Cell Phone Reviews

written by John deGlavina

Less than a year later Motorola has released the update to the original Droid, the Droid 2. It is available from Verizon on now for $199 after $100 rebate.



Here's an overview of the Droid 2's main features:
  • Android 2.2
  • Flash 10.1
  • 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP3630 processor (same as Droid X)
  • 512mb RAM
  • 8gb of internal storage (for applications, contacts and setting data), 8gb class 4 microSD card installed - expandable to 32gb
  • 3.7-inch screen (480x854)
  • 5mp camera w/ auto focus & dual LED flash
  • 720p HD video capture, HD playback via HDMI or DLNA
  • Wi-fi 802.11 b/g/n/i
  • Mobile hotspot (up to 5 devices connected)
  • FM Radio
  • 3.5mm headphone jack


Unboxing
Just like the Droid X, Motorola chose to not give the Droid 2 a flashy box. The box is just an inch bigger than the phone on one side. The box is colored and styled the same as the original Droid. It comes only with a charger/USB cable and a quick start guide.

Cosmetics
The Droid 2 is less than a millimeter larger than the original Droid coming in at 4.58 x2.38 x0.54 inches (original is 4.56 x2.36 x0.54). You'll notice that the Droid 2 is tinted blue.






Next to the original Droid:



The back is rubberized like the original, and maintains the same sliding battery cover. The cover will actually fit on the original Droid. The external microphone is located bottom middle:


The 5mp camera:


It also maintains virtually the same appearance, but incorporates in a curved lip at the bottom that moved with the screen. The bottom microphone was moved from that lip to the bottom of the phone.


On the left you'll find the charger (microUSB) port. On the far left you can see the added cutout for a lanyard.


The right side integrates the volume and red camera buttons. Luckily Motorola took some time to redesign these buttons, making them rubberized and more fixed than the original.


On the top you'll see the power/lock putton and the 3.5mm headphone jack, which no longer has a plastic Surround:


On the bottom you'll find only the microphone:


Again, one thing that Motorola didn't improve is the way you have to remove the microSD card. It's stuck on top of the battery, which requires its removal to get the microSD card out. Why Motorola?


The Droid 2 maintains those touch sensitive navigation buttons, but they are in a different order than on the original Droid (besides the search button being far right) They are, however, in the same order as the Droid X. Regardless, if you're coming from another android device, I'm sure you're brain will remember the order of the buttons in no time.




Screen
The 3.7 inch 480x854 TFT screen, as far as I can tell, is exactly the same as the original Droid. They are both capacitive, have the same 16million colors, and pixels per inch. No improvements were made here. Regardless, it's a great screen with great touch response.




Keyboard
Motorola decided to redesign the keyboard in the Droid 2. I think they made some good decisions. First, they did away with the directional pad in favor of standard computer keyboard like directional buttons. This alone, allowed them to make each button just a tiny bit bigger.



Next, they made use of that blank space on the left and made a long alt button, added a alt lock button, a voice button, and browser button. On the right, in place of the menu button is now a back button, in place of the question mark button is a longer return key (question mark is now an alt next to space bar), and the added arrows and 'ok' button.



Overall, I think the keyboard improvements are great. It still feels a little flat, but the added width is worth it. You may miss the directional pad if you got used to using it for a game.

Software
From what I can tell, Motorola is using a very similar build to what they used on the Droid X. They did some minimal things to Android that really come a long way in the overall scheme of things. They aren't using moto Blur, and I'm glad. It is kind of cool and all, and it's nice to backup and sync things to your Blur account, but this is much better. You don't need that backup when you have everything in Google anyway.

The Droid 2 application screen:


The Droid X application screen:


Here's some things you get with the Droid 2 over the stock Android OS (this is the same thing I posted for the Droid X):
  • Updated home screen with dedicated call and contact buttons
  • 6 additional home screens with a chooser which appears at the bottom in place of the call and contact buttons
  • Home screens are pre-loaded with social network, weather, media, calendar, favorites, and news widgets
  • Better keyboard & Swipe keyboard
  • Added unlock password feature in addition to the pattern lock
  • Updated contact view with more information, linked profiles swipe-able recent communication & update panes
  • Improved texting interface



The added mobile hotspot application

Here's the different pre-loaded home screens:

The calendar and messages widget


The social network widget


The contacts widget


The media widget


The rss widget


Phone dialer


The software versions

One thing I found redundant; To get social networks to sync with the contacts and home screen you 'add an account'. So, if you add your Facebook account it will sync your contacts with your Facebook contacts, which is cool. However, you still don't have the Android Facebook application, so you have to download it from the Market if you want the applications other Facebook functionality.

In some cases, like Twitter, there's really no reason to use the included Twitter widget over the Twitter Android application, unless you want duplication tweets from all your followers.


Browser
Browsing web pages on the Droid 2 is easy and fast. Pinch zoom, and the fast download speeds of Verizon and the fast processor all contribute to a wonderful browsing experience. Everything is super smooth and you won't be disappointed.

Finally - flash is up and running! Fortunately this comes with Android 2.2, so if you still have a phone running 2.1 an update should be coming shortly.

Performance & Battery
The 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP3630 processor really performs! The Droid 2 is significantly faster than the original Droid and seems at least a little bit faster than the Droid Incredible which runs the 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Opening applications is swift, and menus are instant. This alone will make you giggle with excitement.

The Droid 2's battery is the same battery as the original Droid, a 1400 mAh. However, the phone is rated for a longer standby and talk time. The phone is rated at a talk time 315 hours, and standby time 315 hours. Talk time is 3.17 hours more than the original Droid and 45 hours more standby time. That's a big difference. I'm wondering if the TI CPU in combination with 2.2 is really that much more efficient. That's really the only place that the Droid 2 could be saving power since it shares the same screen and battery with the original.

I was able to use the phone all day without needing to charge it. You'll probably need to plug it in every night if you use the phone heavily all day. Now if you're using the hotspot feature of the phone, this will likely require a recharge within a couple hours of constant use. The same goes for using any application that uses GPS. You could save some battery life if you keep the screen dimmer than normal and turn off bluetooth, GPS, and wi-fi when not in use.

Camera
The camera hardware is virtually the same as the original Droid. The 5mp camera does a good job, but I'm disappointed Motorola didn't include the Droid X's 8mp camera in the Droid 2.

One thing that is improved is the software. It is faster and easier to use and includes has autofocus, touch to focus, dual LED flash, face detection, a 1/1000 second capable shutter (for taking fast action pics), a 4x digital zoom, and panormaic capture. The picture menu, accessed by touching the screen, allows you to choose between different scenes, like outdoor, and night to get the best picture. There's also an effects and flash menu. The volume keys are the zoom in and out.

For video we have a bump from 24fps to 30fps at the same 720x480 resolution. The video menu allows you to switch between auto and night mode, as well as effects and a feature to turn the LEDs on as a camera light.The video is okay, but it's not as good as the Droid X's 720p video. Included is also DLNA support.

Accessories
I thought I would mention that the Droid 2 does fit in the original Droid's cradle:


however, it does NOT fit in the car mount:


Conclusion
The original Droid was a milestone for Verizon. With the Droid 2, Motorola and Verizon want to solidify the fact that they now have a number of different Android-powered phones.

The Droid 2 improves on several things that the original lacked. However, software updates can solve some of those problems. What you're really paying for here is the processing power. I think Motorola did a good job as far as an update, but I would've liked to see better use of the screen (or a newer high resolution screen) and a better camera. They also could've done more to update the phone's styling; it's pretty boring when you compare it to other phones.

So, why would you want the Droid 2 over the Droid Incredible or Droid X?
  • You absolutely need a QWERTY keyboard
  • You don't want or need a 4.3 in screen
  • You love the original Droid but wish it were faster




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Comments 3 Comments
  1. jacob11's Avatar
    jacob11 -
    Without question, the Motorola Droid -- and Verizon's marketing blitz behind it -- is what really put the Android smartphone on the map. It's safe to say millions have been sold, and you've been hard pressed to watch an hour of television without hearing the unmistakeable call of "DROOIIIID" announcing the arrival of yet another commercial. And now we have the Droid 2. Launched with little fanfare compared to its older brother and its cousins in the Droid line -- the HTC Droid Eris, HTC Droid Incredible and the Motorola Droid X -- the Droid 2 keeps with the look and feel of the original while adding some needed improvements. So join us after the break as we take a closer look at the Droid 2 its place in Verizon's Droid line.


    See More: Article: Motorola Droid 2 Review
  1. rickyfred's Avatar
    rickyfred -
    Very cool mobile with interesting features. I love it so much
  1. BLUE66Rose's Avatar
    BLUE66Rose -
    wow,looks great.
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