In this business, we receive so many devices to test (particularly during the holidays), that it's exceptionally challenging to focus on one device in order to provide a more in-depth, "real life" analysis. Bucking the usual trend of reviewing several devices at once, I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks with the DROID in one of my more personal "hands-on" tests. Instead of reviewing it as a casual secondary device, I opted to use it as one of my main devices. When I say "main" devices, I mean that it was carried around with me for a set number of weeks instead of subjected to tests in my office. Since there's a huge push behind the DROID, I wanted to see how it performed under pressure.
In this segment, I'm going to try and focus less on the typical review format (since it's already been done, for one thing), and place my energy into my biased reasons of why I like and dislike the DROID. That being said, you may agree with everything I say, some of it, or none of it. This article is intended to tell you why I would or wouldn't consider the Motorola DROID, not a list of reviewer specifications, general qualities, and performance numbers.
Here are my thoughts regarding the DROID:
- I absolutely love the 3.7-inch LCD display. Absolutely stunning and a true pleasure to use, whether I was checking e-mails or browsing the web. Text looked very crisp, and pictures were stunning.
- I am a fan of the hinge. Having to slide it up manually instead of relying on a spring-loaded lever makes it feel more durable, in my opinion.
- I love Android 2.0. I wish HTC's Sense UI came pre-installed on all Android devices, but I love 2.0's ability to add multiple Gmail accounts to the app. I personally have three that I need checked on a regular basis, and it allows me to include them all. Minus the lack of multitouch support, the DROID's browser is fantastic, and looks great on the 3.7-inch screen.
- I am amazed by the near-perfect integration with Google services. As I've said before, both myself and PhoneDog use Google services for a variety of things (my e-mail address, BBerryDog's text hotline, and more), and the integration is second to none. I'm not a huge fan of the way the Gmail application makes e-mail look (I still have to give BlackBerry points there for simplicity), but it's a minor dislike.
- The keyboard, while not my favorite, became easier to use as time went on. I'm not a fan of how it's off-centered due to the D-pad, or how flat the keys are. But like most things in the wireless world, if you take the time to learn it instead of putting it down out of frustration 15 minutes after picking it up (which, admittedly, I've done before), you might be surprised.
- The DROID's battery life, as you know from my review, is one of the drawbacks of the device. Each day that I used it as a "personal" device, it was dead before the day was over. Yes, less than desirable battery life is to be expected with a smartphone to an extent, but it's one of the tradeoffs of having a beautiful, large display. Road warriors may want to test a friend's before making a purchase (though you have 30 days).
Stay tuned for my next "real life" test - the Nokia N900!