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Thread: Wired Reviews the Droid

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    Wired Reviews the Droid

    Reviewed by Priya Ganapati • October 30, 2009



    Photos By Jon Snyder for Wired.com

    Yes, This Is the Droid You've Been Looking For

    The Droid is Motorola's second attempt at an Android phone but the first one they've actually gotten right. More importantly, it's one of the first phones that can legitimately stand head-to-head with the iPhone -- and come out ahead in some significant respects.

    Like get decent reception! The Droid is offered by Verizon in the United States and enjoys all the benefits of their extensive network. In our tests around San Francisco the Droid rarely dropped a call, loaded web pages quickly, and pulled up navigation screens without an ounce of hesitation. Overall, network performance trumped our AT&T iPhone.
    Physically the Droid is not much to look at because of its boxy, angular frame. Its hefty 6-ounce weight doesn't make it especially pocket-friendly either. Think of it as The Hulk to the iPhone's Spiderman. The 3.7-inch touchscreen display is a shade bigger than the iPhone 3G S, but it has much higher resolution, with 854 x 440 pixels compared to the iPhone's 480 x 320. The virtual keyboard is fantastically responsive with very little input error.




    The slide-out physical keyboard, though, is one of the few disappointments of the Droid. The small, flat buttons make it difficult to crank out text.

    The home screen lets you access basics such as phone, contacts, browser and maps. But you can quickly customize it by adding your favorite apps such as Pandora and Google Voice to the mix.

    The Droid runs Android 2.0 (aka Éclair) as its OS. It feels more refined than the first version of Android on T-Mobile's G1 and it's certainly better than the muddled interface on Motorola's Cliq.

    The Droid's 5-megapixel camera has up to 4x digital zoom. It produces photos that aren't too noisy and it does well even in low light, thanks to the built-in LED flash.

    The most exciting feature of the phone, though, is the Google maps app -- with built-in turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation. Replete with text-to-speech features, the maps are layered with traffic data and a satellite view. But here's the best part. It's free! Hear that? You don't have to pay $10 a month as subscription or buy a pricey $100 TomTom app. You can just zip around with the Droid and Google Maps.

    Folks who would like to get their e-mail by intravenous drip can also rest easy. Out of the box, Droid syncs with Microsoft Exchange for e-mail, calendar, and contacts (making it business-friendly) plus it supports Gmail. And for those who don't like to mix business and pleasure (eww), the Droid keeps the personal and corporate calendar apps separate.

    That's not to say that the Droid doesn't like to mix it up. The integrated contacts display pulls together information from Facebook and your phonebook contacts, and the phone's universal search makes it easy to sift through all of them.
    The browser is excellent and displays web pages quickly (though Flash websites are still out of bounds), with a little help from Verizon's 3G network. You can toggle through multiple windows and scan them in an easy list view. You double-tap the screen to zoom in and out -- which works, but we miss the "pinch to zoom" gesture found on the Palm Pre and iPhone. Sadly, there's no native multi-touch support in the Droid.

    The Droid also does not provide an easy way to sync your music. Instead of iTunes, the phone connects to Amazon's MP3 store and lets you browse tracks by genre or artist and buy them for a dollar apiece, all wirelessly. But there's no software to sync your music to the PC and manage it easily.

    Yet, the phone is endearingly quirky. Tweak the settings to turn on the haptic feedback and you can feel a nice rumble each time you press a button. And then there's the squawking of the word 'drooooiddd' in a robotic monotone when you power up the phone or get a voice message.

    Overall, Droid makes the iPhone 3G look a little tired, the BlackBerry boring, and the Palm Pre an after-thought. The Droid doesn't have a single "wow" feature. Rather, it's the combination of solid phone, smart user interface, and Verizon's kick-ass network that makes the Droid a cut above most smartphones. If it were 2 ounces lighter and had a better keyboard (or no keyboard at all), it would be hands-down the best smartphone on the market today. As it is, it's a solid contender in a market that has too long been dominated by just one top-quality handset.

    WIRED An awesome Android phone on the Verizon network -- finally! Gorgeous, responsive touchscreen. Fast, fast processor. Excellent browser. User-replaceable battery.

    TIRED We want our multitouch pinch! Difficult-to-use physical keyboard. Pocket-tearing heft.

    • Style: Slider
    • Camera Resolution: 5.1 to 7 megapixels
    • Operating System: Android
    • Manufacturer: Motorola
    • Price: $200 (with 2-year contract)
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    #2
    Thanks for the new review, another great read.
    Resistance is futile.

    On 11/16/2009 DroidNet Became Aware
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    #3
    Most all of these reviews are the same, which is to say people who (ought) to know what they're looking for or at come away with a very favorable opinion of the droid. MOst say it won't kill the iPhone (because of iTunes) but it will compete with and maybe even put the iPhone on the ropes. They all can't be wrong can they? I feel more comfortable everyday with making this decision. Now I just hope I can adjust what I'm used to (BB storm) to the droid. Like will it vibrate when I have it in a holster or clip and ring when it's out on my desk?
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    Unfortunately I hate itunes. So i'm not worried one bit, and there are alot of people like me out there, that do not use, nor will they ever use itunes.
    Resistance is futile.

    On 11/16/2009 DroidNet Became Aware
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    I don't need no stink-in iTunes , I am sure there will be an App for that real soon !! Maybe, Google Music, or something along those lines.
    Where Ever you Go! There You Are !!
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    I'm with you guys. I have an iPod for listening to music. My phone is my phone, my information manager, my mobile web, my text messaging, my scheduler. It is my life. My iPod is my play.
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    #7
    Itunes bites. I don't worry about the whole music sync thing since I am a drag and drop kind of person. I also don't see this phone as an iphone killer and it doesn't need to be. I do see Android as a potential iphone killer if Apple doesn't change things.
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    #8
    Maybe we need to send wired a link to this:

    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/dro...inch-zoom.html

    TIRED We want our multitouch pinch!
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    #9
    it hurts me looking at these pictures. who would actually place a naked droid on the concrete like that?
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by JimMariner View Post
    I don't need no stink-in iTunes , I am sure there will be an App for that real soon !! Maybe, Google Music, or something along those lines.
    I know people hate drag and drop, but I use MediaMonkey and don't give iTunes a second thought.
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