DROID X2 Review

Introduction and Design

Ingrained deeply into our memories even until now, the Motorola DROID X has managed to be one of the more memorable handsets in the last year due to its strong presence within the Android community. Needless to say that every nook and cranny of the handset exudes that larger than life status, but considering that things have changed dramatically in the last couple of months, it’s obviously in dire need to get its yearly refreshed successor. Right on cue, we now find its successor in the Motorola DROID X2 MB870, which is ready to hopefully stem the onslaught of competition and keep itself as a vigilant figure on Verizon’s lineup.

Granted that it’s not all that uncommon to find manufacturers recycling handset designs with successive devices, which is telling with the Apple iPhone 3G and 3GS, we do find some upgraded hardware under the hood with the DROID X2 that should differentiate itself from the pack. Priced at $199.99 with a 2-year contract, its pricing is indeed fitting for a high-end non 4G LTE smartphone, but does it still have the allure that embodied the original? Or will it simply be left behind the dust in favor of Verizon’s 4G LTE equipped smartphones?

The package contains:

  • Motorola DROID X2
  • 8GB microSD card preloaded
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide


At first glance, one can easily be fooled that they’re grasping the original Motorola DROID X since the DROID X2 is almost an exact facsimile to its predecessor – though, it completely omits the dedicated shutter key this time around. Besides that one distinguishable removal, everything else is intact with the handset’s design. Although it’s top heavy, due primarily to the hump that houses the handset’s camera sensor, it’s still fairly streamlined (0.39” thick) and pocketable. Indeed it’s one large handset, especially if you have smaller hands, just because you might have some challenges trying to cover the handset’s gigantic display with your thumb.

Regardless of that, it’s solidly built and employs some high-quality materials with its constructions – albeit, it does make it feel somewhat heavy (5.47 oz). Specifically, its metallic exterior is completely engulfed with a soft touch matte coating that enables it to look clean at all times, while repelling dirt and debris from sticking on. As much as we love the design, we’re not filled with the same impressed reactions that we experienced with the original.

You can compare the Motorola DROID X2 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Retaining the same size 4.3” capacitive touchscreen as before, it has been upgraded to qHD (540 x 960) resolution for moderately better clarity – though, it’s hardly noticeable from a far glance. Nonetheless, it offers sharp looking visuals that pack plenty of detail and higher pixel density, while producing some natural looking colors. In addition, its high-contrast look enables us to use it outdoors under direct sunlight with no visibility issues whatsoever. Lastly, its good viewings angles doesn’t fade, distort, or wash out colors – thus, keeping it consistent looking at all angles.

Now that 4.3” displays aren’t uncommon anymore, there isn’t anything particularly polarizing about it – even with its higher resolution. In the end, it’s not as much of a standout as before, but when you compare it to other things like Super AMOLED Plus or IPS displays, it lacks that wow factor.

Seeing that the design of the Motorola DROID X2 is essentially unchanged, all of the buttons and ports are located in their same positions throughout the handset. However, it’s worth noting that the handset’s miroHDMI port not only has the ability to output high-definition videos, but it also offers a mirrored experience – something that’s becoming standard amongst most high-end Android smartphones.

In the rear, the handset’s hump houses the same exact 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash. Granted that we like how the metallic back cover protects the handset’s innards, it’s rather super easy to remove and doesn’t require much force to nudge off. But honestly though, we’d prefer a tighter fit so that it doesn’t feel as if it’ll come off while it’s placed in a pocket. Frustrating to say the least, you’ll need to remove the battery in order to swap out its preloaded 8GB microSD card.

Motorola DROID X2 360-degrees View:


The original DROID X received the prestigious title of being Verizon’s first Android smartphone to pack a 4.3” display, but now the DROID X2 can claim to fame as being the carrier’s first smartphone to feature a dual-core processor. Employing the same 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 we’ve been accustomed to seeing at this point, it undoubtedly exhibits a reasonable amount of speed and responsiveness. Even though it runs effortlessly when static wallpapers are in use, we still find some instances of delay when graphically intensive live wallpapers are activated. Overlooking that one minor thing, it’s nevertheless able to execute other basic operations without much fluff. Still, we are expecting something so much more with the upgraded CPU, but instead, it simply operates at the same pace as its predecessor.

Strange as it may be, especially when Android 2.3 Gingerbread has been made available for some time now, the Motorola DROID X2 resorts to relying on Android 2.2.2 Froyo with their customized light version of MOTOBLUR running on top of it. At its core, it’s exactly like the one we’ve seen before, but the changes include the addition of a helicopter view and removal of the quick homescreen panel selection carousel at the bottom of the homescreen. With the former, you can rearrange the homescreen layout to your liking or quickly jump to a particular one, which is accessed either by pressing the home button or executing a swipe gesture while on the homescreen.

In terms of personalization, we’re presented with the usual assortment of standard Android and Motorola widgets – the latter of which can be resized. Meanwhile, on the presentation side of things, the overall look and style of this light version of MOTOBLUR is mainly boxy, much like MOTOBLUR in general, but it’s even more evident when you heavily use the available set of Motorola widgets. In contrast, HTC’s Sense UI is by far the more appealing of the two, since it seems to have a little bit more flavor and kick to its overall presentation. Still, some will surely appreciate the distinctive looks of the Motorola DROID X2’s interface, but it still lacks the extra fuel in the gas tank to make it the preferable choice over other customized experiences.

When it comes to social networking, you can receive your dose either by using the social networking widget or dedicated app available to you. Obviously, the app aggregates content in one centralized area where you can reply and post your own messages to your respective accounts simultaneously. With its dual-core processor in tow, we find a nifty looking 3D interface when you’re reading through various posts using the social networking widget.

Organizer & Messaging:

The included calendar on the Motorola DROID X2 is stock Android and syncs directly to your Google account. It does support syncing to multiple Google accounts, but it still lacks support for things like Facebook. Moreover, we find the same sticky note widget that can be used only on the home screen for quick notes. Lastly, the included Alarm & Timer app is also very basic and only provides you an alarm clock and countdown timer.

Mainly because of its large display and peppy processor, the messaging experience is undoubtedly fantastic since it enables us to speed type with very few mistakes. Whichever way you decide to go, either by using the Swype or Multi-touch keyboard, the overall experience is pretty good seeing that we’re greeted with large buttons. Not only that, but we truly adore how it’s able to quickly keep up with our speedy thumbs when inputting text via its on-screen keyboard. Of course, the landscape options provide the most comfortable and appreciable experience since they’re extremely roomy.

Besides radiating slightly more responsive tendencies when it comes to kinetic scrolling and loading up emails, the Gmail experience is basically identical to most other Android handsets – so there isn’t anything new with it. Alternatively, setting up other email accounts is simple seeing that you’ll only need to provide your email address and password for automatic setup. However, for those less popular email clients, it’ll require additional things like server addresses and ports to properly set up.

Although it’s not all the time we see instant messaging apps preloaded with handsets, we’re more than glad to see one with the Motorola DROID X2. Giving us access to services like AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger, we’re able to instantly chat with people on the go.


As much as we miss seeing a dedicated shutter key to quickly launch the camera app, the camera interface is actually unchanged. However, it’s worth noting that by default, it’s set to continuous focus as opposed to auto-focus. Nonetheless, there is still a decent amount of shooting and manual modes, but it’s nothing dramatically more than what we’ve seen already with its predecessor.

You’d think that the DROID X2 would see a bump with its camera, but rather, it decides to employ the same exact 8-megapixel auto-focus camera as its predecessor. In general, we’re quite pleased with the handset’s photo prowess seeing that it captures a decent amount of detail – though, its production is on the softer side. Despite that, we dig the natural looking colors it’s able to muster up with its shots. Oppositely, we’re also impressed with the handset’s results under low lighting conditions indoors since it still manages to retain some details and colors to make it more than presentable. Likewise, the dual-LED flash does a wonderful job in illuminating the scenery, but it seems to lose its power with subjects located more than 7 feet away from the handset. Comparing their performance, the DROID X2 establishes the same results with its predecessor, which is more than acceptable to our tastes.

Now that 720p video recording is commonplace amongst high-end smartphones, it’s somewhat disappointing to see the Motorola DROID X2 unchallenged by not offering 1080p recording instead. Even though it’s able to shoot at the rate of 30 frames per second, videos still seem to be choppy looking during playback. Moreover, we’re undeniably horrified with the muddy looking visuals we’re greeted with – thus eliminating any remnants of fine detail. Watching the recorded videos on a high-definition display, it goes to show why we’re nowhere close to using the handset as a dedicated video recorder. It’s just too terrible to endure!

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Motorola DROID X2 Sample Video:


Launching the Gallery app, we notice that the first thing we’re treated to is this interface that stacks some of the most recent photos on top of one another. In addition, it categorizes photos into groups like your camera roll, online social networking albums, friends’ albums, and general library of images. If you select the “my library” option, it’ll display pictures in your typical grid-like fashion. However, when you tilt the handset to landscape, it switches to a familiar 3D carousel, which allows us to scroll through the available images. Once a photo is selected, you can perform some minor edits, like rotating and cropping, and share it with a variety of services like Picasa, email, and text messaging.

Finding the same music player interface as before, it’s seemingly functional on many levels with its balanced presentation, but even more when it packs a coverflow like interface in landscape. Much like most things, it displays things like the album cover, track information, and on-screen controls when a song is played. Moreover, we absolutely love how there are a variety of equalizer settings to choose from – making specific songs sound better with their associated equalizer selection. Impressively, audio quality with the handset is astonishingly powerful, yet distortion-free when placed on the loudest volume setting.

Factoring its sizable display and fast processor, it’s able to handle high-definition problems with little effort. Loading a video encoded in DivX 1280 x 720 resolution, our eyes have plenty to feast on thanks to its smooth playback and rich amount of detail.

Rather than simply streaming videos through its microHDMI port, we now find a mirrored experience that allows us to experience the handset on our high-definition television set. Though, we’re only able to use it in landscape, but at least it stretches out to fully encompass the entire layout. Naturally, we’re able to play both music and videos stored locally on the phone, while other things like gaming, it allows us to easily enjoy the full experience on the big screen – nice indeed!

Although it’s packing 4GB of internal storage, of which only 3.43GB is available to us out of the box, it’s actually supplemented with a preloaded 8GB microSD card. Sure it might be enough for some, but you can always replace the card with others up to 32GB in capacity.

Internet and Connectivity:

Constant web surfers will instantly gravitate to the handset, not only for its massive display, but because it provides us with a near desktop like experience. Fortunately, complex web sites are able to load in a decent amount of time, but with some Flash content, there is some wait time required before we’re able to interact with them. Without a doubt, the DROID X2 operates at a high level and exudes plenty of responsiveness with things like kinetic scrolling and pinch zooming. All in all, the web browsing experience is astoundingly satisfactory and the handset is clearly ideal for it.

Taking into account all the hoopla and pride that generally surrounds any of Motorola’s DROID branded handsets, some might be bummed to find the DROID X2 is basically like any other 3G smartphone on Verizon’s lineup. Despite not offering 4G LTE connectivity, we’re presented with the usual set of connectivity features – like Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11 b/g/n, and aGPS. Furthermore, the handset packs mobile hotspot functionality that enables it to share its data connection with up to 5 other Wi-Fi devices.


As much as 4G LTE is constantly in our minds nowadays, some might be surprised that some people still use their smartphones for phone calls. Knowing that, we’re actually more than impressed with the superb calling quality of the Motorola DROID X2. Not only does the earpiece produce some strong tones, but voices on both ends of the line are natural, distinctive, and clear – making conversations such a joy. Additionally, the speakerphone quality is pretty good too with its strong volume output, but there is just a tiny bit of muffled tone with it – albeit, it doesn’t have an adverse effect on the overall calling quality.

Interestingly enough, we’re taken back by the handset’s poor signal strength seeing that in high coverage areas indoors, it’s only able to pull in a figure of -89 dBm. Yet, we didn’t experience any dropped calls or major fluctuations in signal strength during our testing.

Even with its shiny new dual-core processor, battery life is in fact more than ample with the handset primarily because we’re able to pull in 9.75 continuous hours of talk time on a single charge – whereas, the manufacturer has it rated for 8 hours. However, for normal everyday usage, we’re able to easily get one day out of a full charge, which is more than enough for a high-caliber smartphone like this. Regardless of that, we’d still recommend heavy users to charge the handset every now and then to make it through the entire day.


We really want to like the Motorola DROID X2, much like how we accepted its predecessor with open arms, but when it doesn’t particularly set any new bars, it’s really difficult to side with it over the other competition. Sure it has that wonderful dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor under the hood and higher resolution display, but after those two distinguishable standouts, it’s basically unchanged from its predecessor. Obviously, we don’t recommend you moving up to this if you’re still sporting the original, but if you’re stuck with a feature phone and eligible for an upgrade, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t throw this into consideration.

Conversely, the handset loses some visibility when it’s pitted against other next-generation handsets like the HTC ThunderBolt and Samsung Droid Charge – though, it’s worth noting that those two devices are more expensive at $250 and $300 respectively on-contract. When compared to the other handset on Verizon’s lineup that’s priced at the same boat, the HTC Droid Incredible 2, there is absolutely very little reasoning why to choose the Motorola DROID X2 over it. Nonetheless, whichever way you decide to go with, the Motorola DROID X2 is still a reasonable high-end Android smartphone – albeit, it doesn’t have the same menacing presence as its predecessor.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android 2.2.2
System Version: Version.1.2.148.MB870.Verizon.en.US
Kernel version: #2
Build number: 4.4.1_274_DTN-14.8

Motorola DROID X2 Video Review:


  • First Verizon handset to feature a dual-core processor
  • Gigantic and high-res display
  • Shoots great looking photos
  • Fantastic calling quality


  • Unchanged design
  • Muddy looking 720p video recording
  • Low signal strength

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