Last weekend I made the switch from the Blackberry Curve to the 'Droid. I know, I know, many of you die hard iphone addicts will ask the question..."Why not just get an iphone?" Well, being a Verizon customer with 5 lines who depends on great service anywhere I go, it just wasn't an option. So many people have asked about it, I thought I'd share a very unofficial review. For a professional review, check out http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/30/motorola-droid-review/
Screen: This is where the Droid rocks! The screen is crystal clear and responsive. I had a touch screen windows mobile device before and had missed the touch with the Blackberry. Every now and then I have to touch it twice, but not often. YOu can set it to give you a slight vibration to confirm your clicks if you choose. I did this the first few days I had it until I got the hang of it.
Device: It's heavier than my Blackberry for sure but doesn't feel any thicker in the pocket of my pants. It slips into my purse in narrow spaces. It feels sleek when you hold it. The buttons make sense to me-back, menu, home, and a search button right on the phone. Many people say that the rectangular shape just isn't sexy. I, for one, do not need a sexy phone...just one that does what I need it to and doesn't drop calls. I've got a hard plastic case on it because I tend to be klutzy. It' clear and fits well. The power button is a little tough to find until you get used to it. You can also wake the device up by sliding the keyboard open. Once the device wakes up, you have to touch and drag an icon to unlock it. You can also set a custom unlock pattern (such as a specific squiggle or letter) if you choose.
Apps: I've downloaded some handy apps such as Babbler (a facebook app that allows you to sort your friends by your friend lists), a colored flashlight handy for fumbling around in the dark, google sky map which allows you to point your phone at the sky and shows you what constellation you're looking at. I used the movies app this weekend to locate where and when New Moon was playing. Or course there are a multitiude of Twitter apps and the customizable desktop has 3 panes so you can put shortcuts and widgets to customize your experience. I'm still figuring out which things I use most and moving them around. I love the weather channel app that will play a specific sound when you have a severe weather warning. Now I just gotta find a siren ringtone for tornado season.
Google Navigation; By far the best app I've seen. Turns your phone into a navi unit and gives you turn by turn directions at no extra charge. It does seem to pull a lot of power in navigation mode so I use it when its plugged into my car charger. Oh, and it has voice activated google search based on your location. You simply say "Pizza" and it locates pizza places near your location. NICE for when you don't want to type.
Browser: It's fast and works just like the one on your computer. The screen has a zoom in/out button that takes your content and moves it into one column depending on how far you zoom it in. These almost 43 year old eyes don't wear glasses, but I do find myself zooming it in just one more notch regularly.
Keyboards: Droid has both a slide out and virtual keyboards that appear whether the phone is horizontal or vertical. Being a woman with long nails, I find the heat sensitive virtual keys harder to type on so usually opt for the slide out. Slide out is similar to the keyboard I had on my Windows device. Like any new keyboard, they all take some getting used to. I just figured out what the gold circle is to the right side of the slide out. It works like a mouse so you can get your cursor in just the right place. I personally think that this gold button throws the keyboard off center and does make it a little harder to type because the keys aren't in exactly the place that they would be if it were centered. I'm sure I'll get used to it.
Calls: No issues with dropped calls with Verizon's STELLAR coverage. After dialing on those tiny Blackberry keys, the touch keypad is a welcome addition. On the BB, if I had to enter alphabetically on the phone, like "enter the first 3 letters of the person's last name" it was impossible. SO easy on the 'Droid. Speaker phone works fine. Easy to change the ringer volume. I downloaded an app that puts the silence button right on the main screen and use it every day.
Messaging is simple and I can type fast for texts and emails. Droid sorts your text messages via sender so you can always see your conversations with your text buddies. It pulled my Outlook contacts, BB contacts and Facebook friends into one list and populated that list with their FB photos if available.
I use a hosted exchange server and it was quick and simple to set up, once I had the correct server info from my host. Now my calendar synchs automatically to my device, my Outlook, and my assistant can access it from her computer too, as well as a web interface. The only thing I haven't figured out how to do is synch the subfolders in my inbox. For now I'm not sending any unread mail to any subfolders, just reading them from the inbox and dealing with sorting later. I have read that this feature isn't available on the 'droid yet and my exchange service does not support the device YET.
Downside: The inability to add an email signature with an exchange server. From what I've read, that feature does work with gmail.No ability to accept an outlook calendar invitation that you receive by email. I did read about a software update expected on December 11 that should address these issues. So far they haven't been a deal breaker for me.
Chargers: Of course Verizon and electronics stores want 15-20 bucks for either a wall or car charger. I went online and found an adapter at amazon.com that turns your mini usb (from BB) to Micro usb (droid) for $1 EACH. Yes, one dollar each. I bought 5 and have converted all my old bb chargers to work with the 'droid. DONT pay for any chargers!
Battery life so far is good, although the navi mode tends to use a lot of juice. I charge it on my nightstand and it hasn't been an issue. I've run it down completely twice before I figured out the navi thing. The device simply shuts down until you charge it. You can use it while it charges, which is nice.
Camera: Being a digital SLR owern, I'm a bit of a camera snob. The 5 mp camera excited me. There are several different scene modes such as beach, night portrait, theater, etc. and you can use macro and infinity focus modes. It does have a built in flash which you can turn on, off, or leave in auto mode. It also takes videos. I find the focus on the camera so so and sometimes my pics end up grainy and not sharp. Sharing pictures to Twitter and FB is seamless. There is a photoshop elements app. I've downloaded it for cropping but it's not for major editing.
Still to come for me: Transferring music, audo books, and photos from the BB and from my laptop. Just haven't gotten this far yet.
So far I haven't found anything except the email subfolders that the 'Droid doesn't do that my BB did. The browser is hands down better than BB and the phone is a WHOLE lot more fun. If you're a Verizon customer who can't bear to leave the service that you expect and are looking for a new phone experience that will get the job done, try the 'droid. I'm glad I did!
If you're a 'droid owner, I'd love to hear your comments and about any other must have apps.