This goes beyond my usual topic, but I’ve had a ton of people ask me about what I think of the phone so I figured this would be the best place to share those thoughts.
As I said a few weeks ago, I got up early the day the Motorola Droid came out to make sure I could get it on the release date. It is the first phone on the Verizon network that seemed to compete with the best smartphones on the market (i.e. the iphone). I’ve been using it for a little over 2 weeks now and have a good handle on it and the Android operating system it runs on, I thought I’d share some thoughts in case some of you are on the fence about it.
The Phone Itself
The screen is huge and the resolution is quite amazing. I love using the browser on it because it is so crisp. It is a big phone, even bigger than the iphone but having the screen size is worth it. The slide out keyboard is a great feature that I use a lot. The one drawback goes hand in hand with the ability to switch out the battery (something the iphone cannot do). The back piece tends to slide off easily when it is in my pocket. I’ve figured out how to avoid it coming off when in my pocket, but this is definitely an oversight. The lack of multi touch hasn’t bothered me much. Double tap to zoom is pretty effective.
First off, nothing competes with Apple and the iphone when it comes to apps. But, Android isn’t far off and the release of the Droid along with a load of other phones running Android means the gap will close. I’m able to find tons of quality apps, many even better than what the iphone offers. I have an app to track my runs outside and post them online all for free. I have many google-made apps that you cannot get on other phone operating systems. And, I have the usual suspects of Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, and location aware apps. And there are enough apps with Android that I’m constantly doing research to find new apps, something that I enjoy doing. The only downfall in the apps for me, being a sports fan, is that the number of quality apps for sports is way too low. I hope that changes soon.
Having the extra keyboard is nice for texting. I had an ipod Touch before this, and I was never able to get comfortable with the onscreen keyboard. The slide out keyboard has gotten bad reviews but as long as you use your nail and not the pad of your fingers, it works great. The messaging app for Android is awful though. I just recently got a third party app named “Handcent” that has much more flexibility and blows the default messaging app away. I haven’t had any issues with call quality. The contacts work nicely and are easy to access when wanting to make a call.
It is a 5 MP camera which is pretty sweet. I was able to get rid of my Flip video camera because my phone’s camera was just as good, if not better than it. The camera software isn’t great, but it isn’t horrible either. You don’t buy a phone for its camera so despite the software struggles I don’t mind much. They are coming up with a fix to the problem of the camera not correctly focusing. Here a sample picture I took in low lighting of my kitchen:
In all the reviews the battery was said to be quite strong and I’m sure this is true but it is tough to compare the iphone, which can only run one thing at a time unless jailbroken, and the Droid which can run as much as you want. I quickly learned I needed an app that could force quit apps that were running in the background and eating my battery. People have complained that they can’t get through a whole day on the Droid because of the multiple apps that run all day. I’ve found it quite easy to make it through a whole day by being proactive with closing apps that I’m not using and by using a power control widget (yes the Droid supports widgets on the home screens).
My Favorite Parts
- Voice search: It is amazing how well it picks up what I’m saying. It even works with the navigational piece of the phone. The phone is much better at figuring out what I’m saying and turning it into a google search or a phone call than anything I’ve ever seen.
- Google Navigation: I ride a bike so I don’t use this much, but I’ve found it amazing that it is just as good of quality as Rose’s Garmin Nav unit. The Garmin cost us just less than $200 a year ago…the same price as the Droid and it only navigates.
- Multi-Tasking: I can go on a run while listening to music, using my running app (Sportypal), get text messages, and continue syncing my email and Twitter account if I want. Doing all those things at once eats battery life, but having the option is very nice.
- Google Integration: As an avid user of everything Google this phone takes advantage of that more than any other. I can integrate my phone/Gmail/Facebook contacts all into one place. I can use Google Talk, Gmail, Google Calender all together. I’ve found this very handy.
- Notifications: I can personalize how my phone notifies me for every app that I use (including Facebook, Twitter apps, text messages, and email). Each of those syncs and notifies me of new stuff differently. Being able to switch everything from default to how I want it, is the kind of flexibility I need. It could notify me through some sort of a ring tone, flashing light, vibration or any combination of those so I know what it is notifying me about.