Monday, November 02, 2009

Motorola Droid

Wired reports: [edited]

The Droid is Motorola's second attempt at an Android phone but the first one they've actually gotten right. More importantly, it's one of the first phones that can legitimately stand head-to-head with the iPhone - and come out ahead in some significant respects.

Physically the Droid is not much to look at because of its boxy, angular frame. Its hefty 170g weight doesn't make it especially pocket-friendly either. The touchscreen display is a shade bigger than the iPhone 3GS, but it has much higher resolution, with 854 x 440 pixels compared to the iPhone's 480 x 320. The virtual keyboard is fantastically responsive with very little input error.

The slide-out physical keyboard is one of the few disappointments of the Droid. The small, flat buttons make it difficult to crank out text.

The Droid runs Android 2.0 as its OS. It feels more refined than the first version of Android on T-Mobile's G1 and it's certainly better than the muddled interface on Motorola's Cliq.

The Droid's 5-megapixel camera produces photos that aren't too noisy and it does well even in low light, thanks to the built-in LED flash.

The most exciting feature of the phone, though, is the Google maps app - with built-in turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation. With text-to-speech features, the maps are layered with traffic data and a satellite view. But here's the best part. It's free! You don't have to pay a $10 per month subscription or purchase a TomTom app

The browser is excellent and displays web pages quickly (though Flash websites are still out of bounds). You can toggle through multiple windows and scan them in an easy list view. You double-tap the screen to zoom in and out - which works, but we miss the 'pinch to zoom' gesture found on the Palm Pre and iPhone. There's no native multi-touch support in the Droid.

If it were 2 ounces lighter and had a better keyboard (or no keyboard at all), it would be hands-down the best smartphone on the market today. As it is, it's a solid contender in a market that has too long been dominated by just one top-quality handset.

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For a more extensive review, and lots of images, visit Engadget


ConradGempf said...

Have you used one, Brett? Do you agree with this assessment, especially of the screen and browser?

brett jordan said...

no, not used one conrad... will certainly be trying one out if i get the opportunity...