The Android 2.0 operating system makes it incredibly simple to connect with others verbally or non-verbally as well. Simply search for a contact by typing or speaking via the Google Search widget on the home screen. Once your contact is found, Motorola merges all the party’s contact info, including social networking info, into a single entry.
Verizon is hawking two docks, both likely to be priced at around $30. When the Droid is docked into the home charging dock in landscape mode, it becomes an alarm clock, complete with current weather updates; touch keys for alarm, music and photo viewing options; and even a dimmer. Snapped horizontally into the dashboard car dock, the Droid immediately pops into portable navigation mode.
Internet and Mobile Web Options
Thanks to Verizon’s superior EV-DO Rev A network, most mobile optimized Web pages such as CNN, ESPN and The New York Times load in around three seconds. More graphically-intense pages obviously take a little longer.
But speed isn’t the Droid’s most impressive Web surfing attribute; rather, it’s the device’s screen. Frankly, even the tiniest type is clearly readable. Text and images are so finely rendered that the Droid lets you view bookmarks as easily identifiable thumbnails as well – a much easier way of quickly locating sites than scrolling through a long list of text.
You can double tap on a loaded page to increase text size, and articles thankfully re-justify to fit the width of the screen as well. All in all, functionality here proved right on-target.
Digital Camera and Camcorder
Outdoor shots taken on the Droid’s 5MP digital camera are just plain spectacular: Even blown up to actual size there is surprisingly little grain.
Indoor shots, however, are problematic, even with the dual LED flash and built-in image stabilization options. It’s nearly impossible to capture a sharp shot pressing down the shutter release button. Indoors, you’ll have better luck using the on-screen touch shutter release, which, once tapped, automates the auto focus and image capture functions with no additional phone/camera movement. But even then, indoor shots are just shy of sharp.
Surprisingly, the camera overall is a little sluggish, needing two or three seconds to process the large snapshots, a problem inherent with high-quality cell phone images. It would have been nice to have had a Kodak camera on this Moto, like the Motorola ZN5, which seems to have sadly disappeared.
While you can upload videos directly to YouTube, you can’t email them, a minor annoyance.
Motorola rates the Droid’s 1400 mAh battery at 6.4 hours of talk, well above-average for touchscreen phones, and we squeezed out substantially more in our tests. After a full day of constant usage, the Droid still had half its power remaining, a shocking development considering how much juice it takes to power that large energy-sucking screen.
Host of minor niggles aside, the Droid does so many things (and so many things well) that it’s tough to cover them all. For example: There’s barely enough room to even scratch the surface here with Google Maps Navigation, a free (soon ad-supported) app offering turn-by-turn GPS directions, voice search capabilities, and up-to-the-minute traffic updates that could put all other expensive add-on navigation applications out of business. Just one of many amazing features the smartphone offers, we’ll say this: Taken together, the Droid and its Android 2.0 backbone simplify a plethora of communication and multimedia functions, making the phone a real joy to use. Now if only Google or some third-party would create an iTunes-/Android-like PC client to enable desktop aggregation and syncing of contacts and content. But truthfully, even this missing link and a few other quibbles don’t detract from the handset’s wondrousness. If you’re not already married to an iPhone 3G S, or happen to be a Verizon Wireless customer desperately seeking a fresh relationship with the cellie of your dreams, Motorola’s Droid is the smartphone world’s hottest new date.
• First Android 2.0 device
• Gorgeous WVGA 16:9 3.7-inch LCD
• Excellent voice quality
• 5 MP camera w/flash and DVD-quality camcorder
• Google Maps Navigation included
• Long battery life
• Slow camera
• Music play doesn’t stay paused in background
• No dedicated row of numerical keys on slide-out QWERTY