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Motorola DROID Review

Motorola DROID

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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.


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Motorola DROID

Motorola DROID

OS: Android 2.2 2.1 2.0
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
8.5Excellent
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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