http://www.verizon-phones.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/verizon-motorola-droid-phone-hands-on-3.jpg

So – I’ve had the droid for about 3 weeks now and I can give you a more detailed review of the phone than I did initially.

Bottom line – I still like this phone and would recommend it to anyone looking for a high-powered phone that is actually a portable computer. Having used it for some time, there were things that I discovered that were both good and bad.

On the good side the phone works great as a phone, which is something you don’t see in reviews. It is the best speaker phone I have ever owned. The speaker phone is good enough and loud enough that you don’t need a Bluetooth headset to use in a car. You can lay the phone on the passenger seat and carry on a conversation and it’s loud and clear. At home I put it on the kitchen counter-top and walked to my front door 25 feet away and I could hear them and they could hear me just fine. I wasn’t expecting that.

For the car, I bought a generic windshield mount phone-holder to hold the phone like one would mount a GPS. That’s because it can replace a GPS and the speaker phone is even better if it’s a little closer. As a GPS however it is both extremely cool and pathetic at the same time.

The cool part is that because it is multitasking the GPS can run while you are talking and even check your email at the same time (although I wouldn’t do that while driving). It is also cool that you can select “satellite view” like Google Earth has and you can see a moving view as you drive. As you drive fast on the highway it zooms out but if you slow down to make a turn it zooms in so you see the intersection. As you approach your destination it switches to street view so you can see what your destination looks like. All very, very cool.

But i’ts functionality as a GPS needs a lot of work. If you tried to navigate to my house it would lead you to another street in back of my house where you would have to cross a creek to get to my back yard. It also connects a dead-end street with another street on the other side of the dead-end. And it seems to have little or no concept of one-way streets, so it’s a little iffy as to whether or not it would get you to where you want to go. But since that’s software and is upgradable, I’m expecting it to be fixed in the (hopefully near) future.

Battery life depends on what you are doing. If you have the phone on standby, and just use it to talk, the batteries last a long time. But if you are running GPS with satellite view, it really sucks the battery down. Even with the car-charger connected there was still a net battery drain.

I am a former Palm 700p user and not an iPhone user so my standard is the Palm which worked very well for its generation of phone. When it comes to things that just work and easy to use and figure out, the Palm is significantly better than the Droid. The Palm had their “Palm Desktop” and the sync application that backed up everything. I could, and did, backup up the Palm, install a new OS wiping it clean and then use the sync to restore… and everything was restored as it was before the upgrade with everything working. The Driod lacks this kind of backup and really should have one.

Another little annoyance is that while the email app works well, my phone system sends me emails with WAV file attachments and when I download the WAV file and click on it, I expect a WAV player to open up and play the file and optionally give me the opportunity to save it under a different name. It doesn’t do that.

Since this is an open source OS and runs Linux I expected that there would be a command line bash shell that I could run as root and start messing with things like a Linux server. No such luck. I also expected it to have an SSH server available and an Apache web server available so that I could use a standard browser to configure the phone setting from a web interface… not there yet.

When I briefly had the HTC Touch Pro2 running Windows Mobile there was an app that turned the phone into a WIFI hot spot that worked great. I expected that would be available for the Droid since in Linux it would be a simple shell script to do this. No such luck. I also expected that more things would be configurable than there are.

However, because it’s a Google phone and open source, it’s my hope that development will be faster than Windows and the problems I’m having and the things that are missing will not be an issue 6 months from now. So, because of my belief, I am giving the phone higher marks based on “faith”. I’m hoping they don’t turn me into an Atheist and my faith turns into Droid Rage.

I was also surprised that I found myself using the software keyboard more and the real keyboard less than I expected. I thought I would be opening up the keyboard all the time but I’m not.

The apps store was better than I expected with lots of cool toys to play with. It also tracks updates and will alert you when new versions are available. The message system, which is a pull-down from the top of the screen, works very well and was an unexpected bonus.

Overall though I am pleased and recommend this phone even though it’s still awkward and the OS needs significant polish.




  1. sargasso says:

    “Even with the car charger connected there was still a net battery drain.” That would be a big problem, to some people like me. But I do appreciate the good honest review, and please keep them coming.

  2. Marc Perkel says:

    Also – USB charging plugged into the computer is slow. But using the same wire plugged into the same AC adapter is fast, so it’s possible that a faster car charge could be made.

  3. Breetai says:

    I’ve been considering this since I realized my old phone needs to be replaced and I’ve been wanting a GPS navigator. Kinda glad now I picked it as a Christmas gift it looks like it’s nerd-fu is strong in what I wanted. Of course I won’t be getting it until my contract is up in January.

  4. NRenich says:

    I also have had the DROID for 3 weeks now and I’m still loving it. I was a convert from a Palm 700wx. Every tweak and app that I had for that phone, I now have and better on the DROID and only had to purchase 2 apps.

    I am a heavy RSS and Podcast user and found “BeyondPod” the best. The stereo bluetooth connectivity is dreamy over the 700wx, it has worked for me 100%, the 700wx was like 55%.

    “Twidroid PRO” is a great Twitter app, if your on a budget check out “Seesmic” for the time being. Google Voice integration is a beautiful thing, it just works.

    All and all my only gripes would be that the Gmail app/Calender is far superior to the standard email/corp calender app that syncs with exchange/pop/imap. It needs work, like the ability to have a signature. It also needs a sync schedule. I miss that from the 700wx. For example, I don’t want the DROID to make a noise after 10pm, only if I get a phone call, or I have an alarm set. It does this correctly with alarms, but I have turn all alerts, including the phone ringer off to not get woke up in the middle of the night from spam or a tweet. Not good in that respect.

    I highly recommend it if you’re on the fence. I know it will only get better as more people get them and the developers get busy.

  5. Toxic Asshead says:

    I’ve also had mine about 3 weeks.

    While I don’t know how to do it and have no wish to, there is plenty of discussion in the android forums about rooting the unit, so it is possible.

    In advanced settings, tell the phone to backup configuration. Your contacts, calendar, etc. are all automatically backed up to the gmail account attached to the phone. If you backup up config, your installed apps are also backed up. A factory reset clears flash, but does not clear the SD card. After reconnecting to the gmail account everything comes back including apps. The only thing I lost was the pop3 mail settings for my hotmail account.

    It’s got it’s quirks and it’s definitely a “.0” release but overall I love my Droid. Best phone I’ve owned.

    (Also, unlike the Apple store, the Android store has apps that can make your phone fart. 😉 )

    #2 – The Verizon store here said the Blackberry car charger was faster than the Motorola model. I have an iGo with a microUSB tip but haven’t had a need to charge it in the car yet so I don’t know how fast it is.

  6. Johnrm says:

    The matter of not recongnizing oneway streets when routing is not a software issue, it is a map data issue. Google now uses their own map data and the oneways are missing in that database. The software would use them if they existed. Don’t expect those the map data to be as up to date or accurate as the databases from NAVTEQ or TeleAtlas.

  7. qb says:

    Is the screen all it’s cracked up to be?

  8. Marc Perkel says:

    The screen is GREAT, yes!

  9. Toxic Asshead says:

    I agree the screen is awesome. I can’t wait to try some porn on it. 😉

  10. GF says:

    Thanks for the review.

  11. Dying Color says:

    Please wake me when the color screen nightmare is over.

  12. Will says:

    I have had the phone since release and I agree with the other reviews posted thus far. Also, Marc, try this out for the wireless hotspot.

    http://junefabrics.com/android/

    I have not used it but read some good things about it on some forums.

  13. deowll says:

    You guys are making me feel like a Luddite.

  14. Animby says:

    My sister loves her Droid as an ex-Palm user. Sad thing for her is, she works for IBM and they insist she use Lotus Notes. She’s currently trying third-party apps to get Notes to synch.

    Me? I still have my WinMobile unit. Still considering suicide.

  15. odiextian says:

    Try at http://www.amzpricesniper.com. You’ll find the best choice you’ll ever wanted at its best retail prices.

  16. Bigbob says:

    I love my Droid also but mine seems to reset many times a day. Any one else having that problem?

  17. Lividd says:

    awesome review I found it honest and interesting. you should post more often

  18. lynn says:

    “You can lay the phone on the passenger seat and carry on a conversation and it’s loud and clear. At home I put it on the kitchen counter-top and walked to my front door 25 feet away and I could hear them and they could hear me just fine.”

    Geez, I hope I’m not sitting next to you on the commuter train.

  19. Murphy says:

    I had the Motorola Cliq for 2 weeks and the touch screen started acting up. I head it was pretty common. Anyone have those issues with a droid? I do love my Cliq though.


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