First Impressions Of Motorola Droid 2 - InformationWeek
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08:47 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

First Impressions Of Motorola Droid 2

The Motorola Droid 2 is now available from Verizon Wireless for $199. How does it compare to the original? Is it worth the upgrade?

When sitting side-by-side, the Droid and Droid 2 appear to be nearly identical. The size and shape of the two devices is unchanged, though the Droid 2's top and bottom edges are slightly more rounded and less sharp. It feels just bit more comfortable to hold, but the weight is the same.

The Droid 2 has the same camera, same screen, and the same form factor. The Droid 2 is a clear sequel to the original, and matches it feature-for-feature almost across the board. With so much the same, what's all that great about it?

The biggest physical improvement of the Droid 2 is the keyboard. When the top half of the Droid is slid up, users have access to a full, physical QWERTY keyboard for typing out messages. The keyboard on the original Droid was a disaster. The keys had literally no shape, and the smallest amount of travel and feedback. Typing on it was next to impossible.

Motorola decided to remove the five-way directional pad that was situated on the right side of the original Droid's keyboard. By ditching the D-pad, it left Motorola a lot more room to make improvements to the keyboard. The keys themselves are noticeably bigger, and each has a distinct mound-like shape. The end result is a much better keyboard that is far superior than the original when it comes to typing.

Aside from the keyboard, the biggest improvement is speed. The Droid 2 has a 1GHz OMAP processor from Texas Instruments. It crushes the original Droid's 550MHz processor. The Droid 2 runs lickety split.

One feature, in particular, that benefits from the speed bump is the Droid 2's camera. It opens faster, takes pictures faster, and saves pictures faster. That means Droid 2 users have a better chance of pulling off the perfect shot.

The Droid 2 also has Android 2.2 Froyo built in. Sure, Verizon Wireless is in the middle of updating the original Droid to Android 2.2, but the Droid 2 has Adobe's Flash Player Mobile 10.1 on board, too. Adobe hasn't provided Flash Player Mobile 10.1 to the Droid yet. This means the Droid 2 offers a better Web browsing experience, as users will be able to watch Flash-based content that is embedded within Web sites.

Another benefit the Droid 2 offers is access to Verizon Mobile HotSpot feature. For whatever reason, Motorola and Verizon are not offering the Mobile HotSpot feature with the Android 2.2 update to the original Droid. Droid 2 users will be able to create a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and connect up to five additional devices to the internet --- as long as you don't mind paying an extra $20 for that feature.

Bottom line? The Droid 2 is a better device all around. If you already own a Motorola Droid, I'd say skip upgrading for now despite the Droid 2's improvements. It isn't that different. If you've been waiting for a good Android device with a good keyboard from Verizon Wireless, then the Droid 2 is a no brainer. Go get it today.

The Motorola Droid 2 is available now for $199. Verizon Wireless has indicated that customers wishing to upgrade to the Droid 2 early (as long as their contract expires this year), may do so at the lower $199 price point.

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