Pretty legit review of Droid 3

Discussion in 'Motorola Droid 3' started by nerdslogic, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. nerdslogic

    nerdslogic Silver Member

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    I really couldn't say it better than this. After having this phone for about a week or so I am finally starting to form an opinion of it....and that opinion is a simple word....awesome. BUT....that really wont be fulfilled until we have root...then it will be AWESOME!!!!

    Here is a break down of the review....pretty good IMO


    The Good:

    Hardware: Motorola still knows how to do hardware for the most part. We may despise the inexpensive screen technology that they’ve gone with, but we’re definitely fans of them tossing in the brand new dual-core OMAP4430 along with dual cameras, a really spicy slideout keyboard and a dedicated HDMI-out port. They may make questionable software at times, but they can still build a phone.

    Feel: In hand at first, the DROID3 feels a little heavy, but as you continue to use it you get used to the heft. It is actually lighter than the HTC Thunderbolt which is surprising since it has a big ol’ keyboard attached. The 4″ screen is still one of the best sizes you’ll find on any phone, so in hand, you never feel uncomfortable holding it. Some 4.3″ devices are tough to use as one-handed devices – the D3 is definitely not.

    Battery: Battery life for me has to this point been phenomenal. As you can see from the screenshot below, I’m well into a full day and still have 41% left on my charge. It may look like the phone is spending all of its time in standby or idle, but I’d love for anyone to show me a phone that can even last this long doing just that. The Thunderbolt sure as hell isn’t lasting a full day on standby. I’m not sure if this battery success has to do with Moto’s qHD screens, the OMAP processor or some combination of both. No matter what, I’m a fan.

    Android 2.3.4: If Motorola and Verizon are going to continue to put out a new slideout version of the DROID each year, we hope they keep up the tradition of launching it with the newest version of Android available. This is 2 years in a row now that they’ve made this device the most current and we’re loving it. As I’ve said in other reviews, Gingerbread actually feels like the polished and incredibly stable OS that we’ve been begging for. The steps that the Android team has taken to make it the best mobile OS on the planet are clearly seen in 2.3.4.

    Physical keyboard: The DROID2 had a horrible keyboard. The DROID3′s is awesome. 5-rows and just enough of a bump on each key make this one of the best physical keyboards we’ve ever used. I’ll admit that it took some getting used to, but that’s only because I’m an on-screen touch kinda guy and really just had to learn the benefits of a physical keyboard again. Huge +1 to Motorola this time around.

    Front camera: It’s only VGA, but it works quite nicely in video chats and even takes some decent pictures. One thing to note, is the front camera is NOT troubled by that blue tint that the rear camera is. We’ll get to that later.

    New Blur: I’m actually pretty torn on this one. The new Blur featured on the DROID3 (yes, it’s different than the new Blur on the DROIDX) is not bad at all. You can tell that Motorola has really put some time into making this more than just a bunch of intrusive garbage. There are 3D transitions, a whole pile of shiny glossy things happening, and even some additional functionality that comes in handy (screen previews, custom dock, new lockscreen, etc.). The app drawer overhaul is welcomed, especially since you can make a folder without bloatware that will launch every time you open it. There are definitely some drawbacks though, but we’ll get to those in the next section.

    Video recording (1080p): We wish every single phone going forward would do 1080p.

    HDMI-out port: These should come standard on every phone in 2011+. If your phone isn’t capable of connecting to a TV, it’s not a phone of the future and should be passed over. We’re getting to that point where phones are taking HD-quality video, so we need an easy way to share and this is it.


    The Not-so-Good:

    Screen: Pretty sure you guys know how I feel about Motorola’s PenTile matrix screens at this point, don’t you? The DROID3′s is exactly like the DROIDX2′s only .3″ smaller, so it is not quite as unbearable. It’ll still give you headaches if you scroll too quickly through anything though, and it leaves massive ghosting trails in games or basically anything with quickly moving objects. It can’t render certain colors, it leaves pixels incredibly noticeable, and again, is not my favorite. Hey, but it does wonders on battery life though!

    Not 4G LTE: I hate to call any phone with DROID branding on it a “filler device”, but what else can we call this? Verizon barely acknowledged its existence, there has not been one commercial made for it, and most people outside of the tech world don’t even know that it’s available. And you know why? Because it’s not 4G LTE. Had they tossed in an LTE radio, this thing would have been blasted across billboards and your television. Unfortunately for this phone, 3G technology is no longer in the marketing budget.

    Camera: We heard a lot of rumors leading up to the release of this device (and the Bionic) which suggested that Motorola was going to introduce new cameras and software that were capable of taking some of the best pictures ever on a mobile device. Well, we’re hoping they get it right with the Bionic because the level of blue tint that this phone puts on photos is something else. There are almost zero camera settings that can be adjusted, so if you want your photos to look less Smurf’d, then you’ll have to invest in a 3rd party camera app. I would go with CameraZoom FX

    Software bugs (New Blur): Motorola has done a lot of good things with this new Blur, but there are still some things that need to be worked out in a hurry to make most of us not scream for stock. The biggest one for me is the home redraw issue. We’ve seen this on a number of their devices, so I’m not 100% surprised at this phone having it, but was definitely hoping the dual-core processor would take care of it. Try going into the camera app, then exit back home and count how many seconds it takes for your home screens to all reappear…still counting? I’m also not a huge fan of long pressing on an app in the app drawer and not being able to quickly place it on a home screen. This is one of those Blur features that hampers on a basic principal of Android. And then there is that feeling of a lack of control due to too much going on. With all the 3D and fancy transitions, you start to wonder if you have any control at all.

    Lock button: If you thought the Thunderbolt’s lock button was tough to tap, wait until you get a hold of this phone. First of all, it’s in a really awkward spot in the middle, up top on the keyboard half of the phone. The problem though, is that you feel like you have to hammer on the thing to get it to work. I constantly found myself tapping it 2-3 times without it doing anything.

    Call quality: I usually won’t include call quality as a bullet point since most phones these days do a pretty good job in this department, but something just stuck out while on calls with this phone. There just seems to be an extra layer of fuzz as compared to the Thunderbolt or Galaxy S II. By no means does it make the phone not usable as a phone, it’s just something I noticed on a regular basis.

    Bloatware: Official count is 22 bloatware apps. We counted 21 on the DROIDX2, so that means Verizon decided to step their game up this time around. Oh, and there could have been more – we may have uninstalled 1 or 2 since they are letting you do that just a bit these days.


    The Verdict:

    As to not beat around the bush too much, I’ll just come out and say that the DROID3 is a pretty damn good device. It’s lacking 4G LTE support which is a deal killer for many of you, but that doesn’t mean this phone isn’t a major player. The specs all line up, Blur has come a long way, it’s running Android 2.3.4, and technically, can take some pretty mean pictures as long as you ditch the stock software. I would highly recommend that you install a 3rd party launcher as well, since my device seems to suffer from redraw problems. But most of you do that anyway. The battery life is stellar, the screen can be dealt with if you are blind (kidding!), and for a physical keyboard, you aren’t going to do much better than this.

    I’m not going to do a comparison to the DROID Bionic or Galaxy S II because this phone is in a different category. It’s not meant to be a flagship, but it’s still an above average device that should last you the life of a contract. At $199 on a 2-year deal or $459 without, it’s not overpriced by any means and lines right up with other new non-4G releases yet has far better specs.


    This review was done on Droid-Life. There are pictures posted as well which you can check out here.

    Motorola DROID3 Review – Verizon - Droid Life: A Droid Community Blog

    In all honesty....you take all of this, subtract keyboard, and that is what he X2 SHOULD have been. Only thing I really added to this review was the app recommendation for the camera. That comes after trying out several.
     
  2. jstafford1

    jstafford1 Super Moderator
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    For the most part i agree. I've taken only 1 pic but it had no blue tint. And the screen i feel is getting a bad rap.

    end of line...
     
  3. nednarb

    nednarb New Member

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    i will get the blue tint on pictures, but of course only when using the flash
     
  4. jimikeys

    jimikeys Member

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    the screen really isn't that big a deal to me.... it looks better than OGD1 screen and i can view it in the sun....and it helps battery life.
     
  5. bsweetness

    bsweetness Moderator
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    Yeah, the screen is something that bothers some people and not others. I have 20/15 vision, and while I can see the pixels (especially on certain colors), using it at a normal distance in every day use doesn't bother me in the slightest.
     
  6. pulptastic

    pulptastic New Member

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  7. Aiesline

    Aiesline Member

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    I personally can't get the camera app he suggested to work. Which truly BLOWS. I used it on my OG droid. I also miss the dedicated camera button. Makes it harder to take pictures of myself and the kids with the better camera.
     
  8. bsweetness

    bsweetness Moderator
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  9. bsweetness

    bsweetness Moderator
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    You can take pictures using the OK button on the keyboard with the stock app. Other camera apps allow you to map any hardware button to be used as a shutter button (the volume controls would be the main option on the Droid 3 with the keyboard shut).

    I actually prefer using the screen because the phone tends to stay more steady for the shots. Using the crappy physical buttons that most phones have had (like the Droid and the Droid X) often resulted in the phone moving slightly as I tried to press the button, which caused low light photos to turn out a bit on the blurry side.
     
  10. Big D

    Big D Member

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    Good point. Hadn't thought of that.
     
  11. TDevilsG

    TDevilsG Member

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    I essentially agree with everything said. The screen is average I would say, and is certianly not bad at all. The biggest benefit to the supposed questionable screen is that the battery life has been tremendous; I have routinely gotten to the 24 hour mark with the extended battery, and the display comes nowhere near over 12%. That is a huge improvement considering the problems that battery life had with the OG and other phones in general due to the display. The phone itself is quite fast, although I must admit that I changed out of Blur simply because of the redraw issues which weren't worth the hassle when you could use something like Go Launcher or Launcher Pro and have a phone twice as fast (and probably conserving battery life in the process). The keyboard is absolutely fantastic; I'm already starting to get used to it again. The additional number row on top is very worthwhile and couldn't be expressed how useful it is when entering passwords and the such. By the way, the HD camcorder quality is exceptional as I taped some videos of 311 songs at a concert last night and were able to relive them later on that night in full HD glory. All phones should come standard with this, its that great.

    All in all, this phone is fantastic. Coming from a Thunderbolt, the amount of issues that that phone had in comparison...its just a wide leap to something much better. I don't mind the downgrade to 3G at all; 3G is still pretty fast, and I can always switch off to Wifi if need be. 4G is great, but it helped contribute to absolutely awful battery life. The Droid 3 has some of the best battery life I have seen on a smartphone in quite some time. The phone has a great feel to it and is a nice weight; it feels like a solid piece of technology. I think Motorola really got it right with the D3, and it was well worth the retail price value.
     
  12. Swis21

    Swis21 Member

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    Is there any possible way of transplanting different screens such as the super AMOLED onto this phone
     
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