Review: Motorola Droid Delivers on Android Promise

The Motorola Droid arrives on Verizon Wireless as the smartphone most capable of being a true challenger to the Apple iPhone. Boasting version 2.0 of the Google-backed, open source mobile operating system Android, it's the first smartphone to offer Google's free, turn-by-turn GPS app -- marking the maturity of the new OS. But does it live up to the hype? Find out in our comprehensive review.

We have to commend VzWireless: its "iDon't DROID does" ad campaign sparked plenty of buzz about the Motorola DROID—arguably the first business-targeted Android phone. Over 250,000 DROIDs were sold in just the first week; total sales are expected to top one million by year-end.

But does the Motorola DROID from VzWireless really DO more than the iPhone or other Android phones? During our two-week test drive, we found that the DROID delivered what was promised—but still fell disappointingly short of perfection.

The first thing you notice about the DROID is its large, sharp 3.7-inch (480 x 854 pixel) light-sensitive WGVA display. Housed in a nearly-borderless 2.4" x 4.6" x 0.5" black frame, the DROID's frontal view handily bests any other Android phone on the market and rivals that of the iPhone. The only thing missing from this handsome display: pinch-to-zoom.

If you've entered much text on the iPhone or other Androids, you've probably longed for a physical keyboard. Here, the DROID hoped to slay its competition with a slide-out QWERTY. Alas, we found this keyboard to be more of a detriment than an asset. It doubles the DROID's thickness, increases its total weight to six ounces, and creates a multi-edged device that snags too easily and feels clunky in your pocket.

We might not mind if typing were indeed easier. But between keys that cannot be discerned by touch and the borderless display, typing (or dialing) in dim light or with one hand is tough. After a brief honeymoon, we rarely used this QWERTY. Instead, we actually preferred the DROID's virtual keyboard, aided by its large display, haptic feedback, and multi-word suggestions.

Under its hood, the DROID has more to brag about. Its fast ARM Cortex A8 550 MHz CPU, 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM, 16 GB (max 32) microSD card, accelerometer, GPS, EV-DO Rev A, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and 802.11b/g radios all meet or beat the competition. The DROID's 5MP camera sports a 4x zoom, geotagging, image stabilization, and 720x480 video capture at 24 fps.

TAGS:

Google, Android, wireless, Droid, review

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