So I’ve spent a little over a day with the Motorola Droid X for Verizon. To kick off my not-a-review, I’ll give you my first impressions of this excellent Google Android phone. Today I’m going to talk about the phone’s build quality, user interface, storage options, and initial impressions on call clarity.
The Motorola Droid X is a well-made phone. I really like it’s style and lines. The front of the phone is mostly glass, with four plastic buttons and two strips of rubberized plastic. It’s all wrapped by a metal band, which gives the phone some heft and adds to its quality feel. The back is all rubberized plastic and offers a good grip.
The phone has been getting a lot of flack for its reverse chin — the top of the phone has a noticeable bulge that houses its camera mechanism, which gives the Droid X’s otherwise slim form factor a funky look. The people that hate it are overreacting; it looks way more pronounced in photos than it does in real life. The phone is just as pocketable as the similarly sized HTC Evo 4G for Sprint.
One obvious side effect of the phone’s design is that it’s top heavy. I liked how the phone felt in my hands when making calls and using it in portrait mode. The balance takes some getting use to in landscape mode, but I suspect most users will adjust after using it for a few days. I do suggest being careful about where you place this phone. I left the Droid X and the Evo 4G side by side on the arm of my couch and more than a dozen times in the last 24 hours the Droid X took a dive because of its balance (that or it’s actually alive and prefers to sit on the couch instead of the couch’s arm).
Along with the original Motorola Droid, the Droid X is one of the most well-made Android phones available in America. The only minor nitpick I have is that the battery cover creates a lot of space for dust to settle. I hate dust.
The Droid X uses a customized version of Google Android 2.1. It’s not full-on MotoBlur, which is a good thing. Blur is a great idea, but I don’t like how it has been executed and I really don’t like that it delays Android OS upgrades. The UI on the Droid X is close to stock Android, but with enough enhancements and widgets that make it a wee bit friendlier.
I’m a big fan of HTC Sense. It’s the best customized version of Android I’ve used. Compared to that, the UI on the Droid X feels a little clunky and inelegant. It’s not bad by any means, but it doesn’t add the smoothness and good looks that HTC Sense does.
If I had to choose between this customized version of Android and the stock model, I’d go with the latter. Vanilla Android is just fine and Motorola didn’t add enough enhancements to make OS delays worth waiting for. The good news is that Motorola has promised that Android 2.2 will be available for the Droid X in August, but after that who knows how long updates will take.
The UI on the Motorola Droid X is much better than what I’ve seen from Samsung, but not as good as HTC Sense.
One area where the Droid X trounces the competition is storage. The phone has 8GB built in, solely for Android apps. That’s more than enough for most users and I commend Motorola for being so generous with on-board memory. It doesn’t stop there though; the phone also comes with a 16GB microSD card for additional storage. Again, that’s more than enough for most people’s music, video, and photo needs.
Compared to the Evo 4G, which comes with 1GB of internal memory and an 8GB microSD card, the Droid X’s 24GBs of storage is massive.
Initial Impressions on Call Quality
Even though I’ve only had the phone for a day, I’m already impressed with the Droid X’s call quality. In my opinion, the Motorola Droid is the best Android phone in America in terms of call clarity. I’m 98-percent certain that it will be ousted by the Droid X. The phone has two noise-canceling mics that block out background noise. Just for the hell of it, I made some calls standing on the sidewalk of Wilshire Boulevard with dozens of cars and buses zipping by. My friends said that I sounded great.
Noise-canceling magic aside, my friends said that my voice sounded very clear. By comparison, they said I sounded a little louder on my BlackBerry 8900 but just as clear. Compared to the HTC Evo 4G, I sounded louder and clearer. As for them, they sounded great on the Droid X’s earpiece. However, there were some gain issues when the earpiece was turned up to its highest level. The good news is that if your hearing is decent then you’ll rarely need the volume turned up that high.
Remember, your results may vary. While the noise-cancelling microphones are undoubtedly a huge benefit on the hardware side, call quality greatly depends on how well Verizon works where you live, work, and play. I’ve only tested the Droid X in two neighborhoods in Los Angeles. So far, the results are fantastic.
That’s it for part one of my Motorola Droid X not-a-review. I’ll be testing out the phone’s other functions shortly, including photos, videos, additional call quality tests, and more. If there are any aspects of the phone you want me to pay special attention to, please let me know in the comments section.