Available today is Verizon and Motorola's third update to the original Droid. The Droid 3 packs in several new features and a dual-core processor! It is available from Verizon for $199.99 with new two year contract.
Here are the standout features of the Droid 3:
- Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread
- Global ready (3g and GSM antennas)
- Advanced security policies for enterprise
- 4" qHD display
- 5-row keyboard
- 1GHz dual-core TI IMAP CPU
- 512mb RAM
- 12gb internal memory (no sd card but 32gb max)
- 8mp camera + 0.3mp front camera
- 1080p video recording (1920x1080)
- HDMI out
Unlike the Droid 2, the Droid 3 has been completely redone. The case is a similar design with the keyboard sliding out from the bottom, with a rubberized back. The back cover is a plastic snap-on vs the former metal slide cover. This allows the corners to be more rounded. The speaker is located on the lower back.
Under the back cover you'll find the 1540 mAh battery, SIM card and slot for the microSD card. Finally, Motorola decided to move the microSD slot so the battery doesn't have to be removed to insert or remove a microSD card. This is the first phone in a long while that I've seen that doesn't come with a microSD card pre-installed, however.
On the top you'll find the heaphone jack and power/standby button. On the bottom there is nothing but the tapered edge of the slide out keyboard. The right side has the volume buttons, and on the left you'll find the USB/charger port and HDMI port. There is no dedicated camera button.
Here's a quick comparison of Droid 3 cosmetics with the Droid 2. As you can see the Droid 3 is physically bigger and 0.7mm thinner.
Go here for a more in depth comparison of the Droid 2 & Droid 3
The 4" 540x960 screen is a good upgrade over the Droid 2's 3.7". It's qHD, which is code for 'there's more things on the screen because of the larger resolution'. The screen is the same resolution as the screen on the Droid X2, despite being 0.3" smaller. So this means that physically things on the screen are a bit smaller.
So, the screen is nice and sharp, but you're not going to get the crispness out of colors that you do with a super AMOLED screen.
Luckily Motorola made the Droid 3 a larger phone, making room for a larger physical keyboard. They completely redesigned the keyboard, adding an additional number row (which makes room for another row of alt keys). They made the way the keyboard feels much better than on the Droid 2. The keys feel more like keys. I love it!
Besides the physically keyboard you also get vertical and landscape on screen keyboards with SWYPE, just in case.
The Droid 3 comes with Android 2.3.4, which is great considering some Android phones are still waiting on updates to Gingerbread. The interface is a lot like the Droid X2. They share the same photo gallery, app viewer, contacts, and phone dialer.
Missing are the pre-loaded widgets on the home screens. They do come with the phone though, but you'll have to manually load them on to the home screen of your choice. This may be because there are only five home screens vs the seven on most phones I've seen lately. The lock screen plus the three home screens with widgets and shortcuts on them are below.
Here is the selection screen (when you press the menu button again)
Here is the application app and all the applications that come with the phone. I'm glad vertical scrolling is on its way out.
A couple stand out applications are Quickoffice, Citrix GoToMeeting, and MotoPrint which allows you to print right from your phone. Motorola also threw in a task manager application.
I really like the new app grouping feature too (also on the Droid X2).
(the icon in the upper right goes to the Android Market)
Motorola added some 'transitions' between screens. It's hard to describe without a video, but icons and widgets appear to be coming in from the back when going between screens. The same effect is added between application screens. When the screen goes to sleep it looks like an old tube TV turning off.
My guess is they could afford these screen transitions with the dual-core processor and wanted to show off a little. I'm glad they did it because it actually adds to the overall experience of the phone.
Browsing & Data
You're not going to see 4g data speeds, but 3g will have to due for this phone. Loading a web page was pretty normal. The time it takes to actually render the page is cut down due to the super fast processor though. Scrolling and zooming is very smooth.
Performance & Battery
You definitely won't be disappointed with the processor in the Droid 3. The quadrant scores don't lie! The Droid 3 scored a 2244. The Droid X2 pulled a 2477. It's been reported that the Droid 3 is 27% faster than the Droid 2.
The 1540 mAh battery is the same one that comes with the Droid X2. It's rated higher though at 9.16 hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby time. In comparison the Droid 2's 1420 mAh battery is rated at 8.33 hours of talk time and 230 hours of standby time. Needless to say the Droid 3 has an above average battery. You'll no doubt have to plug it in at night after a good days use.
The main camera on the Droid 3 is 8mp. The front facing camera is 0.3mp. It can also take 1080p HD video (a Verizon first)
Here are a couple sample photos taken with the main camera in really good light:
Low light with flash:
The pics came out good, and super large, but they are lacking with color, and seem a little washed out. All low light flash photos I took came out very blue. The white balance is off and unfortunately there is no easy way to adjust this. Trying different scene modes seemed to help a little.
I expected better performance out of an 8mp camera, honestly. The time it takes to take the picture is a little slow considering the processor.
The video, however, is outstanding. Again, the colors could be better, but it can make some large, high resolution videos. Even though the spec sheet says 30fps (this may be on a lower resolution, it's not clear), the frame rate looks a little slow, but whatever, it's a tiny cell phone camera we're talking about. Here's a short video I shot of some cars passing:
The scene modes are auto, portrait, landscape, sport, night, sunset, macro, and steady shot. You also get black & white, negative, sepia, solarize, and red, green & blue tint. Missing from the camera application are some settings, like ISO and white balance adjustment. As I noted above there is also no dedicated camera button, which is okay.
I think the Droid 3 is a fine update to the Droid 2. It's faster, has a better camera, better software, larger screen, and HDMI. Missing is a 4g antenna, but you do get a GSM antenna in its place.
Reasons to get the Droid 3:
- You don't need 4g
- You want a dual-core phone
- You need a hardware keyboard and don't want a Blackberry
- You want a larger screen than the Droid 2
Why get something else:
- You want 4g data
- You don't need a global phone
- You want something smaller
- You rather wait for the Droid Bionic (which will have a dual-core processor & 4g, but no GSM)
- You're totally comfortable with an on-screen keyboard
Talk about the Droid 3
Buy the Motorola Droid 3