Motorola Droid-The Honeymoon

mot_droidI’ve had my new Motorola Droid from Verizon for about 24 hours and here is my initial review.

The Honeymoon

The sky is a little bluer, the sun feels a little warmer, the air smells a little cleaner. The romantic babble has almost reached peak nauseousness; “who’s the best phone, you’re the best phone, I love my new phone.” Yeah it’s a little sickening unless you’re a gadget geek.

Game Changing

A popular term with roots in athletics for when a critical play occurs that has the potential to effect the outcome of the game, like in last years Super Bowl when the Steeler’s Harrison ran a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown to close-out the first half. The term is now popular in the business world too. That is, in fact, what this phone is for me.

Being a fallen Apple fan boy, I never got an iPhone because I decided years ago to pay less for computers and I didn’t want to sign up with AT&T. Even though Verizon offers a variety of Blackberrys, I passed on all of them as well. For me, the Droid is a giant leap in a better direction. I am by no means a gadget expert, but I’ll share some of my initial thoughts.

The Pros

Mail

I have several Gmail accounts; not @gmail mind you, but personal (at cherryred dot org) and professional (at seo dot com) emails that are run through Gmail. It is ridiculously easy to manage multiple emails on this phone. Tap the email icon, tap menu, tap accounts and all of your email accounts are listed along with the number of new, unread messages. Simply tap the account you wish to see the inbox for. The interface is extremely responsive, so we’re talking no time at all to toggle email accounts.

Social Media

I can look at my Twitter stream in one tap. I can get to Facebook in one tap, but it takes a second to view the stream. I don’t think it could be faster unless it read my mind, which is probably Android 4.0.

Phone

Oh, that’s right, it’s a phone. Call quality is great. Voice activated dialing. Not a single complaint on the phone. Only minor issue I had was with my contact list. For some reason it imported some people “last name, first name” and others “first name, last name” so now I have to go in and edit a number of contacts.

Market

I’ve already downloaded a few apps like Twidroid, Bank of America, and Weather Channel to name a few. All super fast downloads and installs. Nothing took more than seconds from tap to use.

Maps

Not much to say here without a picture, but the integrated Google Maps is brilliant and beautifully functional. You won’t need a separate GPS.

Video

The video quality is great.

All the small things

There are too many to list. I know I haven’t found them all, but there are a lot of little things that just make the phone a pleasure to use. The on-screen keyboard is responsive and perhaps more accurate than my fingers would have thought. One push of a button on the top of the phone and you can instantly lock the screen and put it in sleep mode. One more click, then rotary style “swoosh” of your finger and it’s active again. I’ve gotten my share of pocket dials and sent plenty too. I don’t think I’ll be making any pocket dials this time. The main “back, menu, home, search” buttons at the bottom of the phone are pairs with a tenth of a second light vibration to confirm you pushed it. I like that kind of interface feedback. There is a screen for battery life that shows each line item and what percent of the battery it’s consuming so you can fine-tune your usage. I digress.

The Cons

This is a short list. I can’t tether it to my laptop yet. The camera software doesn’t seem to consistently focus, which combined with a bit of a delay made for several deleted pics already. However, it seems that if you use the on screen “take picture” icon instead of the button on the side of the phone, it’s noticeably more responsive. I haven’t had enough time to test this out completely. Not sure I like this hard, clear acrylic case accessory that doesn’t seem to get along 100% with the slide out keyboard. I may trade it in for the soft shell case. That might bother me the most since I’m always holding it. Only other issue is I haven’t figured out how to get my PC to recognize it*. All in all, nothing that can’t be fixed, or won’t be possible with future updates.

Summary

The new Droid is worth every penny and I suspect a few months from now I will still feel that way. I will now go back to ocean front beach chair, basking in the sun, sipping a fruity drink with an umbrella.

(* update – now that I’ve had 5 mins to try to get it connected to my computer, it is. Plug it in via the USB cable, drag down the notification bar on the phone, and click “mount”. Easy, but I have read of people with Vista 64-bit issues even though that’s what I have.)

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7 Comments

  1. Brad Baldwin says

    Thanks Mike. Eager to hear how things are going with the Droid. Am I reading correctly that this is your first smartphone? No iPhones, no BlackBerries, no Palm Treos, no Windows Mobile phones prior to the Droid? I’m interested because it seems that everyone who finally moves to a smartphone experiences a halo effect where access provides a freeing experience from the laptop/PC.

    The slider keyboard would be a negative for me. Also, I’m wondering how Verizon and other carriers will screw up a simplicity and beauty of the Android OS as they need to “differentiate” their experience from carriers and other device manufacturers. That’s been the nail that’s killed other OSes.

    • Mike Benson says

      Hi Brad,
      Yes, it’s my first smart phone. I never found a Blackberry I liked, and avoided AT&T; so no iPhone. I’ve handled many since most of my family and friends had already converted. Playing with their phones is how I tested my interest until now. This is the first one I’ve actually been happy with. I’m sure the iPhone is great too.

  2. says

    I disagree with the camera, Mike. I’ve been able to take pretty good pictures but you have to get used to the way the pics are taken.

    The video is PHENOMENAL.

    The voice-activated Google search feature is cool. It seems to work pretty well for me but some people have had difficulty. If nothing else, it’s great for a laugh.

    I hope you don’t mind but I’m throwing in a few of my review tweets so far:

    @ashbuckles: FTR: the droid is very cool so far

    @ashbuckles: Don’t buy the screen protectors from Verizon with your Droid. They don’t work. The application stickers don’t come off. #droid

    @ashbuckles: I love the way the droid groups text messages by contact. Makes threads SO MUCH easier. #droid

    @ashbuckles: Managing Gmail is soooo much easier on the droid. Duh.

    @ashbuckles: Where can I get the latest version of Flash for the Droid?

    @ashbuckles: Without the latest Flash, I can’t view Vimeo vids or several Gmail attachments. #droid

    I’d buy it again and the more time I spend with it the better it gets. I’ve had an iPhone and loved the device; it was the network that bothered me. I guess I like making calls too much. I’m not an iPhone hater but I can live without it with a droid.

    • Mike Benson says

      Once I got used to the on screen button for pictures, it’s gotten better. The more traditional button on the side of the camera seems to lag. I’m getting better adjusting the focus too. 100% agree on the video, its great. I can’t wait to take better advantage of that.

      By all means, add your feedback. It’s better for readers to get the extra point of view.

  3. Cary Snowden says

    Curious to know which of you have switched from an iPhone, and if you think the Droid is a giant leap for phonekind, or if it is just an improvement here and there.

    I really like my iPhone, and have grown to love many of the apps. I consider the iPhone to be the real ‘game changer’, and the Droid to be the inevitable improvement that always comes from Apple’s innovation (Yes, I am a Fan, but I love Google, too).

    The Droid looks pretty cool, but doesn’t have enough to make me want to spend the time to convert my life to a new device. It looks to me like it does ‘mostly’ the same as the iPhone, with perhaps some smoother edges here and there.

  4. says

    I did not switch from an iPhone. I used to be an Apple guy from IIe through G3. Roughly when PC processing speeds caught up to Apple, there was no advantage to running software like Photoshop. I switched to PCs for the savings and eventually learned to build them myself for even more savings.

    I only pick on Apple people these days, don’t bother trying to convert them. I know what it was like to think they were the only choice. People still love their Apple computers and gadgets, and most don’t look beyond them.

    In my opinion the Droid is a better phone if for no other reason than it can multitask and its built on an open source system. Verizon has a better network that AT&T. Google is well, Google. There are a host of other smaller edges too. Since I had neither committed to iPhone or an android phone, the decision was a no brainer. For those loyal to their iPhones, I don’t expect many to switch. Just like with iTunes and iPods, Apple builds closed systems that make it counter productive for people to switch. That and as I mentioned before, people just love their “i” stuff.

  5. Dustin says

    Hi, thanks for the review I am definitely thinking of getting something like this for verizon, and my choices are between this and the blackberry. From what i’ve read here this is the choice to go with.

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