interesting dilemma for customers since previous Verizon advertisement spots touted on how “DROID DOES.” And now that Big Red finally has an Android powered world phone in the form of the Motorola DROID 2 Global, will customers still jump the wagon and side with the iPhone 4 – which interestingly enough was the target of dissent previously?

Design:

Let’s get it out of the way, but both handsets are fantastically well built all around to instill confidence that they are meticulously designed to withstand the adverse effects of normal wear and tear. At the same time, they’re both fairly normal sized and easily tuck away in the pockets – but there is slightly more weight with the DROID 2 Global. Still, we adore their choice of materials since they radiate with that premium feel as you hold them, but there is just something more alluring about the iPhone 4 with its glass like surface. However, we’re not as confident that it would survive a drop from a lengthy height compared to the DROID 2 Global.


Naturally, there’s plenty of detail and clarity seen with their displays, thanks partly to their high resolutions, but the DROID 2 Global has the size advantage with its 3.7” LCD display as opposed to the 3.5” IPS display of the iPhone 4. The hidden weapon in the iPhone 4's arsenal is its Retina Display that packs an impressive resolution of 640 x 960. Although doesn't differentiate it really that much, compared to the 480 x 854 resolution with the DROID 2 Global, it still nice that it presents the user with a bit more detail in the image. Color production seems more vibrant with the iPhone 4, while viewing angles are vastly superior with the iPhone 4 as well. However, both displays are quite accurate to the touch and we didn’t find any registration problems during our experience. Placing both devices next to one another, one can easily see that the iPhone 4’s Retina Display shines more brightly – especially outdoors under the gaze of the sun.



Since the DROID 2 Global relies on capacitive touch buttons beneath its display, there is still a tendency of accidental pressing. Conversely, it’s nearly impossible to mistakenly press the single home button of the iPhone 4 seeing that it offers a springy response when pushed.


On its sides, we actually prefer the separated volume buttons of the iPhone 4 because they slightly protrude to provide a reasonable feel versus the recessed look of the DROID 2 Global’s volume rocker. However, the iPhone 4 packs on a vibrate switch, while the two-level shutter key of the DROID 2 Global is much appreciated as well. And again, the dedicated power button of the iPhone 4 is raised high enough to offer a sensible feel versus the one on the DROID 2 Global which is almost flush to the surface.

Both smartphones employ a 3.5mm headset jack, but the iPhone 4 resorts to using Apple’s proprietary 30-pin connection port for charging and syncing, while the DROID 2 Global relies on a traditional microUSB port.



In the rear, we find their 5-megapixel auto-focus camera in the upper left corner, but the DROID 2 Global packs a dual-LED flash as opposed to the single one with the iPhone 4.


There are also some other added benefits with the Motorola DROID 2 Global – such as its removable battery, microSD card slot, and its physical keyboard for typing. Inversely, the iPhone 4 takes a dive with video chat thanks to its front-facing camera.





Interface & Functionality:

Thanks to their blazing fast processors, the platform experience is quite fluid and responsive enough to eliminate pretty much any remnants of wait or slowdown. Under the hood, the iPhone 4 is powered by an Apple A4 processor that’s believed to be beating at the clock speed of approximately 1GHz. But with the Motorola DROID 2 Global, it’s packing a speedy 1.2GHz TI OMAP3630 processor that provides enough horsepower to keep its animated platform running ever so smooth. From opening up apps to navigating between their home screens, everything seamlessly operates at a high rate of level with both handsets – thus keeping you productive in whatever you’re doing.

In the constant battle between Android and iOS, there are specific advantages found with both. When it comes to personalization, there’s no arguing that the customized version of MOTOBLUR running on top of Android 2.2 Froyo on the DROID 2 Global is the preferred choice. With things like its bountiful options of widgets and live wallpapers, it’s quite visually appealing with its presentation. Now what it lacks in visual flare, iOS on the iPhone 4 makes it up with its simplistic and straightforward platform experience. Between the two, you can literally pick up the iPhone 4 and quickly learn its ins and outs. However, there is going to be a slight learning curve with Android – which requires some adjustment for first time users, but once mastered, the possibilities and limitless.



Even to this day, Android as a whole blows iOS out of the water in terms of social network integration. With its social networking specific widgets on the DROID 2 Global, you can quickly read posts from friends or post a status message directly from the homescreen – rather than running a dedicated app. Still, don’t count out the iPhone 4 since its Facebook and Twitter apps are ingeniously well thought out over its Android counterparts, but in the end, the Motorola DROID 2 Global would be the preferred choice of social networking conscious individuals.


Thanks partly to its physical landscape keyboard, the Motorola DROID 2 Global is the ideal choice for those heavy into messaging. Needless to say that it’s more than convenient, but you can also rely on the on-screen options as well. The iPhone revolutionized and set the bar with messaging on a touchscreen device since it’s extremely responsive and offers one of the best predictive text out there. But the DROID 2 Global has its own arsenal with its multi-touch and Swype keyboards – the latter of which becomes handy once it’s mastered. Although both portrait on-screen keyboard might feel cramped, the landscape one provides ample room for even the largest of fingers.

Email setup is surprisingly streamlined with both devices since generic services are automatically set up by simply providing your email address and password. However, if you really want to get that rich Gmail experience, then you’re going to need to side with the DROID 2 Global. Despite that, we do like the iPhone 4’s option of selecting which email client to use when replying to any email.



As we mentioned already, the iPhone 4 features a front-facing camera that brings forth all the wonders and convenience of video chat – something that you can’t do with the Motorola DROID 2 Global.

Internet and Connectivity:

For those who prefer a transparent web browsing experience, then the Motorola DROID 2 Global is the exemplary choice since it offers support for Flash Player 10.1. Meaning, Flash content such as videos, advertisements, and animations will play similar to what you find on a desktop browser – which is something that the iPhone 4 is incapable of doing. Overlooking that, the overall web browsing between the two smartphones is almost similar because they feature multi-touch gesture support for zooming – something that the iPhone popularized. However, the keen eye will spot that mobile Safari offers smoother and more responsive kinetic scrolling over its Android counterpart. Nevertheless, you won’t be disappointed by their awesome performance.



With the word “Global” tacked onto its name, the Motorola DROID 2 Global has the advantage of providing owners the ability to place voice calls overseas and domestically. On the other hand, the iPhone 4 is simply your usual dual-band CDMA phone and will only work in the US. Luckily, both feature 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi to receive faster data speeds, while Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR enables them to connect with an assortment of wireless devices that range from headsets to third party accessories.



Camera & Multimedia:

Surprisingly, the quality produced by the 5-megapixel auto-focus camera of both handsets is almost identical to one another – requiring a meticulous eye to spot any the difference. In outdoor settings, the two produce sharp looking images that pack plenty of detail to make even signs in the distance more than visible. Color production seems to be a bit more natural with the iPhone 4 since there is a subtle saturated look with the DROID 2 Global’s results. Taking it indoors, especially in low lighting conditions, the iPhone 4 has the upper hand because it captures a reasonable amount of detail over the DROID 2 Global. However, there isn’t much of a drastic distinction with shots taken in areas with plenty of artificial lighting. Furthermore, the LED flashes of both handsets are capable of illuminating the scenery without sacrificing detail.



In a similar manner, we’re more than satisfied with the 720p video capture of the iPhone 4 and DVD-like quality of the Motorola DROID 2 Global. Not only do they boast a moderate amount of detail, with the iPhone 4 packing more, but they also manage to automatically adjust exposure depending on the scenery. Still, the two lack continuous auto-focus to keep things looking solid, but with the iPhone 4, you can readjust its focus by simply tapping an area on its display. Finally, playback is silky smooth with both handsets, but the iPhone 4 is able to shoot at the rate of 29 frames per second versus the 28 frames per second with the DROID 2 Global. In the end, we find both handsets more than acceptable for video recording.

Verizon iPhone 4 Sample Video:



Motorola DROID 2 Global Sample Video:



When playing a song, there isn’t anything necessarily different between the music players of both devices since they display the album cover, track information, and on-screen controls. But with the iPhone 4’s flashy looking Cover Flow mode, it offers an eye catching experience browsing through music on the handset. However, the Motorola DROID 2 Global has better audio quality from its speaker not only because it’s stronger in tone, but there are various equalizer settings you can choose to better fine tune its output.



High quality videos don’t pose any threat to either device since playback is buttery smooth without the slight hint of any slowdown or lag. Looking past their fluid playback, there’s just something dazzling with the iPhone 4’s Retina Display that makes it the favorable choice for watching videos. Specifically, it seems that its combination of having a higher contrast and dead-on color production makes it the ideal candidate between the two.


With the iPhone 4, you can either choose the 16GB or 32GB models, but once you’ve completely used up all of its storage, you can’t supplement it any further. Conversely, the Motorola DROID 2 Global comes packed with an 8GB microSD card out of the box – which can be replaced with higher capacities in the event it’s completely stacked full.

Software:

In the never ending battle between Android and iOS, there are things with Google’s platform that appeals to some people since it has close ties to some of their popular web apps. Specifically, the Google Maps app on the DROID 2 Global is far superior to the one found with the iPhone 4 simply because it offers free voice guided turn-by-turn navigation. Not only that, but it manages to integrate with other apps, like Google Talk and Latitude, which is something that doesn’t happen with the iPhone version.

At this point in the game, there is no denying that both handsets are stacked to the brim in terms of their apps selection, but between the two, the iPhone 4 seems to be the one better equipped in the video game department. Aside from the usual simplistic games out there, the App Store in general offers titles that are better situated for the casual gamer out there – not to mention that the iPhone 4 packs a gyroscope as well for gaming.



Performance:

Granted that there is very little static heard with both phones, we actually prefer using the Motorola DROID 2 Global for voice calls partly because its earpiece and speakerphone have better output over the Apple iPhone 4. Specifically, it’s stronger in tone which ultimately makes conversations more than audible to the ear, however, the iPhone 4 still provides an acceptable experience – but its output isn’t as strong.

Taking them around to various places, we did notice during our testing that the Motorola DROID 2 Global offers better signal strength over the iPhone 4. In most instances, we found the iPhone 4 to display fewer signal bars over the DROID 2 Global, but neither dropped phone calls.

Battery life easily goes to the iPhone 4 as we managed to obtain 1 ½ days of normal usage – which is better than the less than single day usage of the DROID 2 Global. Despite that, light users should still be able to get at least a solid day of normal usage on the handset, but the clear winner in the battery life department is the iPhone 4.

Conclusion:

Depending on your specific needs, either handset would make the perfect solution since they offer plenty of rich features that are complemented by their responsive nature. With the Verizon iPhone 4, we love its high-class design, detailed Retina Display, simplistic platform experience, video chat capabilities, and its focus on multimedia. Oppositely, the Motorola DROID 2 Global offers the convenience factor with its physical keyboard, global capabilities that enables it to be taken abroad, and the depth of enhancements with Android 2.2 Froyo. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either device, especially when they’re both priced at $199.99 with a contract right now.

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