Announced at CTIA Fall 2010, the Motorola Droid Pro takes aim at business users (and BlackBerry) by offering a full QWERTY keyboard and touch screen and enhanced security features. This combination certainly makes the smartphone the most business-friendly Android device out there and also gives Verizon customers their first Android-based world phone. In addition, the handset offers a better Web browser and a larger selection of apps than BlackBerrys. However, the latter still holds the upper hand in terms of messaging, enterprise support, and battery life, which may prevent some business users from ditching their BlackBerry. Still, for those ready to make switch in exchange for some of the reasons mentioned above, the Droid Pro is very much a worthy competitor. The Motorola Droid Pro is available now for $179.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate.
The Motorola Droid Pro features a slate design that combines both a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard. It's not particularly striking, though it's not necessarily meant to be, either, as a business device. Instead, it's got a classic black and silver chassis and at 4.69 inches tall by 2.36 inches wide by 0.46 inch wide and 4.73 ounces, the smartphone is not petite but still pocketable. In the hand, it feels solid, but it would have been nice to see a soft-touch finish on back instead of an all-plastic battery door, just to give it more of a premium feel. We also noticed that the phone can get a bit warm with use and while charging.
The Droid Pro's screen measures 3.1 inches diagonally and has an HVGA (320x480 pixels) resolution and support for up to 16 million colors. Though not as sharp (pixels were slightly more visible and graphics didn't look quite as smooth) as some of the WVGA displays on the market today, we still found the smartphone's screen bright and easy to read. The screen did fade a bit when viewed outdoors, and it's on the smaller side, but the phone offers a built-in accelerometer and pinch-to-zoom support so you can increase the viewing size using those methods.
The touch screen is responsive. It registered all our touches, and we were able to smoothly navigate through the various home screens and menus. Like the Motorola's recent Android devices, the Droid Pro uses a scaled-down version of Motoblur with resizable widgets and offers seven customizable home screens. Just below the screen are the standard Android shortcuts--menu, home, back, and search--and just beneath those is the QWERTY keyboard.
Anyone coming from a BlackBerry will feel right at home with the Droid Pro's keyboard, as it's remarkably similar to the one found on RIM's devices. The four-row keyboard features rectangular buttons with a slight ridge to them, so they're easier to press. Numbers and symbols share space with the letter keys with one shortcut button (voice search) included on the bottom row. Overall, we found it pleasant to use; the keys were large enough that we didn't have many mispresses. The phone doesn't feel top heavy while you're typing, but we did have to adjust a bit because the keyboard is so close to the bottom.
There are some other physical controls on the smartphone, including a volume rocker and Micro-USB port on the left spine, and a user-customizable shortcut key on the right. On top of the device, you'll find the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack and as always, the camera and flash are located on the back.
The Motorola Droid Pro comes packaged with an AC and three international adapters, a USB cable, a SIM card, a 2GB microSD card, and reference material.
The Motorola Droid Pro has a couple of distinctive features compared with Verizon's other Android devices. First of all, it offers dual-mode functionality, meaning that the phone supports both CDMA and GSM technologies for world-roaming capabilities. Domestically, the smartphone will operate on Verizon's CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A network, but will then automatically detect and switch to the international GSM bands, allowing you to make calls and receive data while traveling abroad. (The Droid Pro offers overseas 3G support.)
Now, while Verizon ships the Motorola Droid with a SIM card, the carrier will unlock the SIM as long as you've been a Verizon customer for more than 60 days and are in good financial standing. This means you'll be able swap out the included SIM for one you buy from an international carrier, which can often be cheaper. Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to check out Verizon's international coverage map and roaming rates, so you're fully informed and prepared before you make your trip.
The other key feature of the Droid Pro is the enhanced security capabilities. This includes the ability to remotely wipe your device and SD card in case your phone gets lost or stolen. The smartphone now also supports complex passwords and comes preloaded with a VPN client. In addition to these features, Motorola plans to add device and SD card encryption in early 2011, meaning that if someone were to hack your password, the content of your smartphone would still be unreadable. Still missing, however, is data encryption for anything sent over the network, which is an advantage RIM and BlackBerry have over Android and other mobile operating system.