Random Technolust – One Week with the Motorola Droid (Verizon)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

About two years ago I got a case of technolust. I begin to consider a smart phone. Perhaps it was the hype around the iPhone or maybe it was Google starting to talk about the Android OS. I needed a smart phone. I had to have one.

I wanted an iPhone. Sadly, I live in rural America, so my cellular providers are limited. No AT&T locally. In fact, the only big provider where I live is Verizon. So, the iPhone was out. Then Motorola and Verizon announced the Droid. Oh happy day, I could finally have the smart phone of my dreams.

Getting Started
With all my Google services available, the phone was ready to go before I even walked out the door. Hooking my new phone up to my employer’s Exchange server was seamless. Having fought with getting Exchange to work on other phones, I was pretty darn impressed with that. My only complaint with the Droid’s Exchange integration is that it uses a separate application for my Exchange calendar.
Basic Features
Having WiFi on your phone is nice. While at work or at home, I have the WiFi enabled and use that bandwidth for application installs or buying music. I haven’t really used the 3G network anywhere but around town, but once a site is loaded, web browsing is pretty snappy.


The real killer app on the Droid is the GPS & Google Maps integration. While this is not an iPhone killer, I can see why dedicated GPS device providers are a bit leery of this. Flip the phone on sideways and put it into car home mode and you have a pretty impressive navigation device.

Car Mode is one of the many apps that supports Voice search, which is very convenient. I spent at least 20 minutes playing with the voice search feature and the weather app, just speaking in city names. Of course I am easily entertained.

As a multimedia device, it’s okay. It plays music and video fairly well. YouTube runs just fine.

The slide out keyboard seems fine to me, but this my first phone with a keyboard, so I am the wrong guy to ask about that.
The Camera
The Droid features a 5 megapixel camera. It’s not a great still camera but it’s not horrible, either.  It has a lot of user settings available, so I have found the camera to be a nice tool for lower res artistic shots like this one:
Sunset in the high desert
Where it really shines is as a video camera, taking very crisp 720x480 video, like this:

Applications
My Droid came with a Facebook app & the typical suite of Android apps. The Android store has nowhere near the richness that Apple's App Store has, but, most the apps I would want on my phone were there.

In the first week, I have added a WiFi signal analyzer, a GPS compass, Barcode Scanner and, of course, Shazam for Android. BTW, Shazam is like magic and is deserving of it's own Technolust entry

Visual Voicemail is available as an app, but requires an additional $2.99 (US) service charge on the Verizon network.
Cons
The Droid comes with an external 16 GB MicroSD card that can be upgraded to 32 GB, but you can not install applications on the card. Applications can store data there, but you are limited to 256 MB of space for applications.
Final Thoughts
I have had my “dream phone” for a week and have been using it as my primary communication device, including email. I don’t have any major complaints and am very happy so far. This isn't really a review, because as I have noted, this is my first real smart phone. For the time being, however, my technolust has been sated.

4 comments :

  1. I am glad you are satisfied with your phone!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Most of this is complete Greek to me, but I'm really glad you're pleased!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This morning I am mlurking (Plurk mobile), commenting & blogging football games plus following my Fantasy Football leagues all on my Droid. NERDGASM! lol

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nerdgasm! Yes... I'm thinking when my phone contract runs out - next year - it's going to be a droid for me. Thanks for this grand review - well written and full of useful information.

    I'll need to get a mount to put the GPS on my bike, though.

    ReplyDelete

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