Motorola DROID Review
The deed is complete and the joining of two unfamiliar players has come to fruition – finally. Verizon Wireless has held out long enough from embracing the Android camp because of the fear losing complete control in the way apps and media are carefully handled on their devices. It's been too long that customers were given only a single outlet for most of their needs with Verizon tacking on software like V-Cast music, VZ Navigator, and VZAppStore – all locking down the user experience. Now that the marriage between these two unlikely names is set in stone, it's a refreshing site to witness on sore eyes that Verizon has come to grasp Android and its community of open development.
It was over a year ago that Android came out of the depths of the Google corporation to take its first flight in the form of the T-Mobile G1. That device, thanks to being a first, was able to conjure up a small following that proved to be successful. We've seen a number of Android handsets since then hit the market, with most of them coming out from the HTC camp, but we're in the hopeful process of witnessing Motorola's transformation back to a big name player. For the longest of times, the former great American manufacturer partnered with Microsoft for their smartphone handsets – only recently moving towards Android for future development. They've seen what kind of impact Android will have down the road – especially now more than ever.
All of this brings us to one of the most talked about phones from Motorola's camp – the Motorola DROID A855.By now we’ve all heard how this reinvents both Motorola's vision of where they want to go and how the Android platform will be received by a new class of customers. It's the first phone on the market to get the Android 2.0 treatment – although its lacking the MOTOBLUR integration that's found on the Motorola CLIQ. Now that the DROID will sit side-by-side in stores and compete with other smartphones on Verizon's lineup, we'll see in due time if its solid design and user experience entices customers to make the change and take the plunge with something unfamiliar.
The package contains:
- Motorola DROID
- User Manual
- Charger with detachable microUSB cable
- 16GB microSD card preinstalled
This is one of the thinnest landscape-sliding QWERTY devices available on the market,something that we haven't seen too much of from Motorola in the past. Its overall footprint is similar to the iPhone 3GS, expect for the fact that DROID is slightly thicker at 0.54", where as the iPhone 3GS is 0.48", but this is due to the inclusion of the physical QWERTY. When comparing it to something like the HTC Touch Pro2, it doesn't look as massive – making it seem a lot sleeker and more streamlined. Frankly, the Motorola DROID is built like a tank,as its outer shell radiates a feeling of solid construction that should withstand most of the wear and tear it'll be put through. In addition, its metallic construction adds some weight to the DROID, but of course it’s something expected with such high-quality materials. We definitely enjoy the feeling of the soft matte coating on the rear, how it hugs onto the metallic materials, and that it compliments it well when placed in the hand. Even though its slim looks may fool your eyes in guessing its weight (5.96 oz), it won't be as noticeable when you close it up and throw it in your pocket. Motorola meticulously went through every portion of this handset to make sure they came out with something that would separate its design from the existing crop.
You can compare the Motorola DROID with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
Hands down, the Motorola DROID has by far the best screen available on any Android handset. Following suit with the solid exterior design, the screen is treated to the same makeover which feels less plasticy and more durable like glass. This is the first Android phone to sport a 3.7” TFT touch screen at 480 x 854 with support for up to 16 million colors. It would’ve been nice if Motorola extended the front portion of the phone all the way to the bottom edge to allow more room for even a larger screen. However, powering it on for the first time, you can really see what kind of quality it outputs – text is easily legible while colors pop out with excellent tones. Although the screen will attract fingerprints easily, we did not have a hard time viewing it in various lighting conditions. The light sensor at the top will automatically adjust the brightness to the appropriate level, so you won't have to worry about manually doing it, but it does allow for manual adjustment.
Below the screen are four capacitive touch-sensitive buttons that perform various Android functions: back, menu, home, and search. They're close to the bottom portion of the screen and sometimes are accidentally pressed when using the on-screen portrait QWERTY. Honestly, we would've preferred going with real buttons here, just due to the fact that they will sometimes be accidentally pressed when touching the bottom of the screen – causing some frustrations. On the left side of the phone you will find the microUSB port for connecting to a computer or for charging. The camera button to launch the photo taking application and the adequate sized volume rocker are both located on the right edge. Out of all the parts on the phone, the volume rocker felt to us as the most vulnerable because it did not have that solid feel like the rest of the device. Music lovers will be pleased to see a standard 3.5mm headset jack located on the top side with the power/lock button close next to it.
Sliding the screen will uncover the four row QWERTY keyboard. Buttons are flush with the surface continuing the streamlined look. We’re not sure why Motorola didn't decide to go with a spring-loaded sliding mechanism here, as you really have to push the screen all the way until it locks into place, It may seem monotonous, but luckily it feels secured in both the closed and opened positions. Again we are realizing that another row could've been squeezed in if the screen were able to move open a little more – possibly adding a row for just numbers. Pressing the QWERTY keys felt stiff at first, then over time it felt a bit more responsive and tactile. We’re also not sure why Motorola left two blank spaces on the keypad next to the “Alt” keys. The separate d-pad on the right side was nice and easy to use for navigation if you don’t want to use the touch-screen. Fortunately the white backlight was adequate enough to see in almost any lighting condition.
Flippingit over to its back, you'll see the 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash towards the upper portion while the external speaker grid is lined up towards the bottom. When removing the metal back cover, the battery and microSD card slot will be exposed. We would've preferred that the microSD slot be located elsewhere because you physically have to remove the battery before being able to get access to the slot.The DROID may not win the award for the best looking phone, but it certainly will impress people with its combination of a physical QWERTY and slim looks.
1. jmill75 (Posts: 7; Member since: 22 Jul 2009)
Seemed like a pretty unbiased review for the most part, but how in the hell are you going to knock the score down so low because of the battery, you mean running multiple apps at once all day affects battery...... really really......and compare it to phones that dont even offer multi-tasking,strange. You had me till that point.
36. vmatikov (Posts: 55; Member since: 28 Jan 2009)
ya phone arena's scoring is horseshit. like seriously... because the droid seems like an awesome phone. sure it has flaws... but what doesn't? i rly dislike what they base their criteria on. it makes no sense at all.
62. Dadler22 (Posts: 157; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
It was a good idea, but motorola made it, and honestly if there was a phone that was a 9.5 and it was made my motorola, i would knock of a point just because i knew that it was american crap.
2. seebeatty (Posts: 4; Member since: 21 Nov 2008)
Yeah, I don't get this score at all!! The scores for the Storm2, Imagio, and TP2 all rank 9 or above and you come forward with this? Hmmm,... I think I smell bias even if you didn't write it into the review.
38. Phoney (Posts: 13; Member since: 16 Aug 2009)
IMO I think the others were too high. I tried out my friend's DROID this morning... I had such high expectations and desires for this phone, but the first impression didn't meet them :(. I agree with the PA ranks.
3. idiotwind13 (Posts: 80; Member since: 29 Dec 2008)
Does anybody read the "How we rate" section of the page? The numbers aren't really meant to be put up against each other for phones that are in different classes, but rather what they are saying is "How squarely did this manufacturer hit the nail on the head with respect to what they were trying to do?". The newest iPhone is rated lower than the enV Touch, do you really think that they are saying the Touch is a better phone? the Storm2, Imagio and TP2 are not the same type of phone as the Droid, even though they are all smart phones, they are trying to accomplish very different things. Not saying that there is not some bias in the reviews, but just because a certain phone gets a slightly lower score doesnt mean that was the case here. This seems to me to be a very fair review, and accurate, I've had my hands on one and I think everything PhoneArena had to say is quite accurate in this case. Though I do agree that a dig on battery life is not really fair, especially considering it "lasts only a day", that is pretty standard for the type of phone it is.
4. vzwman (Posts: 385; Member since: 26 Oct 2009)
know im not sure if i should get this phone :(
37. vmatikov (Posts: 55; Member since: 28 Jan 2009)
tbh.. if you read their reviews... you wouldn't want ANY phone. nothing is ever good... and the comparison and scoring criteria is bullshit.
42. sgtslayer321 (Posts: 36; Member since: 01 Oct 2009)
I can say that this phone is great! I own it. I also owned the Imagio before this and took it back. The Imagio had horrible battery life much worse than the Droid and the Imagio got a better score. That just goes to show that they favor HTC phones. I'm not saying they are that bad but this phone is in a hole other ball park than the Imagio. I know I tried the 2 of them out. P.S. They did the same thing with the omnia2
5. JASON666 (Posts: 20; Member since: 31 Oct 2009)
Maybe I'll get an unlocked. 2yrs.+Data plan services still dont add up that well does it.....just my thought.
72. haste_the_day (Posts: 5; Member since: 27 Dec 2009)
because people are sick of complaints about data plans? get over it already. you pay for what you get. Now if you want to spend 29.99 a mo. w/ Att, then you get less haha. But honestly, i work for VZW and every day people call in and complain about data plans being a requirement for a phone like this.... like VZW is suppost to put BILLIONS back into the network, set up plans for LTE, and not charge you to use it? a dollar a day for most reliable 3G dosnt seem like alot to me at all... So to answer you question as to why -6 (soon to be -7 after i vote) its bc of the ranting about plans.....GET OVER IT.
6. luisandres58 (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Mar 2009)
In all of the reviews so far, be it PA, Engadget, etc..I see a lot of nickpicking...ugly, KB cramped, you could say the same things about all of the phones...I think that is a matter of choice....I loved the Glyde with the small KB, the only thing was the problems with the touchscreen...I have the Dare now....KB is also cramped...I have the iTouch and I still make mistakes while typing....I think that I'm getting the Droid....it sure looks promising.....was hoping for the HTC Passion, but it looks that is gonna take a while before it shows up. People there isn't the perfect phone.....
73. haste_the_day (Posts: 5; Member since: 27 Dec 2009)
to be honest,i though the same thing about the keypad (physical) until i tried it. It take a bit of getting used to, and, as i have huge thumbs, is still a bit clumbsy, but overall alot better than just a touch screen.
7. vzw fanman (Posts: 1971; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
i'm totally getting this phone. it looks like it has endless possibilities!!!! good bye crapple iphone and my crappberry storm!
43. sgtslayer321 (Posts: 36; Member since: 01 Oct 2009)
ya I had the storm before and this blows it away but I can say the storm did have good email
8. Miacol (Posts: 40; Member since: 10 Oct 2008)
This would be a great phone if it was on the GSM networks, the CDMA single use network is a killer. I want to be able to surf and talk on the phone at the same time. Does anyone if a US GSM/3G will become available?
54. Fair&Balanced (Posts: 31; Member since: 29 Jul 2009)
Just to be safe you might want to wait until its equivalent is produced by a reputable manufacturer.
9. lennydude (Posts: 23; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)
QUOTE: "but how in the hell are you going to knock the score down so low because of the battery, you mean running multiple apps at once all day affects battery...... really really......and compare it to phones that dont even offer multi-tasking,strange. You had me till that point." END QUOTE. Exactly ! This type of "comparison" review is really BS. Phone Arena could have easily rated the battery on 2 levels, normal use and multitasking use. Why rate a phone so low based on something that is a very positive feature of the phone? Phone Arena really should change the review..........of course they will not..............being iPhone lovers.
64. Dadler22 (Posts: 157; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
or they just dont like shitty smartphones.
70. destardi (Posts: 4; Member since: 24 Nov 2009)
You're a tool and a douchebag rolled into one; that's pretty amazing. FYI - Droid - 24% of the Android market in just over 2 weeks. I guess you suck at knowing what's up. Good luck with that!
74. haste_the_day (Posts: 5; Member since: 27 Dec 2009)
or maybe you dont have anything constructive to add to the conversation? seriously? wow...
10. Vandro (Posts: 17; Member since: 12 Aug 2009)
Interesting to see the knock on battery life when BGR claims more than ample performance for a days use. I charge every night, so that isn't a problem. And, firmware update. Still looks like the best offering on Verizon, and probably my first smartphone buy. Droids DO do it better.
11. hockeyfreakb4 (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Nov 2009)
wow.... so biased.... your only three cons were because; 1. it CAN multitask, so you DO, and YOU run the REMOVABLE battery down... your an iphone lover so how about you get an extra battery, something your phone cant do... 2. your too stupid to avoid the touch sensitive buttons. 3. lose some weight and maybe your fat fingers will fit on the keyboard.... and, you talk throughtout the review as if this phone is better than the htc hero, yet the htc hero got a 9 on almost everything, especially the places where the droid beats it.... and sound, cmon, dont knock the volume just it goes to high for your baby ears... turn it down... design, you say its quality built and you give in an 8.5.. you gave the hero a better one and this one is built way better.... camera, the droids camera is obviously 10x better than the hero and you gave them relatively the same score... multimedia, ok what it ships with isnt that great as far as music, but everything else is great and you can download even better stuff in the app store.... and organized, who gives a $H!t if it comes with a freaking voice recorder or the other usless stuff no one ever uses... if u really want it, pick from the plentiful apps for free in the market... most biased review i have ever read... no wonder i prefer phonedog.com
13. JonMayer (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Nov 2009)
I wouldn't be as harsh, but this review is one of the worst I have seen. I just wanted to say Amen brother! The original iPhone's camera got a rating of 7.5... That piece of crap camera in the original iPhone got 0.5 better than the DROID? The battery rating is just BS if they pounded the hell out of the phone and it actually lasted all day. Plus, go buy a second battery if you are worried about long weekend trips to the Australian outback or some crap where you somehow can't find a USB socket. I used to look to phone arena for generally good reviews and now I will take anything posting here with a grain of salt. I registered just today so I could share my complaint with this terrible score.
25. koustik (Posts: 4; Member since: 02 Nov 2009)
The reviews are based on the technology at the time of its release, of course you would only know that if you read the little "how we rate" link. PS: its ok, alot of people that come here forget to notice that little link.
32. idiotwind13 (Posts: 80; Member since: 29 Dec 2008)
Don't tell anybody that- notice the flaming i took from pointing out that nobody pays attention to what the number actually means. It's not an absolute scale, but don't try to bring up that. It is unfair to say that the battery gets drained by multitasking, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a very good score of 8.5 is unfair or biased. The 0-10 scale is relative, not an absolute. But nobody wants to hear it.
41. efarmdog (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 Jul 2009)
"The original iPhone's camera got a rating of 7.5" - Right, that was how long ago? Technology better have evolved by now... it's been a while.
45. sgtslayer321 (Posts: 36; Member since: 01 Oct 2009)
but thats what peole see when they go to check the phone out on this sight not to mention they see other(smarphones) that aren't that good with higher ratings
12. Windsponge (Posts: 92; Member since: 01 Nov 2009)
I just want to say a few things. One they gave Pre a 9.9 and its battery is far worse than Droid. I have a an I phone 3gs and it is a great phone but if I use it hard as they did the droid for test it would not even last a whole day. 12 hours at best.It also took three updates to correct issues with it. I have both Verizon and ATT. I am a little sick of phonearena being so unfair in there reviews. I read everything I can find on cell phones and feel this phone is finally going in the right direction for Verizon. I have Pre Ordered at Best buy and cant wait to use this phone. After using and giving a fair use I will then give my review here. Looks at least as good as I phone Much better than Pre. Come on Phone Arena Pre 9.9 and Droid just a 8.5. Funny thing I phone 3gs was 8.5 and it got much better reviews from people who accually use the phones. Pre was way less and build was junk. Droid by all accounts is built great. Just my view.
66. weedalin (Posts: 10; Member since: 22 Nov 2009)
sigh . . . These ratings aren't absolute or conclusive, merely relative, which you would have known, had you read the 'how we rate' link on the review. The ratings are all relative based on the current competitor set and the technology available. They DON'T serve as an absolute rating for all phones.
14. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)
i dont see what the big fuss about this phone is. android 2.0 is its biggest selling point, and its already unofficially available on the tmo g1. htc has said it is coming to the hero, and the sense ui is the best thing android has going for it. the droid may have a huge screen, but a huge screen means a huge bulge in my pocket. about 2/3 of the reviews ive read say the keyboard is blah, and some go as far as to say the onscreen one is better. like the storm, this seems like a product of vzws marketing rather than an honest-to-goodness great product. the eris, once updated to 2.0, looks to be where its at for vzw customers.
16. secondcor517 (Posts: 94; Member since: 06 Oct 2008)
you say big screen means big bulge in your pocket, if you review the measurements or even the comparisons with other phones you will see that this phone is basically the same size as the iphone.
18. shgam2 (Posts: 42; Member since: 08 Sep 2009)
yea I agree lol and when I said it before, people flamed like crazy but seriously, whats up with these people? they just click - whenever they see a negative comment about the phone lol. Sorry I meant a non-positive comment. I'm sure more than half of them haven't even got the chance to use the phone or seen the phone in real life. Apparently it's the first android phone in vzw I heard.. I guess it's a big deal for them but not for many of us who arent with vzw.
15. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
We appreciate everyone's comments regarding the Droid. As we have only had it a couple days, we will continue to use it, and will make any changes to the review or ratings that we feel are necessary. We will be power-cycling the battery several times and will see how much time we then get using it. -Thank you.
47. sgtslayer321 (Posts: 36; Member since: 01 Oct 2009)
come onyou got to admit thow the battery isn't all that bad. I got this phone and have been so excited that I messed with it nonstop so far and the battery was know worse than the storm maybe better and was much better than the Imagio. I really liked the video review but the final rating just doesn't seem right. It is what everyone will look at before they go to buy it and the phone is absolutely in the top three phones in the united states (maybe) even the best.
17. shgam2 (Posts: 42; Member since: 08 Sep 2009)
It seems like a lot of supporters here. Seriously though, the people wrote the review have had the chance to use the phone and this is what they came up with. I'm sure they have done all the tests and etc before writing the review and they probably know more about the phone than these supporters. You guys should talk after trying the phone out and you'll know how bad/good the battery life, keyboard, etc are.
19. yhbae002 (Posts: 46; Member since: 02 Nov 2009)
This phone looks real nice. Pity its not available in Canada yet. It has pretty much everything I need - CPU speed, high resolution, good volume, sleek look, physical keyboard, etc. For me, Android 2.0 is just more gravy on top - but even without it, the phone still looks good. The reviewer was very harsh on the final score. I looked at the score first them read the review. I was expecting some _significant_ negative comments but couldn't find one. Battery life is ok. I went through HTC Diamond then to the current Magic. I'm sure Droid will outperform battery life of Diamond by a good margin. I (and most others) charge daily. Currently using Hero ROM on Rogers Magic.
20. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
We've been using the Motorola DROID for a longer period now and in the end decided to bring its battery rating up a bit. We've also taken into consideration the performance of the other CDMA Android phone that's currently out, Sprint's HTC Hero. Having in mind the Hero is capable of delivering about two days of relatively heavy usage, we think the DROID's one day deserves its new rating of 6.5. Thank you for your patience!
48. sgtslayer321 (Posts: 36; Member since: 01 Oct 2009)
still could have been a little better but thats just my opinion but I think that is really cool to give it a second chance.
21. narley (Posts: 357; Member since: 14 May 2009)
i say we have a open vote. say yay or nay if you believe they should retest or atleast rescore this device. the cons are pretty pitiful and gimmes with every single smartphone/touch screen out there.... come on phone arena, really?
22. narley (Posts: 357; Member since: 14 May 2009)
.... along with that. you gave the storm 2 camera a 7.5 which is only a 3.2 mp and has never been very responsive and doesnt have the dual flash. how do you justify giving a 5 mp with a higher resolution screen a lower score?
23. koustik (Posts: 4; Member since: 02 Nov 2009)
I should be the first to be the first to tell you that sadly the storm 2 has better picture quality than this phone. The color shows better on the storm 2. FYI: just because 5mp sounds better, it only makes the pictures bigger. And the storm 2 actually has a brighter flash than the dual flash, which is quite peculiar.
26. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)
So was I. The regular android UI isnt appealing to me.
27. testman22 (Posts: 336; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
Going with everyone else, this score is truly absurd... Each one of the cons listed are completely ridiculous. I could go into debunking every incorrect con they mention, but I'll just say this- The Droid is truly a revolution (notice phonearena even uses the word revolution themselves). The design is different, with an air of functionality that not many phones have. And the possibilities of the android platform on the best carrier are endless. I'm not claiming the phone is perfect. Yes the keyboard may be a bit cramped, and it lacks the physical send/end button. (Know what phone doesn't have a keyboard at all, or any send/end buttons? hmm...) And of course the media synchronization is a big miss. But all in all, for a first generation, the Droid got it right. Sorry Phone Arena, this phone is gonna be huge no matter how hard you try to tamper with its score
28. narley (Posts: 357; Member since: 14 May 2009)
i say we have a open vote. say yay or nay if you believe they should retest or atleast rescore this device. the cons are pretty pitiful and gimmes with every single smartphone/touch screen out there.... come on phone arena, really?
29. rjt185 (Posts: 257; Member since: 11 Jun 2009)
I can't wait for all the user reviews, the score should much better reflect the phone.
30. JasonWood (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)
Ok just an FYI on the Battery issue There are several Apps on you can download to conserve your Battery power. Just look on the Android Market place.
33. Griz (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Nov 2009)
This is a tough one for me since up until now I've been very much the opposer of Motorola products. But now, having handled the device and having had a chance to utilize alot of the features including Android Market, I'd have to say its a top-performer. Having the keyboard is nice and the web is lightning-quick. The device is very heavy but i think the benefits of having a dual-processor and the Google 2.0 OS certainly outweigh their impact on battery life and chassis weight. As compared to the Eris, however, this one is tough. The Eris has more of a Palm Pre feel while opening new web pages and interacting with its 7 home screens (page preview) which adds to the ease of use over Motorola's list view style and choppier navigation through its 3 home screens. I personally dig the "Andy Warhol" mode in the photo customization menu; gotta check that out! Expect the launch of both Droids tomorrow to be big! Nice work Motorola....finally!!
35. narley (Posts: 357; Member since: 14 May 2009)
ya the eris is legit too. id say the biggest difference is the droid is a little bit faster with the better processor, but the Eris does have the seven panels vs droids 3. beside the obvious keyboard vs trackball physically.
34. Mayday3420 (Posts: 61; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
Here is what bothers me about the review. How does the andriod phone on sprint get a higher rating on things when it's newer software. Then they have things that they put on the pros list that only recieved a 7 or 8 in the rankings. Organizer, sprint gets a10 and vzw gets an 8 when it's the same opperating system? Multimedia, sprint gets a 9 and vzw gets an 8 when actually the newer version has more multimedia functions on it? I have no idea how they do reviews here but it's a very poor job they do.
|Display||3.7 inches, 480 x 854 pixels (265 ppi) TFT|
TI OMAP3430, Single core, 600 MHz, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
256 MB RAM
|Size||4.56 x 2.36 x 0.54 inches|
(116 x 60 x 14 mm)
5.96 oz (169 g)
|Battery||1400 mAh, 6.41 hours talk time|