Motorola Droid X Review| By Emily Anderson
Motorola's original Droid debuted on Verizon last fall, aiming to knock the iPhone off its pedestal in the smartphone world. But while it didn't quite accomplish that feat, it did become an instant hit, selling over 250,000 units in the first week of its launch.
Seven months later, Motorola's newest Droid, the X, hopes to achieve even greater successes while taking on greater competition from the Droid Incredible and Evo 4G from HTC and the iPhone 4 from Apple.
The Droid X has several improvements over the Droid, like a better camera, a larger touch screen display and more storage space. It has speedy Internet speeds, connects to plenty of devices, and offers integrated contact information, messaging and social networking. But the phone is a bit bulky, and its audio is weak. The battery drains fairly quickly and there's also just one instant messenger option.
But the Droid X has a lot of features and plenty to offer. Whether you'll buy it or not depends on how much continuous use you want, whether you're comfortable with a touch screen and how much you're interested in the bells and whistles.
The X is huge, there's no other word for it. It's about 10 percent bigger than the original Droid, but also 10 percent lighter. That's because Motorola slimmed down the X to a mere 0.4 inches from 0.55 inches -- that's a remarkable 35 percent. By comparison, the Evo, another behemoth, is about the same size, while the iPhone 4 is 30 percent smaller.
Why such a big phone? Well, larger devices have more real estate to add larger displays. And the X's 4.3-inch touch screen is one of the largest on the market. The only devices with similar-sized screens are on Evo and HD2 devices from HTC, both of which are slightly smaller in size as well. Regardless, its touch display makes watching videos and reading emails and texts easy on the eyes, while the all-black exterior and reflective screen keep the phone looking professional.
Below the screen are four buttons for the menu, home, back and search. Turned around, the back of the device reveals an 8-megapixel camera lens and flash. And on the left side, there are ports for micro-USB and HDMI features, while the right has volume keys, a camera key and a 3.5-millimeter headset jack. Power and lock keys are located atop the phone.
The X is bigger than some people may like. It certainly won't fit in a jeans pocket comfortably and calls for two hands instead of one to operate the device most of the time. But it has a gargantuan touch screen. Fortunately, the X isn't too heavy. It's much lighter than the Evo and Droid, and easy to navigate through screens with the keys available.
If size is a major concern, then the X, while very thin and not too hefty, may be too tall and wide for you. But if you can handle the extra size, you'll be rewarded with a larger screen. Out of the box, the X comes with a battery, a wall and USB charger, a built-in 16-gigabyte microSD memory card, a product safety and warranty brochure and a product safety and quick reference guide.
Last year, Verizon heavily touted the original Droid's 5-megapixel camera. Now the X has upped the ante with an impressive 8-megapixel lens with a built-in dual LED flash, 4x zoom and image stabilization. The iPhone 4, by contrast, has just a 5-megapixel camera, and there have been reports of problems with a yellow-ish tint to images.
The X's camera can take photos up to a whopping 3,266-by-2,450 pixel resolution and comes with all the familiar features such as scene functions -- auto, portrait, landscape, sport, night portrait, sunset, macro and steady shot -- and various color effects -- blue tint, red tint, green tint, black and white, negative, sepia, solarize and normal -- to add a bit of artistic flair. Editing options include rotating, resizing, cropping and flipping a photo, adjusting the brightness, contrast, color and saturation and applying color effects and tags. You can even add clip art or a stamp into the image and frame it with a stylish outline.
The camcorder, like the iPhone 4, records high-definition videos at 720p, or 1,280-by-720 pixel resolution, at 24 frames per second. It can be used with the flash light on, and once videos are recorded, they can be edited, just like the photos. You can resize a video, remove audio, add a title, extract frames and cut clips. The camcorder doesn't deliver the same quality as the camera, but the videos are more detailed than what you usually get on other phones. One complaint with the camcorder, though, is that recorded videos have distorted quiet audio.
The X takes great photos without lots of pre- or post-editing, but includes an impressive list of editing features, just in case. The only issue is that, despite its image stabilization feature, the camera takes blurry shots if the hand even slightly shaky -- something iPhone 4 owners don't have to worry about, since it has tap-to-focus technology. Still, it's a better bet than the iPhone's camera because it's a stronger and survives a greater array of lighting conditions better.
There are some similarities between the iPhone 4's iOS4 software and Android 2.2. Both devices allow for multi-tasking, threaded email and have access to music and game downloads. The Android system supports Flash and free maps with turn-by-turn directions, which the iPhone 4 doesn't. But the iTunes marketplace offers more game and apps. Although some gamers may disagree, Flash support may help the Droid X win the contest among operating systems. And once the X is upgraded to Android 2.2, it will be faster than the iPhone.
Both phones have 1-gigahertz processors, so everything from the browsing the Web to moving through panels is fast. But the X has poor battery life -- just eight hours of talk time, if that -- and the need for a charge pretty much daily. Still, it beats out the seven hours on the iPhone.
The Droid X, like the HTC's HD2 and Evo, has a 4.3-inch screen. That dwarfs the iPhone 4's 3.5-inch screen and any screen offered by BlackBerry. The display is responsive without being too overly-sensitive and there's more space between the virtual keys, so typing is easier than on the Droid and Droid Eris.
By simple virtue of the larger screen, the X's on-screen keyboard is bigger than on the iPhone's. But its 854-by-480 pixel resolution isn't as high as the iPhone's whopping 960-by-640 pixels. Still, the X is colorful and sharp. The screen is easy to navigate and the menu is comprehensive, making it easy to find what's needed. There are seven panels to flip through, addressing media, contacts, applications, weather, calendar items and social networking. Although it hasn't been reported as a widespread problem yet, some Droid X owners have had issues with their screen flickering and showing vertical bands of light.
The big screen makes it easier to see videos and texts, and the extra space between keys improves the typing experience on a touch screen display. Its panel and menu system is easy to use and the resolution, although not the best available on the market, is high-quality. It may be more convenient to carry a smaller phone, but having a big screen has become more important as entertainment options widen. Although the iPhone has higher-resolution display, the X is just as easy on the eyes.
The Droid X shows and records videos, filters audio through Skype and plays music over a speaker and a 3.5-millimeter headset, mostly with success. But the phone doesn't pick up audio very well when recording video. It's not that the sound quality is bad with videos -- it's just not very loud. Although the phone never really gets too loud, it can have higher volume than the whisper-quiet sound it picks up when recording video.
The phone also has noise-cancellation technology, just like the iPhone. But the call quality is a bit better, with less static, on the iPhone, which is interesting, considering the X has three microphones compared to the iPhone's two. The X has passable call quality, though. Speakers are clear and the headset, sold separately, works well for private music-listening. But the phone doesn't have the audio quality of the iPhone and could stand to be louder and reach further to record audio at a higher volume.
With the help of MotoBlur technology, the X has integrated social networking, with room for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Updates appear in a "panel" so you don't have to go to the Web every time you want to type a status update or see what your friends are up to. The iPhone has to download an app to get updates in one place.
Touch screens can be tricky to type on, but the X's on-screen keyboard is large enough, with ample space in-between, to keep most mistypes at bay. It also has Swype technology, which means you can "swipe" through letters without picking up your finger -- for faster texting speeds than ever before. If you prefer a physical keyboard, take a look at a BlackBerry or Palm model.
Social media helps the X keep up with the times, and shows how the iPhone is behind the curve. The X only has Google Talk for instant messaging, which is an unfortunate choice, but it's replaced by the more-modern choice of chatting on Skype, which beats out FaceTime, Apple's in-house video chat system.
Android Market lets you to create a program and put it up for sale on Google's store. The idea is to give developers creative freedom to suit broad tastes, and some apps succeed. But in reality, Apple's restrictive iTunes store, which tightly controls guidelines so the quality of apps is higher, has an edge in this contest.
Music aficionado can tune into the X's FM radio, buy songs from Amazon's MP3 store or upload their computer music library. For gamers, there's "Need for Speed Shift." And for movies, there's a Blockbuster app to rival the iPhone's Netflix service. But Blockbuster is a poor substitute with fewer choices, especially when it comes to indie flicks. Its content is also limited to the X, whereas Netflix will send movies to the iPhone as well as other devices, like computers and televisions. Blockbuster also forces you to wait for the movie to download, rather than stream them, which is how Netflix works on the iPhone. So if you plan on watching movies on the phone, the X's service simply won't do.
While the iPhone has the edge in many categories here, including apps and a far superior movie delivery system, the X takes the crown for video conferencing.
Running on Verizon's high-speed 3G network, the X features Ev-Do Rev. A technology, for speedy Web surfing. Videos load quickly, and pages go from one to the next in mere seconds. With its 1-gigahertz chip, even scrolling up and down is fast. It also connects to Wi-Fi service.
The Droid X can also serve as a hotspot for up to five other devices, something the iPhone can't do. Both devices are similarly fast when it comes to 3G. The X has a Google browser for a familiar format and easy-to-navigate search. In addition, the browser supports Flash, which the iPhone famously doesn't, and includes popular Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Contact sync, Google Search Box, Google Talk, Google Search by Voice and YouTube.
The X also has built-in GPS to use location-based services like Google Latitude to find friends, Google Maps to check things out, Google Navigation for spoken directions and Google Street View to see a street at ground level.
The Droid X, iPhone 4 and Evo 4G are all very fast phones. The Droid X has the most familiar browser with a bundle of Google programs. The iPhone 4 has the most user-friendly browser. And the Evo is has the fastest data rates.
The X has plenty of room for multimedia and comes with nearly 24-gigabytes of storage out of the box -- about 6.5-gigabytes of available space on the phone and a built-in 16-gigabyte microSD card. That's a lot more than the storage on the original Droid. The iPhone comes with 16 or 32-gigabytes of memory, but it can't take extra memory cards.
The X can connect to other devices in multiple ways -- a USB cable to computers, "Media Share" to send files to and from other devices. It also supports Bluetooth technology to send and receive files and add a handsfree handset. For more advanced features, Bluetooth can be used to turn the X into a modem for a laptop, a remote control for audio and video, a mouse and keyboard or even a gaming devices like a joystick. Unlike iPhone owners, those who opt for the X won't have to worry about dropping a call based on how they're holding the phone.
The Droid X won't be pigeon-holed as a one-dimensional phone. Its designers did their best to make it a well-rounded smartphone. It moves quickly through screens and menu items and the Internet moves fast too. The phone has a familiar browser and you can not only connect via 3G or Wi-Fi, you can also help other devices got onto the Web.
All that fun can mean a less-than-fun experience trying to keep the battery charged. A day is about all you can expect out of the Droid X before having to plug it into the wall -- and that's a generous estimate. The phone also lacks in volume and, in some cases, sound quality. In addition, there's only one instant messaging choice, and the device is so big it nearly induces a hand cramp. The big screen is a bonus for people with poor eye sight or those who want more space for typing or watching videos, but the design isn't suitable for those interested in sleek, compact devices.
The X has loads of built-in entertainment options such as instant ways to buy movies and songs and a rapidly-expanding marketplace to purchase games and applications. Integrated social networking and plenty of Google features, plus a powerful camera and a more-recognizable video conferencing system, set the Droid X apart from the iPhone 4. But the newest iPhone is speedy, more compact, and has better entertainment features.
So if you're looking for longer battery life, and hoping for portable size, go with the iPhone. But if you're shopping for a business and pleasure powerhouse with a big screen, strong camera and plenty of integrated features, you would be wise to check this phone out. ♦
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TFT (Accelerometer / Proximity Sensor / Ambient Light Sensor)
July 27, 2012
A lot of problems
It's pretty fast, easy to navigate and has a lot of memory.
I miss a lot of calls, and my husband, who has the same phone, has the same problem -- his calls never come through. It always bounces to voicemail. Also, my phone always randomly shuts down, freezes and goes into weird scenarios where random apps will start opening. I'll need to take the battery out to restart it.
There are even times when my pictures wouldn't load up at all. I've have done more factory resets to my phone than I think should be necessary (four in less than a year), and had to completely delete all my apps, which I thought was the point of a smartphone. Overall, I'm not satisfied.Was this review helpful to you?
21 out of 26 people found this review helpful.
August 08, 2010
This is the New IPhone
Having been with AT&T for years and been using iPhones the whole time I have to make a couple of points.
1. For me Verizon's network is so much stronger, I never drop calls! Do not even ask how many daily I lost with the iPhone 4.
2. The Droid X has the fastest browser around plus its getting a software update to 2.2 done over the air (you do not need to run to itunes for it to happen). This update will make the phone 40% faster!
3. It's huge but weighs less then the iPhone. I'm a big guy and the size is not an issue.
4. No problems with battery life at all, I use my phone all day and I don't think charging this mini phone computer once a day is to much to ask. Also wifi works awesome no dropping etc.
5. This phone is a powehouse and a force of nature and as we see the end of the iPhone's domination we have to thank Apple for pushing other companies to come up with something better.
6. This Android craze that is sweeping the nation can only help the consumer so I have no doubt the Droid X apps will keep getting stronger.
7. Motorola has been making phones for 30 years, Apple only five.
8. If you find its to big you have 30 days to return it, perfect for me you decide.
9. Get it if you want a phone that does everything and does it amazingly. BEST phone I have ever used!
1. Yes, there's no iTunes (major suck) and the Android apps have nothing on Apple (But Apple didn't start out with top notch apps either)
2. The fluidness of the iOS4 software is more polished but I got used to this phone in one week! HD videos, 8mp camera, free gps, voice texting (is as cool as it sounds), 24GB of expandable memory, etc.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.
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