Droid 2NAME: Motorola Droid 2


PRICE: $199.99 w/ two-year contract


FUN FACT: A limited-edition R2-D2-themed Droid 2 is available September 30.


THE BACK STORY: It seems crazy, but it's been almost a year since the Droid both over- and underwhelmed smartphone buyers. It introduced the Android 2.0 OS and high-speed connection, but disappointed some with a lack of multimedia features and a deplorable keyboard. It was a step into the right direction, though, and for the 2010 holiday season, Motorola is bringing its A-game with not one, but two Droid phones—the Droid X and the Droid 2. After months of serious hype behind both headsets, we made some calls and got our hands on the both. Take a look at our full review of the Motorola Droid 2. We'll hit you with the X review in a couple days.

DOPE:

Superfast processor: The 1GHz TI OMAP 3630 processor is by far the phone's best asset. It allows the user to launch and switch between apps ridiculously fast. There is no lag when swiping across the seven home screens and menus, the web browser boots up quick, and games run smooth. It has double the RAM (512MB) of the original Droid, which allows you to save large files faster.

Android 2.2 (Finally!): We finally tested the open-source FROYO OS, and it's great. The new operating system includes Flash Player 10.1, camera upgrades, and Bluetooth voice dialing. When you hold down the phone icon, it allows you to enjoy up to eight active apps, instead of only six like its predecessor. Syncing contacts is a one-shot deal—it kicks in on start-up and merges all email and social-network contacts for each person into their own separate entry.

Chic design: No joke, this is an attractive Android phone. The front sports a glossy slate gray and navy blue hue, and the curved edges fit comfortably in your palm. The phone's 4.58" (length) x 2.38" (width) is a nice size.

Multimedia presentation: A 3.7-inch WVGA touchscreen seems small compared to the competition, but it's just right. It produces vibrant and crisp web pages, images, and HD videos. The phone screen features pinch-to-zoom technology and a spot-on built-in accelerometer. The 5MP camera captures quality pictures and the high-res video recorder displays quality vids through a 720x480 pixel output. The built-in music and video players support a plethora of media files (MP3, AAC, WMA9, OGG, WMV, MPEG-4, and H.264), which is great.

Droid 2 (1)


NOT SO DOPE:

QWERTY keyboard: One of the biggest complaints about the original Droid was its keyboard, and there are still some problems with this version. It has been refined, but the physical keys are still rather flat and stiff, which makes typing fast a bit more of a chore than it needs to be. The D-pad on the bottom right of the layout can be awkward to adjust.

Unflattering customization: The updated MOTOBLUR custom user interface is a nice addition, but it takes a lot of work to customize the seven home screens to your liking. The phone also comes pre-installed with a bunch of useless widgets and apps, kind of a pain.

Lack of extra features: FROYO's voice commands were sold as the OS' biggest feature, but when we tested it, it struggled to recognize names. Unlike the iPhone and EVO 4G, the Droid 2 is missing a front-face camera.

Additional costs: Looking to use your phone as a mobile hotspot? Knock yourself out. Just know you'll have to sign up for Verizon's Mobile Hotspot, which requires an extra $20 per month and features a miniscule 2GB data cap.

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FINAL SAY: The EVO 4G and Galaxy S phones stand out as the Android frontrunners, but don't get it twisted—the Droid 2 is a fierce competitor. The battery life fares better than the first Droid and the Droid X, and the wireless hotspot feature that supports up to five mobile devices is a mind-blowing addition (even if it costs an extra Andrew Jackson each month). There were reports of the phone suffering from dropped calls and connection issues, but everything ran smooth on our end. The Android App Martetplace offers nearly 70,000 apps and the phone has an option to store them onto an SD Card, which we really like. The Droid 2 lives up to the hype.

CLICK HERE TO PICK ONE UP AT VERIZON!

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