Sunday, October 10, 2010

My short time with the Droid X

As promised, here is a more in length review of my new cell phone, the Droid X.

I’m not gonna bother too much with the specs, just my reaction to them. If you want to know the details, click here.

First of all, this phone is pretty big as you can see and initially I thought that this might be a problem since I have considered my BlackBerry Storm to be as large as I’d want to go. Actually, the size has not been an issue at all. It’s thin enough that it slips into my pocket easily. Not being able to carry it around in a pants pocket is really the only worry I have when it comes to the size of any device. The 4.3 inch screen is great for browsing. Funny, though, when it comes to typing on the virtual keyboard in landscape, it can seem too big as your fingers require a lot of travel.
Radio reception, I have found has been excellent. Where I live, the Verizon signal was poorly picked up by my BlackBerry Storm and I have even suffered a couple of dropped calls. With the Droid X, the signal is sometimes lost but usually hovers around the mid-range of my bars and has always stayed there while using my phone for data. I have never dropped any calls as of yet.

Talking on the phone has been great. No noticeable issues have come up when it comes to talking. The multiple microphones used for noise canceling does appear to work. I have held a conversation in front of my speakers playing music at a moderate volume and the person I was talking to didn’t realize it when I asked. I do not like using the phone’s dialer and I especially miss having an autosearch and complete feature when beginning to type out a person’s name or number. I’m hoping a software update comes out to fix that. Also, there are issues in tying contact information from various social networking sites as well as being able to manage them—for example sorting by last name or overriding contact names.

Battery life is not spectacular but I don’t expect too much with smartphones anyways. I have not seen a smartphone yet that can survive beyond two days without some serious power management. That said, the battery does last me all day. I usually disconnect it around 0730 and with my level of usage (moderate data and a few minutes of phone calls), I am usually at the 40-50% mark by the time I charge it up around 2300-2400. In the interests of disclosure, I do keep Bluetooth, Wi-fi, and GPS turned off but I can toggle them on and off easily when needed by an application.

Camera and video recording capabilities I found were of lower quality than I expected. Images in the camera comes out soft and often times blurry. Performance outdoors in light, both clear and cloudy days were acceptable with good color correctness. HD video in 720p was alright but it records at 24 frames per sec and the choppiness is noticeable when the phone is moving or a subject is moving fast.

Photos below can be clicked on to enlarge.

The phone does have a panoramic feature that does pretty well in my opinion. I may not be using my photosynth account for a long time.

Pictures taken in low light conditions, I have noticed, come out blurry and or soft. There is steady shot mode, however, that tends to mitigate the effect as seen below:

Out of the box, the camera defaults to widescreen at 6MP (I think) but it does go up to 8MP as you can see here.

I am having issues with media but I’m not sure if that is because of ignorance on my end. With my BlackBerry, it knew the difference between files that I put on there for ringtones and what I put on there to listen as music. While I can designate a music file to serve as a ringtone, it will also show up in my music playlist. When it comes to audio notifications, I can’t seem to designate anything other than the sound selections that was already preloaded. So sadly I have to get rid of my Star Wars Star Tours Chime.

This phone does come with a good amount of bloatware, which I despise especially since I can’t delete it. I don’t know why Verizon does this but it freakin’ pisses me off. Although they remain in my apps drawer, I have removed things like the BlockBuster and VZ Navigator from my home screens. Apps that I do want, however, I have been able to get from the Android Marketplace pretty easily.

Motorola’s new Motoblur (not Motoblur) widgets work okay. It’s not nearly as polished as HTC’s Sense interface but is usable.

Overall, I’m happy with the phone and would probably still make the same decision if I had to choose between today’s offering with Verizon or really anyone else.

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