Impressions of the Motorola Droid

I have been using the Droid for a few days now (yes actually using it, and giving the iPhone a break).  So here are some of my impressions and thoughts about the Droid. Lets start with the device itself, ever so slightly larger then an iphone 3G  but 1.3 ounces heavier, you can feel the extra weight, and while only .02 of an inch thicker that too is really apparent when working with the Droid.  Putting the dimensions of the device aside, the hardware is nice,  excellent screen, rotation from portrait to landscape is responsive and does not happen unexpectedly. The on screen keyboard is difficult to type on, very similar to the problems I had with it in portrait mode on the Blackberry Storm where the keys are simply too small to be accurate.  There is no SureType mode built in to the Droid, though it looks like there might be some add ons available via the Android Market.  The physical keyboard takes a little getting used to, part of the problem is I am not comfortable holding the device in landscape mode, but am slowly getting used to it, but I find my typing getting a little faster every day.  One of the nice features of the keyboard is that on screen you get a visual indication in line where you are typing  when the Shift, or Alt, key.   One of the features I really like is the Haptic Response from the keys, when enabled you get a buzz feedback from the keys to confirm an action took place, or let you know the key had no effect (for example hitting the home key when already on the home screen).   iPhone 3G Specs Motorola Droid Specs Applications Not surprisingly Google Voice integrates seamlessly with the Droid, in fact once the app is installed, if you set it to always use Google Voice you just make calls normally, and they automatically route via Google Voice. The Turn by Turn navigation is very impressive, actually has more functionality they my  Garmin Nuvi 200 and also integrates Google Street View.  In addition it has access to my contacts making it easy to add an address to navigate to. I have been using the Twitter client from Seesmic which is as rich in features as Tweetdeck on the iPhone, including, twitpic, and youtube integration,   I have also found apps in the Android Market for Brightkite, TripIt, Facebook, Shazam, and there are certainly many other apps out there, but right now I would say it is an immature market for apps, the ones that I have looked at are lacking in finesse, I expect this will change over time for the better, but if you were comparing Droid and the iPhone on apps alone, the iPhone would win today. Battery I am still assessing the battery life on the Droid, and while it certainly seems better then the iPhone, it probably has room for improvement.  On the bright side, if I really wanted I could get a spare battery for the Droid (though I will probably just continue to use my Lenmar Power Port for spare power on the go). Camera Despite being a 5 megapixels camera and having a flash, the iPhone 3G 2 megapixels camera takes better pictures.  The Droid camera has problems focusing, and I have not been impressed with it.  Same for he video camera, so far the couple of videos I tried to take have not been that great.  The camera focus issue is supposedly being fixed in an upcoming software upgrade due out on December 11th. Voice Aside from the Google Voice integration mentioned above, I have found the phone to be decent, at times there are some echoes heard on calls, and this apparently is a known issue also expected to be fixed in the upcoming upgrade. Probably the biggest change from an iPhone to Droid is the ability to run background applications.  The notification panel which is at the top of the home screen is easy to use and pivot between applications i.e. switching from a task to e-mail or Twitter, and back.  This included turn by turn navigation which becomes an active item in the notification panel allowing you to easily check and e-mail and return back to navigation.  Here is a picture of the Notification screen (and make no mistake it might say “Exchange” mail, but that is my Lotus Notes mail coming in via Traveler) A picture named M2 The one other thing I really like is the ability to add widgets to the home screen A picture named M3 For example here is a power management widget I installed which easily lets me control the screen display, wifi, bluetooth, etc. to get the most out of my battery A picture named M4 Overall I am impressed with the Droid, I think it is lacking some polish right now, which will come with time, I will continue using it for a while and see how it progresses.

3 Responses to Impressions of the Motorola Droid
  1. Adam Gartenberg
    December 7, 2009 | 2:22 pm

    My parents both just got Droids (their first smart phone of any kind, not including my Dad’s history with a classic Palm Pilot), and are sounding a bit overwhelmed. Have you come across any good tutorial sites or apps you’d recommend?

  2. Chris Reckling
    December 7, 2009 | 11:06 pm

    Mitch – thanks for posting. I’m on Verizon, so the android phones are very interesting to me. The main thing is – how’s the phone call quality itself outside of G Voice?


  3. Anonymous
    December 30, 2009 | 2:18 pm