I’ve had the Motorola Droid for about a week now (I bought it on Black Friday), so it’s about time I posted some initial impressions. I’ll follow this up with more details later.
Overall, I like it a lot. I think it’s a great device, and it’s light years ahead of the Blackberry Tour and Storm I had back in July and September.
- Nice, big, bright LCD screen. It’s got a 3.7” touch screen, and at 480×854 it has the highest resolution of any smartphone I know. It’s certainly higher than the iPhone at 480×320, and the Tour and Storm which both weigh in at 480×360.
- Amazing integration with Google Applications: Gmail, Gmail Contacts, Google Calendar, etc. I just entered my Google Account username and password, and it automatically synced all of my mail, contacts, and appointments.
- Ringtones, alarms, notifications, etc. can all be created from MP3, WAV, or AAC files.
- It’s nice to have both a physical and a virtual keyboard.
- Google Navigation is amazing.
- Voice search works very well and is contextual.
- The Shortcuts and Widgets feature is pretty cool. I like that I can do a direct dial right on the home screen to anyone I choose. (As you might expect, Charlene is right there in the corner.)
- The browser is very good. Right up there with the iPhone, if not perhaps a bit better. It’s certainly better than any Blackberry browser I’ve used.
- The hardware is fast. Faster than the iPhone 3G (I don’t have a 3GS to test against), and faster than the Blackberries. The screen refreshes very quickly, and both keyboards are fast. They don’t leave me waiting like the iPhone does.
- The network is fast. Dragging my finger around a map doesn’t leave me hanging as I wait for the map to reload. Pages load faster over WiFi than they do on the iPhone. Using the Speedtest app at home on WiFi I was able to get download speeds of 5 mbps and upload speeds of 2mbps with a 45ms ping. Even on 3G, I got 2172kbps/701kbps with a 99ms ping the other night.
- Pattern security works, but is overly sensitive.
- The Android Market is still relatively sparse. It doesn’t have a few of my favorite iPhone apps like Dropbox, WordPress, and Gasbag, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before the developers migrate to Android. Of course, the other way to look at it is there’s plenty of room for up-and-coming developers to fill those voids with their own products.
- I haven’t figured out a way to organize the applications on screen. It appears that they are organized in alphabetical order, but unlike Blackberry, I don’t believe there’s a way to relegate unused icons to a folder or hide them. Maybe it’s just my own ignorance.
- Battery life is just OK. I go about a day between charges.
- It auto-imports everything from Google. This is good and bad. It’s super convenient, but if I didn’t want everything imported, it’s a pain to undo.
- At night, the LCD is almost too bright, even at the lowest brightness setting, so I wish it went down a few more gradations. I’m not sure if this is a hardware or a software issue.
- The phone is prone to locking itself, and the only resolution is a hard reset.
- When viewing e-mail in the Gmail app, there are three big buttons on the bottom for “Archive”, “Delete”, and “Older.” I wish those were buried in a menu or customizable. I don’t use Gmail’s Archive function (maybe I should?), so that button is really unnecessary for me. On more than one occasion I’ve unknowingly hit the Archive button and wondered where an e-mail disappeared to.
- No “Alarm Only” mode.
Those are my first impressions of the Droid. If you have one, what do you think?