Web pages consistently loaded quickly over Verizon’s 3G network, though I found larger files such as YouTube clips to churn for a few extra seconds before kicking into gear. Loading up the Android Market always seemed to take a while longer than expected for some reason.
You’ve got the standard Android Market apps and games available to you along with a third category labeled “Verizon” that contains various V Cast media applications and some more popular selections such as Twitter, Qik, Shazam, and Slacker Radio.
The Droid X comes with two great options for text input: the standard on-screen keyboard is responsive and features letters that pop up from underneath your fingers as you type them, similar to the iPhone’s keyboard. This keyboard is multitouch-enabled, though, which means it’ll recognize more than one key press at a time.
There’s also the Swype virtual keyboard, which takes some getting used to but ended up being the keyboard I used most often. Aside from the gesture-based text input, I like that I could enter numbers and symbols using the Swype keyboard by holding down their corresponding main keys instead of having to switch to an alternate selection of keys.
Also one of the better features of the Droid X, the 8-megapixel camera takes above-average photos and HD videos. They’re not quite on par with what you’d get with a decent point and shoot camera quite yet, but they’re better than what you’ll get out of most phone cameras and can safely replace most people’s Flip camcorders if needed. The best part is the hardware camera button that pushes down halfway to focus and then the rest of the way to take the picture, similar to how most actual cameras work. The dual-LED flash works okay, although if you’re too close to whatever you’re shooting it’ll have a tendency to get washed out and if you’re too far away the flash won’t provide adequate illumination.
One of the things I was initially most worried about due to the constantly updating home screen widgets and app alerts, the battery actually provided impressively long life given the size of the phone. With light usage, I was able to go about 24 hours between charges. Heavy users will want to recharge the phone every night but I never ran into a situation where the battery drained more quickly than expected. There will also apparently be an extended battery available that will add about a millimeter of thickness to the phone, which won’t be a big deal since the camera already protrudes out of the back by at least that much already. The standard battery works pretty well, though.
The Droid X plays back a wide range of audio and video codecs, with HD video content looking very nice on the phone’s big screen and audio content sounding decent-but-tinny over the phone’s speaker and much better through the standard-size 3.5-inch headphone jack connected to a quality set of noise-canceling headphones. There’s a built-in Blockbuster app that allows you to rent movies for $4 a pop, too, although the movie I rented took what seemed like an eternity to download, even over Wi-Fi. You can safely leave your digital media player at home and use the Droid X when you travel, though. It covers all the entertainment bases nicely.
Best phone on Verizon right now? Yes. Better ones coming around the bend? Possibly. If you can’t wait another minute to get into a new phone, the Droid X is a great bet provided you’re savvy enough to keep up with Android or persistent enough to learn all its ins and outs. The Samsung Fascinate, which is due to hit Verizon shortly, seems as though it might be a tad more user friendly as Android phones go thanks to its custom interface. It’s apparently got a crazy high-quality 4-inch screen, too, though we’re not quite sure when the phone is due to come out or how much it’ll cost.
You certainly won’t be disappointed with the Droid X, though, if you’re looking for an Android phone. It’s a great showcase of the platform’s capabilities and arguably one of the best, if not the best, Android handset to date. Is it better than the iPhone? That depends. Is cheesecake better than pancakes? They’re two different yet delicious food items with “cake” in the name that each taste better to certain people under certain circumstances.
The Motorola Droid X will be available July 15th for $200 after a $100 mail-in rebate and two-year contract with Verizon.
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