Now that the dust has settled from CES, we can dig in and look at some of the new Android tech. Sony and Motorola had many big announcements at CES, with the Motorola Droid 4 (D4) and the Sony Xperia Ion (ION) among them. Motorola and Sony have both been working with Android from early on so I expect a lot from these phones. When comparing them, you will notice some drastic differences that I will explain the significance of and how these differences will affect you when choosing one over the other.
At the core of each phone are the CPU, GPU, and RAM; this is the heart and soul of each phone. If you buy a phone that is lacking in these departments no matter how beautiful the screen is, your new phone purchase can disappoint you with slow down or lag when playing videos or games.
Lets take a look at the basics. Each phone is equipped with a gig of RAM and a dual core processor. Each processor is clocked differently, but in all honesty you will not see much difference between the TI OMAP 4430 CPU at 1.2 ghz and the Qualcomm MSM8260 at 1.5 ghz. Both processors should have no problem cutting through any workload you throw at it. Here I have to give them a tie. Now if the ION had been sporting Qualcomm's older brother the 8660, the win would have gone to the ION.
When considering which of these phones to go with, the main trade off you will be making is with functionality. The D4 has a keyboard which would be the biggest reason to purchase the D4 over the ION; if your not a fan of the keyboard the ION is the obvious choice. Look wise, I really feel that the ION has the edge. I don’t mind the look of the D4, but I think that look fits the RAZR better than it fits a phone with a keyboard. The ION on the other hand kinda looks a bit more sleek and expensive.
I feel the true advantage the ION has over the D4 is with its screen. The ION has a LED-back-lit LCD screen @ 720 x 1280 resolution vs. the D4′s pentile screen @ 540 x 960. Although I hold nothing against the pentile screen the D4 uses, it is the first strike against the D4; I say this because other screen technologies (including the ION's) seem better equipped reproducing truer colors and image quality then the D4′s screen. While I do feel the screen size is a bit large with the ION, I also feel that the true HD screen gives the ION the upper hand (granting the D4 a loss here).
While it is true that both phones are 4G LTE, it doesn't mean that you will always be connected to the ultra fast network. The D4 is on Verizon's 4G network, and the ION is on AT&T's 4G network. Verizon has been steadily building its 4G network for over a year with new 4G towers being activated monthly. AT&T just lit up its 4G towers back in September, so as of now it only has a few strong holds of high-speed goodness. I have to give the D4 the win here (especially since I have 4G with Verizon here in St.Cloud middle of nowhere, Minnesota).
An 8MP camera is pretty much the standard for high-end phones today. With the release of the ION, the standard has been generously raised to 12MP's (towering over the D4′s 8MP's). While a higher MP count does not guarantee a better picture, it does give us a window into the potential for the camera. Also, I saw some hands on of how quickly ION's camera is, and its fast even when compared to the D4! Until each phone is released with a full hands on, I have to say the 12MP camera of the ION beats the 8MP camera of the D4.
True HD Screen
12 MP camera
Verizon robust 4G LTE network
AT&T's newly hatched 4G LTE network
Pentile qHD Screen
While these two phones are both great, it wasn't hard to pick a winner. Although the D4 is a good phone, it is hard to rank it above any phone being released with a true HD screen. QHD screens are by no means bad, but it is hard to compare the two (especially when the D4 has gone back to using the same screen technology that was in the Bionic, and D3). Ultimately with these phones it comes downs to needs; but, overall I truly think the ION is a better phone. If you want Verizon's robust network and/or a keyboard, you would ultimately be happy with the D4. But phone to phone I give the win to the ION. It is one impressive phone and it would be hard to recommend any phone over it considering its awesome specs.
For a more detailed spec comparison checkout our device comparison software of Droid 4 vs Xperia Ion.