Feature for feature, Droid X and iPhone 4 prove worthy rivals

If it's summer it must be time to report on the latest smart phones from Apple and Motorola, and the things-keep-getting-better trend continues.

You can easily find hundreds of reviews of both smart phones online. You can also find technical details at (www.apple.com) and (www.droiddoes.com).

Here's my take. Once again, I'd have no problem carrying a Droid X every day if the smart-phone wizards suddenly zapped the iPhone from the face of the planet.

The Droid X includes several modifications and improvements from the original Droid. The biggest upgrade is the inclusion of a multitouch screen, one of the hallmarks of the iPhone. With multitouch, a forefinger and thumb are used to "grab" the screen, then pinching or stretching to zoom. The function works great on both devices, and makes navigation simple and more natural. Score one point for each.

Unlike the original Droid, the X model lacks a physical QWERTY keypad. This makes the phone lighter and eliminates the slide-out design. If you're looking for the real keys, you'll need to stick with the original model, which Verizon Wireless still offers.

It took me just a few days to adapt to the touch-screen keypad of my original iPhone. Typing on the iPhone 4 is exactly the same as typing on my older model. Score two points for the iPhone 4 and one for the Droid X; I'm marking Droid down for removing a feature that gave users a real choice of input methods.

Surfing the Web on each smart phone is superfast -- especially when connecting through Wi-Fi. With my old iPhone 3G I would sometimes hesitate before clicking off to the Web, as the browser was sluggish. The iPhone 4's processing speed helps with the zippiness when surfing. A lot. I'll give each device two points.

One of the Droid X's coolest features is the integration of Google Voice as an input option. It took just a couple of tries to perfect the speech-to-text feature for authoring a text message. The iPhone 4 includes voice input, but it's a notch below Droid's. Score two for the Droid X, one for the iPhone 4.

The Droid X features a huge, 4.3-inch screen (diagonally measured). This makes viewing videos a pleasure. The 3.5-inch screen of the iPhone 4 is incredibly bright and detailed. It features a 960- by 640- pixel display. Though it's smaller, I prefer it to the Droid X. Score two for the iPhone 4 and one for the Droid X.

■ Scoring the networks running the devices: Droid X's Verizon 2; iPhone 4's AT&T 1.

■ Final score: iPhone 4 - 9; Droid X - 9.

■ Bottom line: The Droid X is a great smart phone, but I'll stick with my iPhone 4. I've experienced none of the much-reported antenna and signal strength issues. I like the device's smaller size and its feel in my hands. The Droid X is the best competitor yet.

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