Editors' note: That's it for our live review! Over the next few days we will continue to test the Droid, including the GPS and battery life, and add in final results. For now, here is our full review of the Motorola Droid for Verizon Wireless.
Hooray! We finally have the Motorola Droid in our hands. Though it's much too early to offer a full critique, we can report that Verizon's first Google Android device is a looker. The display is gorgeous, Android 2.0 looks spiffy, and the handset appears to be lightning fast. Though we'll refrain from using the dreaded "iPhone killer" expression, comparisons between the two devices are obvious, particularly in light of Verizon's snarky ad campaign.
We're starting now and will continue posting our analysis this afternoon until we have a full rated review. So join Kent German and Bonnie Cha as we dive into the Droid.
12:30 p.m., PT Design At first glance you might not think that the Motorola Droid's design amounts to much. Its build isn't unique and the sharp angles result in a somewhat boxy look. But this is a smartphone that holds a lot of surprises, the biggest being the positively gorgeous WVGA display. At 3.7 inches it surpasses even the iPhone and is firmly in the bounds of what we consider to be an acceptable size for a touch-screen display. Color support is generous (16 million hues) and the resolutions (440x854 pixels) is some of the richest we've seen. We aren't kidding when we say that this display is bright and brilliant with vibrant colors and sharp graphics. It also lends itself well to the welcome Android 2.0 interface updates (more on that later).
Of course, with a large display the Droid is rather big (4.56 inches by 2.36 inches by 0.54 inch), but that's a small price to pay for the top-notch display. You'll notice that the Droid is a heavy (5.96 ounces) compared with other smartphones, but the trim design keeps it portable. We also welcome the solid feel in the hand, even if the slider mechanism is a little quirky. The actual sliding motion is quite stiff, but the front face doesn't really lock into place on either end. Indeed, we noticed that even a gentle nudge can start to close the Droid. No, it's not a big deal, but it's something to consider.
1:15 p.m. The capacitive display's touch interface is quick and responsive and we love the added multitouch capability that lets you zoom in on Web pages with a double tap. As with previous Android phones, there's vibrating feedback only for certain functions (like a "long press"), though you can turn off the haptic feedback completely. When we selected items and scrolled through long lists, there was no lag time in performing the command (more on that later as well). You also can customize the display's brightness, backlighting time, and animations. The accelerometer will adjust the display's orientation as you rotate the Droid in your hands, but you can turn this feature off.
Outside of the upgrades from Android 2.0 and the Droid-specific tweaks, the basic interface will be familiar to Android users. You only get three home screens--we prefer the five we got on the Motorola Cliq--but you can customize each pane with widgets. And, of course, the central pane has the Google search bar. The main menu is accessible via the pull tab at the bottom of the display. The menu's design is mostly unchanged. You can move icons around and add shortcuts and folders. The Droid does not offer the MotoBlur interface, but there is a new integrated Facebook widget for viewing status updates and posting your own. We'll describe that in more detail in the Features section.
Below the Droid's display are four touch controls: Back, Home, Search, and Menu. They perform the same functions as on other Android phones, with the search and menu keys being the most useful. The former activates Google search with just one press, and the latter opens relevant menu commands for various handset modes and features. Though the touch controls are responsive, they're not very big. And at the end of the day, we'd prefer actual physical buttons. We know this all comes down to a personal preference, but that is ours.… Read more