Motorola DROID Pro Review

Introduction and Design

Motorola DROID Pro. The name just sounds intimidating and serious. The iPhone captured the market by being fun and approachable, and Google took that a step further with Android by opening up the platform, making it customized and personal. But when you add “pro” to something you’re not messing around, and that’s exactly what Motorola is doing with their latest offering for Verizon Wireless. The Pro aims to take on the BlackBerry segment, something Android has been garnering attention from anyway, but more specifically the BlackBerry power user, many of which have thus far resisted the lure of the little green robot. From the portrait QWERTY orientation to the lightning fast performance the Motorola DROID Pro is squarely aimed at the suits, but will it be enough to win over this fiercely loyal user base?

Included with the Motorola DROID Pro you will find:

  • Li-Ion battery
  • AC adapter with international adapters
  • USB cable
  • 2GB microSD card


The Motorola DROID Pro may share a form factor with BlackBerry, but it sure doesn’t feel like one. For starters it is narrow and tall, and the screen is very large. BlackBerry devices typically have displays of about 2.4 inches, orientated horizontally, but the DROID Pro features a 3.1” display in portrait orientation. This leaves less room for the keyboard in both dimensions, and as such the keyboard is much more cramped than you would find on a Curve or Bold. Motorola attempts to use the flared key design like we’ve seen with the Bold and Style, but the keys just don’t feel as natural on this device. Because the screen dominates the phone the bottom row of keys ends up at the very bottom of the phone, and this makes using it a bit awkward, similar to what we felt with the sides of the BlackBerry Style. A top-flight BlackBerry keyboard this is not, but that said it is still pretty good. Auto-correct generally fixed the mistakes we made, though in a typical few sentence email we would have to make one or two corrections ourselves, and as with any keyboard we got more used to it the more we used it.

The overall size of the Motorola DROID Pro is good. It has roughly the same footprint as the DROID 2, but is considerably lighter. This is because the device is mainly plastic. Motorola used high quality materials for the Pro, but we would have preferred a soft-touch back instead of the hard plastic they opted for. Nonetheless the DROID Pro feels quite solid in the hand and we don’t have any issues about its build quality.

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

The 3.1” display is good but not great. It has a resolution of 320x480 and is bright enough to be read in most lighting conditions comfortably. As you might expect it is a multi-touch capacitive touchscreen. It is plenty responsive and offers haptic feedback where appropriate. It surprised us that the screen was not rotating when we turned the phone, but it turns out the auto-rotate feature appears to be turned off by default on the DROID Pro, so a quick trip to the settings menu fixed that.

The Motorola DROID Pro has the standard four Android navigation keys below the screen. They are capacitive and integrated into the display, separate from the keyboard.  On the left side are the volume rocker and microUSB charging port (which glows white while charging) and on the right is a programmable key much like BlackBerry convenience keys. The power button and 3.5mm headphone jack sit atop of the DROID Pro. The stylized back door houses the 5 megapixel camera with dual LED flash at the top left, and the DROID Pro’s single speaker centered near the bottom.

Overall the Motorola DROID Pro offers a good blend of size and functionality in this relatively new form factor for Android. The phone feels good in your hand, and when turned on its side the keypad doesn’t get in the way too much. While that keyboard isn’t as good as what you’d find on the BlackBerry Bold, it is still quite usable and will help the business crowd ease into the transition from their BlackBerry into the DROID Pro.

Motorola DROID Pro 360-degree View:

Interface and Messaging:

The Motorola DROID Pro ships with Android 2.2 on board, and like the DROID X it has a custom layer of software on top of it. This less-intrusive version of Blur makes some small changes to the overall interface, but for the most part leaves it alone. There are 7 homescreens and several custom Motorola widgets and toggle switches and expanded support for contact, mail and social networking integration from the likes of Skype, Yahoo, Photobucket, Exchange and a few others. The widgets do offer some functionality, and one feature we like is the ability to resize widgets which sometimes changes their overall appearance.

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Still, for the most part this is stock Android. Motorola has added some business twists, however. For starters it has a unified calendar for both Exchange and Google calendar syncing and a corporate directory lookup feature. On the security side the Motorola DROID Pro features AuthenTec IPSec multi-headed VPN integration, complex password support and, coming in early 2011, remote device and SD card wipe capabilities. Lastly, the full version of Quickoffice is included which allows users the ability to view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Motorola calls the DROID Pro a “business-ready” smartphone, basically putting it head-to-head with BlackBerry devices and the security and enterprise features they offer.

Motorola has left the core Android apps- calendar, text, alarm, contacts, etc- virtually alone. There is a unified inbox for various email accounts (not including Gmail) and text messages, but in general we find this to be more annoying than helpful. The phonebook is pretty much stock, but does have a form of contact match integrated into the dial pad. HTC does this the best with their Smart Dialer, but Motorola is more successful at this trick than Samsung. Visual Voicemail is available from Verizon for $3/month.

Connectivity and Software:

The Motorola DROID Pro is a global 3G phone with dual band CDMA, quad band GSM and tri band UMTS. In the States it operates over Verizon’s EVDO Rev. A network. Motorola boasts a 3G diversity antennae that “provides customers with enhanced data speeds and range,” but in comparing speed test results with other Verizon and Sprint Rev. A phones we noticed no difference. In fact, the entry level LG Vortex consistently outperformed the DROID Pro on the down link when running simultaneous tests on the app. The Pro can be turned into a 3G mobile hotspot for a fee. The stock Android browser performed as expected, which is to say generally quick and snappy with little load issues. As an Android 2.2 device the DROID Pro supports Flash content.

The phone of course has support for Wi-Fi b/g/n as well and Bluetooth clocks in at 2.1+EDR with support for the HSP, HFP, PBA, OPP, A2DP, AVRC and HID profiles. GPS performance was fine outdoors, locks were usually achieved within 30s or so, but indoors it could take well over 5 minutes, even in an upstairs corner room with windows in a house we don’t generally have issues getting a reliable lock in.

The Motorola DROID Pro runs on a 1GHz TI OMAP3620 processor with 512MB or RAM and 2GB of ROM. Quadrant Standard scores were the highest we’ve ever seen with the DROID Pro pushing 1600. It ships with lots of preinstalled software, but still has about 900MBs available to the user of the original 2GB. Examples include City ID, Skype Mobile, My Verizon, Need for Speed Shift demo and VZ Navigator. The latter has gotten much better thanks to several updates, but we still prefer the standard Google Maps Navigation to any of the carrier-installed alternatives.

Camera and Multimedia:

Despite its business focus, the Motorola DROID Pro does have some entertainment features with it. The 5-megapixel camera was very disappointing though. Images were grainy, details were poor and colors were oversaturated. With perfect lighting images were acceptable, but otherwise they were more on par with an entry level phone than a mid-range smart phone, even one with a business focus. Controls are limited; the exposure can be manually adjusted, and there are several scenes and effects, but that is it. The scenes are: auto, portrait, landscape, sport, night portrait, sunset, macro and steady shot for those without steady hands. As you can see from our results the macro mode had problems focusing, even from 24” away. Images can be geotagged and, if the user so chooses, automatically uploaded to a Facebook, MySpace or Photobucket album or email address. The camcorder can shoot at DVD quality (720x480) and only offers an auto and night scene.

Motorola DROID Pro Sample Video:

Motorola utilizes the stock Android music player, but others are of course available from the Market if stock does not suit your taste. The DROID Pro was able to play DivX, XviD and H.264 videos up to 800x480, but could not handle test files at 1280x720. It was curiously also incapable of playing any of our MPEG-4 test files.

Performance and Conclusion:

Of course with any business device call quality is very important, and the Motorola DROID Pro comes up a bit short here. Users could hear us without issue, but said that we sounded tinny and called the DROID Pro an “echo chamber.” They also complained that we were slightly muffled and overall rated us at 7.5/10. To us call quality was generally good, but callers sounded hollow as if they were in a large marble hallway. Battery life is a better story, with the Pro rated for 7 hours of usage which is quite good, especially for an Android device.

There are many things to like about the Motorola DROID Pro and for the most part it succeeds in what it sets out to do, namely steal the business user segment from RIM.  The Android operating system is more than capable of supporting enterprise users, and with added benefits such as VPN support and remote device management the DROID Pro offers what most corporations demand in a smartphone. It is not without its shortcomings though, and we feel first and foremost the keyboard needs to be worked on, followed closely by call quality. The Motorola DROID Pro simply marks a beginning of another Android frontier, and like the T-Mobile G1 and HTC EVO 4G we think it is an awfully promising start.

Motorola DROID Pro Video Review:


  • Enterprise level security features
  • Excellent battery life
  • Global roaming capabilities
  • Still offers all the entertainment potential Android has to offer


  • Keyboard is a bit cramped
  • Call quality issues
  • Poor camera performance

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