Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Droid - My Impressively Non-Pro Review
So, like some of you out there, I have long been lusting after the iPhone, but unable to attain one. I have been on a month-to-month contract with Verizon for over a year now, since I had no real reason to re-up. They'd bombarded me with "New Every 2" fliers, emails, and text's for months, but to no avail.
When I did some research in the late summer it became pretty clear that the iPhone wasn't going to be available on Verizon's plans any time soon. And, it didn't really matter as Justin was holding steady against either of us getting an iPhone and the ensuing $30/mo data plan like the warriors of Rohan defending Minas Tirith.
I'd been rocking the Motorola Razr since like January of 07 maybe? Phone is still in great condition and works great, but it wasn't a smart phone (or an app phone, or an android phone, or whatever you want to call it).
Somehow, in late October (like many other people) I first heard about the upcoming Motorola DROID. Naturally, I coveted. An iPhone killer on Verizon? How could a girl not be interested? I read the news, rumors, and updates on the phone on about a daily basis, and somehow talked Justin into letting me get one Friday, November 6, the first day of release.
I will admit, I was somewhat nervous they'd run out by lunch time, especially at our local Best Buy. Why Best Buy? The $100 rebate was instant instead of mail-in. Score!
Since I'd ridden over to Best Buy to get in a workout, I had literally no time to play around with it, especially after the hour + it took to get my account re-upped and the data plan added. The phones weren't flying off shelves, but the Verizon network was crawling!
By Saturday afternoon I'd mostly figured out the stuff that I needed to know. I still haven't used most of the phones capabilities, nor will I, I'm sure. I haven't downloaded more than about 6 app's, and they were all free. I pretty much just like checking my email and Facebook, and taking/posting pics online instantaneously. Eventually I'll probably check in to a "grocery list" type app, and wouldn't mind finding something for traffic (the Google Maps traffic layer was vastly incorrect on Friday showing green when we were dead stopped, or it was grayed out where it would've been nice to see it). I'm sure at some point the Where app will be cool (thinking this is similar to Yelp?). I've only downloaded 3 ringtones (how are they giving these away now? They used to be like $2.50 for a midi tone), and sent one text message.
I do really like the phone. So far I haven't had any issues calling or receiving calls (though admittedly my experience here is as limited as with anything else to do with the phone - I've made about 4 phone calls and received probably less).
Let's see if I can break it down:
Phone itself: the contacts became somewhat cumbersome when the phone sync'd Gmail, Facebook, and my old phone contacts. It's nice that you can star/favorite contacts which is a somewhat poor exchange for speed dial, but I've read you can add a contact to the home screen, and honestly, it's not that difficult to click the Phone icon, then select from the recent list or hit favorites. I have yet to try voice dialing, but honestly, I never used it with my old phone either unless I was using my bluetooth (which I've yet to even try to sync with this phone - noticing a pattern?). The call quality has been good. I'll just say I haven't noticed anything bad when on the phone, except as some have noted.. if you're using the Google Maps navigation, the chick does talk really loud in the earpiece whether you're on the phone or not! No, I wasn't driving.
App store: since I have zero experience with the iPhone app store, I have no idea what I'm missing. I'd probably download more app's if I thought they'd be useful, but so far I haven't really needed anything, and anything that I have looked for I've downloaded. I haven't even logged in to Pandora yet. I did get a free NFL scores program that isn't great, but it worked last Sunday. The Twidroid Lite has worked well, and I like that I can exit the app so my phone doesn't go off all night as everyone Twits! OK, back to the blog... I just downloaded as many app's in about 30 minutes as I had in 4 days. Not sure I will use any of them??
OK, also, I am dim... when I visit websites that have the app's all listed out there's like this little 2D barcode box. What does that do?
Camera: It's functional, and better than what I had. I've read quite a few complaints about the lag-time (it is slow, but that's coming from my Canon SD950 IS) and lack of focus. I have gotten the "green" focus tabs a few times, but most of the time I get the red ones (assuming this means it hasn't focused). I was able to take a picture of some birthday confetti this morning up close indoors.
And indoors at a bike shop over the weekend
Takes decent pics outside at night with the flash. I actually found a work-around to silence the camera from making the focus/shutter sounds! Turn all media sounds off entirely ;)
I'd probably say my biggest complaint is the size, but coming from an older flip phone what do you expect? I knew it'd be too big to fit in my jeans pockets; I've just yet to find anywhere else to stow it while I'm walking around aside from carrying it, and that's dangerous.
The other day I was leaving my desk walking down the hallway. I knew I needed to turn left around a corner, started playing with my sounds menu and WHAM!!! Slammed my head right into the wall. Turned too soon, I guess. D'oh. Good thing the paint didn't leave a lasting scratch on my glasses.
Anyway, all in all I'm pleased with the phone so far. I think a more thorough review once I've actually utilized more of its capabilities would be necessary. I'd totally recommend it to anyone on Verizon that wants an iPhone like phone. Battery life has been fine for my usage (1-2 calls a day, random lite web-surfing, etc.). I sit at a computer all day, so I don't really need to play on the phone too much. I have noticed a nasty crik in my neck that I didn't have previously ;)