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Motorola Droid 2 (Verizon Wireless) review:

Motorola Droid 2 (Verizon Wireless)

The contact management system is pretty good. The Droid 2 merges contact data from your e-mail and social networks and combines them on a single contact card for an individual. However, we ended up with a number of duplicates and had to go back and link them up. We do like that you can tap a contact's photo and get a quick list of the different ways you can get in touch with the person, whether it be by phone call, e-mail, text message, and you get the idea.

Voice features include a speakerphone, speed dial, voice commands, conference calling, Skype Mobile, and text and multimedia messaging with threaded chat view. Bluetooth 2.1, 3G, GPS, and integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) are also onboard, and the Droid 2 can be used a mobile hot spot for up to five devices. We were able to connect the Droid 2 to our MacBook Pro, and based on five tests, we got an average download speed of 1.11Mbps and upload speed of 0.29Mbps. To use this feature, you will need to sign up for Verizon's Mobile Hotspot service, which costs an additional $20 per month and has a 2GB data cap. If you go over, you will be charged 5 cents per megabyte in overage fees. By comparison, Sprint's mobile hot spot plan for the Evo 4G costs $29.99 per month, but there is no data cap.

Aside from the standard Android apps, there a number of extras preloaded on the Droid 2. This includes BlockBuster On Demand, Kindle for Android, a demo version of EA's Need for Speed Shift, as well as such Verizon services as NFL Mobile and V Cast Video. The Android Market currently offers more than 70,000 apps in its catalog, and you can now save apps to an SD card. The Droid 2 also has double the RAM (512MB) of the original Droid.

Web browsing and multimedia
The Android's WebKit browser is quite capable in functionality and performance but even moreso with Android 2.2. As we mentioned earlier, one of the new capabilities of Froyo is Flash 10.1 support, so you'll be able to view and interact with Flash content, including videos and games. Sure enough, we were able to play videos from sites like CNET and ESPN, and even animated ads and splash screens were displayed on the pages. Videos took a little while to load but once it got going, the playback was continuous and looked great on the Droid 2's screen. We also checked out some Flash games on, such as Pitch Hitter, and it was fun and seamless. Performance could be better, to be sure, but overall, we were quite happy with the experience.

For other modes of entertainment, the built-in music and video player supports a variety of music and video codecs, including MP3, AAC, WMA9, OGG, WMV, MPEG-4, and H.264. The music player isn't quite as attractive as the HTC Sense's Cover Flow-like interface but it gets the job done and gives you basic features, like shuffle, repeat, and on-the-fly playlist creation.

The Droid 2 keeps the same 5-megapixel camera.

Interestingly, Motorola didn't upgrade the camera on the Droid 2, so you're still getting a 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash. Camera options include different scene modes, effects, face detection, ISO and exposure settings, and more. Now, Android 2.2 brings new camera features, such as displaying some of these tools onscreen, so you can easily access them as you're taking photos, but unfortunately, Moto chose not to implement this functionality on the Droid 2. You still have to touch the right side of the screen to expand the tray of options, and the controls don't rotate when you turn the phone. It's not a deal-breaker, but it's certainly disappointing.

Overall, we were happy with the picture quality.

Picture quality was good. Colors came out bright and we could make out the subjects in our photos. We just wish the image was slightly sharper. Recorded video clips at the highest resolution (720x480 pixels) were watchable but looked very hazy.

The Droid 2 has 8GB of onboard memory and ships with an 8GB microSD card, but the expansion slot supports up to 32GB cards. You can share photos and videos through the usual avenues--e-mail, multimedia message, Bluetooth, Facebook, and so forth--but you can also stream media from your phone to a Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)-compatible device. If you're not familiar with it, DLNA is a standard that makes it easier to move content, like movies, photos, and music, from device to device. Since the Droid 2 supports this technology, you can stream media from your phone to other DLNA-compliant tech, like the Xbox 360, without having to go through a whole setup process. You can find a list of DLNA-certified products here. Unlike the Droid X, the Droid 2 does not have an HDMI port.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO Rev. A) Droid 2 in New York using Verizon service and call quality was OK. On our end, calls sounded a bit flat. It didn't interfere with having a conversation, but we definitely wished for richer audio. Friends also said that our voices sounded a bit far away and sometimes tinny, so again, the quality wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great, either. Speakerphone calls was pretty much what we expected: slightly hollow but clear and loud enough to have conversations in various environments.

We had no problems pairing the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones. We will test the voice dialing over Bluetooth capabilities once we get a compatible headset.

We didn't experience any dropped calls, and Verizon's 3G speeds were fairly swift. CNET's full site loaded in 24 seconds, whereas the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN both loaded in 9 seconds. YouTube clips loaded within several seconds and played back without needing to rebuffer and with synchronized audio and picture. Videos from our personal library also performed beautifully, and sound quality for music was balanced and rich.

One final improvement is a faster processor. The Droid 2 rocks a 1GHz TI OMAP processor, compared with the Droid's 550MHz processor, and the difference is noticeable. Apps launched without problem, and there was very little delay when working in and switching between multiple apps. We also played the demo version of Need for Speed Shift, and the smartphone was able to handle gameplay without problem.

The Droid 2 ships with a 1,400mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 9.6 hours and up to 13 days of standby time. We were able to get 6.6 hours of continuous talk time in our battery drain tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Droid 2 has a digital SAR rating of 1.49 watts per kilogram and a Hearing Aid Compatibility rating of M3/T3.

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