Motorola has just released the latest addition to their popular Droid phone line. You may know it as the latest “BlackBerry Killer” — The Motorola Droid Pro is available exclusively for Verizon and is geared towards business professionals. The phone’s form factor is similar to a BlackBerry Bold or Curve; candy bar form-factor with a full QWERTY keyboard on the bottom. The painfully obvious difference is that the Droid Pro features an extremely responsive (and relatively large) touchscreen and sports the ever-so-powerful Android Froyo 2.2 operating system, and the other one does not. Droid Pro is also a world phone, so it will work internationally, and it runs on both GSM and CDMA networks.
The box contains:
- Motorola DROID Pro
- Li-Ion battery
- AC adapter with international adapters
- USB cable
- 2GB microSD card
The Motorola Droid Pro features a slate design that combines both a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard. It’s not particularly striking, though it’s not necessarily meant to be, either, as a business device. Instead, it’s got a classic black and silver chassis and at 4.69 inches tall by 2.36 inches wide by 0.46 inch wide and 4.73 ounces, the smartphone is not petite but still pocketable. In the hand, it feels solid, but it would have been nice to see a soft-touch finish on back instead of an all-plastic battery door, just to give it more of a premium feel. We also noticed that the phone can get a bit warm with use and while charging.
The Droid Pro’s screen measures 3.1 inches diagonally and has an HVGA (320×480 pixels) resolution and support for up to 16 million colors. Though not as sharp (pixels were slightly more visible and graphics didn’t look quite as smooth) as some of the WVGA displays on the market today, we still found the smartphone’s screen bright and easy to read. The screen did fade a bit when viewed outdoors, and it’s on the smaller side, but the phone offers a built-in accelerometer and pinch-to-zoom support so you can increase the viewing size using those methods.
The touch screen is responsive. It registered all our touches, and we were able to smoothly navigate through the various home screens and menus. Like the Motorola’s recent Android devices, the Droid Pro uses a scaled-down version of Motoblur with resizable widgets and offers seven customizable home screens. Just below the screen are the standard Android shortcuts–menu, home, back, and search–and just beneath those is the QWERTY keyboard.
There are some other physical controls on the smartphone, including a volume rocker and Micro-USB port on the left spine, and a user-customizable shortcut key on the right. On top of the device, you’ll find the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack and as always, the camera and flash are located on the back.
The Motorola Droid Pro comes packaged with an AC and three international adapters, a USB cable, a SIM card, a 2GB microSD card, and reference material.
The Droid Pro is running Android 2.2. Android has been getting more and more business friendly the last few updates. The core operating system does now support syncing with unsecured Exchange servers as well as some Exchange ActiveSync security policies. But, from a software perspective, the Droid Pro is the first really business-compliant Android device. Motorola is swinging for the BlackBerry boys in Waterloo with this device – it features support for Exchange data encryption, as well as the ability to remotely wipe the device and the ability to change passwords remotely. Motorola calls it ‘corporate-level’ security.
As far as the ‘fun’ stuff, the Droid Pro isn’t as great at. E-mail is okay on the touchscreen, and so is web browsing (you’re web browsing with a real web browser, as opposed to the BlackBerry and their ‘mobile web’ browsers). But, don’t expect third-party apps to be so good on this device. Many third-party apps don’t scale down well to the smaller screen, and some games, like Angry Birds, may be difficult to play with the small screen.
The Motorola Droid Pro has the familiar Android interface. New users may feel a bit scared at first, but once you begin working on the Android platform, it’s extremely user intuitive and easy to use. The touchscreen display is easy to use, just slide your finger and move through the various home screens. Hold onto an icon to move, click on an icon to open an application or widget. Hold onto the screen to get options and to add widgets or applications. Very easy to operate thanks to the touchscreen.
The keyboard is also extremely easy to use and the staggered, raised and slightly slanted keyboard allows you to type quickly.
BlackBerry users will find this keyboard a welcome addition and it is very similar to the newer keyboards on the newer BlackBerry devices being released. The slight slant allows for easier one handed typing, for folks on the go. It’s best advised not to use this as an excuse to text while driving, but it’s useful if you need to type something while in a meeting and you are trying not to look too distracted.
The 5mp camera is pretty standard. It has a good dual LED flash and can take very good pics. Getting to the camera application requires you to go through the application menu, however, since there is not a dedicated camera button on the side. By default the button on the right side of the phone accesses your calendar.
The actual camera software appears to be the same as software on the Droid 2 and Droid X. Autofocus, touch to Focus, dual LED flash, face detection, a 4x digital zoom, face detection, and panormaic capture are all present. The picture menu, accessed by touching the screen, allows you to choose between different scenes, like outdoor, and night to get the best picture. There’s also an effects and flash menu. The volume keys are the zoom in and out.
The phone also boasts “DVD quality” video. The max resolution of 720×480. Not bad at all!
Music And Memory:
It comes with the standard Android media player, which isn’t particularly pretty or advanced, but allows you to play MP3, AAC, AAC+, H.263, H.264, MPEG-4, and AMR NB music and video files. The Droid Pro only has 2GB of onboard memory and ships with a 2GB microSD card, but the expansion slot can support up to 32GB cards, so you might want to go ahead and pick up a higher-capacity card.
Browsing web pages on the Droid Pro is easy and fast. Pinch zoom, the fast data speeds of Verizon, and the fast processor all contribute to a wonderful browsing experience. Everything is super smooth and you won’t be disappointed.
Flash 10.1 comes installed on the phone so you’ll have no problem with flash based pages. Android provides a superior browser in terms of rendering and features. Motorola Droid’s data speeds were definitely quick enough for everything I needed the browser to do. Google’s predictive search makes for a more efficient web browsing experience.
Motorola added a secure VPN client, Quickoffice, File Manager, Skype, 3g mobile hotspot, DLNA support, additional security features (like passwords, and setting user permissions for installing apps), and the capability to remote wipe the phone along with the SD card. Motorola has also promised full device encryption by Q1 2011.
Adding email accounts and connecting to a VPN seems simple enough. Once connected to a VPN you can use the file manager to view shared folders on the remote network then open them with Quickoffice. Very handy, especially for viewing that spreadsheet of monthly sales figures. Another neat thing you could potentially do is gather a file, maybe a presentation from your office computer, and then share it via DLNA.
Blackberry has had these type of features for years, but I think Motorola and Android have done very well for a first try.
Motorola Droid Pro Specification
119 x 60 x 11.7 mm
256MB RAM, 512MB ROM
microSD up to 32GB, 8GB included
Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photo call
CAMERA & VIDEO
Polyphonic & MP3 ringtones
Stereo FM radio
Screen savers, Themes
CONNECTIVITY & NETWORKS
Yes with A2DP
Yes, USB 2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
CDMA 800 / 1900
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network CDMA2000 1xEV-DO
HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100
SCREEN & USER INTERFACE
TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
320 x 480 pixels,
Touch screen with QWERTY keyboard
SMS, MMS, Email, Push mail, IM
Email with attachments
SOFTWARE & APPLICATION
Android OS, v2.2 (Froyo)
Standard battery, Li-Ion 1860 mAh
Overall the Motorola Droid Pro ranks as a solid ‘Good’ phone. For BlackBerry users who are looking for a change but are worried that an Android powered smartphone can’t handle business needs for you, the Motorola Droid Pro is a good choice. The Droid Pro has a good mixture of technology that allows you to use the phone as a personal phone as well as a business phone.
Keep in mind this review just covered the Motorola Droid Pro, it barely even touched on the features, and power, delivered by the Android operating system. If you’re not familiar with Android, just understand that the possibilities are seriously endless. This can also act as a drawback for anyone looking for a simple phone. BlackBerry phones are not as complicated to make your own. Operating systems aside, the Droid Pro is an awesome phone. The physical keyboard and responsive touchscreen in a compact and relatively petite form-factor makes for a winning combo.
PROS AND CONS
- Enterprise level security features
- Excellent battery life
- Global roaming capabilities
- Keyboard is a bit cramped
- Call quality issues
- Poor camera performance