Almost exactly one year ago we reviewed and thoroughly explored the Motorola Droid X. At that point, its 1 GHz OMAP 3630 made it a competent performer and a worthy successor to the original Motorola Droid, and likewise competition for 1 GHz QSD8250 Snapdragon. A lot of things have changed since then, and and it’s time for the original Droid X to finally get replaced with something even more powerful, the Tegra 2-packing Motorola Droid X2.

Motorola seems to have taken an ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ approach with the X2, as the new handset is superficially identical to its predecessor. In fact, it’s literally the exact same size, shape, and weight. I borrowed a friend’s Droid X and stuck the X2 alongside it for comparison. With both turned off, I doubt most people could tell the two apart. 

The X2 even fits inside the original X case and uses the same battery. The only physical difference between the X and X2 is that the dedicated two-step camera button is now gone. It’s a bit odd considering how much of a fuss Motorola originally made about being one of very few Android handsets that actually offer a camera capture button, allowing you to quickly get into the application by holding the button, and make captures without tapping the screen and potentially losing the shot. 

The nice thing about the two phones’ superficial similarity is that cases are backwards compatible, though you’ll get some useless bulge for the absent camera button. I stuck the X2 in my friend’s X case, and it fit perfectly inside. Likewise, the X2 uses the same exact BH5X 5.6 Whr battery that the original X used, so if you’ve got extra batteries laying around or are replacing an X, you can continue using them. 

I see a lot of people carrying the X around just about everywhere - it’s clearly a hugely successful device for Motorola. Building some rapport with end users by keeping the design the same and doing things like using the same battery are a good way to keep people that bought Moto buying Moto a second time. It’s nice to see that we’ve moved on (at least somewhat) from the era where upgrading handsets meant having to re-buy almost all accessories but the charger. 

Physical Comparison
  Apple iPhone 4 HTC Thunderbolt Motorola Droid X Motorola Droid X2
Height 115.2 mm (4.5") 122 mm (4.8") 126.5 mm (4.98") 126.5 mm (4.98")
Width 58.6 mm (2.31") 67 mm (2.63") 65.5 mm (2.58") 65.5 mm (2.58")
Depth 9.3 mm ( 0.37") 13.2 mm (0.52") 9.9 - 14.4 mm (0.39"-0.57") 9.9 - 14.4 mm (0.39"-0.57")
Weight 137 g (4.8 oz) 183.3 g (6.46 oz) 149.2 g (5.26 oz) 148.8 g (5.25 oz)
CPU Apple A4 @ ~800MHz 1 GHz MSM8655 45nm Snapdragon 1 GHz OMAP3630 1 GHz Dual Core Cortex-A9 Tegra 2 AP20H
GPU PowerVR SGX 535 Adreno 205 PowerVR SGX530 ULP GeForce
RAM 512MB LPDDR 768 MB LPDDR2 512 MB LPDDR2 512 MB LPDDR2
NAND 16GB or 32GB integrated 4 GB NAND, 32 GB microSD class 4 preinstalled 8 GB NAND, 16 GB microSD class 4 preinstalled 8 GB NAND, 8 GB microSD class 4 preinstalled
Camera 5MP with LED Flash + Front Facing Camera 8 MP with AF/Dual LED flash, 720p30 video recording, 1.3 MP front facing 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 720p24 video recording 8 MP with AF/LED Flash, 720p30 video recording
Screen 3.5" 640 x 960 LED backlit LCD 4.3” 800 x 480 LCD-TFT 4.3" 854 x 480 LCD-TFT 4.3" 960 x 540 RGBW LCD
Battery Integrated 5.254 Whr Removable 5.18 Whr Removable 5.65 Whr Removable 5.65 Whr

There’s so much that’s similar between the X and X2 that it’s easier to just call out what all is different. First off, the X2 of course is built around a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 AP20H SoC, which consists of two Cortex-A9 processors alongside a ULP GeForce GPU. There’s still 512 MB of LPDDR2 present. We’ll talk about the SoC and performance more in a bit. The second huge change is a that the X2 includes a qHD (960 x 540) LCD display with an RGBW PenTile subpixel layout. That’s up from the FWVGA (854 x 480) display on the Droid X. Again, we’ll talk about what all RGBW means in the display section, but this is similar to the display which Motorola shipped in the Atrix. Third, the X2 has an improved camera, which at first glance looks the same on paper (both are 8 MP with AF and dual LED flash), but as we will show later, produces much higher quality images. 

Hardware Overview: Continued
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  • anandatar - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    So yeah, I know, Anandtech is a US blog.
    Still I'm surprised there is no comparison to the Galaxy S 2 - I was already surprised before by this but nothing has changed.

    The main reason is because ALL the phones in the comparison look pale when compared with the S2.
    It's (much) faster than any of the Tegra2 based devices.
    It has more ram.
    It's (much) lighter (there's no xperia either)
    It's (much) thinner (there's no xperia either)
    it's camera still picture is second to the N8 only
    it's camera video recordings are above average (not blowing others out of the water tho - in 1080p it's zoomed and focusing is slower - in 720p its awesome)
    it's battery life is (much) improved too
    in fact, on the paper, only the resolution (800x480) is lower than the other phones (that sometimes have qHD)

    Not only that, but it's also the first phone I'd use instead of an iPhone - it's that much better that it makes sense to switch. But I wouldnt settle for less.
    Reply
  • jmcb - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    Glad you like the GS2 so much....

    If you know all this, why do you need to see a comparison? Check other sites, they do compare the GS2 with other phones...Imma help you out.... phonearena is one site that does. phonedog is another...
    Reply
  • NeoteriX - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    You mentioned in your HTC Sensation review that with a little digging, you were able to come up with the camera sensor used there -- "Samsung’s 8 MP S5K3H1GX 1/3.2” 3264x2488 CMOS sensor with 1.4 µm square pixels "

    Though the sensor isn't the only thing as you mentioned (lens, etc.), it's useful to compare stated sensitivities, pixel sizes, etc. across the different current phones as well as generationally. I still feel like the gold standard is the iPhone 4 with its 1.75 µm pixel sites and BSI Omnivision sensor.

    Do you have this information for the Droid X and X2? How does one generally determine this? I'd love to be able to figure it out for my Evo 3D.
    Reply
  • munky - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    Iphone4 is by no means the gold standard. Also, there's plenty of variables affecting sensor performance which wouldn't be obvious just by looking at pixel pitch, not to mention how the image processing algorithms affect the final outcome. Unless you suggest AT start evaluating sensors with RAW data a la dxomark, I'd much rather they focus on comparing actual photos as opposed to numerical specs. Reply
  • NeoteriX - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    I agree that specs aren't the whole picture, but I do think it provides useful insight to augment the results one sees in practical testing -- things like being able to tell how much of the improvement is image processing, what generation the sensor is and recently of development, and seeing if improving the image quality/sensors used is actually a priority for certain manufacturers. More information never hurts and it helps understand the story -- for example, when digital cameras were undergoing the megapixel race one or two years ago, it was clear that low light quality was degrading and pixel sites helped explain that story.

    At any rate, I'm no expert on the state of cellphone cameras, but I will respectfully disagree with you on the iPhone 4 -- no other non-camera-phone smartphone (i.e., the Sony/Nokia/etc. type phones with real digital camera level optics and sensors built in, xenon-flashes the whole 9 yards) *I've seen* has the kind of low-light sensitivity and all-around flexibility of the iPhone 4.

    It's likely a combination of the relatively large sensor sites, the large fixed aperture of the lens, the BSI CMOS design, and good image processing, but Android mfrs still have their work cut out for them over a year after the iPhone 4 release -- I'd be interested in hearing what other phone is better in low-light and all-around capability, because I certainly haven't seen it.
    Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    The new Xperia series (arc/neo/pro/play) seems a good fit, especially considering that the iPhone 5 is slated to use the same sensor as those handsets.

    Anyway the criteria you use for comparison are rather humorous, as it reads like the iPhone 4 having the best camera - as long as you disregard those that are better?

    HTC is generally known to ship shitty cameras but I'd say both foo, bar, beep and bloop - to name those at the top of my mind - offer some excellent solutions for those who want decent images from their smartphones.

    (As a side note to Anandtech - your spam filter sucks! Horribly.)
    Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    Feel free to replace foo, bar, beep and bloop with the names of big smartphone manufacturers that aren't HTC.

    I would do it myself, if that wouldn't mean getting caught in the spam filter.
    Reply
  • NeoteriX - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    That's fair although I wouldn't call my criteria bogus ;)

    The vast majority of cell/smartphones are those built around sensor/lens/IC SOCs primarily built for mobile applications, they feature LED-based flashes--in essence, they are known to be significant compromises in the world of digital imaging because they are, in other words, phones first, cameras second.

    Then, there is a small minority of cell phones that are essentially cameras with phones attached to them -- SonyEricsson C-902, Nokia N82, etc. that feature sensors and lenses pulled from traditional cameras, but with phone functionality -- we're talking about large sensors, camera glass, and xenon flashes intended for P&S digital camera applications and not mobile.

    I've heard good things about the new Xperia Arc with the Exmor R BSI sensor, but it hasn't been released in the US yet and neither has the iPhone 5... thus my position that the iPhone 4 leads the pack.
    Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    I would say my arc does decent pictures, though perhaps I'm spoiled by the fact that my better half uses a Nokia N8. Color accuracy is good but the focus area is unfortunately very narrow which makes the pictures less good than they could be.

    The Samsung Galaxy S2 is arguably better, end results considered.

    Anyway, I hope the iPhone 5 does end up using the same sensor as the Xperia line as it'd be interesting to see what a different hard/software solution would do with the same sensor.

    Then there's stuff like the Motorola Milestone which also have a great camera, considering.

    Would an N8 qualify, or is that too a camera first?

    Because from my standpoint I can see something like the Altek Leo being a camera first and phone second but I'd still consider anything in a normal housing to be a phone first.
    Reply
  • munky - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    Have you seen the photos taken with the Nokia N8? They are cleaner that those from iphone4, not to mention more natural looking due to lack of over-sharpening and over-saturation. The iphone4 may be good compared to a crappy phonecam, but it is definitely not the best. Reply

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