Droid vs. iPhone: A 10-Round Bout CR Electronics tests both phones and finds that each side has its advantages and flaws. The biggest advantage of the Droid: It’s not on AT&T. [Consumer Reports Electronics]

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  1. dragonfire81 says:

    I’m looking for a new wireless provider but every major carrier seems to have its drawbacks?

    I don’t really care for Sprint, have heard mixed things about Verizon, starting to not really like the coverage and network issues over at AT&T and have no T-mobile coverage in my area.

    So I’m not too sure what to do, I might just get a prepaid phone and stick with that for awhile since I’m really not eager to sign a contract with anyone right now.

    • ReverendLoki says:

      @dragonfire81: As I understand it, you pick which drawbacks you want to deal with.

      AT&T: Has the Jesus phone and (maybe) the fastest top speed, but overall serious 3G connection issues, less 3G coverage area. Great when it works, but fails to work too often. Also seems to be the most expensive from what I’ve seen. GSM network, which is used in the rest of the world, so generally has a wider selection to choose from. Phones have a really short life cycle, which can make it hard to develop for them, not including iPhone and Blackberry.

      Verizon: Lower 3G top speed, but more reliable coverage. You’ll never get a blazing fast speed, but you almost always have coverage. I’ve heard they have absolutely terrible phone customer service, but in my years with them I haven’t had to deal with this. CDMA network, so not as wide a variety of phones. But, does have the Droid and of course Blackberry (including Storm and Storm 2).

      Sprint: Sort of the middle child, in between the two in service, cost, etc. Tend to have longer life cycles on their phones, which is better for developers (especially on the Nextel side). Seems to have some really grand but realistic(ish) plans involving 4g coming up… Plam Pre is a bit of a let down though, but they say the Palm Pixi will make up for it (and who knows, maybe that’s true).

      • jamar0303 says:

        @ReverendLoki: And the plus side to AT&T and T-Mo is that if you hate the phones they do have you can bring in your own. Quite a few people, for example, use Japanese phones on the network because they’re so much more advanced than what AT&T themselves carry (google SH-07A for an example).

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @dragonfire81: I have Verizon. The coverage is very good and very reliable even out in the back ass of beyond. The phones, though, are only okay. (Like, I have to dig through four menus to get to a calculator, that’s just plain bad design.) Customer support has always been reasonable when I’ve dealt with them, and I’ve been with Verizon for 8 years or so, so I’ve dealt with them quite a bit. (Some years ago their service was rotten; these days, it’s pretty decent as these things go. Not awesome, but reasonable.)

  2. Saites says:

    Some of their results don’t really make sense, particularly 3, “display.”

    “The Droid’s 3.7-in. display is the largest we’ve seen on any phone, and appears to be very sharp and bright, with higher pixel density (240 dpi) than the iPhone (163 dpi). But the iPhone’s display is the best of any phone we’ve tested to date.”

    If the Droid’s display is bigger and sharper, isn’t it better? A bit of a simplification, yes, but it still seems fairly accurate.

    Also, 9, “Camera”

    “Droid’s 5-megapixel camera is well-equipped, and makes it easy to share your pics via Facebook, e-mail, SMS, Picasa, or Bluetooth data. But iPhone’s 3.2-megapixel camera is more fun, with its tap-to-focus and macro (closeup) features, and its on-phone video editing.”

    Once again, it seems that Droid’s is better in things that count. Granted, on-phone video editing seems like an advantage for the iPhone, but that’s something that could (in theory) be fixed by an application.

    • cristiana says:

      @Saites:
      If you look at the gizmodo review, they have some pics taken by the camera, and it doesn’t seem to take great pictures. However, they love the screen.

    • Ratty says:

      @Saites: Megapixels =/= quality.

      • Saites says:

        @Ratty: I agree that megapixels != quality, but from the description above, I was under the impression that they didn’t like it because it wasn’t “as fun to use.” But seeing the more in-depth review linked above, I can see why the iPhone would take the win.

  3. robertdoubting says:

    Um, how is the navigation on the Droid worse than on the iPhone? The iPhone doesn’t do turn by turn navigation.

  4. Colonel Jack O'Neill says:

    1. I really don’t care multitouch.

    2. Android phones has more customization.
    Droid wins

    3. droid has 854×480 resolution, 3.7in. display, 16,777,216 colors, 240 dpi
    iPhone has 3.5in. screen, 480×320, 163 ppi.
    Droid wins hands down.

    4. hardware keyboards are good to have instead of just virtual keyboards.
    Droid wins.

    5. I don’t care about search, if I’m looking for a song, I’m gonna be looking in my itunes library, if I’m looking for an email, I’m bonna be looking in my email app.

    6. IDK

    7. iPhone has 100,000, but maybe only 5-10% are useful, you have these 10 year olds who think fart app are good, when they not.

    8. Anything’s better then having 10 year old’s with iphone using up bandwidth intensive apps and twittering every 2 damn minutes.
    Droid wins!

    9. iPhone takes shitty grainy pictures. Droid has a better lens.
    Droid wins!

    10. Droid has turn by turn directions, iphone doesn’t. Droid wins!

    I hate these iPhone fanboys giving reviews for other phones,
    (like Gizmodo) where they won’t give an honest and fair review on them.

    • Colonel Jack O'Neill says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill:
      Also 9. Who cares about editing pictures on a phone. I would edit mine on my PC not on a phone.

      And the iphone doesn’t have a removable battery.

    • microcars says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill:
      So buy a Droid.

      and then get your own blog and rave about it to the world.

    • jessedybka says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill: Have you seen the pictures coming from the Droid? My 6 year old Treo took pictures like that. Guaranteed that in the same circumstances, the Droid’s photos will turn out worse than the iPhones.

    • PsiCop says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill: +1 on the problem of fanboi-ism. I’m an Apple fan myself … and very partial to my Mac … but even I can see that the trade press is really embarrassing themselves when it comes to the iPhone. It’s no longer even funny. They need to stop drooling over their iPhones and get with it.

    • microcars says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill:
      1: I care about multitouch
      iPhone wins!

      2: I don’t need infinite customization, I am not building a smartphone, my smartphone does not define “who I am”.
      iPhone wins!

      3: Droid has to pay a license fee to LucasFilm for the trademarked “DROID” name. No “Lucasfilm tax” with the iPhone!
      iPhone wins!

      4: hardware keyboards are teh suck because food and dirt gets stuck in them.
      iPhone wins!

      5: I don’t care about search either, but nice to know it is there
      iPhone wins!

      6: Speed, I have been able to use an iPhone for more than 2 years now which means I have downloaded WAY more GB of bandwidth than the Droid over the same time period
      iPhone wins!

      7: Fart apps: Iphone has a bazillion to choose from,
      Android store, “only” 42 Fart apps
      iPhone wins!

      8: I have no problems with AT&T and my iPhone so I assume that all this complaining about AT&T is astroturfing by Verizon employees.
      iPhone wins!

      9: Camera: side-by-side comparison
      iPhone wins!

      10: Droid has creepy red eye that looks like HAL9000, yeech.
      Default wallpaper for iPhone is the Earth. (I have replaced it with my cats..)
      but if you really want HAL9000 on your iPhone there’s an app for that.
      iPhone wins!

  5. Eat A Peach says:

    Not defending the iPhone (although I have one), but my complaint is with the AT&T bashing. I’ve had AT&T since it was AT&T the first time around (before it was Cingular) and I wonder what the problem for others is. When it was the first incarnation (AT&T fledgling) I had pretty good signal and a few drops here and there (this was back when Nextel wasn’t part of Sprint…ah the old days ;) and excellent customer service both online and via 611 phone contact. Then when it became Cingular I had even better coverage and only an unexpected drop here or there but their customer service sucked the wad. Now that they’re in their 3 reincarnation, I have great call service and excellent customer service. I get signals in my are where no other carrier can even get a signal (my house’s basement is one such place that anything other than an AT&T phone won’t get a signal). Oh, I’ve had billing issues, but when I’ve called to complain or ask for an accounting/refund/explanation, I’ve never had any arguments from AT&T (except when it was Cingular and the change over first happened; customer service was horrible and not very helpful). Maybe if I lived in a large city (it seems that every reviewer lives in or around New York City) I might have problems, but so far my iPhone has lived up to every one of it’s claims.
    And just so no one thinks that I’m snooty (all iPhone owners seem to get grouped together and characterized), I just got my iPhone less than a month ago and for $50 for an upgrade on my acct. with a refurb model. I know when my other 2 lines come up for upgrade status in Jan. I’ll be getting iPhones for those too if I can find them refurbed just like this first one. And for a $50 price tag in these financially troubling time, that makes everything else on the comparison list a mute point for me: KO to the iPhone and AT&T (for me, at least).

    • Rachacha says:

      @Eat A Peach: Right there with you. Beet an ATT (and predecessor) customer for 13 years, and with the exception of 1 phone (which I prompltly returned)I have been very happy with ATT’s service in the Washington DC area, and up and down the east coast.

  6. qwirky says:

    I tend to agree with the complaints in your review with #3 & #10. You sing the praises of Droids screen, but then give the “win” to Apple without explaining the all important “WHY”. Same for #10… iPhone has no navigation built in… it’s all through paid apps (some VERY expensive apps) so how is a free app that could use some work worse then that? For a website that claims to be for the consumer, there are some serious concerns with your review

  7. Krylez says:

    The camera comparison I can understand. The droid autofocus is finicky enough to override its resolution advantage. The screen comparison is a joke. If you’re going to choose the lower res screen, you’d better justify it with something other than “the best we’ve seen to date”. What makes it the best? And finally, how does the iPhone win in the navigation category when it doesn’t even have a navigation system? I don’t expect the depth I’d see in a tech blog/mag, but expect factual information.

  8. b612markt says:

    I snapped up my Droid yesterday on Sears.com for $149 and can’t wait till it gets here on Monday. I’m sure I’d love the iPhone, but I need the best network and my entire digital life is with Google, so the Droid makes sense for me.

  9. myasir says:

    I’ve never really understood the hate for AT&T. I’ve had them since the early days of Cingular and I’ve never had a problem with them. They’ve always been helpful with almost all of my requests. I had to unlock a phone for overseas travel and they walked me through the steps. My wife had an issue with her old samsung and they sent her a new one overnight. Maybe it’s just a vocal minority that’s complaining but everyone I know who has AT&T has never had an issue with them.

  10. microcars says:

    @NeverLetMeDown:
    I had no problems with my iPhone in Manhatten while I was there for 10 days for a trade show.

    It was not “better” than anyone else’s service, but no worse.

  11. JohnAllison says:

    @microcars: The iPhone does not have built in navigation.

    It has a map application that can show you a route, however this is not navigation.

    Navigation applications, using GPS, take you turn by turn to you destination and recalculate the route if you make an error. iPhone doesn’t come with this, and the app costs as much as a standalone unit from the same company(TOMTOM).

    The droid has a native navigation application. The majority of the posters here recognize the poor reporting by consumer reports.