Name: Motorola Droid X2

Carrier: Verizon

Price: $200 w/two-year contract 

The Back Story: Since helping Verizon establish a foothold in the smartphone arena back in 2009, Motorola’s Droid brand has become a staple in today's mobile market, garnering the title of Big Red's most popular handset (next to the iPhone 4). After the launch of the original Droid, the Droid X came in a improved on the best-selling device by slimming down, axing the physical keyboard, and beefing up the specs. In fact, the device was such a hot commodity last summer that its high demand forced retailers to put the device on backorder. Twice. Still flying off the shelves, Motorola looks to bank on its core Android audience by updating its commercially successful franchise and introducing Verizon's first-ever dual-core phone: the Droid X2. With a supercharged CPU under the hood, and the physical stylings of the original, can the Droid X2 take on network heavyweights like the HTC Thunderbolt and Samsung Droid Charge? Or will sticking to the script be its Achilles heel? 


• Dual-core power: Thanks to NVIDIA's Tegra 2 dual-core processor, users can enjoy enhanced gaming graphics, along with faster performance and web browsing speeds. Gaming graphics and video playback have been improved over the original X. Apps launched instantaneously and menu navigation was a breeze. The high-powered chip is also responsible for some kick-ass features like HDMI Mirror Mode, allowing users the opportunity to view photos, videos, and games at 1080p on any HDTV. 

• Improved MOTOBLUR software: The manufacturer-made UI welcomes some user-friendly updates. Taking after HTC's Leap feature, pressing the home button twice opens up a thumbnail view that shows and grants access to Android's seven homescreens. A toolbar is now found atop of the applications page that provides shortcuts to the Android Market, creates apps groups, and searches recent program activity. MOTO also comes stacked with valuable social media widgets like IM Presence and Social Networking to keep tabs on instant messages and Facebook/Twitter updates, plus a Data Save option that limits 3G data usage and halts downloads until a wi-fi connection is found. Sick.

Sharper and vibrant screen: Motorola replaces its 4.3-inch WVGA (480x854) screen with the stunning qHD display (540x960), boasting higher resolution at a 256-pixel ratio. It offers great viewing angles, as well as bright image and crisp text output. The qHD might not compare to Apple’s Retina Display or Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus screen, but it’s a noteworthy touchscreen competitor.

• Awesome camera: Just like big brother, the X2 marks the spot with mobile imagery. The rear 8MP dual-LED camera boasts faster shot-to-shot performance and produces crisp and detailed pics. It also does the trick in dark environments with the dual-LED flash lighting up each snapshot. We just wished it donned a front-facing camera to solidify its dopeness. 

• Stellar call quality: Each Droid model has rewarded Verizon subscribers with great reception and call service. Nothing's changed. Calls came in loud and clear with unnoticeable distortion. The loudspeaker does a good job of picking up vocals. And even with unstable coverage, we managed to reach out and touch others. Vocally.


• No 4G or Gingerbread: Verizon would annihilate the competition if it released every new phone with LTE compatility and Google's latest OS. Unfortunately, that’s not the case here, as the latest Droid model gets stuck with the 3G and Froyo (2.2) treatment. Here's some irony for you: the Droid X is offering an update for Android 2.3 right now.

• Weak battery life: Motorola’s fact sheet claims up to 480 minutes (est. eight hours) of talk time, but after listening to the built-in FM radio and playing some Android Market titles (Angry Birds, of course), all juice was sucked up in about five hours. We recommend investing in PowerSkin’s battery case, which generates twice the power and works with the first-gen model, too.

• Carbon-copy design: Same solid-rubbery exterior, dimensions, and weight, the Droid X2 is an exact replica of its predecessor—still without a side camera button. If it ain't broke, don't fix it—we know. But a slight aesthetic refresh wouldn't have hurt.

• Minor performance kinks: HD video playback and recording, along with some 3D games (Need For Speed: Shift) stuttered occasionally. Flash content was also choppy at times. Many attribute this to software issues caused by MOTOBLUR's heavy dual-core dependency, but we're only calling what we saw.

Final Say: The Droid X2 is a minor upgrade to the original product. Dual-core processing, HDMI mirroring, and a sharper display are great additions to the Droid X franchise. Plus the improved MOTORLBUR UI and dope camera make it the better of the two. But while outperforming the forerunner, its uninspired design and lack of 4G support keep it one level below Verizon's LTE behemoths. Still, the proof is in the pudding, and Motorola offers enough sweets here to satisfy any Droid purist's sweet tooth.