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Service Provider: Verizon Wireless|Color: Black|Size: 16 GB|Change
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on September 4, 2013
**KitKat & other software updates: please read towards the bottom of the review for a list of changes**

I upgraded from a Droid RAZR that I owned for 2 years and I have no regrets. In fact, I am blown away by how smooth and responsive is the new Droid Mini, in addition to the display quality. Even though it is not a 1080 display, at 4.3 inches, the 720 resolution of the TFT LCD display on the Droid Mini gives it 342 pixels per inch (ppi). It has more ppi than its bigger brothers (the MAXX and Ultra) and even the iPhone 5! What this mean is that the display is very detailed and sharp. Even though the contrast and brightness is not as good as an AMOLED or IPS display, the white balance is more accurate (instead of the yellowish tint typical of Pentile OLED)

Compared to the other "mini" phones on the market (i.e. HTC One Mini), this has the best overall processing capability and the largest RAM. The 2 GB RAM keeps the device snappy even when there are multiple apps running in the background. Even though it only has a dual-core processor, it's one of the fastest one out there. In addition, the quad-core graphics processor allows it to keep up with higher-end flagship phones when running cutting edge games.

There are some cool features that are unique to the new Droids and Moto X: Active Notifications, Touchless Controls, and Quick Capture. Amazon has since included information about these features in the product description, so I'll provide supplemental details:

-Active Display: it works with any app that has push-notifications such as Facebook Messenger.

-Touchless Controls: You can train the phone to respond to "OK, Google" rather than "OK, Google Now." However, there will be more false/accidental activations. Also, if the phone is secured with face unlock, pattern unlock, PIN, or password, you will need to provide the necessary validation in order for Google Now to respond to you. So to keep it "Touchless," the screen lock setting needs to be set to "None" or "Slide".

-Quick Capture: For outdoor shots, I recommend the following camera settings to be activated, HDR and tap to focus. For indoor shots, I recommend those two settings to be turned off to minimize over exposure.

Once activated, all the above features are always on, which could significantly drain the battery if handled by the dual-core processor. To address this problem, Motorola designed two low-powered chips to process these new features. As a result, this phone can last a day under normal conditions. For me, the Droid Mini lasts about 16 hours under moderate use (As of 1/5/2015, the average battery life is now about 8 hours)

Since the phone is provided through Verizon and not directly from Google like the Moto X, there will be bloatware. Thankfully, you can disable the bloatware through the app settings menu, something I couldn't do on the Droid RAZR. There is one app that I actually find to be interesting and useful is Droid Zap. This app allows you to share pictures and videos with people around you (within 1,000 feet) by swiping up on a picture with two fingers. The recipients then open the Droid Zap app (free and only for Android devices) on their phones and two finger swipe down to download the shared picture (or video).

There are a couple things I don't like about my new Droid Mini, but they can be easily addressed. My first complaint is the construction. The Droid RAZR had an aluminum frame that gave it a solid feel, the Droid Mini does not. Also, the Kevlar back is now coated with a clear shiny resin (most likely because it's hydro-dipped plastic). This causes the back of the phone to be covered in finger grease, to a point where I can't even see the Kevlar pattern! So I promptly got a case to cover up that ugliness and to give it better drop protection. Here is the link to the particular case I bought: Incipio MT-269 DualPro Dual Case for Motorola Droid Mini XT1030 - White/Grey - Retail Packing

My second complaint is that it does not have a micro SD slot for expanding storage. For some people, this would be a deal breaker. But thankfully, SanDisk has a wireless USB thumb drive that stores its content on micro SD cards. This is something I'll be getting to expand my Droid Mini's storage capability. Here is the link for those who are interested: SanDisk Connect 16GB Wireless Flash Drive (SDWS2-016G-E57)

Oh, and another thing I'll be getting is a Qi wireless charger, since this phone has a built-in wireless charger receiver. I'll update my review to let you know how well that works.

**Update: 9/10/13**
The Qi Wireless Charger came in and it worked like a charm. It even charged my phone through its protective case. The Droid Mini has a neat on-screen prompt that helped me place the phone properly on the charger. By default, it makes a loud notification sound upon successful connection. This sound will definitely startle your significant other if the phone is placed on the charger in the middle of the night, so make sure to mute the sound. Here is the link to the particular charger I bought: GMYLE (TM) Black White Wireless Mini Charging Pad Mat Qi-enabled Standard Charger (1000mA) for Nokia Lumia 920/920T/925/928/1020, LG Google Nexus 4/5/7 HD, Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 5 (US Plug)

After some extended use, I discovered that the Qi charger overheats the phone if used for long charging sessions. Thankfully, the phone has a fail-safe that turns off wireless charging, so no permanent damage was done. To minimize overheating, I try not to charge from less than 25% using the Qi charger.

**KitKat (Android 4.4.2) Update: 3/4/14**
A lot has changed since my last update. The Droid Mini has been upgraded to the latest Android OS and many of its features have been improved. So let's start with where I left off, the wireless charging experience. Motorola has now linked the notification sound with the ringer's volume (yay!) and redesigned the on-screen prompt to display the phone's current battery status.

The camera has been upgraded with the following enhancements:
1. Improved capture of natural light (autowhite balance) and color accuracy for more precise exposure in outdoor and backlit scenes.
2. Faster touch to focus time and reduced unnecessary refocusing in low light conditions and scenes with continuous motion.
3. Shortened the time it takes to switch between rear and front-facing cameras, as well as transition between the viewfinder and the Gallery app.

Droid Mini is now compatible with the Motorola SKIP accessory for easier security via NFC authentication. It basically allows you to skip your PIN or Pattern Unlock by tapping the phone against a NFC tag. Amazon has a selection of colors you can pick from (I went with the red one): Motorola Skip for Moto X - Retail Packaging - Red

You can now say your PIN to unlock your phone when using Touchless Controls (but do you really want people around you to know the code to your phone?)

Tap and pay is now supported through the Google Wallet app. This allows you to pay for stuff by tapping the phone on compatible credit card machines.

Other Android phones can now share pictures (but not videos) through the Droid Zap app. Also, the Zap Zone feature has been added to allow automatic sharing of pictures. In addition, details of use has been released. You can zap up to 20 pictures a minute and the max upload length for a single video is four minutes (Motorola recommends 20 seconds as an ideal length for sharing videos). Lastly, the two finger swipe action does not work in Google+ Photos or other third party photo gallery apps.

**KitKat (Android 4.4.4) Update: 7/30/14**
This update fixed the infamous "Heartbleed" bug in OpenSSL. In addition, the camera was improved with the following enhancements:
1. Improved photos in fluorescent lighting
2. Enhanced dynamic range
3. Ability to pause video recording

A Bluetooth connectivity issue was fixed in this update, but it didn't fixed my Bluetooth problem :-( I use Bluetooth to connect the Droid Mini to my car's entertainment system (a Ford Fiesta), and the mobile apps voice functions haven't been working.

Lastly, three new bloatware were installed in this update: VZ Cloud, Visual Voicemail, and ISIS wallet.

**Lollipop (Android 5.0) Update: 10/15/14**
Motorola officially announced that the Droid Mini will receive the Android Lollipop OS update (yay!) It will most likely be rolled out around January 2015. So far, I'm really impressed by how often and quickly Motorola have been updating the Droid Mini to improve the user experience :-)

**System (23.3.24) Update: 10/30/14**
This update added Verizon's Advanced Calling feature, which allows the Droid Mini to have High Definition calls and video conferencing. It uses Voice over LTE (VoLTE) to accomplish this. Unfortunately, I am not able to use this feature yet because the other phone I'm calling will need to have Advanced Calling as well. Only 6 phones support this feature at the moment, but Verizon is planning to add more.

The initial boot image was changed to remove the wording "A Google Company," since Motorola has been sold to Lenovo.

The wireless charging sound has been changed to a shorter and much more pleasant chime. The previous sounded like a shrill electronic accordion :P

**System (24.3.7) Update: 1/21/15**
This update fixed some bugs related to Advanced Calling.

It doesn't look like Lollipop will be arriving anytime soon for the Droid Mini. It has been confirmed that the Droid Turbo (the successor to the Droid Ultra/Maxx/Mini) will be upgraded to Android 5.1, skipping version 5.0. Most likely the Droid Mini will follow a similar upgrade path, hence the long delay.
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on January 19, 2014
When the new line of Motorola handsets were announced (droid and moto x) many of us including myself just didn't seem very impressed. The new features were interesting but the specs just didn't hold up to the premium price they were asking for. I kind of just ignored them, and went on and bought an LG G2. When I saw the new Motorola lineup had been upgraded to 4.4 already it interested me, and I read some good reviews on them. I previously had a Razr M, I loved the size but it ran surprisingly sluggish, so I looked for a Droid Mini for a good price and snagged one up for a try.

Design - If you used last year's Droid Razr M you won't be terribly surprised by the Droid Mini's build. It keeps the same really great design with its edge to edge display and narrowing lip on the bottom. The only big change is they added capacitive buttons on the bottom instead of having onscreen buttons. I for one welcome thing change, it leaves you with all of your screen space, and I personally hit those buttons by mistake a lot less. The material is a bit different, it is more all plastic now and less Kevlar/metal that the other one is. This detracts from the high end feeling a bit but it doesn't feel bad at all, and the Kevlar texture is still there. Along the back it has the camera in the normal spot, aside a decently large speaker that actually way out performs my S4 or G2 which is downright baffling.

Performance - Like I said in the beginning, I was disappointed to see the lower end specs on this. All's that I can say is Motorola has really put a twist in the specs battle with some fantastic software people. HTC and Samsung both released mini versions of their flagships, however unlike them Motorola kept its flagship specs, making it really the only "premium" smaller device. The Droid mini is hands down the fastest device I have worked with. I have no issues or lag doing much anything or running anything. Performance wise, some websites tested compressing files, and converting videos and the old S4 pro in this beat out the snapdragon 600 in the Galaxy S4, and Htc One. I had a Galaxy S4 and an LG G2 before this and they were fast but really just not as smooth, a lot more hiccups compared to this (more so the S4, my G2 wasn't so bad). It's like the Droid mini is running on the final build and the S4 and G2 are running on beta.

Software - Here is where a lot of the magic happens. Firstly they have updated it to android 4.4 which is fantastic. Motorola's new simple but genius software additions are the breath of fresh air in smartphones that I haven't seen in quite a while. You first notice it when you pick up the phone, it senses you grabbed it and the "active display" shows the time and any notifications so I don't even have to turn on the phone, or you could flick your wrist and open the camera, like I said, simple and genius. It has the widely known is the touchless control, meaning you can control the phone without having to move a finger. You just say the line "ok google now" and your phone lights up and you can give it a command. One bad thing is A. this phrase is kind of long, it should be just "ok google" and 2. You can't customize it as far as I can tell. Using the Touchless control basically activates google now, allowing you to text people, get directions, or look up any dumb information like "are seahorses real?" One really awesome command that I found useful if it's stuck in the couch cushions is you can yell for it "ok google now" and if it hears you then you say "find my phone" it will start spouting out an alarm to find it!
Along with those touchless controls you can have it sense when you're driving and set it to car mode where it will do things like read your text messages out to you automatically. Other cool software additions are you have a control center where you can locate your phone and set off alarms, or wipe it. Then you can get a Chrome plugin that will give you phone and text notifications as well as allowing you to respond to those text messages right from Chrome. I will stop with the software rant, but you get where I'm going, they are really thinking different and it's good.

Storage - Not great for big media users, started with around 10gb right off the bat and no sd card. Coming from my 32gb G2 I was fairly worried. However, after I dropped all my root files, random tv shows that I don't watch, and tons of giant apps/games that I don't use I found it easily usable. I have 3 movies, an audiobook, like 6 games, and maybe like 30+ apps installed and I have 4.21gb left. So while I'm not happy by lacking the space and sd slot, I asked myself what I actually use and it worked out just fine.

Camera: Like I mentioned earlier, the camera is super easily launched, just grab the phone, flick your wrist and bang there it is. Controls are very minimalistic, you have a video/still button and a front camera switching button. Otherwise you just tap where you want to focus and it will take the picture decently quick. It has some more advanced features and even slow mo, nothing like the S4 but it gets the job done and looks decent enough for my uses.

Screen: Looks fantastic, I really think Amoled is where the future is going and it is a good future. Colors are vibrant, viewing angles are good, blacks are decently deep (though not as great as the S4). Motorola really said it right, the only advantage to a 1080p screen on these devices is you feed the battery more. Honestly I don't know how people tell the difference, and I applaud Motorola for not throwing a useless feature on there just to attract people who don't know better.

Battery: Really an area I was worried about, reviews were mixed, it was the same size as the Razr M but now with higher specs, and more features. However it runs really close to the same as the Razr M somehow! I'm a fairly normal user, I do a decent amount of texting, I use chrome, ebay and amazon a lot, and do a small bit of phone gaming. Right now I'm sitting at 68% with just over 14 hours of use 1 hour 16 minutes screen time. So averaging this out I could probably get almost 4 hours of screen time, and well over a day and a half. So like the Moto x, the battery life is perfectly fine!

Call Quality - Motorola has usually been known for using great radios. The Droid Mini is no exception, I haven't had a single issue and the calls have been great and clear. I get around the same signal as my G2 it seems so nothing worse or better, though I haven't done extensive testing.

Conclusion - Some of us just don't have the Giant hands for the likes of the Galaxy note, Droid Ultra, or those other 5 inch + phones. The One mini, and the S4 mini compromised on what they were, but the Droid mini stayed true to the flagship lineup. It's a mini device that is all as good as its flagship brethren, making the smaller handed folk not have to compromise. With the stellar performance, great battery, and amazing set of features I just can't recommend it enough. If you don't want the smaller one, there is always the Moto x, Droid Ultra, or Droid Maxx. The only real gripe I had with Motorola is the storage space / lack of SD. I myself can get around it but I'm not a huge media tycoon so I can make it work, others might not (for those, look at the 32gb moto x, or Droid Maxx). Beyond that, there isn't a reason I can't recommend Motorola's new line. They found features people will actually use (I'm looking at you Samsung) and not only did them, but did them extremely well, while giving us plenty of hardware options to do so.
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on December 9, 2013
I do like this phone as it meets my basic requirements of small size and lightweight. I finally gave up my original Droid that I had for 4 years for this phone. I was concerned about going from a slide out keyboard to this but I find that I can type accurately without issue. I will say that the durability of this phone does not hold a candle to my last Droid - I dropped it once and the corners cracked way too much for the small amount of impact. I guess I will have to get a case for this (which I never had to do with my last Droid) which somewhat defeats the purpose of getting the smaller phone. I will say that it is really fast and user friendly, the added little things on this phone like seeing notifications without unlocking are added bonuses. The camera appears to be great - the pics look wonderful on the phone (I haven't actually printed any out so I cannot vouch for the actual pixel quality). The cons: I am disappointed in the battery life - it needs to be charged every night and I use my phone minimally during the day. The sound quality for calls is pretty bad and I can't hear with the speaker phone (forget about using the speaker for hands-free for driving). The voice recognition feature is way less accurate than my last phone. Also, I had to return the first Mini I got because the casing squeaked so loud that it distracted me on my calls. The second one I received was fine, until I dropped it and now the casing squeaks uncontrollably. Since I've only owned the phone for two months, I am very concerned about the durability and don't feel confident it will last until my contract is up.
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on December 14, 2014
I've a little over a year on this phone, so here's some real history.
Right out of the box this little guy is very impressive. A mapping system that was super fast and accurate. Ability to check email from almost any source and more bells and whistles than a normal person would ever need; Heck, it even makes phone calls!

Then come the unstoppable, mandatory, no way to get out of upgrades.
Google owns and operates Motorola, so they have programmed in automatic upgrades from Google that you and I can't stop. Almost every time one of these "upgrades" comes around it screws up the operating systems of the phone.

The latest issues with no cure are:
Mapping: Super slow, and at time very inaccurate by several miles.
Email: Often refuses to show any email account except for a Google sourced account.
Attachments: This one BITES! On the weekend a coworker sends you an email saying "please read and comment. Time is of the essence on this building project". Attached to the email is a works, adobe, or other file. Upon clicking said file you get two messages "starting download" and "failed to start download" After an hour on the phone with tech support you'll end up wiping your phone, reloading everything but the kitchen sink, then reloading from the cloud or other saved file every app you can find. Not all of them will be there. If your lucky, you'll now have the ability to read that file several hours or days after the fact; Until the next upgrade beams it's way into your phone and scraps it all over again.

It's just not worth it folks.
My wife has a LG that NEVER has had any problems remotely like this, yet we both have Verizon as our server. When shopping for a phone, make sure you have control of any upgrades and the ability to remove packaged apps.

Once this two year service package is done, I'll be running, not walking away from Motorola and Google to find a phone that is not controlled by Google. Lost attachments, with no timely ability to fix the problem, has cost me many hours on several nights with phone support. The only good thing there, is the support was out of Idaho, so you'll be able to understand the English as a first language person. Good deal there!

This phone's auto upgrades make a good phone super frustrating and not worth it.
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on December 9, 2013
I purchased this a couple of weeks ago and am happy with the purchase. It is fast and has a strong, long lasting battery. The Google speech control works extremely well. I commute over 50 miles each day and having a hands free device that is reliable is important. With this phone, I can send messages hands free by simply saying "OK Google, send text to "Dave" (or whoever). Then I say what I want to say and then say "send". It works just as easy finding music, taking notes and adding to my calendar (including reminders). I love it and the price was right. Making and sending calls is easy as well. My vehicle has hands free calling and this synched with my car easily so I never have to pick up my phone once I get into my car. It automatically syncs with my car.
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on September 25, 2013
If you want a nicely sized phone that fits in your hand and works well, this is it. Good reception for 4G, wifi is a little weak, much weaker than on my wife's razr m. Sound is great, nice and loud, unlike my wife's razr m that's hard to hear. Otterbox works nicely on it. The screen protector from Verizon doesn't cover the upper area very well, the one from SUPERSHIELDZ works much better. Wifi strength and having to restart it almost every day are the reasons for docking a star. The iPhone 5C would have been my only other consideration, but the iPhones are just too delicate.
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on June 20, 2015
Though my wife has an Apple phone, I opted for an Android because of my familiarity with the operating system and my satisfaction with hands-on testing. I am happy with that decision (the voice recognition on Android is FAR superior to that of Apple), but not with my choice of this specific phone.

I opted for the Mini because of my desire for a phone that would fit comfortably in my pocket. I was worried about the battery specs, but thought that it would at least be passable in practice. Big mistake! I have been using the phone for about eight months now and the battery situation is getting worse and worse. I am a very light user, but I am lucky to maintain a charge from morning until dinner time. Don't even think about this phone unless you are comfortable running out of juice after half a day.
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on October 1, 2013
Motorola seems to have placed this phone in the market as a budget phone, giving it the lowest price among the phones in the Droid line. But don't let that make you think this phone is a slouch. It's not. It has the same X8 processor system as the Moto X and the higher-end Droids and a nice bright screen with really good clarity.

I haven't benchmarked the phone or anything, but it's fast enough that Real Racing 3 runs great and I never experience lag when interacting with the screen. My previous phone was the Motorola Droid 4. I love that phone but I always envied iPhone owners for the reliable smoothness of interaction with their devices. Guess what. That envy is now gone. I don't know if it's the processor, the RAM, or if Android 4.2 is just that much better than 4.1, but I'm getting no screen stutter at all.

I love the size of this phone. I know huge screens are the hot thing on the market right now, but for an average-to-smaller-than-average guy like me, a gigantic phone just doesn't make sense and isn't comfortable to deal with. So the size on this is great. I do wish the surfaces were less glossy slick, though. To address that, I've ordered the Skinomi Carbon Fiber appearance skin. I'll update my review when it arrives and I get it applied.

The other thing I wish were different is the lack of an sd slot, as others have said. I do wish it had that feature because I have a ton of music I wish I could put on the device, but it'll never fit. That said, streaming services do serve as a pretty good stand-in, so it's a trade-off I can live with to get a smaller phone (remember when a 4.3 inch screen like this was considered huge? ...not that long ago...) and quick performance.

I'd definitely recommend this and the Moto X to anyone looking for a really good phone that isn't huge. I almost went with the Moto X, but it's a little bit bigger, more expensive, and the curved back that everyone loves looks like it would make it difficult to elegantly apply the flat piece of metal used to make a phone attracted to the iMagnet phone mount I use in my car (a truly GREAT product itself, btw).
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on December 29, 2013
Updated from an old HTC Incredible 2 on 3g in Aug. 2013. There's not a day that goes by where I'm impressed with the functionality of the phone, which recently got updated to the latest Android OS, 4.4 Kit Kat (another great reason to stay with Motorola since they're owned by Google and will probably have updates pushed out sooner than other makers.) It's smooth, fast, reliable and has the same processor and camera as Motorola's flagship, the Moto X, but in a smaller size. Big Motorola features that separate this phone from others:

1.) The touchless controls and "always listening" feature is great. I end up using that more to make calls than using the dialer or typing in names. Google will now ask contextual questions to narrow your choices such as "which Frank to call" when you have more than one in your contact list.

2.) The camera got updated with the Kit Kat upgrade so it's now possible to easily choose your focus AND exposure point in photos. It's a big improvement in quality and speed as well. As other's have noted, the "shake to launch" feature is also something I use constantly, as you can launch the camera app easily no matter what app you have open on your phone (and the touchless controls do that same--making it very easy to ask a question.) The camera takes great photos in bright light situations and very acceptable ones in indoor/lower light.

3.) Size and form. It's got a 4.3 inch LCD screen which is larger than an iPhone 5 with more resolution. It's very bright but also gets very dim as it's not too distracting in lower ambient light. I would say it oversaturates colors a bit, but it's nice to view.

4.) Motorola has begun separating out key apps on the phone so they can be updated through the Play store independently of needing to update the entire OS and wade through carrier testing and restrictions/delays. So as improvements are developed for apps like the camera, voice activation and other Motorola exclusive apps, they can delivered directly and more quickly through the Google Play store.

5.) Active display that allows you to preview alerts from apps (which you can pick and choose which) without fully waking up the whole phone. It saves time and battery power.

Some concerns have been battery life. Most of the time it's great (easily 16-hour day), but occasionally, the phone will get very hot and drain the battery very quickly. Not sure why. I notice battery life is much better when connected to wifi. Also, like other reviewers, I wish it came with an SD card slot. 5GB of the 16GB internal storage is taken up by the OS, so that leaves less than 10GB for apps, media, photos and video. I get that media can be stored in the cloud, but it's easy to fill up that empty space if you take a lot of photos and video, or download music.

Overall, I've been very happy with this purchase and now notice it's available on some sites/places for as low at 1 cent. It's a fantastic value at that price (I paid $100 when it first came out.) I would purchase this phone again--or consider the Moto X (Motorola Moto Black Verizon Wireless The Moto X has a bit larger screen but isn't that much larger than the Droid Mini. The X has also received updates a few weeks before the Droid line.
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on October 5, 2013
Great phone! Fast, reliable, awesome phon! 22 hour battery life during light app, heavy texting activity. I have to charge every night. I found the texting platform bland and needed to download an app that suited my needs.
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