First Impressions Of The Motorola Droid - InformationWeek
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10/28/2009
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Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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First Impressions Of The Motorola Droid

I was able to spend some serious time with the Motorola Droid today. The hardware has a few quirks, but it is solidly engineered and built. The materials exude quality, and it feels great to hold in your hand. Oh yeah, and Android on it is pretty cool, too. Its real killer feature is its lead on every other Android handset with the 2.0 -- a.k.a. Eclair -- system software.

I was able to spend some serious time with the Motorola Droid today. The hardware has a few quirks, but it is solidly engineered and built. The materials exude quality, and it feels great to hold in your hand. Oh yeah, and Android on it is pretty cool, too. Its real killer feature is its lead on every other Android handset with the 2.0 -- a.k.a. Eclair -- system software.The Droid should have been the first Android handset announced by Motorola. It's a vastly superior phone when compared to Motorola's first attempt at an Android device with the CLIQ. It borrows a lot of the basics from the CLIQ, but gets them all right.

The phone simply feels great to hold. It's tight, solid, and everything fits together well. It is a little on the heavy side, and that 3.7-inch screen means its got a large footprint. Motorola claims it is the thinnest QWERTY keyboard-enabled phone. Without breaking out the calipers, I'll believe it until proven otherwise. It's definitely thinner than the CLIQ and Samsung Moment, two other Android devices recently announced.

The screen is flat-out luscious. The 400,000 pixels that Motorola packed on there make everything about the on-screen experience pop. Web sites look phenomenal -- especially those that are laden with pictures such as ESPN.com. Video that was pre-loaded on the device was also great. Remember, this thing beats DVD quality on the screen, which measures 854 x 480 pixels.

The keyboard is perhaps the one real failing of the phone. It's flat. The keys have no shape or contour to them, so they are difficult to tell apart. The keys have an adequate response, but it will take a while to get use to using. Luckily, Android supports both landscape and portrait on-screen software keyboards.

The real strengths of the Droid aren't its hardware, but rather the software. I am glad that MOTOBLUR is nowhere present. This phone uses the plain Android interface, though the new features in Android 2.0 make this the Android phone to beat.

The new features are interwoven into nearly all aspects of the phone. The unified inbox, multiple Exchange account support, Facebook integration, SMS/MMS searching and other new messaging features make it extremely apt in that department.

The new camera software makes it much easier to adjust and interact with the camera settings. I like the revised camera user interface, which makes some features more intuitive. It also offers more controls for things such as white balance, color, brightness levels and so on.

This is an important phone for both Motorola and Verizon Wireless. Based on several hours of using it, I am sure it will be the best seller for both this holiday season.

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