Menu/phone book: The Motorola DROID runs Google Android OS 2.0.1. As such it has a few enhancements such as Layers in Google Maps, which offers the ability to see more details such a public transit information and Satellite view. We also found that the smartphone is fast meaning that there is no lag when maneuvering through multiple applications and menus. The Google user interface is fairly straightforward and icon friendly. To access the cell phones applications simply select the up arrow key and theyll appear. Here are a few things to note about navigation. If youre in a screen and want to go back to the previous screen simply press the back arrow. If you want to exit a program simply press the button with a picture of a house, since you cant manually quit applications running on the Motorola DROID smartphone. For the most part, this is not an issue. Whenever youre in an application and want to do more press the Menu key and a set of options will appear. You also have three screens that you can customize. You can also add widgets and folders to a particular screen by pressing the menu key.
The Google Android OS is really all about having all your contact information in one spot and constantly synched. When we say all your contact information we mean all including social networking sites, multiple e-mail accounts, messaging (messaging is threaded so you can see a complete text message conversation in one view), and even photo services where you may have accounts created. You can add all pertinent account information easily when you set up the device. If you want to sync with your computer simply connect it via the included USB synching cable and it will appear as an additional drive on your desktop, making it easy to drag and drop files from a computer to the cell phones MicroSD card (a 16GB microSD card is included with the Motorola DROID).
Messaging: The Motorola DROID can handle multiple e-mail accounts either corporate e-mail or web-based e-mail. Setting up an e-mail account couldnt be easier, simply select the e-mail app from the Menu. Its just a matter of knowing user name and password. The smartphone does the rest.
Camera/video: The Motorola DROID has a 5-megapixel camera with AutoFocus and a flash, but lacks a tiny mirror for snapping self portraits. Overall, picture quality is acceptable and were happy to report it has a fairly fast shutter. However, we wouldnt use it to capture moments at say a basketball game. Colors are a little washed out and details could be a bit sharper. Once you snap a picture, you can crop it, rotate it, save it, trash it, or share it to a multitude of options including Flickr, Facebook, and various messaging options, or set it as wallpaper or for a contact,. There are a quite a few camera settings: you can adjust White Balance, Picture Size, Picture Quality, GeoTagging, and Color Effects (Normal, Solarize, Red Tint, Blue Tint, Green Tint, Negative, or Sepia).
Additionally, you can view and shoot videos on the cell phone. Shooting videos is pretty easy and the quality is acceptable. While its a nice feature to have, youre probably going to enjoy watching videos you download or stream from the Internet over a WiFi connection. We should note theres a YouTube application included on the smartphone.
Music: As noted, the Motorola DROID has a music player. You can listen to songs stored in MP3, AAC (Apples audio format), and WMA (Microsofts audio format) formats. There arent many music-centric features included in the player, but it has the ones weve come to expect: Repeat, Shuffle, and Playlists (you can even create them on the fly nice!). Plus, you can save tunes stored in your cell phone as a ringtone The Motorola DROID comes with a 16GB MicroSD card, so you will have plenty of room to store music on this cell phone. Besides adding your own music to the cell phone, you can also purchase songs from the Amazon MP3 store application pre-installed on the Motorola DROID. Additionally, there are quite a few free music applications that you can download from the Marketplace such as Pandora.
Connectivity/Bluetooth/WiFi:The Motorola DROID has Bluetooth and we were able to connect to a Bluetooth car kit (we found call quality was decent when we used the Motorola T505). The Motorola DROID also has built-in WiFi, so you can use this smartphone to log onto available WiFi networks to surf the Web or send/receive e-mail. Its a nice feature and it just takes moments to set up. The only thing you need to know is the WiFi network you want to use and password if needed. We should note surfing the Web on the DROID wasnt bad, but WiFi was often faster. Web pages loaded quickly and you could scroll around them. In fact, theres not much you cant do with the Motorola DROID when connected to a WiFi network, except make a call.
Look and feel: Youll definitely know when you have the Motorola DROID in a pocket or purse since it is a bit heavy. The good news is that it definitely feels sturdy in the hand. However, its also sleek and sports a fairly slim profile. When they keyboard isnt extended, the touchscreen display takes up almost the entire cell phone. Like other Google Android smartphones currently available there are only 4 touch keys for maneuvering through the cell phones features and none of them are a send or end key. Instead there are Back, Menu, Home and Search keys. Additionally, the Motorola DROID is one streamlined smartphone: it literally only has two buttons and those are for controlling the volume keys and activating the camera. Theres also a 3.5mm headset jack, power button, and microUSB port. The display is vibrant, bright, and visible in direct sunlight. It also attracts a fair share of face grease and fingerprints. When the display is not illuminated thats when you can really the see the marks, otherwise its not that visible. To be fair, this is an issue with most touchscreen cell phones currently available. If you want to swap out the microSD card youll need to remove the back cover and youll need to remove the battery in order to access the microSD card. The one thing we didnt like about the design of the Motorola DROID is that when not in use the display automatically goes dark and the only way to activate it is to press the power button located at the top of the cell phone next to the 3.5mm headset jack.
Keypad:The Motorola DROID sports both a touchscreen and tactile QWERTY keyboard. You can use either to send messages or write notes. The tactile keyboard is a flat keyboard that slides out. When this keyboard is in use the cell phone screen automatically goes into horizontal mode. Although the keys are flat we did find them spacious (read: we had minimal mistypes). Theres also a 4-way navi key next to the keyboard for maneuvering through features if you dont want to use the touchscreen. There are also a dedicated menu and search keys. Overall, we found that we preferred using the tactile keyboard to the touchscreen.