Motorola Devour First Hands-On Impressions

Published: February 23, 2010

Megan Fox had it during the Super Bowl, and now we've got the Motorola Devour, too. I met with Moto and Verizon PR Monday in San Francisco and walked away with the latest MotoBlur device in his hands. Like an Aluminum Sidekick that runs Android, Devour is all about Social Networks and messaging with, oh yeah, a full-on smartphone lurking under the skin. It hits Best Buy Mobile February 25 and Verizon retail in mid-March.

A few first impressions after 24 hours of Devour. And please, lend me some credit for avoiding terrible puns on the word "devour." I'll need that credit when you get to the end of this post and watch the ridiculous video I made with the phone. In the bathtub. Pretending I know Ms. Fox. Man, I hope my parents aren't watching this. So embarrassing! (Nah ... Actually it's fun)

- Devour is big. It's really a big device. Big and angular and also big.

- Performance has been good so far. Granted, I've only gotten around to very limited testing of the device. But everything's been snappy.

- The keyboard is pretty decent. I much prefer it to Droid's QWERTY board because the keys are: 1) NOT flush mounted, and 2) Separated from one another. I do wish Moto had ditched the dedicated numerical keys row in favor of dedicated punctuation mark keys, however.

- I still get confused as to when I'm triggering "Happenings" or "Social Status" from Motoblur, as opposed to just checking my Twitter app. 

- Devour looks and feels really nice. The aluminum construction is solid, the slider is a million times more satisfying to open and close than Droid's slider, and the rubber edges of the phone are easy to grip. Also, the brushed silver finish looks cool like Tron.

- Somehow, the phone doesn't feel quite as heavy as it actually is. Devour's heavy, don't get me wrong. It tips the scales at 180 grams. But when I picked it up for the first time I thought, "Oh, it's lighter than I thought it'd be. Well, no .. Yeah, it is. It's big and bulky and heavy, but somehow not as heavy as I feared."

- By way of comparison, that's almost 50% more than Verizon's Droid Eris - a thin, touchscreen only Android device - which weighs 126 g. 

- The phone's battery slot and microUSB and microSD slots are all concealed behind the same rubber panel. It's a very laptop-style concept and I really like it. Unibody construction will be the in thing in 2010.

- Motorola built Devour with a touchscreen and an optical D-Pad. The touchscreen is great. No multitouch/pinch-and-zoom support, but otherwise very responsive and easy on the eyes. The D-Pad is a little bit of an odd duck - mainly it seems that the Blur UI was in no way meant to be navigated via optical pad. So I've had better D-Pad results in apps like Browser and Mail than within Blur.

- Motoblur is Motoblur is Motoblur ... Devour ships with the latest version, but it's the same as what you can get by updating another Motoblur device to the latest install.

- Devour ships with Android 1.6.  Boo. But you can install Google Maps with Navigation Beta for free, and that prompts a free install of voice recognition software ... which all adds up to the same voice activated turn-by-turn GPS nav system that Android 2.x devices get. Yay!

More with Devour in the coming days. The phone hits Best Buy Mobile as an exclusive starting Feb 25th for $99 after rebate with a two-year contract. Rumor is BBYM will also be cutting the prices of the Moto Droid and HTC Droid Eris at the same time. If Droid and Devour wind up both priced at $99 - which is what I'm hearing - that'd make for a tough call. Droid is clearly the better-spec'd device, but Devour has better bulid quality and a better QWERTY board. But Droid's display is so much larger and higher-res, it'd be tough to actually choose Devour instead at the same price.

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