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Motorola Droid Pro (Verizon Wireless) review: Motorola Droid Pro (Verizon Wireless)

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Motorola Droid Pro (Verizon Wireless)
7.7

Motorola Droid Pro (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

The Motorola Droid Pro combines a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard into a compact design. The Android 2.2 smartphone offers enhanced security features for business users, as well as mobile hot spot capabilities.

The Bad

The Droid Pro's HVGA display isn't quite as sharp as the competition. Call quality could be better. Paltry internal memory.

The Bottom Line

The enhanced security features and touch-screen-keyboard combo make the Motorola Droid Pro a nice BlackBerry alternative, but it still has some shortcomings.

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.

Design
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 Motorola Droid Pro combines a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard into a relatively compact design.

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.


The Droid Pro's keyboard is very similar to those found on a BlackBerry.

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.

Features
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.

One other area Motorola improved the Droid Pro's business friendliness is complete support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. We had no problems hooking up our Exchange account to the smartphone, and received messages around the same time they arrived in Outlook. The handset also offers corporate directory lookup and a unified calendar that syncs your enterprise calendar with your Google calendar.

The Motorola Droid Pro's got plenty more to offer. The smartphone runs Android 2.2, and in addition to the standard Google services, you get the QuickOffice Mobile Suite, a task manager, backup assistant, and several Verizon apps, such as Skype Mobile and VZ Navigator. The Droid Pro features the full range of wireless options and can be used as a mobile hot spot for up to five devices. To use the latter, you will have to sign up for a Mobile Broadband plan, which costs $20 per month and has a 2GB data cap (Verizon charges 5 cents per MB for overage fees).

The smartphone isn't all work and no play. It comes with the standard Android media player, which isn't particularly pretty or advanced, but allows you to play MP3, AAC, AAC+, H.263, H.264, MPEG-4, and AMR NB music and video files. The Droid Pro only has 2GB of onboard memory and ships with a 2GB microSD card, but the expansion slot can support up to 32GB cards, so you might want to go ahead and pick up a higher-capacity card.


Picture quality could be better.

Finally, the Motorola Droid Pro is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera and dual-LED flash. You get a decent set of editing options, including different scene modes, effects, face detection, and geotagging. Picture quality was OK. Though we could make out the objects in the photos just fine, shots taken indoors looked a bit soft and colors were slightly dull. The camera did much better with outdoor shots. Recorded video at the highest resolution (720x480 pixels) looked slightly hazy but still watchable. Like Moto's latest Android devices, the Droid Pro has DLNA support, so if you have a compatible device, you can wirelessly stream content from your phone to that product.

Performance
We tested the dual-mode Motorola Droid Pro in New York using Verizon service, and call quality was mixed. At times, the audio was clear with very little background noise. There was also plenty of volume but we should note that at the highest level, the noise was a bit piercing and we even heard some reverberation. At other times, the call quality was pretty bad. There were more than a few times when the audio cut in and out, so we had to ask our callers to repeat themselves, and there was some slight crackling as well. However, it seems like the problem was only on our side, as our friends reported good results and didn't have any complaints.

Motorola Droid Pro call quality sample Listen now:

Speakerphone quality was decent. Calls sounded a bit tinny but still clear and loud enough to hold conversations in noisier environments. We were able to pair the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones with no problem.

We got reliable 3G coverage throughout Manhattan, and Verizon's network provided decent data speeds. CNET's full site loaded in 26 seconds, and the mobile versions of CNN and ESPN came up in 9 seconds and 7 seconds, respectively. YouTube videos, including high-quality videos, loaded within several seconds and played back continuously and synchronized picture and audio. We also used the Droid Pro as a mobile hot spot for our MacBook Pro, and averaged download speeds of 1.42Mbps and upload speeds of 0.61Mbps. With those speeds, we were able to upload five photos, ranging in size from 443KB to 888KB, in about 40 seconds.

Powered by a 1GHz TI OMAP, the Droid Pro performed smoothly during our testing period. Most apps launched immediately. Occasionally, we experienced some delays but they were brief and never affected our productivity. We played the preloaded demo copy of EA's Need for Speed Shift and Angry Birds and had no problems. Video playback was also smooth and continuous.

The Motorola Droid Pro ships with a 1,420mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 6.5 hours and up to 13 days of standby time.The smartphone beat the rated talk time by a full hour in our battery drain tests. In general, we were able to get through a full day before needing to recharge, but it doesn't compare to the excellent battery life on BlackBerrys. According to FCC radiation tests, the Droid Pro has a digital SAR rating of 1.39 watts per kilogram and has a Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating of M3/T3.

Motorola Droid Pro (Verizon Wireless)
7.7

Motorola Droid Pro (Verizon Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 9Performance 7