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Droid X review

Post image for Droid X review

July 25, 2010

in All Articles,Cellphone reviews

The Droid X is another of Motorola’s entries into the extremely popular Android smartphone market. Like most of the Android phones, this is a stellar performer – The Droid X is a phone where there’s very little to complain about and much to admire.

Droid X hardware and performance

Yes, there are some new features, and we’ll get to those in a moment. First, though, let’s look at the comparative stats:

1GHz processor
4.3 inch HD screen
3G Mobile HotSpot capabilities ($20 per month)
Enterprise-level data sync (including Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Google Calendar)
Enterprise-level management (including remote password control and Exchange server remote wipe)

What the above tells me is that not only is the Droid X a real contender in the enterprise business environment, but it also has the hardware required to support it.

Speed: the first thing you may notice is the CPU speed – the Droid X is running at 1GHz. (Yes, people of the future, that speed may seem slow to you, but to us in 2010 this is wonderfully fast for a smartphone!) When I use the Droid X, there is hardly any measurable slowdown in terms of waiting for the CPU to do its job. I push a button or navigate an application, and the response is as great. The Droid X is a very fast device.

Screen size: the second thing you may notice from the stats – and something you’re sure to notice the moment you pick up the Droid X – is the physical size of the device and its screen. This is a big phone. It’s not thick, but it is wide and tall. This is good for multimedia like video, web browsing and email.

Droid X new features

The Droid X is an improvement in several areas compared to other Android devices. Beyond things like simple speed increases, there are actual new features:

HD video recording capability: Record and playback HD video. Assuming your lighting is good and you have a big memory stick in the Droid X, there may be no need for a dedicated video camera ever again.

HDMI output: Play recorded video or show the Droid X’s games and media on an HD-compatible device! Very slick. I personally wasn’t able to test this, unfortunately, because while I had an HDMI monitor, I didn’t have the required cable to make it happen.

8MP camera: The Droid X’s digital camera is 8MP – better than my digital camera at home! In earlier articles I’ve guessed at the rate of technological advancement, about my belief that someday the “all in one” device will completely replace the specialized devices like cameras or GPSes for most users. Some would argue that day is already here. It’s not yet here for me – we first need more advances in battery life – but I’ll admit that day is a lot closer than I thought.

Adobe Flash capable: This is great for web-browsing. If you know what Flash is, you don’t need to read this paragraph any further, except to know that yes, Android and the Droid X support Flash. If you don’t know what Flash is, then rest assured it’s a BIG advance in smartphone capability that improves web browsing (meaning that for some websites that didn’t work on smartphones before, they will now!) It also allows the phone to run more applications, including many it couldn’t run before.

Voice recognition on the Droid X: Processor power is more than just a fast interface. It allows you to do other cool things like voice recognition. For example, you can:

  1. Log on to Skype Mobile
  2. Pick a contact
  3. Speak your message
  4. Send it

Voice recognition isn’t just a Skype feature. The Droid X allows for voice recognition in many fields where you’d normally type on the virtual keyboard. In my testing, I sent myself a fairly long email by speaking it aloud. For short, simple sentences the voice recognition works extremely well, including me speaking, “I would like to take this moment to thank the Academy,” and “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.”

For more complex, “trickier”-sounding phrases that rely on context, you still need manual correction: compare my spoken “the sheep’s in the meadow” to the Droid X-interpreted “the sheet’s in the middle”. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for quick messages. Great for those who can’t easily or quickly type what they want to say.

Droid X size and ergonomics

The Droid X has a slight case thickening in the top back. I believe it’s there for the camera hardware, but it also acts as a handrest – a “ledge” for which I prop the phone on one hand as I use it with the other.

The rest of the case is solid – it’s thin and not heavy (which is surprising, given all the hardware crammed in there). The shape is a basic rectangle with rounded corners.

The main buttons along the front-bottom of the device are small and simple – you’ve got Menu, Home, Back and Search. No other joysticks or navigation rocker buttons (for which I’m grateful). Like the original Motorola Droid, it’s not flashy, but functional and simple.

The size of the Droid X is the only issue I could see anyone really complaining about. It’s a big phone, about 5″ by 2.6″. My hands are average-sized – not huge, not small – and the Droid X is about the biggest smartphone I’ve ever held, bigger than the iPhones. Any taller or wider and it would be too big for me. (See the picture on the left for a size comparison with a Leatherman Wave.)

If I owned the Droid X, I’d get a quality case for it. I tried carrying this in my pocket and it’s simply too big.

The folks at Nutshell have a case sized specifically for the Droid X – there are plenty of options out there, but with this phone a case is a requirement for me. [I receive no money or perks from the Nutshell people. But I’ve used their cases since 2002 and am very satisfied: expensive, but durable and very customizable.]

Virtual keyboard

As I’ve said in other reviews, this phone is a little harder for me to use because I personally prefer physical keyboards over virtual keyboards. However, designers are quickly making up for virtual problems by fine-tuning predictive input – having the phone “help” you when you’re typing makes the actual process of typing go much faster. The more I see of predictive input (and its effectiveness) the more I’m comfortable with virtual keyboards.


I showed the Droid X to my coworkers at the office – they’re a bunch of techie geeks like me – and they all loved it. There were zero complaints, though a few agreed with me on the sizing issues: it’s a big phone!

The Droid X is partly a major update of the existing Droid phones, and partly an addition of new features that weren’t feasible a short time ago. The result is an excellent smartphone with little if any flaws. Any problems with the Droid X might be due to battery life, or perhaps to its size, but if you’re shopping for smartphones you’re already expecting something bigger, and battery life affects all high-powered phones.

Would I get the Droid X? Absolutely. Motorola and Google have done a great job – I’m really impressed with the Droid lineup, and the Droid X is a specialty – it’s a top smartphone in a very competitive market.

The Droid X is available from Verizon Wireless for $200.


Motorola Droid X specifications

4.3 inch HD screen
A fast 1GHz processor
Dual-flash, 8-megapixel camera
HD Camcorder
HDMI video output
3G Mobile HotSpot capabilities ($20 per month)
Up to 32 GB (memory card required)
Intuitive social messaging
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 ready
Access to the more than 65,000 applications on Android Market
A host of unique Verizon Wireless applications such as NFL Mobile, Skype mobile, V CAST
Enterprise-level data sync (including Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Google Calendar)
Enterprise-level management (including remote password control and Exchange server remote wipe)

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