Top positive review
80 people found this helpful
on February 18, 2011
After my Droid 1 got water damaged nearly two months ago, I was in the market for a new smartphone. After thoroughly researching this phone as well as its competitors, I went with the Droid 2 Global and am very happy with it so far. Its large and vibrant touchscreen, fast processor, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and extensive Google integration make it very convenient to use, although the phone's size/weight, and Android's steeper learning curve might make this phone less appealing to some prospective buyers.
LOOK AND FEEL
The phone is big and heavy, and you will notice that immediately when picking it up. I personally don't mind this, but think some people, especially women, might find that this phone might not fit in their pockets (since clothing for women usually are designed with smaller pockets). My girlfriend, for example, uses a smaller Android phone since she thought the Droid 2 was heavier and bulkier than she liked.
I notice that the volume of calls is lower than that of my previous Droid, both holding the phone up to my ear as well as putting it on speaker. The phone's speaker is loud enough when I play music, but the in-call volume is noticeably quieter than I'd like. This might be inconvenient for some, but feel this is a small price to pay for an otherwise outstanding phone.
The physical keyboard on this phone is pretty good. It's definitely much better than that of the original Droid since the keys are slightly elevated (whereas the original Droid had very flat keys). My one gripe with the keyboard is the new 'Alt Lock' button. While to lock Alt (to activate the secondary functions of keys, such as inserting numbers) you previously had to press Alt twice, on the Droid 2's keyboard the Alt Lock button is another way to lock Alt (although you can still press Alt twice to lock it). Only problem is that due to its location, I frequently find myself pressing it inadvertently which interferes with composing text. Now that I'm more used to my phone it's not as much of a problem as it used to be, but it still becomes annoying at times. Overall, I am pleased with the physical keyboard and frequently use it to compose texts, emails, and even documents.
There are many smartphone alternatives that are thinner than the Droid 2 because they lack a physical keyboard, but I personally am not a huge fan of touchscreen keyboards. Even with the option of using Swype, which is regarded by many to be superior than a traditional touchscreen keyboard since you can compose words without lifting your finger, I prefer the phone's physical keyboard to its touchscreen one since it allows me to type faster and more accurately.
The Droid 2 has a bright, high-resolution display. This is not only great for watching videos, but for reading since text is very crisp. I use the Google Books and Kindle applications on the phone and read e-books on my commute without a problem, and also frequently play videos that look gorgeous on the screen. Since the display is so good, it draws a lot of power, and you might want to lower the brightness to save battery. Even on a dimmer setting, it still is a very bright and crisp display.
The Droid packs a 5 Megapixel camera, as well as video-recording at roughly DVD-quality. The camera is much faster to auto-focus and snap pictures than my Droid 1 (running Android 2.2) was. Pictures come out pretty good, especially with adequate light. The camera's images come out noisy (grainy) in low light, but that is to be expected with a cell phone camera, which employs a relatively small image sensor. While this won't replace your point and shoot, the pictures are good enough. The Droid 2's video recording is very good, both in terms of the video and the recorded audio.
The battery life of this phone is noticeably shorter than of my Droid 1 - which had quite a dismal battery life itself. This is largely because the phone has a powerful 1.2 GHz processor, a large high-resolution touchscreen, and features multitasking (which allows programs to run in the background). If you want improved battery life you can turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS when they're not in use, dim the display, and run less widgets, but even taking these energy-saving measures can only do so much. I highly recommend you buy a spare battery if you purchase this phone - the relatively cheap price you pay for a spare is worth it!
Unlike the original Droid, the Droid 2 features MotoBlur...Motorola's custom User Interface that really makes the phone shine. It offers a very polished design and unique customization options that make the phone aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, a lot of options are buried within menus or sub-menus that take some probing to uncover, making this phone a little less simple to use out of the box than some might like. I recommend if you do ultimately purchase this phone, you take the time to learn its features! Once you do, you can extensively personalize it, place widgets on your homescreens, and do many other neat things.
Due to the speedy 1.2 GHz processor, the phone's performance is generally good - although programs do become unresponsive, or the phone freezes, more often than I'd like. I think this is more of a flaw with the Android OS in general, and not a flaw of this phone in particular. For the most part, I find the phone's day-to-day operation is smooth.
This is highly touted as a strength of Android - and a weakness of Apple - but I don't find this to be all too important in my day-to-day use. I definitely like the option to be able to play Flash movies, but have noticed that Flash loads pretty slowly on a 3G connection (although it's decent on Wi-Fi), and that some Flash sites still won't properly load as they are not optimized for mobile devices. While I rarely play Flash videos for the aforementioned reasons, it is convenient to have the ability to play Flash if and when I do need it.
To my disappointment, this phone comes loaded with bloatware. There isn't an easy way to remove it unless you 'root' (hack) your phone and use a program like Titanium Backup. A simple Google search can provide websites with easy to follow, step-by-step directions on how to go about doing this, but you should not do this unless you understand the process since it entails the potential to mess up important system files. Most people will probably just cope with having bloatware on their system, which is annoying, but doesn't noticeably slow down performance.
COMPARED TO DROID 2 NON-GLOBAL EDITION
The Droid 2 Global has a slightly faster processor (1.2 GHz vs. 1 GHz), but the main advantage is the phone's global capabilities. If you travel internationally, having the option to use your current cell phone abroad is very convenient. While I still haven't firsthand experimented with its global capabilities, I bought this phone over the non-global edition specifically for this ability.
COMPARED TO IPHONE
When I was deciding on a phone, the Verizon iPhone's release was imminent. While a year ago that might have swayed my decision, this time it didn't, since I was already familiar with the strengths of the Android OS. Yes, there's a steeper learning curve, but it's worth it for the customization and extensive Google integration (great voice search, turn-by-turn navigation, etc). Since the iPhone is now officially available from Verizon, the decision on whether to buy an Android or iOS device is more difficult for some, especially since both operating systems have their strengths and weaknesses.
Some of the biggest reasons people might be drawn to the iPhone now that cell network isn't an issue for VZW customers is its relative ease of use and better media integration. As of the time of this review, there still isn't a media sync option as convenient as iTunes, aside perhaps for DoubleTwist. In my opinion, 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. If rumors of a cloud-based Google music alternative materialize, maybe this will become a moot point, but as of now, an iPhone might be more convenient for a lot of users.
NO SIMULTANEOUS VOICE AND DATA
This is a shortcoming of the Verizon network, not a flaw of this phone in particular. If you're not on a Wi-Fi network, and are using cell phone data, you cannot talk and surf the web at the same time (I believe AT&T recently had a commercial highlighting this flaw). While this is a shortcoming of the Verizon network and not of this phone in particular, it is worth noting that in some situations, this proves to be a major inconvenience.
I love my Droid 2 - even more than my Droid 1 - but honestly think that the steep learning curve for Android phones in general might prove to be a bit of a challenge to first-time smartphone buyers. While the Android 2.2 user interface is more polished and refined than previous versions of the OS, many options and settings are still buried deep within submenus that might be frustrating to figure out or uncover. I think the iPhone is a better alternative for smartphone 'newbies' since it is far more intuitive.
If you are willing to take the time to really explore this phone's features, you will find this phone is a very powerful device that offers a good physical keyboard, increased customization options compared to the iPhone, and extensive Google integration (i.e. turn-by-turn navigation, voice search). I am very impressed by the Droid 2 Global's abilities, and highly recommend it.
I am still loving my Droid 2...it serves me very well, and I'm still recommending it to all of my friends. That being said, there are five things my Droid 2 has done to me in the half-year I've owned it that have given me some grief that I'd like to warn you about. I am running both Lookout Mobile and WaveSecure, so I don't think it's malware, but the phone being buggy at inopportune times. Since these were largely isolated incidents, I still think the phone offers great overall performance, but I would like to bring these to your attention regardless.
(1) Video files got corrupted. I went to two separate performances, one in April, and one in May, where I recorded a handful of videos. The video capture on the Droid is great, and the audio quality really is fantastic which is why I made it a point to record parts of the shows. Unfortunately, out of the roughly 10 videos I captured at the April concert - making sure each clip recorded for 30 seconds or more, according to the display - my phone was unable to play/transfer less than half the videos. Even worse, some of the videos that it did manage to capture were severely truncated. This was not human error - I was watching the phone's display very closely, and it was recording for 30+ seconds in each clip. I thought it was a one-time glitch on the part of my phone, but the fact it happened again just a few weeks later was very upsetting. I have recorded other videos in between those two shows with no problem, so it's not a shortcoming of the phone's overall performance - but in two situations where I carefully tried recording video, and ensured that video was being captured, I was let down. If I have any more problems like that I will update the review to reflect that.
(2) Random resets. I don't know what has happened to cause this, but the phone has at times randomly reset or turned itself off. The battery was charged, and I have several spare batteries which leads me to believe it's not a problem with a particular battery, but with the phone itself. I possibly wouldn't even have noticed if this didn't happen at times that I was waiting for important phone calls. This has happened rarely, but needless to say, it has been a major inconvenience when it has occurred.
(3) Incorrect text messages. I have been both confused and disappointed to receive/send text messages from/to different people than the phone displays. Just this morning, for example, I received a text message from my sister - in the notification bar it showed a new text from my sister, and when I opened the text messaging program it showed as being sent from her (including her number). A few minutes later though, that same text showed as having been sent by my girlfriend. Several times I receive a text from one person, then I exit and re-enter the messaging app only to see a different person then being displayed as having sent the text. What's worse, I have sent messages to people - with completely different names and phone numbers, so really unlikely it was human error on my part - that the phone displays as having been sent to someone else, or actually sent to someone else. My Droid 1 did this occasionally as well, but so rarely that it's not a real shortcoming of the phone pr se, but it still upsets me that it even happened once, let alone several times.
(4) Screen glitch during calls. There have been a handful of times where my phone is ringing and I want to answer, but the screen is completely black. Sometimes I can just slide my phone open and that will wake up the screen, but sometimes no matter what I do or what buttons I press, I can't accept the call because the screen is completely black. I have had this happen when the phone displays the contact info of the incoming call before going black, and also when the screen goes black immediately, and only after the caller hangs up can I see who it was in 'Recent Calls'. I know that many touchscreen phones have a proximity sensor that will turn the screen off when you hold the phone close to your ear (to save battery), but that was not what happened here.
(5) Audio jack interruptions. This has happened with various wired headsets and headphones. While the phone normally operates fine, sometimes it will act up when I have something plugged into the audio jack. I've had both phone calls and music either abruptly stop or start mysteriously, just from what I suspect was a slight nudge on the headphone jack. For example, I am walking in the street listening to music, holding the phone in my hand and looking at the display - so there is no chance that I am accidentally pressing something on the display itself (as if it were, say, in my pocket). I think it gets triggered if there is the slightest nudge on the part of the headphone wire that connects to the phone, because this has never happened without something plugged into the jack. This happens very rarely, and I've listened to music through headphones while the phone was even in my pocket with nothing happening. It happens so rarely that I can't definitively conclude what is causing it, but it has happened more than just a few times. And no, I didn't press a button to receive/end a call on the headset itself - this happens even with earbuds/headphones that have no controls on the wire itself.
On a last note, with recent media coverage regarding cell phones and radiation (the WHO now considers mobile phones 'possibly carcinogenic'), it's a little disappointing to see the Motorola Droid 2 emits one of the highest radiation dosages of popular cell phones. Whether you are or are not scared of the possible link between cell phones and cancer is your choice, but it is still a little surprising to see just how much is emitting - compare, say, the Droid 2's 1.58 W/kg level to Verizon's Samsung Fascinate at 0.57 W/kg. If you are concerned, make sure to use speaker phone, Bluetooth, or a wired headset!
Again, I must repeat that overall, I've been in love with the phone. It is buggy at times - at some very inopportune times, unfortunately - but it has also solidly performed many other times. I am extremely cautious with my phone, and therefore think the problems described above were glitches, and not the result of human error. I've talked with other Android (including Droid 2 Global) users who have also complained of similar glitches, so I think it's safe to say there might be some bugs with the OS in general. The glitches were so rare or infrequent that I still would - and do - recommend this phone because its pros outweigh its cons.