Motorola DROID: The Reviews Are In
Motorola's DROID may be the largest threat to Apple's stranglehold on the smartphone market to date, and for good reason. Available starting tomorrow for $199 (with a minimum $70 voice and data monthly plan), the DROID offers lots to like: a sturdy, angular, all-black design; a crystal clear, high-resolution display (854 by 480 pixels); a faster, 550MHz-rated processor; the next-generation Android 2.0 operating system from Google; a physical keyboard; and Verizon's decent call service. Overall, critics see the DROID as a huge step forward for Android-loaded phones, despite there being a few significant kinks to work out. Head after the break to see what the Web is saying:
Engadget: In its in-depth look, Engadget appreciates the phone's hard edges and angular slopes, its processor speed bump, and its unparalleled audio quality. Still, the unpredictable 5-megapixel camera has trouble focusing for still shots, the music player is poorly executed, and the phone app seems thrown together. "Ultimately, the DROID won't usurp the iPhone from the public's collective mindshare or convince casual users that they must switch to Android," says Engadget Editor-in-Chief Josh Topolsky, "but it will make a lot of serious geeks seriously happy -- and that's good enough for us."
All Things Digital: Though the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg doesn't care for the keyboard, and takes issue with the omission of multitouch features (e.g., pinching to zoom out of maps and images), he was impressed by the phone's build and generous, 6.4-hour battery life. Basically, he sees it as a boon for Verizon, Motorola, and Google, as well as loyal Verizon customers. "While it has some significant drawbacks," he admits, "it's the best super-smart phone Verizon offers, the best Motorola phone I've tested, and the best hardware so far to run Android."
The New York Times: David Pogue deems it a killer phone; he loves the screen resolution, app multitasking, and overall speed and cell signal. Still, he maintains that Android has a ways to go before it can catch up to the iPhone with regards to polish and ease-of-use. Also, DROID's mere 12,000 apps just can't compete with the iPhone's 100,000. That being said, Pogue does go so far as to assert, "[The] DROID wins on phone network, customizability, GPS navigation, speaker, physical keyboard, removable battery and openness (free operating system, mostly uncensored app store)."
Boy Genius Report: Boy Genius fell in love with the design, improved user interface, and stunning display. Sure, there are enough persistent issues with the Android OS to annoy (e.g., the kiddie password unlock system, no configurable hardware keyboard settings), but they're not enough to detract from what he thinks is the most compelling alternative to the iPhone we've yet seen.
Gizmodo: The crew over at Gizmodo sums up its opinion quite succinctly: If you don't care for the iPhone, buy the DROID instead. Giz loved the updated OS, macho industrial design, that drool-worthy display, and Verizon's solid network. As for the camera? Chuck it. "In four months, we'll probably see a new champion. That DROID sets such a high bar for everything after might be the best thing about it."
PC World: The editors over at PC World also find the keyboard too shallow for their liking, but deem it tolerable. Excellent call quality, a snappy processor, Web features, and that gorgeous display otherwise made the DROID a wild success in the PC World offices. "The DROID certainly lives up to its promises and does a lot of things the iPhone doesn't," the review glows. "The iPhone will probably keep its smartphone throne for now, but it will have to deal with a powerful new competitor."
The Associated Press: Rachel Metz likes everything about the DROID (aside from its flat keys, which make it hard to type accurately, and the occasional stutter while multitasking) enough to give it her seal of approval. Says Metz: "Even if you aren't already using Verizon, if you're not swayed by the iPhone, you might fall for the DROID."