Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZW) began selling the Motorola Droid X2 smartphone online May 19 for $199.99, with the Android 2.2-based follow-up to the smash-hit Droid X from last July readily available in Verizon retail stores May 26.
That’s tomorrow, folks. I’ve been using the Droid X as my personal smartphone since November. Rather than comparing the device to other Droids or Samsung Galaxy devices on the market, I’m going to stick to the Droid X comparisons, which are many.
From a hardware perspective, the Droid X2 is largely the same. See the side-by-side comparison for yourself. Not only does the X2 measure 5 inches long, 2.6 inches wide and only 0.38 inches thick, it weighs the same as the X, just under 5.5 ounces. The X2 also has the same physical input buttons below the pretty screen.
Yes, the screen is “pretty.” Why? It’s actually one of two major modifications from the original Droid X. This candy bar form factor “Froyo” smartphone uses a quarter-high-definition display with 960 by 540 resolution.
Motorola claims the X2 has 26 percent more pixels than the Droid X. That sounds about right; I could certainly see a difference, but only when the X and X2 were placed side by side, showing the virtual keyboard or YouTube videos.
The difference was especially notable in lighter settings, as the Corning Gorilla Glass offered protection from light reflection, which tends to cloud what you can see on the screen. The qHD is a nice improvement, but not earthshaking. Call it an incremental improvement to the naked eye.
The software on both the X and X2 is, at present, largely the same. Both run Froyo. The X launched with Android 2.1, and got the Froyo bump late last year. The X2 launches with Froyo, but will get the Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” bump later this year. But this phone lacks the requisite NFC (near-field communication) chip, so don’t expect to do mobile payments with your Droid X2.
The user interface of the X and X2 were different, if only in slight nuances as far as smartphones go. I’m talking in particular about the color scheme, which is largely blue on the X2, as you can see from the native Droid X wallpaper that loads up when you power on the phone. Where the dialer on the X is a drab gray, the X2 dialer has a nice blue hue.
I thought this was a freak thing, but then I discovered similar blue tinges in the camera software UI. Yes, more or less the same 8MP camera from the X is here on the X2, sporting 720p video recording, dual-LED flash and auto-focus.
However, the X2 camera software offers the ability to zoom in or out on the virtual viewfinder, saving us from the clunkiness of buttons. Motorola also claimed the X2 camera boasts 44 percent faster shot-to-shot performance. I didn’t notice that much difference. The Droid cameras still stutter.
Droid x2 Is a Fine Addition to the Droid Family
A new Gallery application on the X2 is a fun touch. This application, accessible from one of seven home screens, lets users post photos and comments on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Tap on a picture and you’re in Facebook. Users may view their camera pictures from this application.
Video worked fine on X2, and porting content with an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) to my TV, which always worked well with the X, performed without hiccups. No front-facing camera for video chat, sorry. I know that’s all the rage these days, even if it does annoy those next to you on the train or subway.
Under the hood, it is a different story also, allegedly. I write allegedly because the X2 is powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core, 1GHz processor, which also powered the Motorola Atrix 4G on AT&T, the Motorola Xoom tablet and other devices.
Motorola claims the X2 “is the first smartphone at Verizon Wireless to sport a dual-core 1GHz processor, delivering up to twice the power as its predecessor DROID X.” The first part I can’t argue with, but I’m not convinced the dual-core on the X2 was that much of a better performer than the standard single-die chip of the X.
While the X2 portends to offer “lightning-fast speeds for better gaming experiences, Web browsing, page rendering and Adobe Flash video performance,” I found the X and X2 beat each other loading Google search, Websites and YouTube videos. Seriously.
Calls have always been great on my X, and I found this to be comparable on the X2, with minimal dropping of coverage in Fairfield County, Conn., which by the by has 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) coverage now.
The X2’s 1,540mAh battery, the very same lithium-ion workhorse in the X, will last you a day as long as you’re not spending it flicking through YouTube and playing data- and power-hogging games. Rounding it out, the X2 has 512MB of RAM, 8GB of onboard memory, and 8GB of internal storage, expandable up to a 32GB microSD card.
If you were on the fence about the Droid X, I’m not sure this largely incremental upgrade will do it for you. Unless, of course, the qHD screen and dual-core are enough to push you. No current Droid X owners should abandon their handsets for the X2, essentially the same phone.
If I were shopping for a phone, would I pick the X2? No, not when the Samsung Droid Charge and runs blazingly fast on Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
However, should a Droid X come along on Verion’s 4G LTE network running Gingerbread with native NFC support and chip controller, count me in. I bought the X above other Android phones because I loved the hardware. A faster X with better software-not the X2-would do the trick for me.