Google Nexus S vs. Motorola Droid X – Review

by Jerry D on December 13, 2010

The Google Nexus S has crashed the smartphone party and is turning heads with its smart design, attractive features and enhanced wireless capabilities. Is it better than one of our other favourite phones – the mighty Motorola Droid X? Let’s have it out. Right here, right now…

nexus s vs droid x Google Nexus S vs. Motorola Droid X   Review

Connectivity:

Let’s start with the important stuff. The connectivity options on the Nexus S include 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR. The Droid X has CDMA 800/1900, EVDO rev. A, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi in its own connectivity package. (1-1)

See other big phone fights featuring these two handsets:

Size & Weight:

How do the two phones match up? The Nexus S has dimensions of 123.9 x 63.0 x 10.88mm; the hulking Droid X is 127.5 x 65.5 x 9.9mm. The Droid X is the bulkier handset of the two, yet it’s also the thinnest. The Droid X weighs 155g, whereas the Nexus S is 26 lighter and weighs 129g. Google’s phone can call the Droid X a ‘fat-ass’ and get away with it… (2-1)

dyerware


Camera:

The design of the Google Nexus S incorporates a 5.0 Megapixel camera with a max resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels, plus autofocus, an LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus cleverness and 720p video recording. For video calls, there’s also a front-facing camera.

On paper at least, the Droid X boasts superior imaging technology and defeats the Nexus S with a 8.0 Megapixel camera that also includes: autofocus, a dual LED flash, mechanical shutter (1/1000 speed), image stablization, 16:9 image capture plus 720p HD video recording. The Droid X ties the score. (2-2)

Here’s how the raw technology of the cameras compare*.

1.0MP – 1280 x 960 pixels
2.0MP – 1600 x 1200 pixels
3.1MP – 2048 x 1536 pixels
5.0MP – 2592 x 1944 pixels
8.0MP – 3264 x 2448 pixels
10.0MP – 3872 x 2592 pixels
12.0MP – 4290 x 2800 pixels
16.0MP – 4920 x 3264 pixels

*These are typical resolutions. Actual resolutions may vary

Screen/keyboard:

Google has built the Nexus S with a 4.0-inch touch-sensitive display. The Super AMOLED screen here has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. With its 4.0-inch display and an overall pixel count of 384000, the Nexus S has a pixels per inch rating of 233.25.

The 4.3-inch touch-sensitive LCD screen on the Droid X is older technology but it is a shade bigger. It’s also got a slightly better resolution, boasting 480 x 854 pixels. Crunch the numbers and you get a Pixel Per Inch (PPI) rating of 227.907. Google’s phone and its newer screen takes the point to move back into the lead. (3-2)

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Performance:

As for overall performance, the engine inside the Nexus S is a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 ‘Hummingbird’ chip; while the Droid X relies on an equally nippy OMAP processor, also rated at 1GHz. (3-2)

Software:

The Nexus S runs the newest build of Android (version 2.3, codenamed Gingerbread). The Droid X launched with Android 2.1 (Eclair) with MotoBlur and has been upgraded to Android 2.2 (aka Froyo). (4-2)

Downloadable apps

Storage:

Storage-wise, the Droid X provides more space out of the box with 24GB of digital space. This compares to the Nexus S’s reasonably roomy 16GB. The Nexus S lacks an expansion slot so 16GB is all the storage you get. A microSD slot on the Droid X can boost the overall memory on Motorola’s phone to 40GB. (4-3)

Battery life:

How does the performance compare? Google says that its Nexus S can deliver 6.7 hours of talktime, while the Droid X is rated at 8.0 hours. Meanwhile, standby time is quoted as 427 hours and 220 hours respectively. Good talktime, poor standby versus so-so talktime and great standby. This round is tied. (4-3)

Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.

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Extras:

The Nexus S also includes GPS/A-GPS, dedicated GPU for faster gaming, haptic feedback vibration, 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, curved Contour Display and integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for digital payments.

The Droid X features GPS/A-GPS, 3-microphone multi-directional audio, HDMI microconnector for HD video out and an LED spotlight (5-3)

The Google Nexus S wins!

Nexus S Google Nexus S vs. Motorola Droid X   Review The newer Google Nexus S wins this titanic battle of the Android smartphones (5-3). Hardly surprising really. Technologically-speaking, the Droid X is starting to show its age (despite only launching in 2010). The Nexus S has a better screen and newer Android software.

Yes, the Droid X should eventually get an upgrade to Android 2.3 and versions beyond. But with its customised OS, any roll-out will be delayed pending some Motorola fiddling. The Nexus S has the advantage that it runs an undiluted version of the software. And when Android installations are becoming increasingly fragmented, this could be a huge advantage.

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