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Motorola DROID Review

Motorola DROID 8.5

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Camera:

We've had a string of some barely passable quality in the photo department on previous Android handsets. We've already seen what the camera on the HTC Hero produced, and we can confidently say that its much better on the Motorola DROID. Pressing down all the way on the dedicated camera button will launch the application – it took roughly 3 seconds to fully load. From there, we were greeted to a new interface that kicks in a few new enhancements to make the experience more suitable to the photo enthusiast. Taking a photo can be done by pressing down slightly on the shutter key to allow the camera to auto-focus at first, and then all the way down to take the shot. Additionally, the same can be accomplished by pressing the on-screen shutter button. It took roughly 2 seconds for the phone to fully capture the shot and display it briefly on screen. Thanks to Android 2.0, we're given some additional features to make this camera stand out from the rest. Now you'll have a digital zoom, different shooting modes, color effects, and the option to select a focus mode (auto, infinite, and macro) all of which is accessed by moving over the left bar found on the interface.

Camera interface - Motorola DROID Review
Camera interface - Motorola DROID Review
Camera interface - Motorola DROID Review

Camera interface



Photo quality came out much better than expected – various tones of colors were captured nearly perfect while detail in the images was also very good. When using the automatic setting, outdoor images were meticulously well represented in lighting, color, and detail. The DROID packs along a dual-LED flash so images taken in low light are accurately captured. To our surprise, the flash did a decent job as long as the image being taken wasn't further than a few feet away from you. Anything further than 6 feet caused the flash to have little effect. In darker conditions, we noticed some noise in the shots – making it look somewhat fuzzy in appearance. You'd better have a steady hand because the slightest movements caused images to produce a hazy look over them in the dark. Much to our delight, the 5-megapixel camera managed to meet our expectations and proves to be decent in preserving memories while on the go, but at the same time still won’t replace a traditional digital camera

Motorola DROID Review
Motorola DROID Review
Motorola DROID Review
Motorola DROID Review

Outdoor samples taken with the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID Review
Outdoor samples taken with the Motorola DROID - Motorola DROID Review

Outdoor samples taken with the Motorola DROID


Strong light - Indoor samples - Motorola DROID Review
Medium light - Indoor samples - Motorola DROID Review
Low light - Indoor samples - Motorola DROID Review
Darkness with flash from 6.5feet/2m - Indoor samples - Motorola DROID Review

Strong light

Medium light

Low light

Darkness with flash from 6.5feet/2m

Indoor samples


Not only does the camera take some decent looking photos, but it did an exceptional job in recording videos as well. There are only two options for selecting video quality on the DROID – low quality for MMS use and high quality for everything else. In choosing the latter setting, we were thoroughly impressed with “DVD quality” 720x480 video capture at 24 frames per second. There wasn’t any indication of choppiness throughout the recording – they were highly detailed and stood up well when moving through different lighting conditions. Audio was also captured flawlessly along with the video and sounded fine when played back on the phone or on a computer. After recording a video, you'll have the option to share it directly via MMS, e-mail, or YouTube. When transferred to a computer, the video is in 3GP format with H.264 encoding.

Motorola DROID sample video at 720x480 pixels resolution


Multimedia:

There's very little to mention about the DROID's multimedia aspect because it remains relatively unchanged. The music player is the same we've seen running on bare bones Android and would've like to see a face lift to the interface. It's not as polished as other music players found on devices like the Imagio, iPhone, or Pre, but will suffice for now. It'll display the album cover, artist, track name, and album name while the fairly sized playback buttons looked discernible. The Motorola DROID definitely has a powerful external speaker – too powerful for its own good. Setting it to the 75 percent level proved to be loud enough to make it heard while anything more produced some serious crackling. If you prefer to be more private, the 3.5mm headset port and stereo Bluetooth will be available for you – so just connect your headphones and you're set.

Motorola DROID Review

Apart from the sluggish navigation between the three home screens, the Motorola DROID is a beast in running applications with little slowdown – the case is true with its video playback. It's the same old interface we've seen, but thanks to the brilliant display, videos are truly breath taking to view on the DROID. After loading up two movie trailers, coded in MPEG-4 at 320x240 and H.264 at 720x306, our eyes were fixed to the screen as it began to play smoothly. There's no question that its clarity is superior to other before it – making it a nice device to watch videos. The sound also was more than enough to hear every little thing even when set to the middle volume setting.

The video player - Motorola DROID Review
The video player - Motorola DROID Review

The video player


One thing for sure that we liked seeing packed with the Motorola DROID was the inclusion of a 16GB microSDHC card. For right now, we're confident that it will be more than sufficient for most of your media needs, but will support future cards up to 32GB in capacity.


Software:

Google Maps has long been a great alternative for finding directions and points of interests around your location. With each update, it seems more refined and incorporates a plethora of new features to make the experience easy. With Android 2.0, the DROID brings one new application that shakes up the GPS world. Previously, Google Maps allowed you to pin point your location either by using cellular triangulation or through GPS. The Motorola DROID is the fist Android phone to come with Google Maps Navigation for an experience that takes location based services to the next level. After witnessing the depth of this new application, we are blown away at how it will change the industry. First of all, it's free, unlike VZ Navigator, and uses Google Maps to overlay the interface when using it for turn-by-turn directions. The experience is almost reminiscent of what you find on Google Earth – the perspective changes to emulate a 3D map that gives you a bird’s eye view of things. Within the application, you can add additional layers to overlay your map – there are preset ones like traffic view, gas stations, restaurants, and more. We enjoyed using the satellite layer to really give you an accurate representation of your surroundings as you begin traveling. We were also amazed by the Google Street View integration, as it will update and show you images of the street you are traveling on. You can also move around with 360 degree rotation. The GPS is accurate in tracking your location –  it zooms out when you're on a highway and zooms back in when you're about to make a turn. It may be part of the DROID's persona, but the voice used in the application sounded robotic – you can say androidish in a way. With this on board the DROID, you really have a versatile GPS in your pockets without the need for monthly subscriptions or costly application downloads. Is it a revolution? We think so.

We should also point out that there will be a Car Docking Station that will suction to your windshield and have a place to inset the DROID. It uses internal magnets to change the phone to car mode, showing icons on the screen for Navigation. This accessory plus the DROID is almost like having an aftermarket GPS unit installed.

Motorola DROID Review
Motorola DROID Review
Motorola DROID Review
Motorola DROID Review
The Motorola DROID is the fist Android phone to come with Google Maps Navigation - Motorola DROID Review
The Motorola DROID is the fist Android phone to come with Google Maps Navigation - Motorola DROID Review
The Motorola DROID is the fist Android phone to come with Google Maps Navigation - Motorola DROID Review
The Motorola DROID is the fist Android phone to come with Google Maps Navigation - Motorola DROID Review

The Motorola DROID is the fist Android phone to come with Google Maps Navigation


Android Market - Motorola DROID Review

Android Market


The fact that there are very few Verizon-based apps on the phone is striking. Generally most smartphones will undergo some cosmetic and software changes to fit Verizon's specifications. Missing are things like V-Cast Music and VZ Navigator – which of course is a shock in itself. From the looks of it, the only Verizon app found on the DROID is Visual Voicemail. It does what the name implies – visually see all your voicemails in a list and have the ability to pick and choose which ones you want to listen to. When running the Android Market app, there's a tab specifically titled Verizon that will most likely offer some of their branded applications; hopefully more to come in the near future. There was also a plethora of Android apps available, as some are free and others you have to pay for. So far there weren't any that caters to the DROID's situation with its high resolution screen.


75 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55 1

1. jmill75 (Posts: 62; 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.

posted on 05 Nov 2009, 21:57

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.

posted on 10 Nov 2009, 15:02

62. Dadler22 (Posts: 161; 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.

posted on 31 Oct 2009, 08:21

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.

posted on 06 Nov 2009, 11:07

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.

posted on 31 Oct 2009, 11:27 2

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.

posted on 31 Oct 2009, 12:13

4. vzwman (Posts: 385; Member since: 26 Oct 2009)


know im not sure if i should get this phone :(

posted on 05 Nov 2009, 21:58 1

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.

posted on 08 Nov 2009, 02:53

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

posted on 31 Oct 2009, 15:24

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.

posted on 07 Nov 2009, 17:03

39. vmatikov (Posts: 55; Member since: 28 Jan 2009)


why does this have -6...?

posted on 27 Dec 2009, 06:19 1

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.

posted on 31 Oct 2009, 15:32

6. luisandres58 (Posts: 21; 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.....

posted on 27 Dec 2009, 06:21

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.

posted on 31 Oct 2009, 17:51

7. vzw fanman (Posts: 1976; 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!

posted on 08 Nov 2009, 02:58

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

posted on 01 Nov 2009, 08:37

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?

posted on 08 Nov 2009, 13:11

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.

posted on 10 Nov 2009, 15:03

63. Dadler22 (Posts: 161; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


lol, like HTC.

posted on 01 Nov 2009, 09:49 1

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.

posted on 08 Nov 2009, 02:59

44. sgtslayer321 (Posts: 36; Member since: 01 Oct 2009)


I think they are htc lovers

posted on 10 Nov 2009, 15:03

64. Dadler22 (Posts: 161; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


or they just dont like shitty smartphones.

posted on 24 Nov 2009, 10:12

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!

posted on 27 Dec 2009, 06:39

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...

posted on 01 Nov 2009, 12:04

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.

posted on 11 Nov 2009, 18:44

65. Dood (Posts: 269; Member since: 23 Mar 2009)


hah. doodoo.

posted on 01 Nov 2009, 15:55

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

posted on 01 Nov 2009, 19:15

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.

posted on 02 Nov 2009, 21:06

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.

posted on 04 Nov 2009, 15:26

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.

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Motorola DROID

Motorola DROID

OS: Android 2.2 2.1 2.0
view full specs
Display3.7 inches, 480 x 854 pixels (265 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
TI OMAP3430, Single core, 600 MHz, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
0.25 GB RAM
Size4.56 x 2.36 x 0.54 inches
(116 x 60 x 14 mm)
5.96 oz  (169 g)
Battery1400 mAh, 6.41 hours talk time

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