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 processor. There are only a few smartphones with processors this fast.After several days of testing, I found that the Droid X generally performs quite well when making calls, with a few notable exceptions. When I used the device inside my office, my callers complained about poor quality calls and static. Things were better outside, and calls placed from my home were crystal clear, with no problems hearing or being heard.
This phone performs exceptionally well in areas of strong coverage, but may have more problems than many of its rival in areas of weaker wireless coverage. I didn’t experience any dropped calls or have any problems ever making calls, just that some of my calls were lower quality than they should have been.
Wi-Fi works just as expected, and the Droid X’s 3G wireless hotspot functionality works perfectly. This allows you to share your smartphone’s Net connection with other computers. 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 hot spot 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 software 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.
There is no Microsoft Office-compatible file viewer or editor included with the Droid X, which was something of a disappointment. Of course there are plenty of options available on the Android Market if you need to be productive on the go while using this device.
The web browser works very well, though the default zoomed-out view can be very difficult to use with text-heavy sites. Pinch and zoom works great to change the text size, but double-tapping on the screen does not work to automatically cause that area of the site to expand to fill the screen, which required me to do fiddle a lot more with the view than I like.
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. I wasn’t able to test this feature, because I don’t have any DLNA devices to try it out with. The same is true of the HDMI-out feature, because the required cable is optional and did not come with the loaner unit I received for this review.
The Droid X’s 8 megapixel camera with dual-LED flash is a good one that takes very nice photos — good enough to replace a stand-alone digital camera for everyday situations. Exposure is generally very good, with only a few issues in challenging situations, such as the transition from shady to extremely bright areas.
The zoom performs much better than expected, though there is some loss of detail the photos come out nicely. Colors are vivid, and the special shooting modes such as sepia and black & white also work well. The macro mode is a welcome addition, and one that I don’t remember seeing on other phones I’ve reviewed recently.
By default, a special widescreen 6 megapixel shooting mode is used, though you can change that to full 8 megapixel or to lower resolution for upload to the Web if desired. The Droid X is also capable of capturing video in 720P, and has slow motion and fast motion modes.
It won’t replace a digital SLR for important, once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings, but for everyday events and even for vacations and parties it’s good enough to satisfy any but the most discriminating of photographers.
I was able to blow through the Droid X’s entire battery charge in just a few hours the first day that I had the phone, because I worked it very hard taking a lot of photos with the camera and downloading apps from the Android Market.
Performance since then has been much better, mainly since I haven’t been using the phone in such an extreme way since the first day. Considering the entertainment focus of this phone, it shouldn’t be too surprising that I need to charge it each night to make sure that I have enough juice to get through the next day.
One day it did run out of power before I was able to get home, but then again I had been using the hotspot feature during lunch, which can drain the battery really fast. You’re going to need to plug this device in to use this feature for extended periods.