First of all, to be clear: I'm a Moto Droid user. I got the Droid X for my wife. I'm very tech savvy, having hacked my WinMo 5.x/6.x phones before there were "kitchens". Of course, my Droid has been rooted for quite a while now.
However, my wife is a techophobe (OK ... not really! But, I do try to help her out quite a bit with this kind of stuff). Her previous phone was a Moto RAZR, so she's made a huge leap forward in technology, with quite a large learning curve ahead. So, I think she's a great reference of how "out-of-the-box" usable the Droid Incredible and the Droid X are.
I originally got my wife the Droid X to replace her Droid Incredible while it was still in the Verizon "exchange period". My complaints about the Incredible were primarily the poor battery life, and the slow (or more exactly: nearly non-existent) HTC Sense releases for newer Android OS updates.
This posting will compare the Droid Incredible against the Droid X. This could be useful for some of you, since you might be deciding between the two phones.
Note that this review is focused almost entirely on usability instead of a hardware/software feature comparison.
Now that you have our backgrounds, here is our review for the first 24+ hours of Droid X ownership:
- My wife found it a little bit easier to operate. The Sense interface was more cohesive for her.
- The Incredible was a "smoother" hardware experience: The screens were snappy and seamless. No lags anywhere.
- The home screen was prettier, and the time/weather widget was a much more fun display. The Incredible time/weather widget also handled multiple cities, which Beautiful Widgets does not. (My wife REALLY misses that, and Beautiful Widgets doesn't make her happy )
- The Incredible has a nicer set of (static) wallpapers. (Note: If you absolutely LOVE gray, the Droid X is the way to go) My wife felt that the Incredible was more "cheerful" and attractive. Due to the dreary screens of the Droid X, my wife thought that the Droid X actually had a much darker screen (I don't think it does, but it has that impression)
- My wife (and I) like that the Incredible browser auto-sizes text columns whenever the pinch-n-zoom would resize the screen (Just like the iPhones and the Droid hacked ROMs did before Android 2.1 was released)
- Easier/more comfortable to hold in hand
- Lots of included apps.
- There was one Sense UI that she didn't like: The dialer interface had the previous calls over the dial pad, and she mistook them for a contacts list. There were a number of times she accidentally redialed previous calls when she thought she was finger scrolling through the contact list.
- Battery life was very poor.
- No user manual built into the phone.
- Outdoor visibility was poor.
- If we kept the Incredible, we would have bought the 2000+ mA battery, which would have changed the form factor such that we couldn't use any of the Incredible accessories: the charging media dock, phone covers, or car mount. This was probably the "straw that broke the camel's back" for us.
- Virtual keyboard predictive text is poor compared to other keyboards I have tried.
So we picked up the Droid X a few minutes after the nearby Verizon store opened up yesterday morning. My wife was tossed during the purchase. The Droid X wasn't a clear winner.
- My wife wanted a larger screen. I warned her, "Yes, of course the Droid X is bigger. They have to make it bigger for the larger screen." At first, she didn't like how large the Droid X was in her hand, but she's used to it now, and loves the larger screen.
- Feels more "solid". I didn't mention this to my wife, but she noticed it on her own.
- Better visibility outdoors over the Incredible. Still a long way from perfect, but it is definitely better.
- Battery lasts longer than Incredible.
- Built-in full user's manual, including instructional videos. (Actually, it's an HTML document with hyperlinks to Motorola's site, so you can see pretty much the same info on Motorola's page: HERE)
- Should be upgraded to newer versions of Android OS much faster than the Incredible.
- My wife doesn't know this, but the predictive text on the stock Droid X virtual keyboard is insanely better than the Incredible keyboard. She'll figure this out in a few days
- The Swype keyboard is very cool, and would probably be my input method of choice. I know she'll be sticking with the stock keyboard, though.
- The keyboard cursor fine-positioning magnified pop-up is fantastic! (I've heard it is the same as the iPhone).
- The call sound quality is one of the best I've heard on a cell phone. Motorola's noise cancellation works very, very well.
- The pre-loaded "Need For Speed: Shift" demo game was very nice, with the best graphics I've seen on an Android game yet.
- There's a bunch of cool additional hardware features that we are unlikely to use very often, but you might find handy:
- "Media Connector", which searches out storage devices on your home network. I connected to my Windows Home Server to transfer files to the Droid X. Works OK.
- HDMI output, DLNA. I'm guessing these fall more into the "Wow, that's cool!" feature set that won't be used very often in real life. Maybe I'm wrong.
- The resizable Moto widgets have potential. Not a huge feature improvement, but nice.
- The social networking stuff looks promising, but we haven't delved too far down that path yet.
- It is big. Up to you whether it is "too big".
- There are occasional, momentarily lags when moving between screens.
- The User interface is somewhere between the HTC Sense UI and stock Android UI (being much closer to the Android stock). More techie, and my wife finds it harder to navigate for now.
- The stock static wallpapers are just plain ugly, unless you LOVE gray and dreary metallic techie wallpapers. Definitely slanted more towards the male audience here. Even some of the stock Android static wallpapers that would be more cheerful aren't loaded on the Droid X. For the life of me, I can't figure out what Motorola was thinking here.
- Our biggest gripe: The four physical push buttons on the bottom of the screen (Menu, Home, Back, and Search) are absolutely ridiculously TERRIBLE.
- For one, what the freak are the manufacturers thinking with the trend of making the logos on the buttons smaller than any previous Droid phone? From about a foot away, they now all look like similar squarish blobs on the Droid X. (I think my Moto Droid was the only one that got that right: Easily visible from a distance, and not some abstract graphic.) If I'm driving a car and have to press one of these buttons while using the Navi mode, I don't know if I'll hit the right one.
- The buttons are hard to press consistently, and now absolutely require two hands to operate: One to hold the phone securely, and one to press the button (sometimes works even better with the thumb underneath the Droid X and the index finger above to press the button using a finger-thumb "squeeze").
- The buttons are flush with the phone microphone at the bottom, making it hard to push below. The physical buttons could have been a big improvement, but are an EPIC FAIL in our book.
- Less included apps.
- With the Verizon glossy silicone protective case, the power button is hard to press.
- No included media dock app to bring up the clock while charging (without the stand). This is minor, though: We downloaded the "Dock Simulator" app, which works just fine.
So, it's a mixed bag. When we woke up this morning, I chatted with my wife, and I asked her if she wanted me to return the Droid X to try and get back the Incredible. While she wasn't sure, she said that she thought that the Droid X "would be OK".
Not exactly a glowing endorsement. I know that as I help my wife through the hurtles of using the Droid X, she'll become happy with it.
But, if you have an Incredible, and are thinking about switching to a Droid X, be sure to spend plenty of time at Verizon (or with a friend's Droid X) before you take the leap. If you've never used a smartphone except the Incredible Sense UI, the switch to the Droid X UI will probably seem like a big step backwards.
Switching may be a great move for you, or maybe not. Just don't buy the Droid X because it's the newest tech, because it isn't necessarily better.