Motorola’s Droid: A Smarter Smartphone?

Released as yet another “iPhone killer,” the Motorola Droid smart phone aims to take over the world of smart phones. What the Droid does well it does exceedingly well, and what it is only marginally good at becomes the major pitfalls.
The Good: Let us start off with the strengths of the Droid phone. The first thing that you will notice when you pick the phone up at your local Verizon store is the phone’s sharp, black and gold style. This pseudo industrial look works for a phone that promises to change the smart phone game. The next thing you will notice is how crisp and beautiful the screen is. With a 267ppi pixel density, this screen simply blows all the competitors out of the water. Combine that with the fantastic letter rendering which makes text messages and even e-books a pleasure to read you have a new industry leader. In addition, the touch screen feels responsive and clean when interfacing with the reworked Android 2.0 operating system.

The Bad: And now come the two major pitfalls of the Droid: the camera and the soft touch buttons. The camera on the phone has a longer start up time than would be found on phones that are a year or two old. The focus system also takes longer than expected and there is a noticeable lag between hitting the shutter button and actually taking the picture. All these would be less of an issue if the Droid took fantastic pictures but sadly they are run of the mill at best. Soft buttons in general have issue, and the Droid is no different. Not only are none of these soft touch buttons devoted to hanging up a phone call or unlocking the phone, but also they (like all soft touch buttons) lack feedback. Wanted to use four dedicated buttons on the face of the phone they should have been physical buttons that had definition.

The Ugly: Once you move on from the love affair with the screen you can start to find the parts of the phone that are less than stellar. The first issue that is readily noticeable with the Droid phone is the slide-out keyboard. Because the Droid phone is so skinny, the keys are necessarily flat and undefined. This lead to never being able to use it as intuitively as I would have liked, I found myself always having to recheck what key my finger was on. In addition, the multimedia functions on the Droid feel clunky compared to those on the closest competitor: the iPhone. It is just not as simple to access or transfer music and videos.

In short, the Motorola Droid is a solid new competitor in the smart phone market. Is it the long prophesied iPhone killer? Only time will tell, but a cursory guess would say ‘no.’ Will it help Verizon at least compete with AT T; in the smart phone market? Absolutely. This is a solid phone with solid features and reliable software.

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