Motorola has unveiled the successor to its Google Android-based Droid smartphone in the US - the Droid X. Its a superstar for multimedia playback and network performance, but the interface can occasionally be sluggish.

Multimedia machine

With a 4.3in display, the Motorola Droid X is just begging to be a portable video player. A few third-party video apps come preinstalled, including a Blockbuster app for downloading and watching feature-length movies. YouTube videos had the standard amount of fuzziness when played on the Droid X, but a HQ feature lets you watch better-quality videos if they are available. You simply press the HQ button in the corner of the video, and a crisper, larger video - one that actually uses the Droid X's entire screen - will load. The Droid X also has DLNA and HDMI connectivity, which is a boon to media addicts.

8Mp camera is good, not great

The Motorola Droid X's camera has a respectable variety of features, a touch-friendly and easy-to-use interface, and pretty good image quality overall. But it has two problems: the phone-as-a-camera ergonomics and the shutter speed. The dedicated shutter button is simply too rigid and difficult to press. You have to push hard to get the camera to take a snapshot, and sometimes this results in blurry images. The phone's odd shape - with the bulge where the camera is - also affects picture-taking. We were tempted to rest our fingers on that bump to get a better grip on the phone, but that would mean blocking the lens with a finger. The X's shutter speed seemed a bit sluggish, too, which resulted in a few blurry action shots. It isn't nearly as slow as the original Droid handset, however.

Solid performance

Powered by a 1GHz processor, the Motorola Droid X seemed fairly speedy. Applications launched quickly, and switching between applications and homescreens took very little time. The phone did lag in certain areas though. For example, scrolling through the main menu wasn't always smooth and responsive. And oddly, whenever we swiped to unlock the phone, it stuttered a bit.

Media-rich web pages loaded quickly, and we were impressed with how quickly photos and videos loaded on our website. Of course, you can't play those videos until you get the Android 2.2 update, which will deliver Adobe Flash Player 10.1 (required to watch PCWorld's videos) to the Motorola Droid X.

Call quality was very good over the US Verizon network we tested it with. Voices sounded clear, and there was little background noise. A few of our contacts sounded a bit tinny over the phone, but we're not sure whether this was due to their phones or to the Motorola Droid X.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

 

Also see:
Apple iPhone 4 review

See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?

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Motorola Droid X: Specs

  • Candybar Google Android-based smartphone
  • 1GHz processor
  • 4.3in (854x480) multitouch display
  • 8Mp camera with dual-lED flash
  • 8GB memory
  • claimed battery life: 220 hours (standby), 8 hours (talk time)
  • 66x127x10mm
  • 155g
  • Candybar Google Android-based smartphone
  • 1GHz processor
  • 4.3in (854x480) multitouch display
  • 8Mp camera with dual-lED flash
  • 8GB memory
  • claimed battery life: 220 hours (standby), 8 hours (talk time)
  • 66x127x10mm
  • 155g

SHOULD I BUY MOTOROLA DROID X?

The Motorola Droid X is one of the top smartphones coming out this summer. In features, design, and usability, it is right up there with the iPhone 4. If only it were a little faster and the camera ergonomics were a bit more user-friendly.


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