Motorola DROIDX2 Review – Verizon

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The original DROIDX has a special place in our hearts, so it’s going to take some major upgrades in order for this DROIDX2 to stand a chance.  On paper, it looks like Motorola has done a decent job by tossing in a dual-core processor and upping the screen resolution, but will that be enough to make this the device to take away that upgrade of yours?  Tough call – let’s find out.  

The Good:

  • Battery Life:  I wish I had a screenshot to accompany this battery note, but each time the phone had been on long enough to need a charge, I forgot to grab one.  Trust me though when I say that the battery life on the DX2 was a pleasant surprise.  With its dual-core processor, I wasn’t expecting much, but came away more-than-happy.  You should easily get a full day’s use out of it on a single charge.
  • Hardware:  You can’t deny that Motorola makes some of the best hardware on the planet.  If you liked the build of the original DROIDX, then you’ll likely enjoy this phone as well since they are almost identical.  Moto also introduced the NVIDIA Tegra 2 to its first Verizon phone, which at some point will take this phone to new heights – just not while it’s running Froyo (Android 2.2).  The phone also mimics past Moto models in looks which we enjoy, feels great in hand even as a larger device, and isn’t made of flimsy plastic like certain other manufacturers seem to manage.
  • HDMI:  Yes, the DX2 has full 1080p HDMI mirroring.  That means you can hook it up with a micro-HDMI cable to a TV and enjoy everything from your phone without hesitation.
  • Camera:  Pretty sure that the camera on this phone is the exact same as on the original DX, but something on it just seems to work better.  We’re not sure if it’s the new software that came with the new Blue Blur of if we somehow found a steadier hand when snapping photos.  No matter what, we found the camera to be a little better than average.  We definitely didn’t hate it, which is a good sign.

(click images for larger versions)

  • Screen Resolution:  We like the 540×960 resolution on this phone.  Actually, who doesn’t love more on-screen real estate?  Unfortunately, resolution numbers don’t necessarily mean “awesome screen” – we’ll get into that later though.
  • Screen Size:  This will probably be the last time we include “Screen Size” in a review since 4″ seems to be the minimum these days, but we wanted to give Moto props again for not shrinking this bad boy down.  4.3″ seems huge at times (no bad jokes please), but once you get used to it you really won’t want anything smaller.
  • Parts of Blur:  As much as we all despise OEM skins, even I can admit that his new Blue MotoBlur has come a long way and isn’t 100% awful.  There are some parts we really like including the new notification system, new app drawer with folders, gallery app and camera overhaul.  The problem with this phone is that this specific Froyo version seems to hate dual-core processors and overall doesn’t run that well.  And we’re partially blaming Froyo and the new processor because the original DX with this Blur but 2.3, runs very well.  Here’s to hoping we get a Gingerbread update in the next couple of weeks.

The Not-so-Good:

  • Bootloader:  It’s locked just lock any other Motorola device that’s come out after the original DROID.  Sad, but something we’ve grown accustomed too unfortunately.
  • PenTile Screen:  We did a pretty thorough run-through of the PenTile “qHD” screen on the DX2 after just a few days with it.  I highly recommend you read through that, but will still say that after having the device for a few weeks, our stance has actually grown more negative towards this technology.  This screen is not good, at all.  Sure, you have a bigger resolution, but the colors are so off and the pixels are so visible that I would be more-than-lying if I told you it was even “decent.”

  • Android 2.2:  Still releasing phones with last year’s version of Android, eh Moto?  This is completely unacceptable, especially when the original DROIDX received Gingerbread the day after this phone came out.  Talk about a slap in the face to anyone looking to upgrade.
  • This Version of Blur:  There is something very different about this version of Blue Blur when compared to the one that the original DROIDX is running.  Maybe it’s Froyo vs. Gingerbread or maybe it’s the fact that Moto spent little time on it – we’ll probably never know for sure.  What we do know though, is that this version is filled with bugs.  For a device that runs on a Tegra 2 dual-core processor, you’d expect there to be zero lag or stuttering when whipping through apps and home screens, but that’s just not the case here.
  • Bloatware:  Almost forgot to throw this bullet in here; shame on me!  It wouldn’t be a proper DL review if we didn’t call out Verizon for sticking in massive amounts of bloatware that cannot be removed from the phone.  At last check, we counted 21 apps that Verizon decided would be worth your while.  Are you kidding me?
  • Not LTE:  This phone could have been huge if it had a 4G LTE radio built-in.  The Tegra 2 definitely tempted us, but without those high data speeds and a front facing camera, it was hard for us to really feel like this was worth our money.  In a world of tech that changes so swiftly, 3G phones just seem so 5 years ago.
  • No Front Facing Camera:  Another missing piece to this phone that is almost inexcusable.  How can you release a phone in 2011 without a front facing camera?  All of the 4G LTE phones have them, the Incredible 2 (which is 3G) has one – so why not this phone?
  • RAM:  512MB looks like plenty of memory on paper, but once you start using this phone you’ll quickly realize that it’s not enough.  The GPU in the Tegra chip takes up a substantial amount since it doesn’t have it’s own dedicated RAM, so you are really left with about 400MB for the rest of your apps to use.  And 400MB isn’t enough when you start looking at how poorly Blur is managing  it.  Our initial thought was to blame Froyo for the memory hogging, but we’ve never run into this problem on any other device.  You’ll quickly realize why Moto is including task killer apps into their bloatware – their skin is doing a horrible job of managing resources.

Hands-on and Walk-through:



The Verdict:

If you have an upgrade available and can’t wait for the Samsung Galaxy S II, DROID Bionic or DROID3, then the DROIDX2 could be an option to consider, although it lacks some of today’s most important must-haves.  The dual-core processor is pretty “future proof” and should become more efficient once this phone gets off Froyo and onto Gingerbread, but in some people’s minds that may not make up for the fact that it lacks 4G capabilities and doesn’t have a front facing camera.  You might be able to crush a Thunderbolt owner in a benchmark, but you’ll never be able to video chat with a friend from afar.  We’re also clearly not fans of the “qHD” screen that Motorola has chosen to use, but recommend that you all take a look at one in person and form your own opinions.

So should this be your next phone?  That all depends on what you need from one.  If you really want power and aren’t into video chatting, watching crystal clear video or downloading things at ridiculously fast speeds – buy it.  If you want all of that wrapped up into one phone, then you might want to consider waiting.

Other DROID X2 Coverage



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