loading... Loading...
rss

Phones.com » Cell Phones » Review of the Motorola DROID

Motorola was once known for creating stylish phones, coveted for their sharp performance and inimitable panache. However that trailblazing glory had disappointingly tapered off to almost nothing, so when the DROID emerged, the excitement was palpable. It is also the first phone to be powered by Android 2.0, the first release that supports multitouch. 

The device certainly lives up to the expectations it has created, although there are a few strange quirks where there shouldn't be any.

Look, Design, Feel (/10)

The DROID is an unusual phone, with a diametric departure from the smooth edges and beveled corners that are the current trend in phone design. It is heavy, but feels nicely solid to the touch as opposed to merely bulky and cumbersome. The finishes are metal, with a definite glassy feel. 

The colour scheme is again unusual, as the standard glossy black has been given golden highlights in places. The overall look that has been achieved is one of a luxe phone, inspired by vintage designs. 

The front of the phone has the 3.7 inch touchscreen and four capacitive buttons on the bottom. There is a bit of the keyboard layer that juts out from under the screen. This odd design feature contains the microphone, but comes off looking like the top portion has shrunk. 

The left side has the microUSB port, while the right has a gold camera button and the volume rocker switch. The top has the headphone jack and the power button. The keyboard level of the phone has the keys aligned to the left, while there is a 5-way directional pad on the right. The keys are flattish, instead of domed, with a little texture to make them distinguishable. 

The design is pretty good overall, and the phone definitely feels very nice.

Features (/10)

The Droid definitely has many more features than its predecessors, although these may not be immediately evident. Android 2.0 has tweaked the operating system in the area that is really the most important - the foundation. Everything works smoother and with significantly less problems. 

The touchscreen is large at 3.7 inches, and although it does have multitouch functionality, the implementation isn't incorporated throughout the phone. However it is extremely responsive with no perceptible lag when responding to commands. 

 

The keyboard takes a little getting used to, with the rocker pad causing a few adjustment difficulties, however the only perceivable issues seem to be with the lighting; which doesn't always work optimally. The auto-dimmers work also on logic best known only to the designers. 

The camera is moderately good with 5 megapixels. There is a built-in flash, and the application has autofocus and some control over the picture properties. The application is rather slow and the focus doesn't always function as required. Surprisingly though, video recording is excellent and the phone can be an adequate substitute in a crunch.

Audio is where the device really shines through, with crystal clarity and music that is as clear as a bell. Perhaps the unencumbered microphone has something to do with it. The improved Android certainly plays a role, although the Motorola hardware is far from shabby.

In the applications department, there a number of features well worth mentioning. There is a new implementation of multiple inboxes and accounts. While the feature seems ordinary for business phone users, it is quite a big deal on other phones. The inboxes are not in a single stream but viewable in one place, which is still an achievement. 

Social networking integration has been added, with easy Facebook access and contact syncing as an option. In a similar vein, there is the new feature of Quick Contact, where tapping on a contact's name brings up all the ways to interact with that person - including tweeting and Facebook messages.

 

Web browsing works well on the phone with the large screen. Web pages are displayed completely as an overview, before the zoom function is used. There is no multitouch for things like pinch-zooming, but double taps get the job done just as well. 

There is also turn-by-turn navigation with full integration with Google Maps. Rich contextual interface with information about ATMs, restaurants, etc. is available too. Additionally there is a car mount to use the device as a proper GPS unit in a vehicle.

 

Connectivity (/10)

Connectivity is standard on the device with CDMA 1X 800/1900, EVDO rev. There is the usual WiFi capabilities and Bluetooth as well. 

Performance (/10)

Overall the phone's performance is super-smooth and very fast. However, the phone fails to maintain that smoothness in bizarre and rather unexpected places. For example, bringing down a menu is not seamless and has a bit of a lag. The lags are in relatively insignificant areas, which is made all the more strange by the apparent ease with which the phone handles heavier applications. While this is not a big deal at all, it does detract from the overall aura of superspeed.

The battery has an average life span, lasting for about one and half days on standby. Talktime battery life is of course considerably shorter. Heavy application use will not bode well for the battery, and the user will probably require a backup battery.

Value for Money (/10)

The phone is definitely value for money as it brings a newer Android to the table and fresher tweaks under the hood. While some of the features are disappointing, there are those that are unique as well.

Pros

+ Large WVGA capacitive touchscreen

+ Improved performance with Android

+ Integration with Google Maps is excellent, making the device a viable alternative to dedicated GPS devices

+ Audio quality is excellent

+ Video recording is very good for a phone

Cons

- Multitouch is supported by the operating system but not implemented optimally in the device

- Still photos are difficult to set up properly

- Keyboard lighting is dysfunctional and erratic

Price

United States Prices United Kingdom Prices Canada Prices France Prices India Prices

New and unlocked items only

Opinions

Motorola DROID: what an awesome phone!!!
2/12/2010 @ 6:13 PM
by teja

Compare Size

Phone Size Comparison Click to compare the size of the phone with a credit card

Rating

Style: 8.6
171
Technology: 8.8
175
Efficiency: 8.6
172

Total votes: 344 | Hits: 13343

Bookmark and Share