My review of the Motorola Droid. I'd like to preface my review by saying that I've had the phone for over a week now and haven't had time to use every feature available on the phone. However, I have used a substantial amount and feel comfortable enough to provide my own personal review.
Aside from the Droid, I also own an iPod Touch. Although the iPod Touch is no phone (without using a phone-like app), it is considered a smart device like the Droid. Throughout my review, I will make comparisons to the iPod Touch in functionality, Apple's App Store, etc. Yes, I know it's apples to oranges (pardon the pun).
Ok, here we go...
The Motorola Droid is a very solid feeling phone. It is made of very sturdy material and sports an external speaker on the rear of the phone for multimedia and games. I have to note, the latter versions of the iPod Touch offers a speaker as well. However, in comparison, the volume for the Droid can be increased substantially. If you're playing a game on the Droid, you don't have to hold the device up to hear the sounds. The clarity of the screen resolution is AMAZING! Comparing it to the iPod Touch isn't even fair. Both devices are great in regards to visuals but the Droid blows it out of the water! Also, the speed of the device is super fast. Navigating is a breeze and the system is incredibly smooth.
I only have two complaints concerning its design. My first complaint is, you can only wake the phone by pressing a small button on the top of the device. No other external buttons will allow for this. What makes it even more cumbersome is that the button is recessed within a plastic nook. When a call comes through or a text message, you have to push this small button and then unlock the phone. This is a bit of a pain, but doesn't totally knock review points off. You get used to it. Second, I am trying to become accustomed to the way you make calls. In order to use the dialer, an app appears on the home screen. This is the only way to make a phone call. Not having an external button makes no sense whatsoever.
Aside from a few gripes, I give the Design an 8 out of 10
Applications and App Store
The Droid App store has a nice, clean look and feel to it. Finding and downloading apps is a breeze and each app only takes a few seconds or minutes to do so. My only complaint is, some of the apps listed don't give visual representations of what the app looks like. In comparison to the Apple App store, each app has at least one picture under the description showcasing what it will look like when you run it.
The apps range from being good to average at best, in comparison to the ones offered in the Apple App store. The Motorola Droid has so much power built into its device that you would think their app offerings would eat any Apple device for lunch... Not so much. I downloaded comparable apps on my new Droid that I downloaded for the iPod Touch (one in particular was a dice rolling app). On the iPod Touch, the dice almost look real and they even have shadows that follow the movement of the device as you shake and tilt it. On the Droid, a similar app had flat psudo-3d dice that weren't always responsive when shaking the device. I also tried Guitar Hero World Tour and it too looked flat and uninspired.
I was impressed, however, with certain apps such as Home ++, Dolphin Browser, Barcode Scanner Apps and the Google Maps app built in. The navigation tools are fantastic and easy to use.
Applications and App Store a 4 out of 10
This is where I really have problems with the Droid. Although Google is trying to be the standard from which others follow, they seemed to drop the ball in this area. The music player is ok at best and the video playback is a bit faulty. Let's start with the music player.
The Droid is an ok music player. The sounds from both the external speaker and headset are very good. There aren't a lot of options (from what I can tell) in regards to tweaking the sound, but it is good nonetheless.
As with some of the gripes on this site, I wasn't at all pleased with the file management of music. For starters, the music program used to transfer music from your PC to the device is average at best. No bells or whistles and it feels a bit generic. Once the music is on the Droid, you don't have the ability to sort music or to navigate songs with a swipe of a finger as you do on the iPod Touch. Even with these shortcomings, I believe software updates can remedy this if Google decides to do so.
Second, the video player is downright bad. There are limited controls for video and like the tool used to import music, it is severely lacking finesse. When I added video to my Droid, it felt very similar to the way I accomplished this on my old LG Dare. It was totally sad. Not to mention, I have yet to have the ability to rip video to the device and have it appear full screen. If someone knows how to do this, please let me know
Lastly, the video I ripped was choppy on the device at times. Now in all fairness, it could have been a result of the software I used to rip the video. However, I've read other reviews that stated the same thing. Hopefully in the future this will be fixed.
Multimedia a 3.5 out of 10
Phone as a Phone
Ok, bottom line, we purchase cell phones for making phone calls... Yes, what a concept... lol! All the other functions are secondary. My experience with cell phone call quality has ranged from being better than average (Dare) to downright bad (Razr). I have to say, this is where the Droid totally eats up the competition. The calls are totally clear and the bluetooth connection is done exceptional well. I've had friends tell me that they thought I was using a landline opposed to a cell! This is VERY important to me, especially since I feel I live in my car at times. The only complaint I have is what I mentioned above. I'm not crazy about how I have to answer the phone or initialize calls but these are VERY minor gripes.
Phone as a Phone a 9.5 out of 10
Ok, it is still a phone, but it is almost like a mini computer. The way the Droid manages files and applications is second to a real computer! I couldn't believe that this device would make me feel like using an iPod Touch was cumbersome! From navigation, to creating folders (iPod/iPhone can't do this!), you definitely feel more like you're using a computer more so than any other smart device out there. The level of customization surpasses ALL the devices I've used in the past and the fact you can add even more memory to the phone is AWESOME! I've been using Home ++ and it feels like you're using a program like Parallels found on the Mac OS X! You have the ability to run another operating system (sorta) on your device and can switch between the main one and Home ++! This is amazing!
I found the movement from screen to screen to be simply beautiful. The touch is magnificent and I love all the small nuances added to the OS such as silent txt notifications (WOO HOO!) and the ease of checking external Google mail accounts! I added a new email address within seconds and can check both accounts with just the touch of a button! Totally cool!
The only major gripe I have with file management (I have with the OS in general) is the lack of multi-touch support. As seen in select applications, it DOES exist. However, for some reason, Google has yet to update their Android OS with it as a standard! WTF??? This would definitely make an even easier and more user friendly device.
Again, not a deal breaker at all.
File Management a 10 out of 10
Despite the reviews I've read over the internet, I have to say I really like the camera and video camera built into the Droid. It's not the best, but it is REALLY GOOD! I haven't found a way to zoom in and out with the camera and not sure if this exists on the phone, but I have very little complaints concerning it. The pictures come out crisp and the video is perfect! I've downloaded both media (pictures and video) to my computer and I am pleasantly impressed.
Camera a 9 out of 10
(Whew! Finally... lol!)
So, my short experience with the Droid has overall left me impressed with the phone. I'm in no way totally blown away but I'm not disappointed at all. I know the Droid is a new phone and there are PLENTY of places for improvement. All in all, without any upgrades to the OS, I think Verizon has a very good multimedia device and an excellent phone. Looking forward to Android OS 2.1
Final score: 7.3 out of 10