Comparisons of the iPhone 4 and DROID Incredible
With the iPhone 4 now being officially released, the real question on everyone’s mind is, “How is it going to stack up against the currently superior DROID Incredible?” Well, we finally have that answer, and it looks like Apple has done it again. The new iPhone 4 packs quite a punch especially considering many of it’s features are not only comparably better than that of the DROID Incredible but also outside the realm of possibilities for the DROID Incredible due to Apple’s proprietary software and hardware. This isn’t to say that the iPhone 4 is better in every aspect however, there are many features that the DROID Incredible still offers that the iPhone simply can’t match. Even so, it’s been a hard fought battle up to this point for about the past year with regards to market share, but with this new release I see nothing short of a landslide victory in the coming months. The real competition that the iPhone 4 will now face is the HTC EVO. If you’d like to read our comparison on these two devices check out our iPhone 4 vs HTC EVO 4G article.
The main selling point for the DROID and DROID Inredible up until this point has been it’s ability to multitask, coupled with a huge advertising and marketing campaign to outline the differences between the iPhone 3GS and DROID. This worked very well and the DROID did appear to gain considerable market share during this period, but with the new iPhone OS 4 operating system allowing for multitasking, it hardly makes the DROID Incredible seem to be so incredible anymore. Especially when you consider the app differential between the two platforms. Currently Apple outnumbers Android ~215,000 apps to 70,000 apps. This is a huge margin and is one of the main selling points for most buyers. However, for those of you probably reading this article, it’s going to take a little more than just a couple numbers on the apps and operating system abilities to win you over, so we’ve compiled a detailed comparison of the main features and selling points of each platform below. We hope you enjoy!
Apple is of course known for their sleek designs and the iPhone 4 isn’t going to be the exception. The new phone comes with a stainless steel band that couples as the iPhone 4 antenna is engineered to be 4 times stronger than steel and allows for the extra thin and rigid design. In addition to the stainless steel band, both the front and back are made with engineered aluminosilcate glass (the same stuff used in high speed trains and helicopters). The glass is designed to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times stronger than plastic. Also it’s extremely durable. In comparison, the DROID Incredible… well… it’s plastic. No comparison needed here, the iPhone has much more curb appeal.
Size and Weight (Dimensions)
The new iPhone 4 weighs in at 4.8 ounces (137 grams) and measures 4.5 inches (H) by 2.31 inches (W) by 0.37 inches (D). The DROID Incredible comparably weighs in 4.59 ouches (130 grams) and measures 4.63 inches (H) by 2.3 inches (W) by 0.47 inches (D). As you can see the differences here aren’t that astonishing. The iPhone 4 dimensions differ really only in depth, and is considerably thinner than that of the DROID incredible. This is as a result of many of the internal factors that Apple painstakingly designed in to fit perfectly in their new glass metallic casing. However, for most consumers, this really won’t be a factor when considering which device to purchase.
Cellular and Wireless
As expected the iPhone 4 will continue it’s relationship with AT&T and will operate on their GSM/EDGE Network while the DROID Incredible operates on the Verizon/ Alltel network using the Dual Band CDMA 2000 capabilities that they offer. For a more in depth analysis of the two networks and the differences they both afford check out our AT&T vs Verizon Network Comparison article.
As for wireless capabilities both the iPhone 4 and DROID Incredible offer 802.11 b/g/n. Additionally each also offer Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and I believe the new iPhone 4 is going to offer wireless tethering via the OS 4 release which will allow for automatic syncing much like the MacBook’s and other current Apple devices.
By far, one of the biggest complaints with the current iPhone 3GS has been its cellular carrier, AT&T. For most, this may be the deciding factor in which phone to purchase, but AT&T has made promises to beef up it’s network and fix the problems that many users currently complain about such as dropped calls, or limited 3G coverage. Though these promises have been made, they have yet to be seen, so at this point it appears that if users are to go with the iPhone 4 they are going to have to deal with the existing network problems that most are encountering now.
The iPhone 3GS previously offered maps and directions via Google Maps through a proprietary app, but with the release of the iPhone 4 they will now have assisted GPS and also their all important standard “digital compass,” which, in my opinion is probably the most useless item on the entire phone. Also, as before the location services will be performed via wi-fi and cellular triangulation services. As for the DROID Incredible, they will be offering Google Maps with Navigation, which has been offered on the previous DROID versions as well. There is not a huge difference here either but it would appear that the Android compatible DROID Incredible may have slightly better offerings as it is coupled directly with Googles navigation services and their support will be a decisive advantage for not only the DROID Incredible but all phones taking advantage of the Android OS.
Power and Battery
The iPhone 4 will come equipped with a built in rechargeable lithium ion battery. The battery can be recharged via USB connection to a computer or the standard power adapter unit. The DROID Incredible also comes equipped with a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be charged in the same way. The big difference you’ll see here is that the DROID Incredible battery is removable and therefore exchangeable in the event one battery goes out and you have a secondary. This shouldn’t really be a huge concern unless you plan on going on a camping trip or somewhere where you are likely to not have access to a power grid. In which case, I doubt you are going to need your cell phone anyway.
With regards to talk time, standby and usage times. The iPhone 4 has the major advantage of being second to the shelf and could therefore beef up their battery to outlast the DROID Incredible. The iPhone 4 offers a whopping 7 hours of talk time on 3G and 14 hours on 2G with standby time of up to 300 hours. In terms of internet usage, that means you can surf comfortably for around 6 hours on 3G and 10 hours via a Wi-Fi connection. For those video and audio hungry users, you can enjoy up to 10 hours of video playback and 40 hours of your favorite music.
In comparison, the DROID Incredible offers around 312 minutes of usage time with 146 hours of standby via their provided specs on Verizon.com. Not nearly a match for the far more advanced and larger iPhone 4 battery. For most users who plug in their device every night anyway, this doesn’t become a huge issue. For the power hungry and media intensive users however, the iPhone 4 may be the best option.
Capacity (Memory and Storage)
Although the new iPhone 4 was expected to provide up to 64GB of internal memory, the actual spec came out to be the same as the iPhone 3GS upscale model at 32GB of total internal memory. They also offer a 16GB version much like was previously offered when the 3GS entered the market. By comparison the DROID Incredible offers a only 8GB of internal memory with expansion capability of up to 16 GB via a mircoSD card for a total 24GB of storage. This may not seem like an overly large difference until you consider the fact that you cannot store apps on the 16GB of external memory. (See our iPhone DROID Hardware Comparison article for more details.)
With regards to memory, if you plan on downloading large numbers of apps, the iPhone 4 may be the better option, however if most of your memory usage will be for photos, video, and music the DROID Incredible may offer a substantially better option because users would be able to swap microSD cards for each of the above mediums depending on what they needed at the time. For most users, either option, the iPhone 4 or DROID Incredible will offer more than enough for everyday usage to satisfy your needs.
Now is where we really start to notice some BIG differences. Up until this point, the two phones have been relatively well compared with minimal differences here and there, but Apple really went the extra mile with their new display. The retina display that they offer has a huge 960 x 640 pixel resolution with 326 ppi. The DROID Incredibe… 800 x 480. And while the DROID Incredible display is slightly larger at 3.7 inches compared to 3.5 inches, this just makes the pixel resolution all that much more noticeable. If you really want to see the details, the iPhone 4 is going to be the best option by far, especially when we compare the two devices camera’s below.
In addition to the better pixel ratio’s the iPhone 4 also offers a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on not only the front screen, but the back of the device as well. The contrast for the device is also significantly better at 800:1.
Camera, Video, and Photos
The iPhone 4 made a huge improvement on its camera capabilities not only for photos but for video as well. The new iPhone 4 will be equipped with a 5-megapixel backside still camera capable of recording HD quality video’s at 720p with up to 30 frames per second with audio. Additionally the backside camera also offers an LED flash. The DROID Incredible offers a slightly better 8-megapixel backside camera that also supports autofocus and video recording with a dual LED flash. However, the DROID Incredible does not support 720p video recording which may be a significant selling point for some.
Additionally, the iPhone 4 went even further by offering a new front side camera (1.3-megapixel) that allows users to take part in live video chatting anywhere a Wi-Fi connection can be found. This is a major advancement not only for the iPhone but for smartphones and society abound. Look forward to this becoming the norm in most smartphone devices coming out this year and next.
Both phones come with their own photo management software and really offer similar capabilities in this regard, so the big decision, if the camera is a major selling point for you, will be which phone better fits your lifestyle and media needs. It appears the iPhone 4 offers slight advantages and coupled with their higher and better resolution screen may edge out the DROID Incredible. The main advantage here is obviously the front side camera and ability to video conference, though this may not be a big deal for most.
There is obviously a huge difference between the two operating systems that each platform offers. Apple offers it’s home spun iPhone OS 4 and the DROID Incredible make use of the Android 2.1 OS currently and will later take advantage of the Android 2.2 OS when it is released later this year. Unfortunately, with respect to operating systems, there are just too many differences and features to outline in this article. However, the most notable difference that to this point has put DROID in the running has been its ability to support multitasking. With the new iPhone OS 4 now enabling this capability it levels the playing field for this facet and takes away the DROID Incredible’s definitive advantage.
For full details on each of the two operating system offerings please visit their corresponding websites:
Both phones offer accelerometers, nothing new there, however the iPhone 4 has introduced a new three-axis gyro which will allow for it to more precisely detect user movements and motion. Additionally both phones offer a proximity sensor (near the ear-piece, available in the iPhone 3GS as well) and an ambient light sensor (most likely for the LED Flash for the camera). The DROID Incredible does not offer the three-axis gyro however. This most likely will not be distinguishable for most unless you are a gaming intensive user that really wants to take advantage of the motion sensing technologies. In which case the iPhone 4 may be the better option anyway given its vastly larger app store and game offerings.
Apple again went the extra mile and designed their own new proprietary A4 chip which is not only faster than the 1GHz Qualcomm processor that the DROID Incredible offers, but provides less strain on the battery which means it saves more power so that their larger battery lasts even longer.
You’ll notice up until this point I really haven’t mentioned anything with regards to the price for the devices. The main reason for this is that, in my opinion, this won’t really be a factor. For most, if you want something badly enough you are going to pay whatever price the manufacturer is asking. But for those interested, the price for the DROID Incredible is offered at $199.99 with a 2 year contract agreement and the iPhone 4 will be offered at 299.99 for the 32GB device and 199.99 for the 16GB device with a 2 year contract agreement.
Ok, so obviously this article may seem a bit biased towards the iPhone in some respects, so I’m going to take a minute now to make sure an outline some of the features that are advantageous for the DROID Incredible. The main one, which has been under hot debate as of recent, is the support for Flash. The iPhone 4 does not, and does not intend to support Flash now or in the future. They fully feel that the web should be “open” and HTML 5 should be the new standard to follow. This may be the case, however with many websites and applications taking advantage of Flash, the DROID Incredible definitely has a major advantage in supporting Flash 4.0 and enabling its users to take advantage of existing web applications and sites that make use of Flash. In the future, if Flash does go away, this may not be as big of an advantage but for the time being, it certainly appears that it may be a decisive factor for many and gives the DROID Incredible a huge advantage.
Another advantage that the HTC DROID Incredible has is its coupling with many of Google’s features and their direct integration. Since Google isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and has been making huge strides with its mobile operating system Android any phones that are making use of this OS will have a huge advantage in their partnership with the mega giant. It allows for separation of focus and allows hardware developers to focus on the phone itself while Google focus’s on the OS that will run them. For Apple, they have taken on the burden of supporting both hardware and software and may slow them down as may be an indication by their relatively late release of the iPhone 4. This delay in release has allowed for Android powered phones to make strides in breaking off market share that Apple previously dominated.
So with all that said and done, it’s all really going to come down to user preference and what you want, but I know my preference most certainly lies with the iPhone and I’ll be looking forward to picking one up as soon as they are available on the 28th. As always, if you enjoyed this article and comparison please consider “liking” or sharing this article and also, if you have heard, or have something to say about either of the two models, please comment below because we’d love to hear from you.