The Droid X, the successor to last year’s Droid, is Motorola’s beast of a phone released earlier this summer. I’m coming at the phone from a somewhat unique perspective. Before I reviewed the Droid X, I had never used an Android phone before. I’m a smartphone luddite — the closest I’ve gotten is owning a first-generation iPod Touch. But the Droid X definitely did a good job of making me envious of what I’ve been missing.
The first thing that impressed me was the 4.3-inch WVGA display. Its bright, colorful, and offers a screen real estate that beats many phones, including the iPhone. You instantly appreciate the added space when it comes to the built-in browser and large virtual keyboard. The screen’s pixel density is not as good as the iPhone 4’s, but individual pixels are hardly noticeable without you looking for them. Beyond that, you have a 3.5mm headphone jack, 802.11n WiFi support, Verizon 3G, GPS, mini-USB and mini-HDMI ports, microSD card slot (8GB included), power and speaker buttons, and a physical camera flash.
The second thing is that the Droid X is fast, thanks to its 512MB RAM and 1GHz processor. The multi-touch is responsive, especially in crucial areas like the virtual keyboard and home screen. Verizon’s 3G was working well almost all the time, loading web pages in just a couple seconds and letting me use the phone as a wireless hotspot (for an additional $20 a month with 2GB data). Call quality was better than average, though not anything amazing. Battery life was also satisfactory, giving me a couple days of heavy web, call, and app use before I needed to charge, though I didn’t have a ton of applications open.
That brings me to the physical design of the Droid X, which has its ups and down. When it comes to operation, I had to get used to using the four physical buttons (Menu, Home, Return, Search) in tandem with the touchscreen, but I came to like the combination and the interface options it presented. The Droid X is a nice looking phone, with one caveat. Because of the camera sensor and flash, there’s a slight bulge on on end of the phone. It doesn’t make it difficult to put in your back pocket, and the profile remains quite slim, but it is noticeable. Any way you cut it, though, its a large phone. If you have tiny hands or get tired of holding your phone while talking, the Droid X won’t improve matters.
The aforementioned 8MP camera takes still images and records 720p video, which can be viewed on your HDTV thanks to a useful HDMI out. Both are capable producing great images, if the software and autofocus want to cooperate. One picture taken of the same subject might be perfect one time and blurry a second later.
In summary, the Droid X is not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. While navigating the OS works well about 95% of the time, I ran into issues using the browser that would force me to close out of it. Then there’s the Android Market. Free apps like Facebook and Twitter run great and really make use of the added screen space. Then there’s the preloaded apps like Blockbuster, which are annoying but not incredibly intrusive. I was running Android 2.1 while I reviewed the phone, but the 2.2 ‘Froyo’ update should be arriving soon. While there are some naggling issues, the Droid X is currently in the top tier of Android smartphones.
- Gorgeous Large Display
- Camera Is Great
- Fast Operation
- Camera Is Great…When It Works Right
- Design Is Somewhat Pocket-Unfriendly
- Android Market Still Limited
The Motorola Droid X is available now for $199.99 with a two-year contract after a $100 mail-in rebate.