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 It’s a bit odd considering how much of a fuss Motorola originally made about being one of very few Android handsets that actually offer a camera capture button, allowing you to quickly get into the application by holding the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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  • Hrel - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    I'd like to see them add an attachable/detachable slide out keyboard. Then they could also add a gamepad for actual hand held gaming. And they'd get to make money selling more accesories. It's a win for everyone! The thing is so thin as it is it can stand to gain some thickness without being an issue AT ALL. Reply
  • snoozemode - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    what do you mean, u cant see the grainy pattern in blue color? i see it just as good as in green, download the engadget app and put the icon on the homescreen, tons of black spots in it where the white subpixels have closed. RGBW sucks, period. Reply
  • bjacobson - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    all these high powered phones but scrolling up and down with your finger on a webpage is still laggy as hell. ??? Reply
  • bplewis24 - Friday, July 08, 2011 - link

    They're displaying flash images...what do you expect? Reply
  • JayQ330 - Thursday, September 01, 2011 - link

    you have to download a gpu rendering browser, its the reason the iphone & samsung galaxy s2 & even the s are able to scroll & zoom in & out so smooth, when you see checker board effect you know its gpu rendered where as the regular android browsers are constantly resizing & adjusting words & images in realtime. they should take a hint from samsungs browser. Reply
  • NeoteriX - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    If I was looking on my HTC Evo 3D, what text would I be searching for in the dmesg output to identify the camera initialization line? Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    Things like this:

    <4>[ 14.364959] __s5k3h1gx_probe
    <6>[ 14.365051] s5k3h1gx_vreg_enable camera vreg on
    <6>[ 14.365173] sensor_vreg_on camera vreg on
    <6>[ 14.365722] sensor_power_enable("gp4", 2850) == 0
    <6>[ 14.366180] sensor_power_enable("gp6", 2850) == 0

    ...

    <6>[ 14.463897] s5k3h1gx_probe successed! rc = 0
    <6>[ 14.464141] ov8810 s->node 1
    <6>[ 14.464324] s5k3h1gx: s5k3h1gx_sensor_probe: switch clk
    <6>[ 14.464416] Doing clk switch (s5k3h1gx)
    <6>[ 14.484527] [Camera] gpio_request(30, "s5k3h1gx")

    Note the part with OV8810 which is an omnivision 8 MP 1/3.2" sensor. Possibly the Sensation uses some parts Samsung, some parts OV.
    Reply
  • YoPete525 - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    Great review as always, but I still find it ironic how far software optimization has to come on Android in general. I realize the X2 is rendering 26%(?) more pixels, but for every time it appears to process actions more quickly than the X, there is an example of it falling behind, like when pulling up the menu with the hardware button, and loading Basemark from the app drawer. Also, if you were to load up one of the more scrolling-conscientious launchers from the market, like LauncherPro or Go Launcher, the homescreens would scroll essentially at the device's refresh rate without stutter. Same story with Opera Mobile vs. the stock browser. Reply
  • NeoteriX - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    As I thought when I first looked at the dsmeg output; looks like it's no dice -- where the sensor ID should be is only "sp3d":

    <6>[73834.064016] [CAM]sp3d_vreg_enable camera vreg on
    <6>[73834.064139] [Camera]Shooter_sp3d_vreg_on

    ...

    <6>[73837.130660] [CAM]sp3d_spi_open_init: 1697
    <6>[73837.130691] [CAM]sp3d_vreg_enable camera vreg on
    <6>[73837.130691] [Camera]Shooter_sp3d_vreg_on
    <6>[73837.132155] [CAM]sp3d: sp3d_sensor_probe: switch clk
    <6>[73837.163436] [CAM]sp3d_sensor_setting type:0 config:0

    Thoughts?

    BTW, for what it's worth, the HTC Evo 4G uses the OV8810 omnivision for its camera:

    <6>[690609.827789] [CAM]ov8810_resume
    Reply
  • wpwoodjr - Thursday, July 07, 2011 - link

    The effective available RAM memory on the DX2 is about 70-80mb less than the DX, you can see this by looking at Settings...Applications...Running Services and adding up the used and free memory. I was all set to buy a DX2 until I saw this. Even in the store I could easily make the Moto launcher close and be forced to redraw with only a few programs open. My DX already runs out of memory, I didn't want more problems. Perhaps this memory is taken up by the graphics card?

    It would be great if you added some multi-tasking tests to your reviews that would stress memory.
    Reply

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