Droid 3 vs. Thunderbolt... my perspective

Discussion in 'Motorola Droid 3' started by camack7827, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. camack7827

    camack7827 New Member

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    Hopefully I'm putting this in the correct forum, if not I apologize. The purpose of this post is to provide information for anyone else considering the one of these two devices and/or switching from one device to the other.

    My backstory, I owned the original Droid since it's release date (Nov. 2009?). After owning it for 18 months, it really started to act up with various performance issues (couldn't answer incoming calls, etc). I opted to upgrade to an HTC Thunderbolt after researching the current options.
    I want to say that my Thunderbolt is likely not representative of most, it was a dud from the moment I unboxed it. I spent about 60 minutes on the phone with support simply trying to activate it. Shortly thereafter, I started having the random reboot issue (3-5 per day every day). I was unable to download the update to fix my random reboot issue, so Verizon Wireless decided to send me a "Certified Factory Refurbished" device. Overall, I owned the T-bolt for about 2 months and overall was happy with it "all things considered".

    I swapped over to a Droid 3 about a week ago and here are my thoughts when comparing the two.

    Thunderbolt Cons:
    • Screen brightness was too low, it's difficult to see in daylight
    • Bluetooth call volume was way too low, VERY difficult hear a caller when on the road (I tried two separate headsets, a Plantronics and a Jawbone)
    • When on a call without a headset, the touchscreen did not consistantly go to sleep. This resulted in accidentally muting or ending calls with my cheek.
    • Call quality on the phone itself was ok, though there was always an audible hiss. While I got used to hearing the hiss, it was annoying.
    • Battery life wasn't good, though wasn't as unlivable for me. I bought a spare battery, turned of WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use, etc.
    Thunderbolt Pros:
    • 4G was FAST. I had 4G coverage quite often as I live and work in NJ, though my job takes me into NYC and Philly.
    • Display size was awesome (all smart phones need a 4.3 display). Icons seemed to be perfect size etc.
    • The "fits in the pocket" and "gotta have it" factors are high. The sleek design was comfortable to carry, not as comfortable to hold while on a call though.
    • Virtual keyboard was very easy to use, likely partially due to the screen size.
    • Sense is an awesome factory skin... I have nothing but good things to say about Sense.
    Droid 3 Cons:
    • No 4G, and I do notice a difference when browsing now
    • No real "gotta have it factor at all" as it basically looks like my OG Droid... just bigger
    • Battery life: I'm listing this as a con because I haven't been "wowed" by battery life on the D3. It's better than the T-bolt, but that's kind of like being the skinniest kid at fat camp.
    Droid 3 Pros:
    • Dual Core (I list this as a Pro even though I don't see any real performance difference in everyday use over my T-bolt... yet)
    • Screen Clarity is AMAZING. Higher pixel density plus a smaller display makes the D3 look like HDTV when compared to the T-bolt's SDTV.
    • Slide-out QWERTY keyboard. I list this is a plus because it just "feels like home" to me. Remember that my first "non-Blackberry" smartphone was the original Droid. While I'm not used to it yet (as evidenced by the many spaces where "a" should be), I am already now used to the physical keyboard again.
    • Call quality is OUTSTANDING. The same bluetooth headsets that were too quiet when used in conjunction with the T-bolt need to be turned down when used with the D3. Not to mention the crystal clear handset calling.
    • "The Not MotoBlur Skin" is pretty good. Much more "Sense" like that "Blur" like. Overall I'm happy with the factory overlay, I'd put it a little below Sense... but not much!
    Bottom line, the D3 is a more solid "device" in my opinion. I don't hate the T-bolt and there are things about it that I will certainly miss. I think my preference to the D3 is likely due to the fact that I owned the D1 for a while combined with the fact that I got a lemon of a phone when I bought the T-bolt. Overall, you can't go wrong with either phone. I hope this comes across as unbiased and helps someone decide which phone to get for themselves.

    Please feel free to post anything you feel I may have missed. If I agree with you I'll edit this post as I'm sure there are things I've forgotten already.

    Chris
     
  2. benstange

    benstange New Member

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    Thanks Chris.

    Thanks for laying all that out. I am also a Droid owner from Nov 2009 and the wife and I are both due for upgrades. I was waiting for the Bionic to come out to see if it was really going to be as great a thing as people were expecting... don't think the wife's going to wait another month for something we may not even get. I was going to go with the TB but then started hearing positive things about the D3. My thing is I am not in a 4G area. In fact I live in a small town so we're not getting it any time soon. If 4G isn't even a factor, would you still consider the TB?

    We are new parents so a good video and still camara are important (in case we don't have the seperate ones with us). Also we would like to video chat (on 3G) as I'm away from home for days at a time. Other than that, just email, FB, and the random little apps that everyone else uses. For our situation (no 4G, good camara, ability to video chat) is there a standout winner? Thanks for your time.
     
  3. LordShadowz

    LordShadowz New Member

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    I ultimately decided on the D3 because one of my co workers has the Thunderbolt and I cannot get over how fast the battery drains on it. She would leave it on the counter not even using it and in a few hours it was dead.. She was saying the second she went to do anything the battery would drain even faster..

    I am VERY happy I chose the D3.. I am really loving the phone. It is very snappy and fast and I'm really enjoying it. The screen kicks a$$ and is the best screen I've ever seen on a device when using it outside.. I could easily see the screen outside today while i tested the GPS. No need to squint..

    Motorola finally has made a solid device.. When you hold the D3 in your hands it feels like a high end quality device.. The smooth metal housing rocks...

     
  4. gmtekk

    gmtekk Member

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    good luck...i just took back both my d3s. battery wouldnt last more than half a day besides a **** load of other problems. thank god it was documented with verizon all the times i called and told them of all the problems i was having, and they acutually waived the restocking fees on both! back to my tb which hands down is way better than the d3.
     
  5. LordShadowz

    LordShadowz New Member

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    Hi gm !

    I hear you... Normally I am the one that gets the broken device... Now I just got the phone today so I'm not jinxing myself for atleast a week lol.. My Droid X died within one day of arriving. My daughters D2 came broken.. I kid you not.. She opened the packaging, pulled the phone out.. The landscape keyboard keys were all popped up and actually had sharp edges..

    LOL Im praying my luck doesn't continue !!


     
  6. gmtekk

    gmtekk Member

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    the key is if you see any issues with the phone report them immediatly that way it get documented in the system. that saved me 60 dollars restocking fee on junk.
     
  7. bsweetness

    bsweetness Moderator
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    The video quality of the Droid 3 is very good. The still camera quality, not so much. I was very disappointed in the quality of the pictures. The cameras that HTC uses are definitely better for still shots. Video chat should essentially be a wash between phones as none currently have anything that really makes them stand out from others on that front.

    Between the relatively poor camera and the wealth of issues I had (bad battery life, random reboots, etc), I returned my Droid 3. I really wanted to love it, but it just wouldn't let me. Motorola has acknowledged some of the issues in their support forums, so I'm sure fixes are on the way. If they could adequately address the issues, the Droid 3 would be a knockout 3G phone. But as it currently stands, I think it falls short.

    If you're wanting to buy a new phone now, and 4G isn't a concern, I'd give the Droid Incredible 2 a look if I were in your situation. Great screen, great battery life, great camera, and a front facing camera for video chat. It's single core, but it has more ram than the Droid 3. It's basically a Thunderbolt without 4G, a slightly smaller screen (4" instead of 4.3"), and much better battery life. Everything else between the Incredible 2 and the Thunderbolt is essentially the same (processor, ram, camera, etc). One of the most solid all around 3G phones I've ever used.
     
  8. psychotic_penguin

    psychotic_penguin Active Member

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    I agree with all of your points, the only difference is I never had the pleasure of cruising 4G since it's not available in my area.

    Thanks for a great write-up.
     
  9. JohnnyS101

    JohnnyS101 Member

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    Well you gotta think, the droid 3 came out about a good 2 weeks ago in the stores. New phones have bugs and when they update they go away. Camera360 is a great camera app that takes use of the full 8 mp in still shots and is good to wait until the main camera app is fixed, and battery life is just gonna get better just have to think of how to use it.

    Sent from my DROID3 using DroidForums
     
  10. psychotic_penguin

    psychotic_penguin Active Member

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    I've heard good things about Camera360, gonna give it a shot thanks for reminding me.
     
  11. bsweetness

    bsweetness Moderator
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    True, that's why I said it has the potential to be a knockout 3G phone once the bugs are fixed.

    As for battery life, having been using smartphones for 6 years and 5 different Android phones in the past 2 years, I have a pretty good idea of how to adjust settings to get optimal battery life. With both of the Droid 3's I had, standby was absolutely destroying the battery life. The extended battery would drain 20% in two hours with excellent signal just sitting on my desk not being used at all. I'd have a day here or there where I'd get acceptable battery life, but those were infrequent (and the randomness of it isn't right either). If there's an issue with the standby, that's a radio issue, and that's something that only Motorola can address through a later update.

    And Camera360 does work better than the stock app if you apply the correct settings (it was one of many camera apps I used on the Droid 3), but the hardware is still inferior to the current HTC cameras for still shots. That can't be fixed with an update or an app. It's not the worst camera out there for a phone by any means, but it's far from the best.

    All in all, as I already said, once it's bugs are fixed, the Droid 3 will be a tremendous phone. It's already a tremendous phone for those who aren't experiencing any of the problems that many users have had. But for what I need my phone for currently, it was too problematic. I might revisit the phone later, but by then something else will probably catch my attention.
     
  12. JohnnyS101

    JohnnyS101 Member

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    Well these are things I do to keep my battery good.
    -50% brightness, its a good brightness for all day use
    -2 to 3 times a day kill apps that may not haven been killed by the system

    Besides these things tips, nothing else I do. I get decent battery life, if I sparingly use it maybe 5-10 min a time 10 times at most a day it could last all day

    Sent from my DROID3 using DroidForums
     
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