Still looking for a new smart phone; haven’t made up my mind. I’ve been keeping an annoyingly close eye on the new Motorola Droid coming out for Verizon, and after reading all the recent reviews I’m more confused than ever.
- CNet: The bottom line: Some minor design issues and multimedia quibbles aside, the Motorola Droid is the most powerful and fastest Google Android device to date. It fully embraces the openness of the Android platform and offers Verizon customers a smartphone that certainly rivals the other touch-screen devices on the market. 4 out of 5 stars.
- Laptop Magazine: The Droid from Motorola is not only a cut above the BlackBerry Storm2, but every other Android phone in terms of its rock-solid design and speed…The Droid is not for everyone. It will be too hefty for some, and its hardware keyboard is a bit cramped for rapid text entry. Nevertheless, the Motorola Droid is hip, powerful, and smart, making it our top smart phone pick for Verizon Wireless. 4 out of 5 stars.
- Engadget: So, is the DROID a good smartphone? Yes, the DROID is an excellent smartphone with many (if not all) of the features that a modern user would expect, and if you’re a Verizon customer, there probably isn’t a more action packed device on the network. That’s not to say the device doesn’t have its faults; the camera was unpleasant to use, the application selection feels thin in both quantity and quality (despite the claim of 10,000 options), and the phone has bits of basic, non-intuitive functionality that might chafe on some users after a while. But even still, it’s hard not to recommend the DROID to potential buyers eager to do more with their devices. It’s easily the best Android phone to date, and when you couple the revamped OS, Verizon’s killer network, and an industrial design straight from a gadget enthusiast’s fever-dream, it makes for a powerful concoction.
- Gizmodo: These things are true about Droid: The camera’s not great; the keyboard isn’t mindblowing; Android 2.0 lacks the polish and multimedia prowess to completely match the iPhone. What’s also true is that a killer design, Google’s services, Android’s exploding app ecosytem, powerful multitasking, a stunning screen and Verizon’s network still make it the second best phone you can buy right now, after the iPhone.
- Boy Genius Report: So, what’s the wrap up, you’re asking right? We absolutely love the Motorola DROID. It’s a perfect storm between awesome hardware, great software, and a great network. That’s not to say it’s for everyone. It isn’t the most consumer-friendly device off the bat and it’s going to take some time and a whole bunch of improvements before we think Android can totally compete in the consumer space like others can, but Android is getting there slowly and this device in general couldn’t be a better way to show it off. There’s obviously some compromises like a pretty flat QWERTY keyboard and a little heft from the inclusion of metal as a design element, but the pros easily outweigh any cons if you’re on Verizon. And even if you’re not, it’s the most compelling alternative to the iPhone we’ve ever used.
- Phandroid: [Editor’s note: Yes, this one is biased towards Android. And?] The Motorola Droid screen is the ticket to an amazing experience on virtually every facet of this phone’s features. Whether you prefer a hardware keyboard or software keyboard, the Droid offers both in a compact frame that’s no bigger than the best full touchscreen phones out there. The addition of Google Navigation is mind blowing and large feature upgrades like improved camera options and consolidated contacts/communication take the Droid a step beyond other Androids out there. It isn’t a perfect phone, but it gets the important things right and has zero areas of total failure.
- MobileBurn: There’s no reason to beat around the bush here. I think the Motorola DROID is flat out the best consumer smartphone available on Verizon. The DROID will likely eat into sales of LG’s popular enV series of feature phones since it is just as fun to use and so much more capable. The keyboard could have been better designed, and there are a few ergonomic issues that impact one-handed usability, but overall the DROID is just an absolute rocking smartphone for consumers that can also handle business tasks pretty well. I give it a “Highly Recommended” rating.
- PhoneDog: Do I recommend Droid? Yes. The usual caveats apply, and in this case I highly recommend you try the device’s physical keyboard out for yourself. My thumbs didn’t much care for it, but I’m sure some of you won’t take quite so much issue with the setup…Would I rather have Droid than any other device on the market? Not sure I can say that. Will iPhone users leave AT&T in droves for Droid? Some will, but likely more for Verizon’s network than Droid itself. Will BlackBerry users jump ship for Android on Verizon? Not if they like their BBerry’s keyboards, they won’t. But is Droid an excellent smartphone? Absolutely.
- Phone Arena: Verizon has definitely got itself a jewel in the form of the Motorola DROID and will most likely provide some much needed attention to the open platform…We found very few faults with the device…It may not be completely perfect, but it does place the emphasis of DROID in Android. 8.5 out of 10
And, of course, if you’re not interested in a bunch of very in-depth reviews, here’s some video:
Mobile Burn: Parts 1 and 2
Finally, here’s the hardware portion of Phandroid‘s review. (There are a few more vids there covering the camera, the software, Verizon, etc. so you should go check it out if you want a very complete video review.)
After having read and watched all of these reviews, this is what I get out of them:
- The phone is great in just about every way that matters for a smart phone. Some opinions differ in regards to the camera and Android itself, but most of that seems to be based on individual bias.
- The hardware keyboard is a disappointment mediocre.
OK, so I got a lot more than that, but for the sake of this post pretend that’s it.
The most important thing for me in a smartphone at this time is writing capability (ie, a keyboard). Why? I’m a writer, and I like to write on the go. I’m not planning to write novels, but scenes of novels, short stories and blog posts are definitely on the agenda. Additionally, I want something that I can browse the web, read my RSS feeds and news, connect with people, take and upload pictures (and hopefully videos) to Facebook, play music and watch videos with.
With all of this in mind, I’m strongly, strongly debating between the Droid and a Blackberry. (Of course, I’d be waiting for a Verizon BB with WiFi, preferably one with a Tour-style keyboard.)
- The Droid does everything I could want (things mentioned here and elsewhere), but from what I read here the keyboard is sub-par, so at best, it’s mediocre in that which matters to me most.
- The BB doesn’t do everything I’d want, especially in the areas of navigation and augmented reality, but the thing I want most–a keyboard–it does spectacularly. (Even with fat, squishy fingers, the Blackberry keyboards are nothing short of spectacular.)
And in case you’re wondering, yes, the keyboard is that important to me.
So here I am, still wondering whether the Droid will be worth it for me. Luckily, on my side I have time, so I think that despite my initial excitement I’ll be waiting until I see what Verizon has in the pipeline. I’ll write up my own impressions on the Droid when I test it, as well as a comparison with other phones available. Obviously, I won’t make any decisions until I check out the phone for myself.
By the way, just as an FYI, if you’re on Verizon or are thinking about going with Verizon and are looking for a Blackberry, consider taking advantage of their buy-one/get-one offer on Blackberries, which is rumored to expire November 7th. There’s a good chance they’ll bring it back, but obviously, there are no promises here.