Gimzodo takes a more tempered view of Motrola’s new Droid

Wed, Nov 4, 2009


With the Droid launch just days away, the hype surrounding the latest device from Motorola has taken on iPhone like proportions.  And to Motorola’s credit, it seems that every Droid review we’ve come across has been overwhelmingly positive, and also to Motorola’s credit, the spec sheet on the Droid is undeniably impressive.  But just as the iPhone isn’t necessarily the perfect phone, neither is the Droid, and up until we checked out Gimzodo’s review of the device, we hadn’t seen anyone actually come out and critique it.  We suspect that part of the reason stems from the complete lack of true iPhone competitors out on the market today, so when one finally comes along, it’s easy to get excited about it in the interest consumer-friendly competition.

Okay, so onto the review.

Overall, Gizmodo liked the Droid, but had specific problems with its keyboard and its 5 megapixel camera, which if you ask us, are pretty big concerns considering that those 2 features are 2 features currently missing from the iPhone.

The keyboard is okay. I liked it a lot more on Day 1 than I do today, and that’s because I never got any faster. The problem is that the key landscape is too flat and homogenous—a necessary sacrifice for Droid’s remarkable skinniness—so there’s simply no way to feel out precisely what key your thumb’s on, meaning I never broke out of having to stare at the keyboard while typing.

The camera is complete garbage. It takes 10 years to start up, 2 to focus, and another 4 to actually take the goddamn picture. And there’s no distinct visual feedback to let you know a photo’s been snapped. And the photos suck. That pumpkin shot, in decent lighting, is as good as it gets. Like I said in the Android 2.0 review, I don’t know if it’s the hardware or the software, but it’s inexcusably bad.

And as for performance, some reviews have written the Droid absolutely SCREAMS.  Gizmodo’s experience, however, didn’t leave them as enthusiastic.

Droid’s brain is a potent ARM Cortex A8 TI OMAP 3430—it’s basically the same as the chips inside of the Palm Pre and iPhone 3GS. Like I said in the Android 2.0 review, while it runs apps and multitasks with gusto, basic things like menus and the desktop stutter way too often. It’s like driving a Ferrari with a door that groans loudly every time you open it.

This isn’t a Droid bash fest, however, and Giz did like the phone overall, concluding:

What’s also true is that a killer design, Google’s services, Android’s exploding app ecosytem, powerful multitasking, a stunning screen and Verizon’s network still make it the second best phone you can buy right now, after the iPhone. At the same time, there’s reason to pause. Android is evolving more rapidly than any other smartphone platform, both in terms of the hardware and software. When HTC’s Hero came out, it crushed every other Android phone out there. Just a couple short months later, Droid is on top. In four months, we’ll probably see a new champion. That Droid sets such a high bar for everything after might be the best thing about it.

Hey, second best ain’t too shabby.  And in the middle of this, you gotta wonder what in the hell is going through Palm’s head right now.


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