There should be an image here!Q: Which would you recommend between the iPhone 4 and the Droid X? — Pete

A: Since the original iPhone launched in January of 2007, it has been the clear leader in the consumer smartphone market from a feature and functionality standpoint.

The iPhone has introduced so many new features and capabilities that it has been THE smartphone to own over the past couple of years.

Although the iPhone is currently the most popular consumer smartphone, the competition is heating up and making it less obvious which device has the most to offer consumers.

With the upcoming release of the Droid X, Motorola is giving Apple a solid run for its money.

As with any technology, which device is better is based on what you want to use the phone for, versus what a bunch of reviewers may think.

To that end, I’ll compare some of the major features between the two phones so you can understand the strengths and weaknesses.

Processor: Both phones have a 1 GHz processor (but from different vendors), so until the Droid X is actually released, it’s difficult to draw any distinctions at this point.

Display: The Droid X has a bigger display than iPhone 4 (4.3 inches vs 3.5 inches) but the iPhone has a higher resolution (960×640 vs 854×480). As a comparison, the iPhone 3GS has a 480×320 resolution sreen. In most cases, higher resolution on a smaller screen is more pleasing to the eye, but until we can compare them side-by-side on the same content, it’s all speculation. Higher resolution always means sharper graphics, text, and most important, more display space per screen (which means a little less scrolling).

Storage: The Droid X is a clear winner in this category because it has more storage in its base model (24 GB vs 16 GB) and has an upgradeable system instead of the fixed memory on the iPhone. The Droid has 8 GB of internal memory and uses microSD cards for additional memory. This would allow you to upgrade to more storage without having to get a new phone in the future, unlike the iPhone’s fixed internal memory system.

Battery: The single biggest complaint from iPhone users (besides the AT&T network) is the battery life. Apple claims that it increased talk time from 5 hours to 7 hours on iPhone 4 with the same 300 hour standby time. Droid X is claiming an 8 hour talk time with a 220 hour standby time. Based on these specs, those that like to talk a lot will likely get more talk time on a charge with the Droid X, while those that like to use features will get more time on a charge with the iPhone 4.

The other battery consideration is that the Droid X has a user replaceable battery, which makes having a spare possible, while the iPhone has the non-replaceable battery system so Apple can continue to generate revenue from dying battery replacements.

Camera: If you simply read specs, the 8-megapixel Droid X seems to be significantly better than the 5-megapixel iPhone 4, but there’s much more to a camera’s image than the megapixel rating. Many camera manufacturers play on this lack of understanding and make sure that they have more ‘pixels’ than their competition. For just about any use of an image that you take with your smartphone, 5-megapixels is more than adequate (the iPhone 3GS only had a 3-megapixel camera).

What may be more important are some of the other features: Droid X has two LEDs for a flash, while the iPhone 4 has one. The iPhone 4 has both a camera lens in back and front, allowing for video conferencing (but only with another iPhone 4 user at this point).

If shooting video from your smartphone is important, they both boast 720p HD recording capabilities, but the few early reviews of side-by-side video comparisons have the iPhone winning the video capture battle hands down.

Apps: iPhone — 225,000; Droid — 65,000. Apple has a clear lead in this area.

Finally, you must consider the networks that each of these devices is tied to (at least for now). The pitfalls of the iPhone’s AT&T network are well publicized about as much as the Droid’s Verizon network is routinely awarded the best of the best.

AT&T also recently eliminated its unlimited data plan, which Verizon has hinted it will follow suit. But as of this writing, Verizon still offers an unlimited data plan (very important if you are a Pandora or YouTube fanatic).

For the time being, the safest decision would be to wait for the Droid X to launch and let things settle down a bit.

Note: adding more complexity to the equation is Sprint’s hefty, six-ounce HTC EVO 4G phone that recently launched as the first 4G handset (just another reason to let things shake out)!

Ken Colburn
Data Doctors Computer Services
Data Doctors Data Recovery Labs
Data Doctors Franchise Systems, Inc.
Weekly video tech contributor to CNN.com
Host of the award-winning “Computer Corner” radio show