UPDATED 5/14/2010 WITH COMPARISON TO NEW HTC DROID INCREDIBLE
If you're considering getting a Droid with Verizon, you should probably also consider the HTC Droid Incredible. I have one now and can tell you how they compare. (My wife's new-every-two came up and she kindly took my 6-month-old Droid off my hands so I could use her discount to get an Incredible. Is that true love or what??)
The first difference you notice is that the Droid has a physical slide-out keyboard while the Incredible does not. This makes the Incredible thinner and lighter (4.6 ounces compared to the Droid's 6 ounces). The weight difference doesn't look like much on paper, but it feels significant.
- The Droid's battery lasts a couple hours longer than the stock battery that comes with the Incredible.
- The Incredible's MP3 player has better sound quality when using good earphones or plugged into the car stereo. The Droid's sound quality isn't bad at all, but it's not up to par with the iPhone or iPod touch. The Incredible's sound quality is similar to iPhone / iPod touch.
- The Droid has 3 customizable home screens, the Incredible has 7, plus a cool way to navigate among them by seeing a thumbnail of all 7 at the same time. (I can't imagine filling up all 7, I've only filled up 2 of the 7.)
- Multitouch pinch and zoom is implemented better on the Incredible than on the Droid, though the new 2.1 Android software update that all Droids should have now has improved it substantially on the Droid.
- The Droid comes with a 16gb micro SD card, the Incredible either comes with none or with a 2gb card (mine came with none, but Verizon sometimes includes one). However, the Incredible has 8gb of internal flash memory, which is plenty to get started, and you can add a micro SD card later if you want.
- The Droid's camera is definitely not below average, and sometimes takes really good pictures. The Incredible's camera takes better pictures indoors and similar or slightly better pictures outdoors. The Incredible's camera has 8 megapixels, the Droid's has only 5. But 5 is as good or better than the vast majority of camera phones, and besides, if you set your camera at the maximum resolution, your pictures will take up more memory. With any camera, 3 megapixels is plenty enough for most purposes, including getting sharp 4" prints if you want them.
- The Droid's speakerphone is a bit louder than the Incredible's. The difference is not huge, but it's noticeable.
- The Droid runs the standard Android operating system, version 2.l. The Incredible includes that plus includes HTC Sense, which adds a few nice tweaks to the basic Android software. I don't think the difference is enough to influence most people's purchase decision.
- On paper, the Incredible's internal processor is faster than the Droid's. But I do not notice any difference in performance when running the same apps on both phones side by side. And the Droid's processor is faster than almost every other smart phone.
Overall, both phones are really really excellent, both are very fast, both have huge beautiful displays, and both have tons of great features. You can't go wrong with either phone.
I think the choice for most people will come down to the physical keyboard vs. thinness/weight issue, and possibly the camera if you like using your phone to take a lot of pictures.
That's the end of my update. Here's my original review of the Droid (sorry for the length!):
I wanted an iPhone bad, and finally gave up waiting for it to come to Verizon. Got a Droid and am very happy with it.
The screen is awesome - bigger than an iPhone's and more dense with pixels, so images are very sharp. The colors are great, and the screen is nice and bright. I had a Samsung Rogue for about 10 days. Everyone raved about the Rogue's screen. The Droid's screen blows it away. The touch screen is accurate and responsive, and very intuitive to use. About as good as the iPhone but much better than every other touchscreen phone I've tried and better than a few cameras with touchscreen controls.
The Droid's display is sharp enough and wide enough to view most web pages - including those not specifically formatted for mobile phone browsers. Because of this screen and because of the way that the Android OS implements the browser, surfing the internet is very easy, intuitive, and pleasant. Much less horizontal scrolling/panning. Much better than most phones I've tried, including the Samsung Rogue and Blackberry. The iPhone's browser is also a pleasure to use, but the Droid's screen is better at displaying full web pages.
Email is very well-implemented in the Droid. I was already a Gmail and Google calendar user before getting my Droid, and the level of integration is amazing, thanks to the Google Android OS. But any Android phone will also handle most other popular webmail, like hotmail, and also can sync with Microsoft Outlook and similar programs.
The Droid's call quality is good, and the speakerphone is loud and clear enough to be useful in most places. I get slightly better reception with the Droid than with my previous Verizon phones, especially in places with poor network coverage.
The Droid's built-in Facebook app is good, but is not as full-featured as the iPhone's FB app, which has been around longer and had more time to be improved. Yet, the Droid's FB app is as good as or better than FB access I've seen on most smartphones, including Blackberry and especially the new Samsung Rogue.
One extremely cool thing is you can easily import the contact info from all your Facebook friends into the Droid's contact manager, including their profile photo, email, phone, birthday, etc. Then, from your contact list, you can tap on any of their names and with one touch either call, email, or jump to their FB page. This is very well-implemented and easy to use, and makes the Droid's contact manager highly useful.
The Droid has pretty good voice recognition. I can tap the microphone icon in the upper right corner of the screen and say "Starbucks" and the Droid will show a list of the nearest Starbucks - and then I can pick one and either touch the phone number and Droid will call it, or I can touch the address and Droid will show its location on a map and give me driving directions.
Droid like all Android phones has Google maps built in, including satellite view, and Droid can give you directions (from your current location or any location) just like Google maps on a computer.
What's more, Droid has built-in GPS functionality and can give spoken directions, just like a Garmin GPS. I tried it and it works pretty well.
Loading music and photos onto the Droid is as easy as dragging and dropping files from your computer to a thumb drive. Droid's music player is not as refined as iPod/iPhone, but it is easy to use and works great. If you have an iPod, you probably have lots of music tracks in AAC format. The Droid will play them no problem, as long as they don't have DRM copy protection (and most don't nowadays). The Droid also plays MP3 and other formats.
The Droid has the standard 3.5" headphone jack so you can use it with any earphones, unlike some phones that have a non-standard jack. To judge the sound quality, I listened to the same track on the Droid and on an iPhone. Using $100+ headphones, the sound quality was better on the iPhone, but the difference was harder to notice with cheaper earphones or through my car stereo. Yet, the Droid's sound quality is as good or better than other music-playing wireless phones, and I've tried quite a few.
I have not yet loaded videos on the Droid. But I have watched streaming video, and it is very smooth, studder-free, and looks really great, best I've ever seen on any phone, including the iPhone and iPod touch.
The Droid comes with a 16GB microSD card. These normally go for 40 to 50 bucks at least, so I'm really grateful that Verizon and Motorola included it with the phone. It can hold a ton of music, video, and photos. For comparison, the highest-capacity iPod Nano also has 16gb of storage.
Plus, the Droid has internal memory for apps and its own operating system, so your phone will still work in the unlikely event the SD card ever fails. (My Droid worked fine even though the Verizon store guy didn't insert the SD card correctly when he set up my phone and the phone didn't recognize it. I reinserted it later and all was fine.)
The Droid's interface and OS (Android) is not quite as polished as the iPhone's. But it is still excellent, VERY easy to learn, and very easy to navigate around and use. Like most phones, the Droid is highly customizable (ringtones, wallpapers, placement of your favorite widgets and icons on your home screens), and the Android OS makes it super easy to do so.
The Droid has one-touch access to the Android app market, which has 10,000 apps so far. I've downloaded a couple dozen. There are lots of good ones, but overall the Android app market lags the iTunes app store in selection and quality, and specific apps available for both platforms tend to be a little better on the iPhone/iPod touch than on Android.
However, the Android app market is much younger than iTunes app store and is growing very quickly. Until the Droid, there were only a few phones running Android. That number will at least double over the next few months, and the number of people who use phones running Android will more than double, according to industry projections, because of the increasing quality and selection of Android phones on most major carriers. All this will fuel even more rapid growth in the Android app market. But even in its present state, you can find a lot of really useful and fun apps for the Droid, many of which are free.
The physical QWERTY keyboard is not as good as it could be. The keys are flat with no space between them. Still, I'm not a big texter and I find the keyboard fairly easy and pleasant to use. I also find the 5-way rocker button on the keyboard to be very useful. But if I were a big texter, I might not like the keyboard as much. So, my advice is to go to your local Verizon store and try out their demo unit.
The 5 megapixel camera has a built-in LED flash. I have taken a couple dozen pictures inside and out, and find the photos to be acceptable, good for a camera phone, but nowhere near as good as a dedicated digital camera, and maybe slightly inferior to the iPhone's picture quality. The flash is better than nothing, but causes the colors to be off. I have posted 6 pictures I took with the Droid to the "customer images" area so you can see for yourself the quality of photos you get with Droid. Once you snap a picture, you have to wait a couple seconds before Droid will let you take another; this lag is common on camera phones and cheap digital cameras, but seems slightly worse on the Droid.
I have not yet shot any video clips with the Droid, so can't comment on their quality.
The Droid is 1.5 to 2 ounces heavier than most other smart phones I've used or tried. Doesn't sound like much, but you can definitely notice it. For me, having the bigger screen and keyboard easily justifies the weight, but for some folks, the weight could be an issue. This is another reason why I wouldn't suggest ordering it online without first seeing it and holding it at your local retailer.
Everyone has different tastes, but I think the Droid is not the most stylish phone. It has kind of a masculine, industrial look to it, which I can tolerate but I'm not crazy about it. But, it is easy to change the wallpaper, and there are a variety of cases for the Droid - more coming out every week - so you can customize the look any way you want.
The only other thing I'm not crazy about is no physical dedicated call button. To use the phone, you have to press the phone icon on the home screen. This is a very minor inconvenience, and I got over it pretty quickly. But it'll bug some people.
I really like that the Droid has WiFi, and I've used it to connect to wireless networks at home, work and a Panera cafe. It's easy and works great.
If you've taken the time to read all this, then you're probably interested enough to justify a trip to your local Verizon store or Best Buy and play with their demo unit. Try the keyboard, try the browser, play around with the pre-installed apps or maps. Take a picture or video clip. See how the weight feels in your hand. I think you'll really like the Droid, especially if you'd been wanting an iPhone but didn't want to leave Verizon to get one.
on November 8, 2009
I've own many of the Verizon smart phones including the Treo, Moto Q, XV6700, Sage, Omnia, Touch Pro, Blackberry Curve, Storm1, etc. The Droid is the best VZW smart phone I've ever used.
- Nice, big screen. The touch interface is will done.
- Full exchange email support including calendar, contact sync, and email folders. Separate corporate calendar is cool too.
- Voice search is the bomb. I searched "McDonalds", "home depot", and "gas station" and found the closest ones to my location. I searched on "Phone John Smith Mobile" and droid made the phone call. I even searched "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and got the wiki page. lol
- The free GPS is excellent. The satellite layer is awesome. I was going to buy a GPS so the Droid saved me a couple bucks.
- Facebook contact integration is nice.
- Tethering is available via the PDANet app.
- Battery life is surprisingly decent. I returned many good windows mobile phones simply because of the lack luster battery life.
- No Send or End Buttons. I'd much prefer initiating and terminating a call with dedicated buttons
- Flat keyboard causes some typos. The top row of keys are too close to the bottom of the screen.
- I don't like the window shade motion for notifications. I'd prefer a simple button press.
- When viewing emails in landscape mode, the on-screen Delete button is right next to the back button. I deleted 2 emails already. :-P
- I've observed some button press glitches when switching between landscape and portrait mode.
- No pitch and zoom in the browser. Browser seems a bit slower than with the iPhone and the Palm Pre.
- Many operations require a couple extra button presses compared to my old Blackberry.
- Right now, I'd only recommend the Droid to people with a bit of geek in them.
The Droid is a worthy alternative but it doesn't sniff the iPhone's total user experience. Syncing media with your iPhone is much easier. The iPhones web browser is still the best on any phone. The Droid's customization capability, voice search, awesome free gps, and comparable development platform does put it on the same playing field with the iphone. The Droid however still has to make the UI a little more polished and take steps to make syncing with your computer more seamless. Right now, I'd only recommend the Droid for people that have a slightly higher geek meter.
Cha... I never asked my Blackberry to do much more than send messages and make calls. And to date, it still does it better than any other device I have ever used. The sleep case, keyboard, trackball, and typing short cuts makes the BB the most efficient device you will use for messaging. The Droid (and the iPhone) will require extra button presses to complete the same tasks. Heck, the sleep case alone allows you to check a message without pressing a button. ;-)
This is a great Verizon smart phone, possibly the best. The voice search works brilliantly. It's unbelievably good. The GPS is great. The Droid development platform seems decent. I especially like the Droid's full exchange support. The Droid's battery seems decent but I'll find out for sure after a couple weeks at work. It's certainly not as bad as the launch Palm Pre- the Pre's battery life would count down in front of your eyes. :-P
One major gripe I have with the device is the lack of Send and End buttons. I would never ship a phone that doesn't have Send and End buttons. I prefer to locate these buttons by feel rather than locating them on the touch screen.
Another gripe is that many functions on the Droid requires several extra button presses to accomplish the same task versus my old BlackBerry. I just have to wonder if phone manufacturers ever have business people test their phone. (I'm available, Motorola! ;-)
Should you try the Droid? Absolutely! BlackBerry users should hang on to their receipts however. You will give up some efficiencies in exchange for the Droid's advanced features.
**04/10/2010 Update Below**
Is the Droid a phone? Computer? Personal media player? PDA? Navigation? It is all of the aforementioned. THE killer Verizon smart phone has landed with a resounding kaboom!
- Gorgeous 3.7-inch (480x854) screen
- Tight Google application integration
- Amazing HTML browser
- Microsoft Exchange support
- Good 5MP digicam
- Surprisingly good camcorder
- 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
- Google Maps Navigation makes standalone GPS units obsolete
- Large selection of free and paid apps available
- Slide-out full QWERTY keyboard
- Power hungry device gulps battery life
- Touch screen is extremely sensitive
- Bluetooth/headset voice dialing unavailable
- Heavy (5.9 ounces)
- Lacks physical direct dial/end buttons
- Physical keyboard could use improvements
- Short USB charging cable
- Included microSD card is Class 2
My two previous phones were the LG Dare and the Blackberry Curve. Without much research, I walked into a Verizon store on the Droid's launch day and bought the Motorola Droid. Initial uneasiness turned into sheer joy. The Droid amazes me at every moment. Here's why:
The 3.7-inch, 480x854 resolution touch screen is stellar! Everything is crystal clear. I transferred Finding Nemo to it and wow! When I moved to the Blackberry from the Dare, the large screen real estate is what I missed most. I compared the screen with a friend's iPhone and we both concluded that the Droid's screen is better. My only gripe about the screen is that it is extremely sensitive. I put a snap-on cover on it as well as a screen protector and it has helped immensely. The snap-on cover surrounds the screen with a little extra space so your fingers don't accidentally touch the screen. I originally used the Verizon screen protector, but recommend the ZAGG. The ZAGG feels more "tacky" so when I'm using the screen, I feel I can be more precise when typing or swiping. As far as I'm aware, there's no setting to modify the screen's sensitivity.
I have a hard time with touch screen keyboards, which is why the slide-out keyboard on the Droid was so important to me initially. The screen slides up about half way up to reveal the physical keyboard. The keys are flat, right next to each other, with limited key travel and backlit. It takes a little while to get used to but I've gotten good at it with practice. Still, I can type at least twice as fast on my Blackberry Curve. The touch screen keyboard is actually better than I expected. After a couple of months of use, I've essentially ignored the physical keyboard in favor of the touchscreen keyboard. A really nice feature when typing on the touch screen is autocomplete. For example, if I type "hel", it will list "Hel, he'll, help, held, hello..." then you can just touch the word you want.
The Droid has very good signal strength and the call quality is also excellent on both ends. Speakerphone is adequate as well. My first annoyance with making calls is that there are no dedicated dial/end buttons. In order to make a call, you must touch the "Phone" icon and dial the number or sort through contacts. I did find that you can create direct dial shortcuts on your screen. This allows you to dial a contact number with one touch of the icon. I have one of my 3 screens dedicated solely for direct dial shortcuts. The second annoyance is that you cannot initiate voice dialing via a Bluetooth headset! If you want to initiate a call, you have to use the phone interface. This is a major drawback as I always use headset voice dialing to place calls when I'm driving. You can still answer and end calls with a headset though.
If you're already a heavy Google user, Android OS smart phones are almost a necessity. If you're not yet a heavy Google user, the Droid will assimilate you. Gmail is such a joy to use I haven't checked my e-mail on my computers since the Droid. Google Maps is easy and fun to use and includes Latitude. Google Talk couldn't be simpler and heavy messaging sessions are fatigue-free with the slide-out physical keyboard. Swiping the chat screen left or right allows you to change chat sessions which lets you to carry on multiple chats with ease! Google Calendar is almost better on the Droid than on an actual browser.
The Droid's web browser puts Blackbery's browser to shame, but that's not hard to do. For kicks, I also installed Opera mini on the Droid and almost immediately uninstalled it. The Android browser is a superior browser to all others except for possibly Mobile Safari.
The Droid has a nice 5MP auto-focus digital camera with flash as well as a 720x480 @ 24fps camcorder. Both of them perform well. The still camera's autofocus is buggy however. When I activate the camera, the area near the lens makes a peculiar noise and the autofocus doesn't always work. Verizon is preparing an OTA update on 12/10/09 to address this and other bugs/enhancements. The camcorder is good enough that I'd have no problem leaving my Flip camcorder at home most of the time. Of course, both the still and video camera falter in low light so keep your real camera and camcorder for those really special events.
I plugged in my Sennheiser HD280Pro headphones and enjoyed listening to my MP3's. The built-in speaker also sounds pretty good for a phone. The Droid comes with a 16GB microSD card for storage and supports up to 32GB but is a slow Class 2. It would have been nice to get at least a Class 4 for faster read/write performance. To get music onto the Droid, you just drag and drop or you can use a Motorola application called Media Link. You can also use your MP3's as ringtones. I would recommend using Audacity to clip a song you like down to 30 seconds or less at 128kbps to save space.
The Droid's Wi-Fi connection is pretty good and I can take it all over my 2-story home and stay connected. It's also picked up many of my neighbor's wireless networks. When the phone goes to sleep, it will shut off the Wi-Fi service to save battery power. Interestingly, the Wi-Fi connection is only nominally faster than using the high speed 3G Verizon network. Next to the screen, I've found Wi-Fi to be the biggest battery drain.
GOOGLE MAPS NAVIGATION
Here's something I did not expect. The Droid comes with a beta version of Google's turn-by-turn voice navigation application that ties in directly with Google Maps. Search for a location then have the navi direct you there by voice. I tried it twice so far and it has been spot on! What am I going to do with my Garmin now?? For me, this app was the clincher. Just be sure to connect it to a power source for long trips because the navi will drain the battery mighty quick.
You can quickly browse thousands of Android apps and search for them by name. Must have apps include Advanced Task Killer, Movies (by Flixster), Pandora, WeatherBug, and Google Voice. On the down-side, the Droid is quite heavy. Having come from the Curve, it was very noticeable. Also, with heavy usage, the battery may not last an entire work day, so carry a charger with you.
Accessories are still pretty thin for the Droid. A screen protector and case were a must for me. I got both from Verizon directly. I eventually tossed the silicone case from Verizon and picked up the perfect case by Seidio. Next, I needed a car mount but the Droid windshield mount would not work for me because I use a case and in California, I cannot mount it anywhere but the lower left corner. I prefer to mount it in the middle so I purchased a generic vent/adhesive mount from Verizon. I used the adhesive to stick it directly to my dash. It works fairly well except that when going over anything but smooth terrain, it wobbles a bit. I may decide to use the Bracketron Dash Pad in combination with Kensington Dash Car Mount for iPhone and iPod. This will allow me to mount the Droid in the center of my dash and swivel it from portrait to landscape as well as leave space to plug in a car charger. To complete the auto installation, I bought the Kensington Mini Car Charger for Mobile Devices with USB Port and plugged in the short USB cable that came with Droid. Voila! A Droid car kit for about $45.
I could go on and on about the Droid but Amazon limits my reviews to 1000 or so words. Even with the minor drawbacks, the Droid is easily the best hand held device I have ever owned. It replaces so many of my other devices that I can overlook those minor drawbacks and enjoy using it every second of the day. It is probably the single best technology purchase I have ever made.
I had to exchange my Droid for another one because the case I was using snagged on one of the keys and ripped it right off. The new replacement Droid has been ROCK SOLID and uptime has been over 2 weeks! No reboots, no forced app closures. Maybe it's my imagination, but the battery life seems to be better as I have gone at least 24 hours between chargings, except when I have used the GPS navigation. I'm still hoping Google provides an update in Android 2.0.1 for Bluetooth voice commands, though I didn't see anything in the changelogs about it. I believe the OTA update is still due in a week or so. Also interesting to note is that a version of the Droid WITHOUT the slide out keyboard and a built-in FM tuner is rumored to be coming out, but no word if it'll be available in the US or through Verizon.
I looked at my phone earlier and low and behold, I got a message that a software update was available. It downloaded and installed in less than 2 minutes and required a reboot. The first thing I noticed was that the unlock screen was different. The half circle swipe to unlock has been changed to just a left to right swipe while a right to left swipe will turn the sound on and off. Also, the font for the clock changed. Also, I swear there didn't used to be a Verizon Wireless banner on the unlock screen before, but there is now.
The big fix for version 2.0.1 was the camera's autofocus. And what do you know. It's fixed! I also noticed that the Power Control widget has gone through a face lift. I have not noticed any other changes really as I've yet to make a call on it since I only updated it 20 minutes ago. Call quality was supposed to have been improved as well. I am bummed they did not add Bluetooth voice dialing, but I didn't expect it anyways. Maybe another update down the road, please!!
Official Verizon info on the 2.1 update has finally been released. Pinch-to-zoom is available in the gallery, browser, and Google maps. New weather & news widgets. New voice-to-text entry. New 3D gallery layout. Live wallpapers! Official support for Yahoo! Mail, finally. Night-mode screen in navigation for easier viewing. And a few other minor improvements. Not a bad update. After a couple of false starts over a couple of months, the latest rollout date is 3/30/10, today. 1000 users will receive the update notice at noon today with another 9000 around midnight. If all goes well, apparently the remaining users will get it on 4/1/10.
It was taking forever to get the update on my Droid so I performed a manual update to 2.1. While I do like it, it wasn't as cool an update as I expected. My favorite part of the update was the new gallery. Now, I can view my photos full screen and swipe them to get to the next photo. Previously, I had to touch a directional arrow in order to navigate and swiping is just so much easier. The Live wallpapers were uninspiring and also slowed my phone down so I stopped using it. The weather and news widgets are just ok and I can get the same functionality in other apps so it's not earth shattering by any means.
on November 13, 2009
I was so excited about this phone I bought it the first day it came out, even though I have 7 months left on my TMo BlackBerry 8900. It was everyting I've ever wanted in a smartphone, at least in theory. So, why do I say "ambivalent" in a 5 star review? Well, the only time I feel conflicted about it is when I am reading about it, or thinking about it. But when I have it in my hands, all that melts away.
* The screen, the screen, the screen. Everyone raves about it for good reason. It's just gorgeous.
* No need to jailbreak if all you want to do is run non-Android Marketplace apps. There's a switch for that, it's under settings / applications. It's the top option on that menu: "Allow install of non-market applications". That's it, just check a box.
* The GPS - wow. Really glad I didn't invest in a "real" GPS, which I'd been intending to do. The Droid's voice navigation is everything you could ask for, without having to ever buy map updates. Ooh - and get the Google Sky app (it's free) - awesomeness in stargazing.
* Google! This, to me, is the biggest advantage -- the power of Google's development. This is the first few days with a major upgrade of an OS, so, everything that is "not quite there" yet about it will improve. People say it's not as polished as the iPhone, but with an open development platform on Android as opposed to Apple's walled-garden approach, it's only a matter of time. This is the first Android-based phone that Google's devs were closely involved in every step, and it's a good partnership.
* The network - again, wow. coming from TMo, where my area didn't get 3G until a few months ago, and with dead zones galore, this is just such a relief.
* Call quality - again, wow. I have never, ever experienced this sort of clarity, I was at a point where I liked smartphones mostly because I hated trying to hear & be heard on them, so it was easier to communicate via text, email, etc. Also, a very impressive speaker.
* Tight integration with several of Google's services, with more to come -- how nice to set up my gmail ID, go to YouTube on the phone, and just be logged in. Expect good things with Google Docs and even Wave in the future.
* The camera takes awesome pictures in full daylight, but struggles with focus. Good news is, developers are aware of this, and a leaked memo indicates there will be an over-the-air update on or around 12/11 which will address the focus issues.
* The apps -- the reason there are not as many huge, shiny apps like some of the more elaborate iPhone games is that app executables can't be stored on the memory card, just in the phone's memory, so this severely limits the amount of space for larger, more elaborate apps[correction]. The good news this is also fixable by software, and you know Google will work towards this in order to compete. However there are still plenty of awesome apps, and considering how Apple tends to reject and censor apps while Google welcomes them, there will eventually be a much broader selection. (update: Facebook's iPhone app developer just quit the project because he couldn't deal with Apple's controlling tendencies.)
* Well, the physical keyboard isn't the greatest. A bit flat, not enough key travel. However it was so easy to get good at the onscreen keyboard that this doesn't matter too much, and the real keyboard IS better (and quite adequate) for times you need to do more than a little typing.
* It's heavy! The night I got it, I played with it for like, 8 hours straight, and my hands were *sore*. Um, well, maybe just don't play with a phone for 8 hours straight, your hands should be fine?
* Battery life, what can you expect? A device of this magnitude needs power. I carry a charger & have a power inverter in my car, and I like powerful devices so I don't mind, really.
The other reviewers here have done a great job of going into deep detail on all the various features, these were just a couple things I wanted to point out, most especially, that almost everything brought up as a flaw is actually just an area in which Google's Android shows much potential.
I'll be getting that media dock too, that seems like a wonderful addition. Also, I have the Motorola S805 Bluetooth 2.0 (DJ Style) Stereo Headphones and they get along with the Droid very well. It's really, really helpful to have bluetooth controls when listening to music, because it's a pain in the rear when the screen goes to sleep and all you wanted to do was skip songs or pause.
All in all, I'm thrilled with the Droid, not just for what it is, but for what it will be - I have gone through *so* many phones in the past few years, finagling upgrades approx. every 9 months, but I believe this one will last me until I qualify for "new every 2" with Verizon - and by then, they'll have 4G. 4G!
on November 14, 2009
The very best cell phone for use on the road that I have ever used. And I have used a lot of them.
1. Great telephone sound -- hugely important when you make calls all day and night.
2. Great email management -- integration with both gmail and Microsoft Outlook really works and keeps it all coming.
3. Great Verizon network -- puts ATT/iPhone to shame; and even better than my prior Verizon Palm in difficult locations.
4. Great music system -- I put in really nice headphones because it's 3.5 mm and my good cans go in easily. And provide great sound.
5. Great maps -- in each town, it tells me where I am, and navigates me to where I'm going...no bumps in the road so far.
6. Great keyboards -- the on screen keyboard is actually easier and less error prone than iPhone, and the flat slide-out keyboard backlighting actually helps in dark areas, and I find it as easy to use as the Blackberry and Palm 'bump' keyboards
7. Great bright screen for youtube movies when I'm bored and need a break.
What I'm saying is that it may be a geek's delight because it will do so much, and it may be incredibly versatile for people who want to play with app after app after app, but what I like is that it is so totally practical, so totally useful, so right for just taking care of business.
8 Great extra batteries --- lasts most of the day, lot of juice in its battery, but best of all, can change batteries. Worst thing about iPhone is when it's dead, you're dead. Not so with this one.
THIS PHONE TAKES CARE OF BUSINESS.
on November 30, 2009
Ever since getting the iPod Touch, I've had an extreme case of iPhone envy; the Touch's intuitive interface, sleek design, and overall pleasant experience made me wish I could use it on the go, and not be tied down to Wi-Fi networks. As a happy Verizon customer, however, I was not going to switch providers just to get a new phone (although the thought crossed my mind more than once!). After a long wait, I finally got my hands on an iPhone competitor, the Motorola Droid. While it might not be the "iPhone Killer" that people have claimed it to be, it's a great phone in its own right.
For some reason, I get fewer service bars/seemingly weaker reception compared to my LG Dare. In the same spot, holding both phones, I get 5 bars on my Dare (which I've since given ), while I only get 2 bars on my Droid. Weird, but fortunately I haven't actually noticed any decline in call quality or reliability; it's been superb!
Loud, and good quality! This is important, because whether you're listening for driving directions using the built-in GPS, streaming music through Pandora, or talking, the speaker is very loud and clear.
Decent. Yes, the battery can run out quickly, but that's just because you'll find yourself using the phone so much! Some of the biggest battery drainers I've noticed have been screen brightness, GPS, and streaming radio. These problems can be resolved by turning down screen brightness (even at its lowest setting, still bright and crisp), turning off the GPS when it's not in use (through the Power Control widget), and not relying exclusively on streaming radio for music (with the included 16GB card you can store plenty!)
Gorgeous, crisp, and very bright display that makes other phones pale in comparison. I love it, and highly recommend those considering this phone to take a look at one in their local Verizon store. Even at its darkest setting, its very good. The high-resolution display also allows for text to appear much more detailed and crisp, a plus for those with glasses.
The Droid packs a 5 Megapixel camera, as well as video-recording at roughly DVD-quality. The camera is a bit slow to auto-focus, but pictures come out fine. Not great, but decent for a cell phone, especially at night using the flash. While its still pictures don't come out great, the Droid's videos come out really well. The audio recorded on videos is also really good.
LOOK AND FEEL
The phone isn't light, but it also isn't as heavy as I feared based on initial reviews. The only criticism is that there are no dedicated call/end buttons...instead, you have to rely on the phone application, which means you can't feel around for the call/end buttons, say you get a phone call in the middle of the night. Still, that's just a minor gripe. The phone feels sturdy, not cheap, and is pretty slim considering it packs a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
One of the major selling points of this phone was that it has a physical keyboard. The keyboard isn't perfect - keys are shallow, too close to one another, and there isn't a dedicated row for numbers. Also, the top row of keys is inconveniently located too high to the top of the phone. Still, despite these shortcomings, I would not use this phone without the physical keyboard. After a year with the touchscreen-only LG Dare, I still had difficulty with typing, and even after 2 years with an iPod Touch - which has a much better touchscreen keyboard than the Dare - I have difficulty with typing on that, as well. While the touchscreen keyboard on the Droid is very good, I still make many fewer mistakes with the physical keyboard than with the touchscreen one. While I'd say this is largely a matter of personal preference, I'd like to emphasize that the physical keyboard isn't nearly as bad as some reviewers online made it out to be.
As it stands now, the Android Market has over 10,000 apps, while the Apple App store has over 100,000. As a result, some reviewers have said - wrongly, I believe - that the Droid is somehow more limited. One should remember that while the iPhone/Touch had a headstart in developing its application market, many new developers have flocked to Android as more phones have come to market. There already is a strong selection of apps, and this will only grow over time.
The two major shortcomings of this phone - especially when compared to the iPhone - are that:
1. Not as intuitive as the iPhone. I think this phone is great for many users, but others might find it to be a little complicated. This phone is very capable, but sometimes to find things you have to dig around a bit more than might be convenient (I don't mind this too much).
2. No widespread and easily available alternative to iTunes. I use DoubleTwist, but without a doubt iTunes is a much easier way to transfer media to the phone than dragging and dropping or using iTunes alternatives, for most people at least. While I don't buy MP3s online, others have also pointed to the iTunes store offering much more selection than Amazon's MP3 store.
Who should get this phone? If this is your first smartphone, you might find things to be a little difficult at first, but well worth the patience. While this phone isn't for everybody, if you are already on/hope to switch to Verizon, this is without a doubt one of the strongest offerings. I don't know if I would necessarily dump my iPhone if I were an AT&T Customer, but I think that this phone will be a very useful tool for many people who have considered an iPhone but wanted a physical keyboard, more customizability, or more Google integration. While there are a few shortcomings in design and media integration, I can now say I've found the cure to my iPhone envy!
I wanted to say that while I'm still very happy with my Droid, one problem has arisen. For some reason, text messages I compose are not always going through...after minutes of trying, the phone simply notifies me saying that the text message was not sent. I have no clue why this is happening, but must say it is a bit frustrating. Fortunately, it doesn't happen too often, but it has happened enough to notice. This has happened to text messages I've sent to people on different carriers, so I'm assuming the problem is from my end on not the recipients'. Either way, a small price to pay for an otherwise amazing phone.
on February 4, 2010
That was the question for me - should I just wait for Google's phone? I mean, it has nearly twice the processing power (1GHz, vs. 556 MHz). I'll explain below why I went ahead and picked up the Droid. (Likes/Dislikes/Contrast with what others have said/Etc). (Btw, sorry for the long review, but I do think you'll find the information helpful. :) )
- I LOVE the screen. It's mentioned in the description of the product that it can take DVD quality video - it also displays that video on an incredibly glossy and surprisingly large screen. I don't want to sound melodramatic, but it even feels amazing to the touch. Also, contrasting with my recent HTC Touch, when you make a call, and bring the phone to your cheek, it blanks the screen. That's fantastic because... well, it saves power, which is nice, but more importantly, you don't start making random phone commands because your face is touching the screen! ARGH that used to drive me crazy on the HTC. Not sure if the Eris does this or not, but it was enough to keep me from ever looking at an HTC again.
Additionally, when you bring the phone away from your face, the screen on the Droid turns on again, so that you can hang up the phone. Very intuitive, and such a relief! I used to have to manually turn the HTC back on again (it would blank after 60 seconds) and by then, I could never tell if I was hanging up, or what.
- Intuitive interface. Without using a manual (and I'm a huge manual reader!) I was able to navigate, check my email, make phone calls, open up the GPS, all within about the first three minutes of having the phone in my possession. The GPS is gorgeous, btw. I'm still learning things about the phone, as I've only had it for two days. I'll be updating this review at a later date.
- Apps. No, it doesn't have 140k apps and 3 billion downloads like the Iphone. But, as mentioned by others, it's not locked down like other Verizon phones. I've worked for a government agency that has been struggling with Verizon for YEARS to get a GPS on their BlackBerries. And now, voila, here it is. I imagine it would take someone with the leverage of Google to insist with Verizon to allow this type of functionality. Also, the Marketplace (where you find apps for the Android OS) is easy to find, navigate and purchase from, if you desire any non-free applications. It's right on your home page, and you'll be downloading and installing apps within seconds.
Recommended Apps. There is one called KeyRing, which is free, (with a link to a Youtube video with surprisingly succinct instructions on that beautiful screen!) that holds all those plastic UPC things that various stores want you to carry around with your car keys. The camera takes the picture, identifies the UPC code and gives you the choice of over 650 retailers to choose who the UPC code works with. Very neat!
There are also apps to lock down files (I am using one called Hide and Seek). If you want to show off your Droid, you may not want to let kids/friends/family see every last thing on your phone. An app allows you to expand your desktop from three screens to nine. (That's a big desktop! And extremely easy to navigate.)
- Keyboard. Okay, I know it's flat, it's small, and may take some getting used to, but it's a friggin keyboard! The new Google phone doesn't have one, neither does the Iphone. I guess I'm just one of those people who have to have the tactile keyboard to type efficiently. The keys (as well as other buttons) are a rather classy looking gold color. The keyboard itself has a very easy to read and intutive layout. I do have to admit that I couldn't find the "?" key for a while. ;) On this keyboard, you don't need a shift or the alt/function button to find it. The /, ?, @ are all standard buttons, requiring no shift or additional keypress.
The mouse thingy (for lack of a better term) looks like a fingerprint authentication device on the side of the keyboard. (If you're looking at pictures of the Droid, it's that gold square on the right side of the keyboard.) Also, very easy to use, very handy to have there (beats the heck out of arrow keys on so many other keyboards) and you can press the gold center to select items.
- Durability. Also, something I haven't seen mentioned, and perhaps I'm more sensitive to the fact since my last phone was the recently reduced in price HTC Touch Diamond (or Pro). For whatever reason, the last two HTC phones I had (I tried the Ozone for several days as well) both seemed SO FLIMSY. The back (very cheap feeling) covers on the phones would just fly right off. When I'd slide the top on the HTC up to start typing on the keyboard, it was just so slippery. And while I'm on the HTC - that was the first phone I ever had that I would make multiple accidental calls per day. Drove me crazy! More a function of the screen, but still.
Well, the Droid just feels tough. I mean, when you slide the top up to reveal the keyboard, it feels like you'd have to really struggle to break it and it snaps in place with an encouraging click. People have commented on the weight, but like others, I feel like I'm carrying around a computer in the palm of my hand; I can handle the extra ounce or two. I even use a belt clip (body glove case) and it works great. Very well balanced on my hip; hasn't fallen off yet.
- Sound quality. Fantastic. I had an ENV2 from Verizon in the past, and it actually had stereo speakers which gave great sound. Well, this (over?) two inch bar on the back of the phone delivers surprisingly loud sound. I'm glad for that, since (sorry HTC!) but the HTC Touch Pro - you could barely hear someone on speaker phone. We all know how important that can be while driving without a headset. Also, the 3.5MM jack is convenient.
There are few, since I gave it five stars.
- Manual. There isn't one enclosed! It's a good thing it's easy to get going on this phone, as that would have been enough to make me bring it back. I've yet to actually need one, but I'm sure there is a lot of functionality on this phone that I'm still missing.
- Phone button. I too wish there had been a hard-wired phone button. Not a big deal, as it's easy to navigate to, and if the phone's ringing, it's right there, but still.
- Customizable buttons. There aren't any, that I've found. Externally, you have volume, camera, on/off, home, search, back, and menu. On a BlackBerry, there are several buttons you can define for yourself, which is very handy on a PDA. Allows you to pull up email, your desktop, or whatever you like with one external press of a button. I miss that. Having said that, this isn't a BlackBerry. ;)
- No Itunes. Yet. Someone's working on an app already, though. Based on Steve Jobs' recent Google rant, I doubt Apple will make the app, despite it making business sense.
- Picture Gallery. Not thrilled with it. There's an app that will hide the folders for you, but as it stands, it's not particularly intuitive on how they organize it as shipped.
Contrast with what some others have said:
- I mentioned the keyboard. I actually am ecstatic that it has one! Could be better, but sheesh! You should see the size of this thing. It's actually a surprisingly slim phone for what it offers. Frankly, I find the phone to be quite elegant.
- The Camera. I like it. 5MP? Yowza. Very easy to use, and faster (though not stand-alone-camera-like) than any other phone I've used.
- Google vs. Apple. I haven't read all 100 reviews, but I haven't heard the companies themselves brought up yet. Fact is, Google has a tradition (if you call a ten-something year old company as having traditions) of giving things away for free. Apple does not. I think it's important to note that Apple put the same OS on their new tablet - which gives them a bottleneck for charging for every little bit of content on their device. Essentially, it's a computer set up to be a closed-end device. Google's "marketplace" is almost a misnomer, since so many apps are available for free. As much as Google may be the next "Big Brother" - so far, they give most of their stuff away.
- Google vs. Microsoft. One of my beefs with the HTC I just ditched was that it used Windows Mobile 6.1. I thought after seeing my wife's Omnia that I'd love it. BOY was I wrong. It crashed all the time, was slow as mollasses and was the case-book example of being a lot harder to use than other competing OSs, just like Microsoft has been since the days of DOS vs. the Macintosh. (Sorry to geek out, but have been a Microsoft user since 1991ish.)
I've already added more applications in two days with the Android OS than I did with 6 months on Windows Mobile. Oh, and I've already updated the Android OS. You can't even go from Windows Mobile 6.1 to 6.5 w/out changing phones. OUCH.
Love how much memory is shipped with this thing. 16GB? WOW.
Video looks awesome. Can't wait to try streaming music with Pandora. (Yep, there's an app for that. And programming DirecTV? Yep, there's an app for that too. With apologies to IPhone. ;) )
Hey, it's Verizon's network, which is just plain awesome.
The Iphone isn't due out on Verizon until Summer, from what I understand, and who knows when Verizon will get Google's phone.
I love Gmail and I love the integration (which is to be expected) between Android and Google's apps (like Google Docs, etc). Gmail looks plain awesome on this phone.
Long story short: If you were looking for an Iphone with a keyboard, this will do the trick. If you want a great phone that runs the Android OS, this is what you want.
To answer the question I posed in the title: No, I don't think it will. Here's why: Motorola has been making phones for a long, long time. I believe Motorola's expertise in the field and their consciousness of features, durability, battery life, touch screen technology, WiFi and all the rest - will simply outshine Google, at least in their first rendition. Keep in mind, even when Apple first put out the Iphone, it was hardly ideal. The 4GB IPhone was discontinued after less than 3 months.
Plus, the Google Phone doesn't ship with a QWERTY keyboard. ;)
Okay, a few things I've learned. One, the location of the manual. :) Thanks to a commenter, not sure if links are allowed, but look to the first comment reply to this post to find it.
Second - the screen that I love so much - well, I went looking for a protector. I'm a big suspicious of them, since I know you lose some sensitivity and have to press harder on a screen to get your phone to do what you want. Well, in Amazon's review section of one of the pricer screen protectors, several commenters mention you don't need one. I tend to agree. It looks better, feels better, and most importantly, do a google search on "Gorilla Glass" and do a Youtube search on "Droid Scratch", etc. There's a video that shows a guy using a key on his screen and it doesn't scratch. This is the same material they use to protect helicopter blades! It's amazing. This phone doesn't cease to amaze me.
Third - I discovered voice search! Oh, this is neat. Without "learning" my voice, there's a mic next to the omnipresent Google search bar. So, I pressed the mic button, spoke "Olive Garden" into the phone and voila, it listed Olive Garden and about the 4th link down even had the one that was closest to my location! How amazing is that?! Okay, geeking out a bit, but it was very cool. Also, you can just touch the phone number that's listed right there in the Google search listing. Say goodbye to paying 411 information fees! Nice.
Fourth - A couple of neat tricks:
--you press and hold an icon to move it around or toss it off your screen again.
--You can easily add applications to the keypad and you access them by simultaneously pressing Search and the letter. Several default options are search+B brings up your browser and search+C brings up your contacts.
--Pressing and holding your Home button brings up your six most recently used Apps.
Fifth - Look out for the new Android 2.1 coming out this week! Will come back with some details. The upgrades so far have been completely painless. Basically just accept the download and it downloads and installs in the background. I believe it requires a reboot.
Six - A couple of must-have apps:
--dockrunnner - is essentially the app that you use that is the same as having the doc station. Turns your Droid into an extremely serviceable alarm clock. :) With the weather!, and you have a button for turning your gallery into one of those stationary electronic picture frames (like I bought for my wife that cost me 100 bucks, though, admittedly it was about twice the size, but still...) - oh, one word of warning, some people, when they use this app can't "turn it off" and the screen "stays in landscape mode" - it's actually easy to turn off. Hold the home button down to bring up the list of six apps, and then press and hold the dockrunner button to turn it off.
--Screen Mode - oh man, I like this app. Essentially, it puts a 3 button bar on your desktop. One for keeping the desktop on all the time without blanking to save energy. Very useful when you have your wife emailing you a shopping list before a snow storm and you need to walk through CVS without having to try to keep the screen on :) Another button makes it so that it sleeps normally, but it removes the annoying unlock button. You can also use the camera button to wake the phone back up. And finally, the last button that makes it so that when the phone sleeps, it behaves normally (back to the unlock button being there).
Seven - found a really, REALLY good community site out there. Again, don't know Amazon's policy on links, but heck, there's even a Verizon support rep who posts there (and that thread has 150 pages of posts since November?!). Just do a Google search on "droid forum". Extremely helpful for help, apps, tips, etc.
Can you tell I love this phone? :P
March 02, 2010 Update -
Still loving the phone! Also, referring to the screen protector, etc. above - still no protector, still no scratches. It's not like I throw the phone around or anything, but I DO use a belt clip (still hasn't jumped off my hip with the Body Glove protector) and the phone still looks like it's brand new.
A note on battery life. One thing I've done this go round that I've never done with any other phone, is I religiously let the battery die all the way down to nothing. If I'm down to 10% or less (there's an App for that! called appropriately enough "Battery Indicator" - just do a search on the marketplace for it - it's free) - I turn on my screen and let it completely discharge and then start charging again.
This is completely anecdotal, but I'd swear that the battery actually lasts longer each time I do that. In the manual, it says to do that "a few times" if you find your battery life getting shorter - but I now go 3-5 days without a charge, despite heavy data usage. If there's one piece of advice I'd give any phone user, it's try to let your phone discharge completely for every charge to get the most out of your battery.
Also, I've learned a lot more about Google's phone. It has had a TON of issues, starting with Google's support. Get this - it was initially only via email! No phone support whatsoever, and T-Mobile wasn't supporting the phone either. It also had a number of issues, apparently. Also, Google had initially been charging some ginormous fees if you wanted to return the phone. The FCC even did an inquiry about it - it was a whopping $350 dollars initially. This was in addition to T-Mobile's $200 early cancellation fee! Google has since dropped the price of their equipment return fee to $150 (free if within the first 14 days), but still. From articles I've read, it definitely impacted sales. It also gave me no small measure of re-assurance that I went with the right choice.
on November 23, 2009
* Physical Keyboard - Small and cramped, but perfect for someone who frequently hits the wrong keys with the on-screen one. It is also easier to hold the device when surfing the web. If you aren't a fast typer (as I am on phones) the complaints against the keyboard are less important.
* Weight - slightly heavier than an iPhone but it feels more solid and durable.
* Easy to navigate - phone does not come with a user manual but one with average computer experience can pick it up quickly.
* GPS - still in beta, but works well enough to get around NYC by car. (Buy the mount if it will be your primary GPS device).
* Google Voice - integrated into phone - seamlessly integrated to allow it to call/answer phones based on a variety of scenarios rather than using Verizon minutes. (i.e. Automatically call using VOIP for international calls)
* 5MP camera - it won't take a picture worthy of a frame, but more than decent for web postings on the go.
* Tacky default "Droid" settings - The phone starts up by saying "Droid". Easy to turn it off though. The red eye reminds me of LOTR. I just wish that could be turned off too.
* Web app is a little buggy going back and forth between web pages. Sometimes it skips one or two pages back.
* Needs multi-touch (i.e. pinch-zoom) There have been countless times I tap to zoom in and click inadvertently on a link.
* Application Marketplace is a mess - no sort capabilities (i.e. # downloads, rating), organized by 8 main categories. Few quality apps exist- but hopefully will take off soon. (Recommended - Pandora, last.fm, Weather Channel, TV.com)
* Sharp corners - the iPhone is more comfortable to hold for extended periods of time when talking.
* Sound quality on calls is average at best. By far the worst phone for wind noise. A slight breeze will render a conversation unintelligible.
* Lack of music management software - Extreme default bare-bones app to listen to music by artist/album/song/playlist. No way to easily sort music. (something similar to iTunes would be ideal) Haven't been able to find a 3rd party app to replace it yet. One plus - there are some 3rd party apps to connect remotely to your PC's music collection (i.e. Gmote 2.0) but they are still buggy.
* Some websites are hard to click on intended links. (Not sure if it is the touchscreen or the website, but it is frustrating none the less)
* There are the basic camera settings (i.e. Camera flash, scenes, etc.) but they are frustrating to set. (The back button doesn't work when navigating through the sub menus. Each time you want to go to another category you need to reopen the settings)
on December 2, 2009
This phone is amazing. I've been waiting for Verizon to come up with a phone that can match up to the all mighty I-phone from AT&T or Black Berry Storm 2 and did Motorola fulfill those wishes. I never like the service I received from AT&T so I didn't want to go back to them nor was I very impressed with the first Storm. Several of my friends owned the I-phone and I always loved playing with their phones as it was a easy to use and just so many options you could do with it vs. my old LG Voyager. So when my 2 year contract ended with my old LG phone I began to research what phone was out. I was amazed on the reviews and features the Droid had so I decided to head down to my local Best Buy to have a look for my self. I wasn't too impressed with the phone as BB had only a dummy phone so I couldn't turn on the phone but I decided to purchase the phone anyways with my company rep and received the phone the following day. I wasn't happy when my rep told me about the $30 data plan charge but it's worth the $ for unlimited web and email features and with my 20% corp discount it wont impact too much. When I first turned on the phone I was amazed on how the picture quality was far better over the I-phone and much superior over the Storm 2, I love how the red eye introduces the start up menu (nice job Motorola).
Web browsing is super fast and picture quality is amazing;
Plenty of apps not as many as the I-phone but a decent amount and growing;
The phone is very responsive and fast similar to the I-phone;
Plenty of customization to ones personal preference an advantage over the I-phone as it is very limited to what customization you can perform to its layout;
All my emails easily accessible from my personal Yahoo, G mail account to my GroupWise account;
Music player is decent but can't compare to the I-phone;
Free navigation feature that really works like a Garmin with Google maps;
Phone service on the Verizon networks out performs AT&T, no drop calls or static with Verizon vs AT&T.
If I had to choose a phone today I would totally get the Motorola Droid again over the I-phone or Black Berry and I'm very satisfied with my purchase and recommend this phone to anyone who is thinking about getting a I-phone who does not want AT&T service or a Black Berry Storm who is not to crazy about the issues they had with the Storm 1.
Web Browsing 5 out 5
App Store 4 out 5
Processor/Response time 5 out 5
Customization 5 out 5
E-mail 5 out 5
Music player 4 out 5
Navigation 5 out 5
Phone Service 5 out 5
Overall score 4.75
on November 14, 2009
This phone is pretty great. I've been waiting for a decent smartphone to hit Verizon, and here we go.
THINGS YOU WILL LIKE
The screen is brilliant, and the touch interface is responsive. I expected to want the multitouch (which is disabled in the US on this device) but it's unnecessary here. You can still use it on apps, and on the browser you're not going to need it (you can tap to zoom, but unless you have trouble reading screens, you'll rarely need to zoom in. The resolution is very good, the text is crisp even in the smallest occurrences).
Lots of apps. I'm sure the quality and variety have yet to threaten the iPhone's, but I'm impressed with what's available, and for free.
Google maps is great. Last night on the walk home from a bar I called up a map of the area, located a pizza shop, hit the dial button on the map, and placed an order I could pick up. I've tested navigation once and it worked flawlessly. Quicker than my girlfriend's two year-old Garmin.
Keyboard is okay. I prefer not to use it, and it's thin enough that you don't even notice it's there unless you want to pull it out. (A friend had a different slider that was fat as a cheeseburger, but here the device is very nearly as slim as the Razr.)
THINGS YOU WILL DISLIKE
Takes a while to charge (1-2 hours). Battery life is good, if you can come home to your charger every night. (I get 20-36 hours depending on usage.)
No dedicated phone buttons. It's nice being able to back out of the call screen entirely if you want to look at a map or something, but if you want to hang up you still have to bring back the phone screen, touch the button to return to the call, and then hang up.
Overall this phone is great. I figured anything I got on Verizon would be a sort of good-enough-for-now alternative to the iPhone, but this device does everything I want and I wouldn't trade it.