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 It’s a bit odd considering how much of a fuss Motorola originally made about being one of very few Android handsets that actually offer a camera capture button, allowing you to quickly get into the application by holding the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

    Far be it from me to defend Apple, but this has little to do with them. The popularity of streaming media- made possible by WiFi, 3G, 4G, and pocketable 720P level resolution screens, has made phones mini media devices, and as for viewing media on screens, the bigger the better.

    I like a small phone, and a large TV screen. The market is in the process of discovering just what compromise people want, and don't want, in terms of size.

    Anyway, the current 3.5" screen iPhone is smaller (and more phone-like) than these 4.3" mini-tablets.
  • jonup - Friday, July 8, 2011 - link

    I was not bad talking Apple so no point to defend them. I was inferring to the fact that the iPhone revolutionalized/popularized the "mini media devices". I was just a little facetious but thats my style. ;p
    That said I am left with virtually no upgrade options unless I want to spend $1000+.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Did you retest the talk time for the original X? Or is your friend's X an early one? I got mine at the beginning of March, and the web browsing tests look similar to what I would expect from my phone (what do you set the screen brightness to?) but I don't think it could get anywhere near 8.9 hrs of calling. I'm used to seeing it drop 10% for 15-20 minutes of calling.
  • jmcb - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Being in a good or bad reception area will have an effect on battery life. Are you in a bad reception area?
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    I'm definitely aware of how much of a difference that can make, and we always test in moderate to good coverage areas. In this particular test area, VZW signal (both 1x and EVDO) are above -70 dBm, which is pretty good. I believe there's a screenshot or two that show -70 dBm and -65 dBm.

  • strikeback03 - Friday, July 8, 2011 - link

    My Elixir icon shows less helpful stuff like "65%", so not sure what kind of reception in dBm I'm seeing. Though on further reading I doubt it would hit the WiFi browsing time either, with the screen on at my standard 12% brightness and all radios off I don't think it would last almost 9 hrs.
  • strafejumper - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    I see the Motorola Droid 3 is up for order now on Verizon!
    Is the Droid 3 the next version of the phone in this review? Or a different animal?

    If its the next in the same line its pretty funny that by the time a good review comes out for the phone the next one is already available to order!

    Maybe with android phones if you wait for a thorough review you will be outdated before you have the phone in hand!
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    It is more or less they same phone in a different form factor. Same as the Droid 2 and Droid X were closely related.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    MY apologies, Droid 3 isn't Tegra 2, it is OMAP 4430. Brain fart. Anyway, it is still more a supplement than a replacement to the Droid X2
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, July 8, 2011 - link

    Actually, the Droid 3 replaces the Droid 2, just as the Droid X2 replaces the Droid X.

    For those of us who still like tactile keyboards (like myself), the Droid 3 is the preferable phone.

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