Commentary

Can Droid KO iPhone?

iphone vs. droid

With its audacious ad campaign for the Droid, Verizon has poured $100 million into trashing the iPhone and touting the Motorola device as the superior (and mas macho) smartphone alternative. So which is really the champ?

In its latest smartphone ratings out today, Consumer Reports gives the decision to the iPhone 3G S over the Droid -- but it was hardly by a knockout. The Apple device edged out the latest would-be iPhone killer in CR's zero to 100 scoring system by only a point, 74 to 73. (The iPhone 3G scored a 73.)

Both phones received top marks in areas like display, navigation, Web browsing and multimedia, while also getting dinged for less than outstanding voice quality. Even within categories where both earned high grades, each had relative strengths and weaknesses.

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"Both had displays we judged to be excellent, though for different reasons. iPhone's display proved to one of the brightest and easiest to see under most lighting conditions, while the Droid's was the clearly one of the sharpest we've seen on any phone," stated a blog post by CR's Mike Gikas.

The smartphone ratings were grouped according to carrier. While the iPhone and Droid were rated the best devices for AT&T and Verizon, respectively, the HTC Hero was Sprint's top handset (69), and the Motorola Cliq (71), was T-Mobile's. That means Motorola winds up with two of the four highest-rated phones across the major carriers, highlighting its comeback as a high-end device maker.

Taking a more holistic approach to the ratings, what would happen if you added CR's recent cell service satisfaction scores with the smartphone numbers? Verizon/Droid would come away with a cumulative score of 148 to 144 for the AT&T/iPhone combo. The two phones will just have to keep slugging it out in the consumer marketplace.

7 comments about "Can Droid KO iPhone?".
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  1. Fred Henkel, December 17, 2009 at 2:39 p.m.

    THANK YOU...

  2. James p Campbell from LTE Network LLC, December 17, 2009 at 4:16 p.m.

    Why does it seem, almost all MediaPost articles seem to have an anti-AT&T theme to them lately. Like this last paragraph references CR's survey, which is a bit flawed.
    In fact... A more appropriate article on network coverage and service can be found here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/business/13digi.html?_r=2
    One thing to keep in mind when reviewing service is the volume of data on the network. There are 34 Million 3G and 3Gs iPhones alone on AT&T Mobile data network, then add all the Blackberry and other Smartphone users and your talking about a significantly larger amount of wireless data plan users than any other network. Verizon has a long way to go before they're supporting that many Droid users and can make valid arguments on performance...

  3. Bill Banche from Bill's Foreign Automotive, December 17, 2009 at 4:29 p.m.

    yes AT&T sucks, but the droid is worse.

    droid compared to iphone short review:
    overall rating *** of 5.

    Not as easy to use as the iphone in many ways.
    some of which are:

    1. Harder to edit text (more steps to do so, less intuitive.)

    2. Some web pages are more limited than the same page on iphone. (and since it can't use 3G in my main location it's a LOT slower.)

    3. camera/movie is not near as good as the iphone, due to much less light sensitivity. (I did a back to back duplicate video of my location, indoors then outside, and the iphone video showed clearly in areas where the Droid was totally black.)

    4. Calendar was really really slow until I figured out I had to shut off the syncing with Google Calendar online. then it was much better.

    5. However after doing that I was not able to access my Google calendar events through the Droid browser. But had no trouble doing so on the iphone.

    6. I couldn't download the Droid Manual by using the Droid (link not available), but at the same site I had no trouble downloading it in a few seconds on the iphone. (I was trying to find out what the signal icon meant, that was showing on the Droid, upper left. it looks like an M, & it is supposed to be 3G for best signal.)
    7. it was very difficult getting all of my calendar events loaded onto the Droid.

    8. Verizon web site being busy so much concerns me, since it means I have a lot of trouble accessing that site for various reasons, and effects Droid access to it's base web site.
    Too many users already??

    Pros:
    better battery life so far, feels solid, I like the vibrate when touching screen on certain things

    Cons:
    in my area it's much slower access to internet than the iphone. iphone uses 3G here, but not Droid

  4. Pavel Despot from Velti, December 17, 2009 at 4:42 p.m.

    @James,

    There are 34 million iPhones worldwide. AT&T has about 10-11 million.

  5. Marci Montgomery, December 17, 2009 at 5:08 p.m.

    I agree with James Campbell's observations regarding media coverage and network metrics and would go a step further to say that I'm weary and bored with Apple bashing. Writers seem to enjoy projecting their downfall, spinning non-events into "news." The parenthetical in the paragraph 2 of this article didn't even make sense -- if the iPhone 3G scored 73 against a 74, then how could it have won the CSR rating as the line above admitted it had? Is a correction needed? And where is the journalism? If the iPhone rated higher, even by a point, isn't that the story, and shouldn't the headline reflect that? After all, Michael Phelps won an Olympic contest by an almost unmeasurable amount, and nobody remembers the runner-up. A win is a win, guys.

  6. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, December 17, 2009 at 5:19 p.m.

    @james while your point on volume of data phones is valid as an excuse for AT&T having such a slow network, at the monthly price for the service individuals could care less. They want great service for themselves and expect it. A

    Anyway the issues are moot points because there will be many smart phone versions released in the next few years, yet if anyone comes up with a tablet/e-reader that can surf, TV-Video Anywhere, is rugged and operate like a smart phone yet with a bigger screen (maybe the new Apple tablet) then phones will go back to being phones. People use smart phones because even netbooks are too big to drag anywhere. We only watch video and surf on smart phones because we don't have another mobile option.

  7. Matt Ellsworth from FLMSC Inc., December 17, 2009 at 10 p.m.

    Considering the Motorola Droid is the first generation of the device, I think they did a pretty good job with it. I think that they certainly have some things that need to be addressed and hopefully will be. But most of them seem to be more software than hardware.

    Sure somethings like Navigation can be a little buggy, but its definitely better than a TomTom and TomTom only does Navigation... and they have been working on that for how long? Nav's voice recognition is great even when there is back ground noise, etc.

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