The Droid, a slick new smartphone from Verizon Wireless, built by Motorola and running Google’s Android OS, becomes available to the public today. I had a bit of a head start — I’ll be doing a comprehensive review of it for my primary employer, both for print and online. In the meantime, I’ve been testing the hell out of the thing since I got it in the mail on Wednesday, and here are 10 quick hits for those considering becoming early adopters.
The phone, which will run about $200 with a 2-year contract (itself a commitment of about $100/month, inclusive of data, SMS and phone usage) is definitely impressive. But when you’re spending that much money, you want to be sure what you’re in for.
My Three Initial Gripes:
1 — The default notification tone is horrendous. I know it’s easily fixed, but it’s so bad I’ve felt like I had to share the pain. The sound? The word “droid,” but spoken like a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica (the original) is using an electro-larnyx, drawn out as long as possible. “DRRROOOOIIIID.” Ugh.
2 — It’s heavy. Heavier than an iPhone, anyway.
3 — The on-board music player doesn’t bookmark where you left off. Good thing there’s an apps market.
Here’s what’s cool from the get-go:
1 — Slick, attentive, responsive interface. Just wow.
2 — Plenty of cool, free apps. Of course, caveat emptor (some of these things are pretty buggy), but I found a great pod-catcher with limited effort.
3 — The camera is easy to use, has an auto flash, intuitive settings, and seems very high quality for a phone camera (though this merits further, quantitative testing)
4 — Speedy Internet. My usual carrier is AT&T and, unlike many, I have few complaints. But the Verizon 3G network, at least as used by the Droid, makes my usual setup seem like a snail.
5 — The gmail integration is beautiful.
6 — GPS functionality, also meriting more testing, seems user-friendly and accurate.
7 — The voice recognition functionality — which can be used to find contact, do Google internet searching, and more — is surprisingly accurate. This is what I was most skeptical about, and I am duly impressed.
Oh, and I guess it bears mentioning that the regular ol’ phone functionality works very well too — crisp, clear, etc.
If you’re inclined to spend top-of-the-line money for a top-of-the-line product, like iPhone or Palm Pre, the Droid is definitely worthy of your consideration.