A tale of two Droids: HTC Eris vs. Motorola's Droid

Friday Verizon debuts the HTC Droid Eris and the Motorola Droid. Here is what to know for launch day.

Ever since Verizon Wireless used Motorola's Droid to diss the iPhone, it's been nothing short of Droid hysteria in the tech world, and it's only getting crazier with today's reveal of the HTC Droid Eris. What can I say? We love a good fight. But let's not let flame wars get in the way of solid information, which may prove valuable if you're planning to pick up either the Motorola Droid or the HTC Droid Eris on launch day, Friday. Here's what you need to know:

Look and feel

The Droid has some hard edges -- Computerworld's Matt Hamblen says it's geared towards "guys, especially" -- and weighs 6 ounces, measuring 4.56-by-2.36-by-0.54 inches when closed. The Droid Eris has curved, rubberized backing that gives it an overall rounder feel, measuring 4.45-by-2.19-by-0.51 inches and weighs 4.23 ounces.

Hardware

The Droid gives you the most screen real estate, measuring 3.7 inches compared to the Eris' 3.2 multi-touch screen, plus it has an impressive pixel count of 480 by 854, easily dwarfing the Eris' 320-by-480 resolution display. Both the Droid and the Eris have 5-megapixel cameras with autofocus, but the Droid has LED flash as well. You get a slide-out QWERTY keyboard with the Droid, though our testers had trouble using it.

If you're looking for more nitty-gritty specs, check out the Droid's and Eris' respective pages.

Software

The Droid uses straight-up Android 2.0, which gives you three home screens, a widget for controlling power-hungry features, a notifications bar and universal search. The Eris uses HTC's "Sense" interface, whose frills include widgets for adding all kinds of data to your home pages and interchangeable "scenes" for different uses, such as work and play.

However, while Sense may be more advanced, only the Droid will launch with Android 2.0. The Eris is stuck on Android 1.5 until HTC can fully integrate its Sense interface. That means Web browsing will be a little slower, virtual keyboard typing will be a little tougher, and you'll miss out on other perks such Google Maps Navigation.

Price

The Motorola Droid costs $200 after a $100 mail-in rebate, which sticks you with a pre-paid debit card that you'll have to use like cash. HTC's Android Eris is $100 after a $100 mail-in rebate, though it's not clear if the rebate delivery method is the same.

Of course, there are aspects of both phones that won't become clear by their specs alone. You can check out our Motorola Droid review for now, by why not do a little hands on at Verizon's store tomorrow? After all, once you buy a phone, you're pretty much stuck with it for two years.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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