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 It’s a bit odd considering how much of a fuss Motorola originally made about being one of very few Android handsets that actually offer a camera capture button, allowing you to quickly get into the application by holding the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
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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  • HangFire - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    When are you going to review the Charge? Now, there's a screen!
  • HangFire - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Oops I see it has been reviewed, but it is missing in the third comparison graph- Contrast- on page 2.
  • HangFire - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Page 5? I'm sorry I'm used to MODERN comments section with at least a 60 second edit feature.
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    It isn't missing, it simply isn't included. The effective contrast of the SAMOLED+ panels is undefined (divide by zero).

  • Vepsa - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    What app do you show in the GPS testing screenshots?
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    I like to use GPS Test Plus, it does a decent job.

  • cditty - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    No reason to upgrade... I bought my Droid X for .01 from Amazon when I rid myself of the craptastic AT&T in my market.

    It is the best phone I ever had (I was an iPhone 4 user on AT&T). Verizon's network is what makes me say that, because ALL of the phone works ALL of the time (calls & data).

    The original X is plenty fast. My next upgrade will be when my market goes LTE (a long way off). By then, there will be some great phones to be excited about. Funny how phones are the new *upgrade* hobby for old school computer enthusiast.
  • silow675 - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Brian I think you have the best mobile handset reviews. Great work on including thorough reviews on mobile displays - something lacking in most mobile reviews.
  • Spoelie - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    That thing looks hideous compared to recent HTC ventures, like some 80's throwback.

    Mind you, I'm not talking about performance or usability or screen quality or ... It's purely my own opinion on physical styling of the device.
  • jonup - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Well, we spent the 90s and the better part of the last decade making phones smaller and more portable... and then all the effort went down the drain.
    You can thank Apple for that. After the iphone everyone try better them with bigger and heavier phone. Remember, in America bigger is better!

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