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Motorola Droid X on Verizon Wireless Review - 4.3-in of Power

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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Motorola
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Introduction and Hardware Overview

To many people, the introduction of the original Motorola Droid is where the Android operating system gained major steam. It was the first phone to ship with Android 2.0, which was a major step forward in usability, and feature parity with other more mature mobile phone operating systems.

Since the original Droid, Android has gained popularity, and has become a major player in the mobile space. With Google now reporting there are 160,000 activations of Android phones a day, it is only a matter of time before Android becomes the dominant mobile operating system.

Today, we take a look at the Motorola Droid X from Verizon Wireless, the newest Android phone to hit the market.

Hardware

The most striking feature of the Droid X is the large, 4.3-in display. This massive screen allows for great media playback, and the ability to display more content to the end user at once. It is one of the better looking LCDs I have seen on a mobile device, however, I personally believe that a higher quality, smaller screen with a higher resolution, such as the AMOLED display on the Droid Incredible, or the IPS LCD on the iPhone 4 allow for a better experience.

When you have a screen this big, you are naturally dealing with a bigger phone than most people are used to. While I personally had no trouble operating this phone, I could see people with smaller hands potentially having more of an issue. Also, you may struggle to fit this phone into smaller pockets.


From Left to Right: Droid X, HTC Evo 4G, iPhone 4, HTC Droid Incredible



From Bottom to Top: Droid X, HTC Evo 4G, iPhone 4, HTC Droid Incredible

Another notable feature of the Droid X is the 8MP camera. As with other modern phones, the camera leans more towards a point and shoot than a camera phone on the picture quality spectrum. Comparing the camera to the 5MP camera on the iPhone 4 fared well for both devices, with the Droid X coming out on top, due to what seems to be incorrect auto white balance of the image by the iPhone.



Droid X Sample Image (Click for Fullsize)

 

iPhone 4 Sample Image (Click for Fullsize)

However, like with most mobile camera sensors, the low light performance of this camera is lacking. While the phone features a Dual LED flash on the back of the phone, it does not help the low light performance very much.

The Droid X also features a 720p video recording mode. This is a step up from phones like the Droid Incredible, which featured a great camera, but did not allow for High Definition video recording. With video quality of this kind, phones like the Droid X are a more than capable replacement for devices such as the Flip Video from Cisco.

The call quality of the Droid is greatly increased by the addition of 2 microphones, used for noise canceling purposes. While it still sounds like a mobile phone to some extent, because of reasons beyond Motorola’s control, it is easily one of the best sounding phones that I have used for both ends of the line.

The overall design of the Droid X takes a lot of cues from the original Motorola Droid. It still has the same rubberized feel, and physical buttons on the front, where as a lot of Android phones have moved to touch sensitive buttons. I personally prefer the touch sensitive buttons on phones such as the EVO and Incredible, but the physical buttons on the Droid X work perfectly. In order to keep the phone as thin as possible, Motorola has developed a design in which there is a raised potion of the phone which houses the camera. While this method allows the Droid X to sit on a flat surface, unlike the Incredible, it is still not very aesthetically pleasing and makes the phone look like it has a giant chin.


Another area in which the Droid X has advanced is the processor. Like the original Droid, it still uses a TI OMAP processor. This time, it is a new chip clocked at 1GHzinstead of the 600MHz found in the first Droid. In both my real world testing, and the limited benchmarks I performed, the X outperformed the HTC phones, which use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor at the same clock speed. However, it is very difficult to tell whether or not this difference is due to the skins that Motorola and HTC are running on top of Android. 

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