Droid vs. iPhone vs. Pre: Total Cost Of Ownership


It’s easy to get caught up in the price of a phone NOW with contract this, rebate that, service plan there… but what many of you would probably REALLY like to know is how much the device will cost you over the entire life of ownership. In the long run, after all is said and done, how much will you have paid for your Motorola Droid?

The folks at BillShrink.com answered this question while comparing the figures to two other popular smartphones – the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre:


It looks like the Droid and the iPhone 3GS will cost the exact same price over the long haul while the Palm Pre is significantly ($480) cheaper. If you purchase the Motorola Droid and select the unlimited plan option you’ll be paying $3,799 over a 2-year period. I guess you get what you pay for!

The Motorola Droid definitely SEEMS to outperform its rivals:

  • Tied for tops in storage
  • WINS in talk time
  • WINS in camera
  • WINS in multi-tasking
  • Actually…

Do we really need to go down the list? You saw the iDon’t campaign I’m pretty sure.

[Via BillShrink, Thanks JasonTG!]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Don’t you have to pay additional for GPS Turn-by-Turn on the iPhone 3GS?

  2. Does it really WIN in multitasking or just tie with the pre? Doesn’t the pre also have a faster processor?

  3. wait a second ! iphone doesn’t have turn-by-turn directions

  4. Usage plans are quite expensive in US! In Slovenia we have to pay 15 € (around 20$)for 1000 mins voice, 1000 SMS and MMS and 1GB data. The devices are more expensive though.

  5. @SK – That’s what I understand. You need to buy an app (like Garmin) and that can be like $99 I think. The Google Navigation could really be a killer app for Android 2.0 devices. It’s free and better than anything you can even buy. What else do you want?

  6. Pre have the same proccessor as Droid. Moto is underclocked to 550 Mhz while Pre is to 500 Mhz

  7. What other plan options are there? I want 5 GB data with 300 minutes voice. Of course, when I get a bluetooth headset, I may be on the phone a lot more than I am now. ;)

  8. throw the hero on there and kill them all. better yet, do an over all cost of taking the droid to sprint, cut that moronic Verizon bill in half

  9. You can get the 39.99 plan with 450 mins, the 900 mins one costs 59.99

  10. Also…the Droid doesn’t really tie the iPhone for storage. They SHIP with equivalent storage, but since the Droid can be upgraded and the iPhone cannot, I would say the Droid gets the win here.
    Actually, as I write this, it occurs to me, that the iPhone can use ALL of its storage for either storage OR apps. If Droid (and Android 2.0) cannot run apps from the SD Card, then I would have to (sadly) give the win to the iPhone, or to neither since it’s kind of comparing apples and oranges…since essentially they’re different types of capacity.

  11. What about all the extra money you have to spend at a pay phone because AT&T keeps dropping?

  12. The Pre is only $149, not $199.

  13. They really should add the costs of the turn by turn app for the iPhone (and Pre if there is a monthly fee for sprint nav. Not sure if there is). Also the storage on the Droid is expandable, which they do not mention. Side note: We really need a high end Android device with a large screen on T-mobile, whose plan pricing would completely destroy all three of these devices…

  14. iPhone does have turn-by-turn. It’s not a voice navigator, like most GPSs, and it doesn’t go to the next instructions when you’ve passed a turn. But the iPhone maps app does tell you where to turn and how far to go.

  15. @Stab man… no the Pre does not have a faster processor.

  16. I think this just re-enforces why I am with Sprint. Now waiting for HTC, Samsung or Motorola to come out with a Droid competitor(sorry, Hero and Moment are not quite complete like other phones here).

  17. I thought that T-mobile was getting the Sony Ericsson phone that is coming out on the 3rd with Dragon?

  18. 450 is the lowest minutes verizon does. I need 450 minutres, unlimited data and unlimited texting. With a discount because of where I work, I will pay like $1.50 more than I currently pay for my G1.. and ill have good service! Woo hoo!

  19. The Iphone 3gs has nav. via a $99 tom tom app.

  20. I think google maps turn-by-turn is going to be available for iphone too

    But jesus snot christ, $4000 for such a tiny thing. I think I’m just going to get an android tablet.

    I’m around a wireless connection most of the time, and I can figure out directions from a plain old paper map just fine. I have a pay as you go cheap cell phone for voice calls when I’m travelling. I can probably live without twitter updates while I’m on the road, too.

  21. @Barbara… That would be excellent, though SE devices are prohibitively expensive. I’m waiting for a full review of the Rachael UI and official confirmation of Eclair before I pass judgment on the X3. Thanks for pointing that out though I forgot about that phone.

    I really want the Acer A1, but all signs point to AT&T for that one :(

  22. Someone correct me if I’m not looking at this right…
    The plan that is mentioned here on VZW (the 900 minute one) says it costs $109.99. It looks like it’s actually only $89.99 according to the Verizon site: http://tinyurl.com/ofbqvj
    (And, the plan in that link has unlimited web…not just 5GB)

  23. Aaaand don’t forget, those of us lucky enough to have a Google Voice account actually have unlimited minutes as long as we choose any plan with the 5 family and friends (just add your Google Voice number as one of your “friends” :))

  24. The good news is that the Rachael (Xperia 10, whatever) is supposed to be announced on the 3rd which is before Verizon is releasing the Droid. I really hate these games. You know that Verizon could release the phone today since so many are getting it in order to review it, so the rest of us could have it too. I might just hold out for the Sony if their news on the 3rd is good.

  25. I agree, the iphone does NOT have turn by turn directions. If you are counting Google Maps, that doesn’t cut it. If you are talking about the apps, then that should be added in the price of the device.

    It’s a great list and dispells myths of one phone costing a lot more than another, but you also have to look at network. AT&T is improving, but their coverage is pretty bad compared to Verizon or Sprint. That is, if Verizon’s network doesn’t crumble the weekend of November 6th. :) I know I’ll have my new phone and using it fully.

  26. @Barbara, I’m actually glad Verizon’s making us wait a week. That way it gets reviewed and we find out if the phone is the real deal or not (not that I’m doubting, but hype is one thing, reviews are another).

  27. @Josh – Verizon’s unlimited data is 5GB. They all are really, it’s just the way it is but at least 5GB on a phone is difficult to hit.

  28. isn’t it also worth noting that the iphone doesn’t have an LED flash and the droid does?

  29. @Rob
    I can’t agree. BoyGenius had the phone for review days ago. The other sites could have had it as well. They are now getting the roll out version which could be in stores. I don’t understand the necessity of this extra week. If it is the real deal, now is a good time to release it. If they wait too long, some other newer and hotter phone will hit the news and they might lose a few hundred, thousand takers.

  30. Palm Pre has freakin flash, as if that’s not worth mentioning? wtf, talk about biast lol.

    I got to say the only thing the Droid has going for it is the ARM Cortex processor, if not for that the Hero desotroys it, in RAM aswell =P

    I was really excited when i sore the concept art for the droid but have been dissapointed by production models, they look ummm.. the aposite of the pre and iphone (sylish) =P

  31. I have costed out a plan for my wife and I with Sprint vs Verizon and for a Hero and a Pre (which is too much phone for her), we will pay 129.99. On Verizon, it is 139.99 for a Droid and a Samsung Rogue. So for $10 a month, I will take Verizon’s network and 3g coverage and the phone I want.

  32. I’m confused–how is the Pre $89.99/month for 900 mins? I pay $69.99/month for unlimited mobile-to-mobile (who’s really calling landlines anymore?), data and messaging. I’m a Hero owner, but that is what makes the Droid a non-starter for me. I used to be with Verizon and yes their coverage is excellent, but on their website it looks like I’d need to pay $99.99/month for 450 minutes, data and messaging. “The Network” is not worth an additional $30/month in my book. Even if the Hero is a bit laggy…

  33. The Pre is $150 at the Sprint Website. so knock off $50

  34. By far Sprint has the best value for the money. I have a Hero and my wife has a BB Curve. We pay 110.00 a month everything included. Sprint’s 3g is as good as Verizon’s 3g. Its a matter of choice.

  35. Drew – any time you call a business (800 number, local pizza place, etc), you are calling a land line. I spend many hours on calls to my companies bridge, and being able to set that number as one of my “friends” is better than unlimited mobile to mobile. So, a lot depends on your usage.

  36. Something to note: It lists 5 GB of Data, when actually that’s if you get Tethering. The DROID will run on the Smartphone Data plan, which is actually Unlimited Data, as long as you use it on the device.

  37. Eh. Forgot the last comment. Others already answered the question, and better… :P

  38. I really wish data plan prices were cheaper. That’s the only thing keeping a poor college student away :\. It’s not as horrible as it used to be, but would like to see it cheaper still. Does the Wi-Fi data count towards your plan?

  39. good idea for an article. this is probably why i will stay with my sprint hero. though the droid is pretty awesome and i’m still a little on the fence.

  40. i would think the avg plan on sprint is the $69 unlimited data and mobile-to-mobile.

  41. Droid does it all

  42. @a – I agree, now that it includes unlimited mobile to mobile, Sprint’s $69 Everything Data with 450 minutes is an extremely viable option for the average non business user, bring the total cost of usage over a year for a Pre (or Hero, or Moment, etc) to nearly a thousand dollars less over two years. And doesn’t the iPhone require a $10/month iTunes account on top of everything else?

  43. Also the “16gb of storage” with the Droid is pretty misleading, since it only has ~256mb of space for app storage.

  44. They also don’t compare the fact that you can take the battery out of the droid. For the iPhone you have to send it in to get a battery replacement.

  45. what I can’t figure out is, what is the diff betw/ Verizon SELECT plan and CONNECT plan — I think in either case you have to add $29/mo “data” plan for the Droid (that’s what a Verizon sales rep told me today), but the confusion I have is with the various categories for regular minutes/family&friends/messaging and all that.

  46. – Open development -> I can make my own software, without having to own a mac or jailbreak my phone.
    – Not limited in 40 ways by Apple
    – Better screen resolution (right?)
    – Hardware keyboard (but some people think that’s a minus)
    – Expandable memory, you’re not stuck with 16Gb

    The iPhone really is awesome, but for me the choice is obvious.

  47. One of the smallest things on the list (Audible) is actually one of the most important, hope Android gets that soon, but without it I’ll just be carrying around my Sansa Clip too

  48. Everyone seems to miss off OGG as a supported audio format on Android devices.

  49. I am already paying $123/month for my wife and I to have a phone with nothing but text/mms… that’s $2982 over 2 years for our horrible little LG chocolates that don’t even work correctly (paid $15 apiece)… what’s an extra $1840 over two years to be able to have a good phone that actually has data and functionality? Glad our two years just ended, now we can get one of these (after everyone else has tested it in the real world for a month or two)

  50. The android is a google phone for those of you who didnt know.

  51. It seems to me that non-iphone users will never get why iphone users are so loyal to their gear. Plain and simply truth is the OS. It doesn’t matter what better features the other phones have over the iphone be it camera pix, memory, radio better screen or faster technology. The OS on iphone is totally wicked. When people compare the iphone to other phone and cite features like a physical qwerty keyboard its totally nonsensical cos it defeats the whole premise of the iphone: to have less moving parts as possible and its just tacky.I can guarantee that you will never a physical keyboard on an iphone. Why do you think that of all the features the iphone lacks its the best selling phone out there period. Any iphone user would even prefer the iphone 2G over any new phone to be released next year. Sure every phone has its cons also but trust me the pros outweigh any phone out there.



  53. when will it be available in germany/UK ???

  54. @Matthew Forrester
    I contacted Audible about making their books available for Android and they replied to me saying they plan to have support for it in the middle of 2010.
    My email to Audible:
    It would be great to hear that Audible is working on an Android application to access audio books from Android based phones. I currently have a Sprint HTC Hero and if anything it would be nice to know that I can use your software to sync books to it. It doesn’t appear that this phone is currently listed and I wasn’t sure if it would work anyway.
    Audible’s reply:
    Brian – its on our plan for mid 2010

  55. While the Droid looks like a great phone I’ve pretty much settled in on the Eris. For my needs, I believe it’ll fit in just fine.
    I like what I see with the Sense UI plus I’ve read snippets regarding the passing over of 1.6 right to 2.0 for the Hero … which I would assume that the Eris would follow.

    Of course, final official specs and reviews may change my plans.

  56. Worst comparison ever by someone who is just not that informed!!!

    Wonder why they didn’t list how Google screwed us developers and consumers alike in the butt by limiting app storage to a measly 256mb of onboard storage. Android – “idont do more than 256mb of app storage” Rediculous Fail!!!

    Read the article and discuss at http://androidandme.com/2009/10/news/google-fails-to-address-app-storage-issue-with-droid-and-android-2-0/

    Google has already stated Maps Navigation is coming in the next software update to Windows Mobile, iPhone and Palm Pre. Google would be crazy to ignore all those other larger segments. Google is about 1 thing – getting there products in as many hands as possible so they can offer advertising. You will see ads on Google Maps Navigation for sure in the future!

  57. Guys buy Droid at the Best Buy for instant apply of
    $100 rebate. So no hassle of mail-rebate. Enjoy

  58. Well stated @bray424. As a developer I’m extremely concerned that Small ROM space/requirement has handcuffed developers so they will not be able to compete with iPhone developers and it will ultimately restrict mass market adoption as people will max out that storage limit rather quickly AND they may be returning Android devices in droves when they sidle up to their iFriend and see all the great apps (aka 3D games) that aren’t available on Android. Why the heck did Motorola put a great processor in the droid only to be limited by Google’s storage fail?? I shake my head in amazement that 3 multimillion dollar companies – Verizon, Motorola, & Google – let this happen.

  59. @JAG “Droid does it all”…NOT. Restricted space on apps storage is a huge drawback since it will restrict developers from competing with iPhone platform. Google should have fixed this in Android 2.0. I understand wanting to protect from piracy but not at the expense of possible mass market adoption for Android. Get it fixed Google…like right now or Verizon is going to be swamped with returns of this thing and Motorola is going down the tubes without a hit on their hands.

  60. this shows that the htc snapdragon phone maybe is or maybe the htc hd2 and not an android phone


  61. I think Rob is now at home… crouched over his Droid… rubbing it affectionately saying “my preccccciousssss… my precioussssssssss….” Probably not be seen or heard from again for at least a year.

  62. More likely he is sleeping. I got the impression he was up all night last night gathering in the news.

  63. Works in Spain the Droid ?

  64. @Eric, I think you’re right, no updates from Rob after he got his Droid…

  65. I pay $75 a month for unlimited everything via T-Mobile on my Android phone (MyTouch).

    Take that Verizon and AT&T! Love the phone. I would like to see a Cliq comparison as well on the list from T-Mo.

  66. In fairness to Google, unless there is some sort of limitation in Android I’m unaware of, the phone manufacturers could easily add multiple gigabytes of internal storage to their phones, but simply chose not to in order to keep costs down.

  67. The Droid has 256 MB for apps? What is the rest of the memory for?

    Anyway, one important factor is missing in this list: speed. The iPhone 3GS is pretty fast. Much faster than the old iPhone, while many other smartphones are really slow. So how does the Droid compare in speed? In everything else, it looks pretty attractive.

  68. @ Yondaime. The reason why the iphone is the best selling phone out there is for one simple reason. Marketing. Apple has it hands down. They didn’t invent the MP3 player, but if you ask for the name of an Mp3 player before the iPod not many people will be able to tell it to you.

  69. @mcv – the rest of the space is for music and videos, since apparently its more important to market the Android as a portable media player rather than a portable computer.

    @jack – you’re completely right. I bet if you took a survey of iphone owners and asked why they bought an iphone, the most frequent responses would be “because its an apple!” or “because they are popular”, with “i did the research and found that this phone best suits my needs” being dead last.

  70. @tsellers. the acer phones, unfortunately, got bad reviews, especially their high-end model

  71. another joke 256MB! People don’t give two hoots about the ability to root either. I don’t (no pun intended) see anyone flocking to linux based OSes, even though they are perhaps more “powerful”. So much for “open source”. Maybe hundreds of basement nerds will line up excited to call themselves “black hat”. What are crap marketing call.

    Also, why does anyone give a hoot about extra megapixels on the camera – are you framing the picture on a wall? why do you need 8278×10000 resolution anyway? please. I NEVER use the camera…it’s a non-factor. As long as the pictures are viewable, who cares. What are you, a pixel addict? It’s like someone trying to buy a new car and race your old car. WHO CARES, NON FACTOR. 3 MP, 40 MP, its stupid.

    How about usability? Every video I have seen so far shows the same issue as the Storm had, you cant go from potrait to landscape without a 30 sec delay. LOL. Or how about the hundreds of different interfaces on one screen. Pick one layout already. You don’t need 399 menus. It took the Google Nav app 20 sec to load satellites. YIKES! You sure the GPS isn’t crippled like in every other Verizon device? How did VZNavigator not end up being the choice? Wow, Verizon is going to take a hit on that 9.99 a month junkz.

    Why do I need to multitask 93 items at once on 256 MB of internal ROM? I could care less about multitasking 2 items on my phone now. And again, who is Verizon targeting? Normal phone users dont even know how to dial, let alone run two “apps”. MAJOR EPIC FAIL dummies. Who markets this without asking real users their opinions?

    They should have waited a little longer. Google needed to work some kinks out, and tinker with design. The thing looks like a VCR tape. Come on. Round edges idiots. People dont want sharp jabby items in their pocket.

    And so what you’ll have flash. Do you honestly think Apple isn’t working on getting Safari to support it? Please, its coming, as well as Google Nav on the iPhone.

    You might as well call the phone VOID…

    The iPhone is faster, lighter, more useable,

    AND is more fun. PERIOD. Out of the box fun. The phone sucks for call, but who wants to talk to anyone anyway. Most people are boring.

    And futher if you jailbreak it, the iPhone is unbeatable. sn0w. if you want “open” source, its right there to be found…

    last time I checked, droids are all alike. Looks like this one is the same as every other VERIZON marketing strategy – 200% lies, 500% hype, and hidden contract charges by customer service reps who can’t tie their shoes. I went to the Verizon store today to ask about this “KILLER”, and they told me that the “Storm 2” is coming in a few days,


  72. @bray424 and jack – You really believe its all about marketing thats why the iphone is selling. Its like saying if a bad movie gets promoted intuitively well it will generate a lot of revenue at the box office. Don’t you think that at some point the news would get out that its a crappy phone. How many iphone users have converted to other phones? Once you go iphone you can’t go back. lets face it how many iphone killers are out there really: from nokia N97, XPERIA, ALL BLACKBERRIES, all SAMSUNG HD’s AND now a MOTOROLA DROID.

  73. It’s 75% marketing and Apple’s history.

    Hello, Transformers movies, new Star Wars movies? They sucked, but were marketed well and had a history.

    Remember too android phones are only just now starting to take off. The Droid is the first one that competes spec-wise with the iphone.

    Why would anyone now want to buy a phone that can only run 1 app at a time?

  74. @joke phone You are a joke

  75. Interesting that they completely omitted any of the T-Mobile devices (esp. the T-Mobile android devices) from the list.

    Why not throw in the MyTouch 3G or Motorola Cliq?

  76. @Yondaime
    There have been some seriously bad movies that have made huge box office success because of good marketing. Anyone who remembers when the Blair Witch Project came out can confirm this. Not to mention the recent string of terrible parody movies. I’m not saying the iPhone is bad, just that your analogy is poor.

  77. @Joke Phone
    It’s funny that you need to come on to an Android fan site to try and justify your iPhone. Obviously you’re dissatisfied with it, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

  78. I’d love to see a baseline minute comparison included on this chart. Talking on the phone is so 2006.

  79. I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but, verizon is charging $30 more per month than sprint is, and that is not even including the suposed $15/line for exchange support, let’s say 2 PDA’s being used VZ has 1400 min unl sms unl data incl vz navi and all the good stuff, $159.99 for 2 lines, Sprint has 1500 min, anymobile anytime, unl sms unl data, sprint navi, sprint tv prem, at $129.99, That’s $720 difference over 2 yrs and $1440 if we’re talking about Exchange on verizon, On top of that, anybody check the coverage maps between VZW and SPrint, when you compare side/side, with the sprint map identical to verizon when you include all of roaming, Verizon is larger, true but who’s sprint roaming off of?…..I don’t know it’s up to you guys, just facts,

  80. I was getting a droid until I found out about having to pay $15 extra per month to access my work email via the MS exchange server. Boooo. Work email is the number one reason I wanted a data plan – but now I think I will have to get an iPhone, even though AT&T coverage is horrible where I live.

  81. So its judgment day today for Droid, was it? According to Cnet it was a little bit slow nonetheless a good start of droid, other “critiques” says otherwise. But I say, “Hell yeah! droid conquered US for a couple of hours today”. We just hope that their ROI is profitable compare to the hunderds of thousand worth of ads they spend during the promotion period and err.. did I say, their impending “lawsuit” with AT&T too?

    Collation of info about droid release today: http://bit.ly/did-droid-conquered-USA-today

    Hope Droid will serve as a hand of midas to Verizon Corp. Soweet

  82. iPhone 4Ever!!!!!!Android and Palm Pre are a shit!

  83. @ Joke Phone
    That was the worst bias comparison I’ve ever seen. You actually pointed out the iPhones weaknesses and made fun of the Droid for being better?? U are obviously an iFreak.

    So, on that note.. The 256MB of ROM space that ships with the Droid is a non issue. Other current android based phones have even smaller ROM space (G1) and what happened?? Apps2SD was developed. Yes you can run your apps right from your sdhc card. Upgradable Memory anyone?? Its all about open source!
    Droid – 1
    iPhone – 0
    The extra megapixels that noone “gives a hoot” about… Photos = Physical Representation of Memories. Umm… priceless?? Maybe you don’t use your camera because.. IT SUCKS!
    Droid – 2
    iPhone – 0
    MULTI-TASKING is HUGE!! I have a G1 on Tmobile right now, which is a slower android based phone mind you. I can play music and games and in the background, wirelessly connect my laptop to the internet! Plus more… why shouldn’t i be able to??
    Droid – 3
    iPhone – 0
    Droid – Physical Keyboard – +1
    Droid – Screen Size/Resolution (Droid 854×480; iPhone 640×480) – +1
    Droid – Better Battery Life – +1
    Droid – Verizon’s 3G Network – +1
    Droid – Directional Pad (this is gonna be great for games!) – +1
    iPhone – More apps (that you can only run 1 at a time) +0.5
    iPhone – Onboard video editing (Droid will have an app for this soon, i would bet money on that) – +1

    Soooo, how do we stack up?
    Droid = 8
    iPhone = 1.5

    I’m getting one as soon as my tmobile contract is up next month… no doubt about it. Go DROID!!

  84. For those of you that claim the iphone only sells because “it’s popular” and “it’s apple” and “marketing”……seriously people? Come now driod fans, let’s keep things intelligent here. The iPhone is a great product, get over it.

  85. one thing that is disappointing about the droid is that it doesn’t have the virtual voicemail that i like from the iPhone

  86. When did a phone become a car payment?

  87. If the droid was such awesome phone it would be outselling apple.

  88. Finally Audible release public beta of audible app, several of you here want this so I have provided details at http://wp.me/pCOs1-aw

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