My wife recently got an iPhone4. My mother-in-law recently got a DroidX. We have all been together for the past 4 days. I setup both phones, fiddled with both phones, used both phones, and am ready to render an opinion.
For the tech-heads out there I will start with full disclosure.
First, I was a long time Blackberry user until this year when my company switched over to iPhones. I used to marvel at the productivity enhancements of the Blackberry. Now I have an iPhone3GS and am certain that the wisest investment I could make is to short RIM. They are non-competitive in this race.
Second, Apple and iTunes are a big part of my life. The easy access through iTunes to so many podcasts and audiobooks is how I get so much quality content. I also have all of my music in iTunes. I have woven them into the fabric of how I live; constantly listening to podcasts; either by putting my ipod on the Bose SoundDock Series II, in the car through an audio jack, or while exercising using a Nano.
Third, I am a PC guy and for a long time built my PCs (until the cost to buy a fully integrated mass manufactured unit got so cheap that it no longer made sense). So, while I like Apple products I am not an Apple apologist and I like to tinker with my devices.
Phew, after that confession I feel like I need to do penance. (three hail mary’s, two our father’s, and apologize to Dell for not buying their pocket PC back in 2002.)
- It integrates well with all of my existing content
- the content network (iTunes) is, in my opinion, great.
- the screen resolution on the Retina Display is incredible – the best on the market
- It feels good in my hands
- it is easy to use – so easy that one doesn’t even need to think about how to use it
- The app store is very robust
- Battery life is good, more than 2 days per charge (so far anyway).
- No Adobe Flash – This is a big deal. There are many, many websites running Flash that I cannot properly take advantage of. This is a noticeable hiccup in the usability experience. It is disappointing to get to a website and see a video link that cannot be played and a message to upgrade your flash player. Steve Jobs can preen about the coming dominance of HTML5 all he wants. It ain’t here now and I am.
- The camera is marginal to pathetic.
- The cursor pointer is awkward. To place it, the phone requires the user to zoom-in on the text and slowly position the cursor. And, you can only backspace delete text, you can’t forward delete without awkwardly highlighting text first.
- great screen size. It’s big.
- great 8.0 mp cameraw
- it plays FLASH.
- The voice to text feature is groundbreaking. We ran multiple tests through it without an error. I will blog on this feature alone at some point.
- Contacts have a linking feature to connect multiple entries for a person. It is really good. I wish the iPhone had this.
- an HDMI output – admittedly, my mother-in-law will never use this – and neither will the average user. But to a tech head, this is a cool feature, especially with the streaming netflix app.
- the integration of multiple data sources and social networks throughout the phone is strong. Setup a connection to GMail, Google Calendars, and Facebook and the phone becomes a laptop replacement for many people. My mother-in-law connected to her Facebook account and the phone pulled all of the profile pictures of her friends into her contacts – that is kinda cool.
- the user experience is not nearly as good as that on the iPhone. Using the DroidX requires thought and attention, unlike the iPhone – which is kind of like driving home from work and wondering how you got there.
- Poor integration to content providers. I know that Google has setup a music store, but they don’t currently have nearly the connection to podcast providers that Apple does. And transferring all of my content over to Google would be a huge pain in the ankle.
I have to admit the DroidX surpassed my expectations. It’s a great phone, with some important features superior to the iPhone (most notably the contacts, mail, and social network integration). For someone that likes to get in and tinker, optimize and connect this phone is superior.
But the iPhone’s ease of use is so elegant, and its content integration so robust, that I have to give it the nod – with reservations and glances back at the DroidX.
Ohh, and just to be fair to the new Windows phone, it’s like signing a contract with the Kansas City Royals and saying you did it because of their commitment to winning. . . never mind.
PC World also has a comparison of the two phones.
For an interesting take on the battle between these to companies see this neat article on moreintelligentlife.com .