Motorola DROID 3 ReviewMotorola DROID 3 8.5
Deemed as the original flagship starter for Android, Motorola’s original DROID series might’ve relinquished its throne as the premier line for the ever-expanding platform – especially when the DROID 2 didn’t have the dramatic impact compared to its predecessor. Since the original’s arrival, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of high-caliber Android smartphones swooping down from above the clouds to tackle and take prominence over the sea of rivals. Nevertheless, you know that the popular DROID line is known for its barebones approach in not messing around, thus, keeping the public’s awareness solely on it.
It’s true to say the least! Especially when consumers refer to Android powered smartphones as DROID phones – but of course, enthusiast and purists know the difference. Naturally, it’s that kind of mentality that embodies Motorola’s original DROID family, and now that we’re witnessing the third installment in the series, it’s almost unimaginable to see this one slipping through the cracks. Boasting the always expected yearly hardware upgrades, we also see a larger presence with the Motorola DROID 3’s design – and rightfully so, it’s aiming to take things to a bigger level. Even though it’s competing against the likes of 4G LTE smartphones, it’ll be interesting to see if this third incarnation can ignite that fire that allowed the original to explode.
- Motorola DROID 3
- microUSB cable
- Wall Charger
- Quick Reference Guide
- Product Safety & Warranty Brochure
Without a doubt, the first thing that takes notice is the handset’s significantly larger frame compared to its predecessors, which is due to the larger display it’s packing along. Both longer and wider in form, the handset actually manages to shed some thickness (0.5”) to make it slightly more streamline – though, it’ll stick out prominently in your pockets.
Although it retains the former’s fundamental design characteristics, like its familiar industrial design, it sports some heavier hard lines and sharper contours. At the same time, its tough gunmetal-like plastic casing, combined with its soft touch rear, allows the handset to considerably feel more solid. Indeed, it’s heavier (6.49 oz) this time around, but it aids in maintaining its balanced figure. Not hiding the fact that it’s a DROID device from afar, we’re digging its developed design approach.
You can compare the Motorola DROID 3 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
Right off the bat, our eyes are impressed to see the DROID 3 flaunting a larger 4” qHD (540 x 960) display, which easily dwarfs the previous offerings and places it closer to the realm of the DROID X series. No doubt employing some fantastic pixel density, its high resolution provides for some of the sharpest looking visuals to grace any of Verizon’s Android stable – making even fine text more than legible. Additionally, its color production is pretty nice too with its deep and vibrant tones.
However, viewing angles are undoubtedly questionable since colors fade, like how black turns into a greyish hue, when the handset is tilted a bit from its perfect 90-degree position. More than viewable indoors, its display washes in outdoor settings with the sun present seeing that its overall brightness output isn’t the strongest. Granted it might have its shortcomings, we’re nevertheless still glad to see Motorola bringing along a much larger and higher resolution display this time around.
Continuing to show off its new form, we now find the wonderful presence of a microHDMI-out port with the handset – providing that all too useful mirrored experience on your high-def television set. Also, the dedicated powered button is now placed squarely in the middle on the top edge – just like what we see on the DROID X2. However, we’re not thrilled with the amount of force needed to get a response out of its dedicated power button and volume rocker. And despite not being a 4G LTE enabled device, we’re glad to see a front-facing 0.3-megapixel camera on board with the handset.
Previously, we saw a better improvement with the DROID 2’s keyboard over the original, but this time around, Motorola manages to address every single issue we had with the previous two. Honestly, this is probably one of the best keyboards we’ve seen on a smartphone in a long time! Although it still retains that manual sliding mechanism and its flat keys, its overall spacious layout makes for one of the best typing experiences. Specifically, the 5-row keyboard now employs a dedicated row for numbers – with the convenience of the directional pad still there. Buttons are sufficiently sized for the most part, but we’re blown away by its wicked responsive feel when buttons are pressed. Speed demons will no doubt love the usability of this keyboard as it boasts a ton of marked improvements over its predecessors.
Turning it around, it sports an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, which has the ability to shoot full 1080p videos. Rather than using a metallic sliding battery cover used by its predecessors, we’re greeted with a ridiculously difficult to remove snap on rear cover that hides away its 1,500 mAh battery and available microSD card slot. Likewise, it’s nice to know that the handset is a global capable device from the onset with its SIM card slot in the rear compartment.
1. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
8.5 score for only two very minor complaints? Let the whining begin! Lol
2. Mastertwiz (Posts: 15; Member since: 10 Dec 2009)
I agree, this seems a little low. I was expecting a 9.
12. phandroid (unregistered)
a 9? the samsung gsII got a 9. this phone shouldnt get the same rating as a phone thats better than it
14. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
IMO the SGS2 should have been a 10.
32. phandroid (unregistered)
3. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
I believe there was a extended battery available right from the start and I think it was either 1800 or 1900 compared to the 1540 found out of the box. And taking photos to me has always been a minor thing for me.
4. jroc74 (Posts: 5201; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
I've been reading for better battery life set it to CDMA only unless you need to use GSM. I guess using both is only for ppl that need it.
5. Immolate (Posts: 292; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)
I ordered my Droid 3 on release day and received it Friday, so I've been using it for about ten days now. I think this review is fair and accurate and I find the score a pleasant surprise. The sum of the D3's parts don't add up to an 8.5, but the user experience is better than expected. Too often we score phones based on sheer statistical analysis, but that does not do justice to a phone that achieves some magic through smart design or happy accident. This is one of those phones.
6. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)
Whooh! John! I'm so happy John made the video review. Finally, something that's worth watching. Now watching. Heh.
7. Matt (unregistered)
I was really hoping the D3 would be better. I'm waiting...and hoping...somebody will come out with a multi-core, 4g phone with a keyboard. I'll just muddle thru with my D2 until then.
8. STEVE DOJOBS (unregistered)
Motorola will not being popular here in my country. No one here bother about this brand. Even CSL and Huawei are more famous here compare to Motorola.
13. KingK (unregistered)
No cares or bothers with your country anyway.
Go buy your Huawei.
9. weirdfisher (Posts: 51; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)
Droid2 i would give it a 4/10
But this one i'll give it a 9/10
10. Mr. Savage (unregistered)
@Steve dojobs... where is your country... That would make sense seeing that MOTOROLA is an American based company. Just so you know, they are the most reliable cell phones.. Well out of android smartphones. Well built with all the top notch specs. You won't lose getting a Droid from MOTO.
53. twenti7 (Posts: 152; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)
Very true. I don't personally like the design of Motorola phones, but about 8 or so months ago, my gf dropped her Droid off of some 2nd story bleachers at a football game (onto cement) and the lil guy is still chugging along.
58. secret_tidus (Posts: 4; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)
agree with u... my 1 year old xt drop from 2 meter height twice only got a dead pixel screen and still workable.. for ordinary touchscreen phone the glass ald crack... but my 1 still very nice.. just got a little hair line scratch near my search button
55. mr. droid (Posts: 278; Member since: 21 Aug 2010)
Are you kidding me!! I have had almost every motorola "droid" branded phone they have put out.. droid. droid 2, droid 2 global, droid x, droid x2, and droid pro, and they were all poor at best. I cant stand my droid x2. I have had now 5 replacements sent to me, and they all do the same thing. get HOTTER than ever when using it, battery life is terrible. I always end up with pixel issues on the screens (BRIGHT blue, green, or red dots the size of pin heads) they LAG!! And the browsing isSLOWWW. I dont know where you get this from. HTC has everyone beat in the android world by several land-slides. Light years ahead of any competition. The droid eris by HTC is a far cry better phone than ANY droid that motorola has put on the market.
56. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
then maybe you should stop getting them? my Motorola Droids work fine for me, maybe you don't work fine for your Motorola Droids...
59. secret_tidus (Posts: 4; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)
u have no faith with motorola, mr. droid, motorola hate u may b.. my milestone xt work well all the way... and it is 1 year old ald...
78. b12 (unregistered)
you said that " HTC has everyone beat in the android world by several land-slides ".
Do you actually know Samsung SII ?
in term of feature phone categories, it is the best for now.
11. doubleD (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)
I agree that still photos look terrible, but the video capture outdoors is excellent. I do disagree with the battery life assessment. In my experience, the battery lasts significantly longer than the Droid 2 and I find it more than adequate. The new blur is great and the keyboard leaves no room for improvement.
It does irritate me that every phone, including this one, is being shadowed by the upcoming expectations of the Droid Bionic. I don't even see them as direct competitors. If the Bionic lives up to it's expectations, it will replace the Droid X line of phones. The Droid 3 with it's smaller screen and physical keyboard targets a different audience.
15. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
The Bionic is basically just going to be a 4.3 inch Motorla Droid 3 without the keyboard but with LTE.
MAYBE the rumors are true that it is actually 4.5 but tbh the screen doesnt look any bigger than the droid x. And it also might have 1GB of RAM instead of 512MBs like the Droid 3.
33. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)
wrong! the bionic is more like the x2 with a 13 mega pixel camera and lte.
34. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)
not even close to being the same as the droid 3
40. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
that's the Targa which may or may not have been real at some point but the real Droid Bionic has specs that put it on par with the Droid 3.
48. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
No, the Droid Bionic will only have a 8 megapixel camera, sorry.
16. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
I wouldn't even bother giving this an 8/10 especially that it doesn't really improve much on the previous Droids plus it is a bloatware magnet. The specs will never be utilized and you can not root since Motorola is too stupid to unlock the bootloaders and let customers do what they please with their phones.
17. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
Miz..you should never review phones. ever.
it's possible to root this phone.
22. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Sure, just like it's possible to loot Fort Knox?
26. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
my Droid 2 is rooted and overclocked to 1.4 GHz guy, since it seems possible for me to make the impossible possible maybe i should go try to loot Fort Knox...
31. protozeloz (Posts: 5387; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
Ignore him.... with all the changes this phone has brought from the last one its obvious he is just trolling and hating
37. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Oh yes, the typical "add faster processor" and "new screen change." Oh how wonderful. Oh wait, they forgot to add LTE support. Oh dear me, such a wonderful step up. But then again, Motorola has never made good devices.
41. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
so what if there's no LTE? if you want it so bad get another phone. the Droid 3 has everything BUT LTE and for some people like me that's preferable for a phone like this.
38. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Good, maybe you'll get enough to buy yourself a clue.
20. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Here we go again with the bloatware and bootloaders. Honestly is that all you can talk about?
This phone has a improved screen, way better keyboard, snappy UI(yes despite all the bloatware and that you have to unlock the bootloader) it still runs very smooth. Why don't you actually use one at a verizon store for a few minutes before you talk so much crap about it.
I think you are just mad the Miz is nothing but a jobber now and won't be in the title picture ever again. lol
23. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
"Here we go again with the bloatware and bootloaders. Honestly is that all you can talk about?"
Or we could talk about it being on Verizon's horrible network? Or we can talk about it not being LTE? Or we could talk about it not having an unlocked bootloader? Take your pick.
"This phone has a improved screen, way better keyboard, snappy UI(yes despite all the bloatware and that you have to unlock the bootloader) it still runs very smooth. Why don't you actually use one at a verizon store for a few minutes before you talk so much crap about it."
Why in the hell would I ever touch anything with Verizon's name on it lol? No thanks, I rather spend my money elsewhere without getting rapped in my wallet. I don't care about a better keyboard, UI won't matter much if it has so much crap on it preloaded by Verizon.
"I think you are just mad the Miz is nothing but a jobber now and won't be in the title picture ever again. lol"
Put it like this, I'm making more money "jobbing" in one night than you'll make in an entire month.
25. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Lol you actually refer to yourself as the miz. God that's too funny. Like someone who travels the world week to week would ever bother post s**t on a phone website.
I can admit to being an average joe but unlike you who fantasizes about a half naked dude with a belt that belongs to CM PUNK. A guy who actually can wrestle and who isn't annoying like you err the real miz.
39. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)
Oh YES, because it's not like wrestlers don't use the internet or twitter or even Facebook. But go on, continue being envious while I continue climbing my way up after ME wrestlemania.
Lol, CM Punk can wrestle? Since when?
43. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
everything about wrestling is stupid and ***.
46. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
not really, that's all i have to say about wrestling.
49. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Did you not watch CM Punk Vs John Cena at MITB? The crowd was going crazy for CM Punk, Miz could never and will never have that kind of fanbase. Only trolls like you like him because you are two of a kind.
27. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
hey Rory, how do you think stills look in comparison to shots by the Droid 2?
30. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
the picture quality between the Droid 2 and the Droid 3.
36. doubleD (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)
Droid 2 beats it hands down in picture quality. The colors are off with the Droid 3, at least in the pictures I have taken which have all been indoor. Clarity doesn't mean much if there is inaccurate color representation.
However, the quality of the still photos is the ONLY negative I have found on this phone over previous models. I can't express enough the interface improvement and smoothness scrolling between screens. I haven't had any of the freezing problems I frequently had with the Droid 2.
50. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3045; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Sorry, I never had the Droid 2 so I can't say really. If it's the same camera on the Droid 1 however then I will def give it to the Droid 3. I mean sure, today's world the Droid 3 camera is lacking but it is much better than the original Droid's.
18. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)
I feel like this phone deserved its rating. Not really my cup of tea so yeah. 8.5 is more than welcome "for me".
21. coog (unregistered)
Another Android phone with a sorry camera and poor battery life. 8.5 the new 6.5.
54. twenti7 (Posts: 152; Member since: 09 Jul 2011)
Dropping points on a phone for having poor battery life is like dropping points on a car for not being very fuel efficient. If you want a phone with killer performance, you're gonna use a lot of power. If you want a car with killer performance, you're gonna use a lot of gas. Unless the phone only gets like 5 hours of battery with heavy use (not even my EVO is that bad) there's no reason to dock any points.
35. _DC_ (unregistered)
Great review. I would turn down the dial on your automatic adverb generator though.
47. corymcnutt (Posts: 15; Member since: 01 Oct 2009)
John V - Where was that video shot? It looks like Erie, PA?
51. Haha no. (unregistered)
Haha youre funny, 13 mp camera, thats a nice dream you got there.
52. Haha no. (unregistered)
The Miz stop having freaking out about this phone... YOU DONT EVEN HAVE VERIZON. Go find somehere else to complain about your period.
|Display||4.0 inches, 540 x 960 pixels (275 ppi)|
TI OMAP 4430, Dual core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
512 MB RAM
|Size||4.85 x 2.52 x 0.51 inches|
(123.3 x 64.1 x 12.9 mm)
6.49 oz (184 g)
|Battery||1540 mAh, 9.16 hours talk time|