UPDATE: This preliminary review was written based on a relatively short time with this smartphone. A much more in-depth review has now been published based on extensive testing:
The Motorola Droid X is the latest Android OS smartphone offered by Verizon Wireless. It has a large display, 1 GHz processor, 8 GB of memory, a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 32 GB in capacity, and an 8 megapixel camera/camcorder.
It is offered exclusively by Verizon Wireless for $200 with a new two-year contract and will officially launch on July 15.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Droid X is big: it’s the same width as the Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G, but it’s just a bit taller. The Droid X is thinner overall, though it does get thicker at the top of the phone, where the camera lens and flash are located. It certainly isn’t designed as a stand, but that little tilt does make the display easier to read when it’s sitting on your desk.
The phone is also lighter than the EVO 4G, so if you can find a pocket big enough to stash the Droid, it shouldn’t weigh you down too much. It feels good in the hand, due mainly to the soft touch rubberized back plate.
The 4.3-inch display is huge, bright, and crystal clear, running at 854 by 420 resolution. It will take some getting used to, at least for me, because it is so long, and therefore a little out of proportion. I prefer to use the phone in landscape mode, which also has the benefit of minimizing side-to-side scrolling.
The Droid X doesn’t have a physical keyboard, so you’ll be using the virtual keyboard on the touchscreen display. It works well in portrait or landscape, though portrait does feel a little cramped to me, and I have relatively small hands.
Other Buttons & Controls
Under the screen on the front of the phone you will find four buttons: menu, home, back, and search.
The power/sleep button and headphone jack are on the top of the device, and the volume and camera buttons are on the right hand side. The only feature on the bottom is a lanyard/wrist strap attachment on the bottom left corner. The left side of the phone has the charge/sync port and the HDMI port.
The Motorola Droid X is incredibly responsive, performing whatever command or opening whatever app I choose almost instantly, no waiting. The only slowdown I experienced was related solely to the network, such as waiting for a web page to load or for my GMail account to update.
This isn’t surprising, considering it’s running Google Android OS 2.1 on a 1 GHz OMAP procesor. There are only a few smartphones with processors this fast.
Initial testing in this area is mixed; some of the first calls I placed from my office were rather poor in quality, but weak coverage in the area is often a problem. Calls placed from my home were crystal clear, with no problems hearing or being heard. Further testing is required before I can offer an opinion on call quality.
Wi-Fi works just as expected, and Droid X’s 3G wireless hotspot functionality works perfectly. Just tap the app in the launcher, set up a password, and you can connect up to five devices at once. When you first launch the hotspot app you are warned that it will significantly affect battery life, and it is suggested that you plug in your phone while using it.
If you’ve already used an Android OS phone, you know that it’s easy to stay organized and productive while on the go. The Droid X comes with calendar and contacts apps, of course, as well as support for syncing your corporate email and contacts.
Google Maps is included, while News keeps you up to date on all of your RSS feeds. Other productivity softttware preloaded on the Droid X includes an alarm clock and timer, a calculator, and a file manager. If you want a task manager or note application, though, you’ll need to download one from the Android Market.
It takes only a few minutes with the Droid X to see that it was designed to be an entertainment powerhouse. It doesn’t come with much beyond music and video players, YouTube app, and a demo of the game Need For Speed Shift, but those apps are enough to see the potential for this device.
Music playback using the external speaker is of surprisingly good quality and volume. It may not be good enough for your next party, but it comes pretty close. Even at maximum volume, there isn’t any distortion at all, and it sounds great.
Video in the YouTube app plays in glorious full screen, and looks superb. Need For Speed Shift is silky smooth, and after playing just one track you’ll probably want to buy the full game.
A DLNA app is also included, so if you have compatible devices, you can use the phone to share and stream media wirelessly.
The 8 megapixel camera performed well in initial testing. Pictures come out sharp, and the dual LED flash is powerful enough to allow you to take pictures in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.
The Droid X is also capable of capturing video in 720P, and has slow motion and fast motion modes. The camcorder and still photo capture will be fully tested for the forthcoming review.
I’ve had the Droid X for less than a day, so I don’t have enough information yet to make a determination on battery life. This will be tested fully in the forthcoming review.
My overall impression of the Motorola Droid X so far is almost uniformly positive. The screen is large, bright, and beautiful to look at. The speaker is of exceptional quality, and the phone is responsive to my every command.
The only real concern at this point is call quality, due to the mixed results in initial testing. The camera and battery life need further testing as well, so be sure to stay tuned for the full review here on Brighthand later this week.