The X2 also appears to be outfitted with a slightly darker grey shell than the original X. Alongside the X which I borrowed, the X2 looks almost black. It’s hard to say whether that’s just because his X has faded considerably, or whether the X2 has been intentionally made darker so people can tell the two apart. It’s probably a subtle thing similar to the way Apple made logos chrome between the 3G and 3GS to differentiate the two. 

The other obvious way to differentiate which one is which is by looking at the back cover. The X2 has its name in red written below the metallic Motorola logo on the battery door. Otherwise even the two battery doors are identical. The trademark thickness bulge where the camera is located also persists on the X2. This is one area that I think could have benefited from some slimming, although it’s physically impossible to reduce the throw (depth) of some camera systems.

Button placement on the X2 is likewise the same as the X. At the top is power, centered and raised slightly. Just offset from it is the headset jack and then a microphone for noise cancellation on calls. 

On the right side is the volume rocker which is identical to the one on the X. It’s a solid piece of plastic with a small detent in the center. The buttons are still sufficiently clicky. Of course, at the very bottom of the right side is where the two-step camera button would have been, should Motorola have decided it was worth keeping. 

The bottom has a small lip with the same physical, backlit Android buttons. Thankfully these are in the same order as they were on the X, so there’s no relearning if you’re upgrading. Dead center below buttons is the primary microphone for calls, just like before. 

The left side of the X2 is still home to microUSB and a microHDMI port. Back when we reviewed the X, I was disappointed with how HDMI was implemented. You could output certain types of media to the TV, but not do full mirroring. Instead, the display turned into a small control panel, and the attached HDMI monitor became the playback canvas. It felt half-baked back then. 

This time, you can do full mirroring with overscan control. What’s odd, however, is that rotation isn’t implemented like it was on the Optimus 2X.

Plug an HDMI monitor in, and the whole interface rotates to landscape and stays there. If you have an application which only has portrait support, it will appear rotated 90 degrees on the TV, instead of rotating properly like the LG Optimus 2X does.

The phone’s display is upscaled to 1080p using what looks like nearest neighbor, so things are blocky, but it works. 

Proximity sensor and the notification LED are still hidden in the black strips up near the earpiece. Again, it wouldn’t surprise me if all of this was exactly the same as it was on the original X just because of how virtually nothing is physically different on the outside of the X2. I guess that actually sums up what there is to say about the exterior - if you liked the angular and masculine aesthetics of the original X, you’ll like the X2 because it’s essentially the same thing. Similarly, if you disliked the way the X looked, you’ll dislike the X2. 

Intro and Hardware Overview Motoblur by any other name is still motoblur
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  • anandatar - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    So yeah, I know, Anandtech is a US blog.
    Still I'm surprised there is no comparison to the Galaxy S 2 - I was already surprised before by this but nothing has changed.

    The main reason is because ALL the phones in the comparison look pale when compared with the S2.
    It's (much) faster than any of the Tegra2 based devices.
    It has more ram.
    It's (much) lighter (there's no xperia either)
    It's (much) thinner (there's no xperia either)
    it's camera still picture is second to the N8 only
    it's camera video recordings are above average (not blowing others out of the water tho - in 1080p it's zoomed and focusing is slower - in 720p its awesome)
    it's battery life is (much) improved too
    in fact, on the paper, only the resolution (800x480) is lower than the other phones (that sometimes have qHD)

    Not only that, but it's also the first phone I'd use instead of an iPhone - it's that much better that it makes sense to switch. But I wouldnt settle for less.
  • jmcb - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Glad you like the GS2 so much....

    If you know all this, why do you need to see a comparison? Check other sites, they do compare the GS2 with other phones...Imma help you out.... phonearena is one site that does. phonedog is another...
  • NeoteriX - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    You mentioned in your HTC Sensation review that with a little digging, you were able to come up with the camera sensor used there -- "Samsung’s 8 MP S5K3H1GX 1/3.2” 3264x2488 CMOS sensor with 1.4 µm square pixels "

    Though the sensor isn't the only thing as you mentioned (lens, etc.), it's useful to compare stated sensitivities, pixel sizes, etc. across the different current phones as well as generationally. I still feel like the gold standard is the iPhone 4 with its 1.75 µm pixel sites and BSI Omnivision sensor.

    Do you have this information for the Droid X and X2? How does one generally determine this? I'd love to be able to figure it out for my Evo 3D.
  • munky - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Iphone4 is by no means the gold standard. Also, there's plenty of variables affecting sensor performance which wouldn't be obvious just by looking at pixel pitch, not to mention how the image processing algorithms affect the final outcome. Unless you suggest AT start evaluating sensors with RAW data a la dxomark, I'd much rather they focus on comparing actual photos as opposed to numerical specs.
  • NeoteriX - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    I agree that specs aren't the whole picture, but I do think it provides useful insight to augment the results one sees in practical testing -- things like being able to tell how much of the improvement is image processing, what generation the sensor is and recently of development, and seeing if improving the image quality/sensors used is actually a priority for certain manufacturers. More information never hurts and it helps understand the story -- for example, when digital cameras were undergoing the megapixel race one or two years ago, it was clear that low light quality was degrading and pixel sites helped explain that story.

    At any rate, I'm no expert on the state of cellphone cameras, but I will respectfully disagree with you on the iPhone 4 -- no other non-camera-phone smartphone (i.e., the Sony/Nokia/etc. type phones with real digital camera level optics and sensors built in, xenon-flashes the whole 9 yards) *I've seen* has the kind of low-light sensitivity and all-around flexibility of the iPhone 4.

    It's likely a combination of the relatively large sensor sites, the large fixed aperture of the lens, the BSI CMOS design, and good image processing, but Android mfrs still have their work cut out for them over a year after the iPhone 4 release -- I'd be interested in hearing what other phone is better in low-light and all-around capability, because I certainly haven't seen it.
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    The new Xperia series (arc/neo/pro/play) seems a good fit, especially considering that the iPhone 5 is slated to use the same sensor as those handsets.

    Anyway the criteria you use for comparison are rather humorous, as it reads like the iPhone 4 having the best camera - as long as you disregard those that are better?

    HTC is generally known to ship shitty cameras but I'd say both foo, bar, beep and bloop - to name those at the top of my mind - offer some excellent solutions for those who want decent images from their smartphones.

    (As a side note to Anandtech - your spam filter sucks! Horribly.)
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Feel free to replace foo, bar, beep and bloop with the names of big smartphone manufacturers that aren't HTC.

    I would do it myself, if that wouldn't mean getting caught in the spam filter.
  • NeoteriX - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    That's fair although I wouldn't call my criteria bogus ;)

    The vast majority of cell/smartphones are those built around sensor/lens/IC SOCs primarily built for mobile applications, they feature LED-based flashes--in essence, they are known to be significant compromises in the world of digital imaging because they are, in other words, phones first, cameras second.

    Then, there is a small minority of cell phones that are essentially cameras with phones attached to them -- SonyEricsson C-902, Nokia N82, etc. that feature sensors and lenses pulled from traditional cameras, but with phone functionality -- we're talking about large sensors, camera glass, and xenon flashes intended for P&S digital camera applications and not mobile.

    I've heard good things about the new Xperia Arc with the Exmor R BSI sensor, but it hasn't been released in the US yet and neither has the iPhone 5... thus my position that the iPhone 4 leads the pack.
  • Exodite - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    I would say my arc does decent pictures, though perhaps I'm spoiled by the fact that my better half uses a Nokia N8. Color accuracy is good but the focus area is unfortunately very narrow which makes the pictures less good than they could be.

    The Samsung Galaxy S2 is arguably better, end results considered.

    Anyway, I hope the iPhone 5 does end up using the same sensor as the Xperia line as it'd be interesting to see what a different hard/software solution would do with the same sensor.

    Then there's stuff like the Motorola Milestone which also have a great camera, considering.

    Would an N8 qualify, or is that too a camera first?

    Because from my standpoint I can see something like the Altek Leo being a camera first and phone second but I'd still consider anything in a normal housing to be a phone first.
  • munky - Thursday, July 7, 2011 - link

    Have you seen the photos taken with the Nokia N8? They are cleaner that those from iphone4, not to mention more natural looking due to lack of over-sharpening and over-saturation. The iphone4 may be good compared to a crappy phonecam, but it is definitely not the best.

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