Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coming from the Palm Pre: First impressions on DROID

I have used (or been used by) the Palm Pre for the last 5 months.  I am going from one “iPhone killer” to another and have to honestly say that I have never been happier with another smartphone. First off let me put this straight; the Motorola DROID will not dethrone the iPhone. The iPhone still has a huge place in the market and will continue to have that place until Android becomes more user friendly.

The DROID is something different, it is meant for a specific type of crowd that wants more out of their mobile device. The DROID feels like a small computer in your hands partly due to the great hardware that Motorola built but also because Android feels much more powerful than the iPhone OS or Palm’s webOS. I am not saying that Android 2.0 is easier to use than either of the OS’s; I am saying that Android is much more powerful than either platforms.

Android 2.0 feels much faster than Android 1.5 or even 1.6. The problem is that since this is the first phone with 2.0 and that it is the first Android phone with Cortex A8 processor this faster feeling may not necessarily be the software. Nonetheless, switching through applications is generally quite fast although visually the switches lack polish. Sometimes the graphics become distorted going from application to home screen. For me this isn’t a problem especially because the device doesn’t lock up, it just sometimes looks clunky. I am more into function than form.

The voice quality of the phone is amazing. Seriously. Voices sound very good through the handset and even over my car speakers. The speaker phone is incredibly loud. Something that Motorola got right here was that they actually made a phone, not just an internet communication device. In using the Palm Pre’s phone I noticed that it takes forever to connect, hang up, look at your call list, etc.  With the DROID being so fast the phone is usable and works very well.

The screen is beautiful and other screens look terrible after using the DROID.

The camera does fairly well but I was expecting more quality.  I will say that the video quality is damn good and can be used while streaming Pandora without too many hiccups. I think that I need to experiment more with the camera to either praise it or count it out in the long run.

The browser is not as good as the iPhone 3G S or the Palm Pre’s, yet it is definitely acceptable and usable. I do find however that there are some sites that just don’t work, one of which is I cannot seem to login from the main page and when I think I am about to an error pops up. Anyways, the browser needs a little work and I do miss pinching and zooming gestures that are hopefully going to be added in the near future.

I haven’t had enough time with Google Maps Navigation, that may be something for an entire post.

Everyone is still complaining about the keyboard and I just don’t see that much wrong with it. It is almost identical to the HTC Mogul’s keyboard; keys are flat, close together, small bumps underneath them, and a tad slippery. I guess it sounds worse than it is. I actually love the keyboard aside from the fact that my right hand has to reach over the directional pad. Nothing that I can’t get used to.

So, my conclusion after three days of use is this; I am keeping the DROID until it dies or something literally groundbreaking comes out. This phone does everything I need it to do and so far it does it very quickly.  I feel that the hardware will outlast my 2-year contract. And since this is a “Google Experience” device I should get Vanilla Android updates quickly. So far I am a happy DROID user.

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