Ready for more details and opinions of the Motorola Droid X for Verizon? Of course you are! In the first part of my review, I covered this Google Android phone’s build, user interface, storage options, and call quality. This time around I’m covering its screen, keyboard, WiFi hotspot functionality, and software. Let’s get to it!
The Droid X features an ample 4.3-inch TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 854×480. The colors are bright and vivid. Text looks very clear. TFT LCD doesn’t have the color saturation of OLED — which some people love and some people hate — but it offers true colors and a screen that’s much more usable in daylight. While this screen isn’t as technically impressive as the iPhone 4’s “Retina Display”, the size makes it more usable on a few levels.
Having a large screen is fantastic for web browsing. You simply see more of the web page. It also helps with the virtual keyboard. Having more space makes typing easier for most people. For example, I can type faster and with less errors on the Droid X than the HTC Google Nexus One, which has a 3.7-inch screen.
The Droid X’s resolution is atypical, which is good and bad. In portrait mode, it’s taller and narrower than the comparable HTC Evo 4G. This is great for looking at web pages in portrait mode and more comfortable when holding the phone for calls. It’s not as great using it in landscape mode, but it’s not a huge problem either; it just feels like there’s a lot of wasted space when watching videos and web browsing.
Most people will love this screen. It’s big and beautiful…like Oprah.
Keyboard and Input
There are a few keyboard options on the Droid X. Most people will opt for the virtual keyboard. This phone has one of the best virtual keyboards I’ve ever used, mostly due to the screen size and partially due to the efficient layout. If you like haptic feedback while typing, the Droid X offers some strong vibrations.
The phone also has Swype pre-installed. This nifty program allows you to trace words as the CPU figures out what you want to spell. Check out the video above for an example. It’s a great system that some people rave about, but it definitely requires a learning period. With practice, I’ve seen people enter text faster on Swype than with a physical keyboard. It’s not my cup of tea, but I totally get the appeal and it’s great that it comes pre-loaded on the Droid X.
Verizon charges $20 a month for tethering and WiFi hotspot functionality, with a 2GB cap. This is cheaper but more restrictive than Sprint’s comparable offering (though it doesn’t have 4G speeds). Setting up a WiFi hotspot is a snap; if you know how to adjust settings on a router than you can set up a hotspot with ease. However, your speeds will vary by location. For example, I was barely able to crack .5MB down in my apartment, but easily hit 1MB in downtown Los Angeles.
The WiFi hotspot feature is a nice option to have, but completely unnecessary if you can get by with a wired connection on one device. There are a number of third-party programs like EasyTether and PDAnet that allow you tether without subscribing to an expensive plan.
Apps, Games, and Goodies
My thoughts on Android apps and games haven’t changed since I covered it in my Evo 4G review. Since new people might be reading this, I’ll give a brief overview. In terms of apps, the Android Market should have most of your needs covered. There are a wide variety of apps for all sorts of entertainment and productivity needs. In terms of function, the Android Market has almost everything the iPhone App Store has, but the selection isn’t as broad.
That said, there are two apps that are headed to Android but are testing my patience with their annoying wait times — TweetDeck and Skype (real Skype, not the BS Skype pre-loaded on the phone). For now I’m content with twicca, WordPress, Barcode Scanner, Foursquare, AIM, Facebook, Yelp, Pandora, Amazon, 3banana, GameFly GameCenter, Engadget, IMDb, Huffington Post, Amazon Kindle, Qik, and Speed Test on the Droid X.
Naturally, Google apps are best on Android than any other platform. Google Maps — with the free and excellent GPS Google Navigation, Google Voice, Google Goggles, Google Earth, etc., are brilliant on Android.
That’s it for part two of my Droid X review. As always, fire away any questions and I’ll try my best to answer them. Stay tuned for comments on the phone’s still image and video capabilities, complete with samples!