Jun 21 AT 12:45 AM Taylor Wimberly 69 Comments

Hands on the Motorola Droid 2

Verizon, Google, and Motorola are set to unveil the “Next generation of Droid” this Wednesday, but we got our hands on the Droid 2 a little early. This phone might look exactly like its predecessor on the outside, but it packs a speedy 1 GHz processor on the inside.

Somehow the phone fell into my lap so I ran it through a couple quick benchmarks to see what users could expect. Read along to see if this phone is worth the upgrade for the original Droid owners.

Hands on

If you saw someone using this phone and didn’t know it was the Droid 2, it would be easy to confuse it with the first version. Both phones are the same physical size, shape, and weight. They even use the same exact battery.

On the outside, not much has changed from the original Droid except for the upper bezel around the display and the redesigned keyboard. The top bezel is now a silver color and it slopes down near the bottom of the phone to cover up the entire bottom half.

The keyboard is still four row, but they eliminated the directional pad so the keys are a little wider now. Each key is also raised which gives it some nice feedback when typing.

The original Droid is black with gold highlights, while the Droid 2 is a dark blue color with silver metal highlights. Overall the styling is very similar so it probably will not change your opinion of the original (whether you hated it or loved it).

Benchmarks

Performance is the main area of improvement over the original. The Droid 1 featured a 550 MHz TI OMAP3430 and the Droid 2 has a 1 GHz TI OMAP3630. Both processors are built off similar ARM Cortex-A8 based cores and feature the same PowerVR SGX530 graphics processor.

In addition to the higher clock speed, the new OMAP3630 is one of the first mobile platforms to use a 45nm production process (vs 65nm of the OMAP3430). The shrink in size results in smaller transistors which consume less power.

Droid 2 GPU benchmarks

In the handful of GPU benchmarks I ran, the Droid 2 almost doubled the frames per second of the Droid 1. I found this a little surprising since both phones had the same GPU, but I guess the higher CPU speed and twice the memory (512 MB vs 256 MB) helped produce these results.

The most popular system benchmark lately has been Quadrant, so I checked out the scores. The Droid 2 scored 1199, which is the highest we have seen for any phone running Android 2.1. A Nexus One with Android 2.1 scores around 500 in this benchmark and that score almost triples to 1489 when Android 2.2 is installed.

I expect the Droid 2 will launch with Android 2.1 and quickly be updated to Android 2.2 after launch. The device appears ready to go with both its hardware and software, so I think a July launch is doable. If Verizon really wants to wait and launch the Droid 2 in August (after the Droid X), then I guess it would be possible for Motorola to have Android 2.2 finalized by then.

If you already own the Droid and are looking for a new phone, I would probably wait till Christmas and see what Verizon comes out with. Motorola says future phones will feature front-facing cameras and possibly a 2 GHz processor. The Droid 2 is a nice refresh, but I don’t think it offers enough new features to warrant an upgrade at this point.

For those who are wondering, the Droid X and Droid 2 are essentially the same phone on the inside. You can take all benchmark scores here and apply them to the Droid X.

Users give up a physical keyboard when moving to the Droid X, but they do gain the 4.3 inch display, 8 megapixel camera, 720p video capture, and micro HDMI out. If you are looking for a device centered around media, then the Droid X is the better option.

Check back later this week for more Droid X impressions and our thoughts on the new Motoblur.

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Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Zach

    Thanks for the hands on Taylor! If the Droid X wasn’t coming out this would be my next phone, can’t wait for the Droid X impressions :)

  • http://Website gltovar

    Nice, looking forward to it. I’ve got my OC droid running 2.2 and ran quadrant and it got 1391 so im in no rush to upgrade, but I like the fact that there will finally be an awesome android qwerty for people to choose = D

  • http://Website ap

    How’s the sliding mech? Is it any smoother?

  • http://Website Dennis

    Does it come with Motoblur? Please say no. The Droid was succesfull because it comes with Stock Android.

    • http://Website Dave Lister

      It won’t have MotoBLUR. On the back of the phone, it says “with Google(TM)”. That branding means it is a Google Experience Device and will not have manufacturer’s custom UI installed.

      • http://Website james

        the droid X has the with google marking on that the back and it has a different form
        of motoblur.

        I don’t believe the logo gives much insight.

      • http://itsalltech.com Andrew

        The Incredible has the “with Google” logo too, and it has Sense

  • http://Website JAG

    With 1ghz proccesor, this is much better than any other 1ghz phone except for Galaxy S.

    This proccesor is better than overrated Snapdragon

    • http://Website Usman

      Care to back that statement up with substantive evidence? That’s what I thought..

      • Lane

        I don’t think that has to be backed up, it is common knowledge.

        Snapdragon is famous for being the first to 1GHz app processor production units, but both the Hummingbird and even the old OMAP processor on the first Droid have faster GPUs.

        So take the OMAP app processor and raise it to 1GHz and even with the old GPU clock speed it runs circles around the Snapdragon.

        Not to mention that with the UI improvements and eye-candy that’s coming with Gingerbread, the GPU specs will become more important than the app processor through next year.

        So yes, Snapdragon is good, but it is overrated.

        • http://Website Lucian Armasu

          Exactly. GPU is the thing to look at from Android 3.0(Gingerbread) and on. That’s why I’ll be waiting for a tegra 2 phone, which Nvidia CEO said it would come with Android 3.0. Hopefully this means Android will be fully gpu accelerated then and a lot smoother.

        • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

          The SoC would be an OMAP 3640 if it’s running at 1 GHz. The 3630 is the 720 MHz version.

          As for graphics, the reason it’s faster even though it only is an SGX 530 is because the GPU is also on the 45 nm feature size now and can be doubled in clock speed to 400 MHz (“and beyond”, per TI documentation). In addition, the phone is probably running LPDDR2 memory which is significantly faster than the LPDDR the original Droid uses. This would remove any bandwidth constraints that the GPU had due to the old memory, and could also contribute to improved CPU performance.

          Folks, trash talk the Snapdragon as you will, but having written about the chip, I can tell you that it won’t be long before it comes back with a vengeance. The dual-core 45 nm Snapdragons will feature a much more powerful GPU, be paired with much faster memory, and run at 1.5 GHz+. We’ll probably see them debut in Windows Phone 7 devices in Fall, as Qualcomm and Microsoft seem to have a pretty close relationship right now.

          I suspect that the reason the 1 GHz OMAP chip does so well in Quadrant is due to Quadrant testing internal hardware bandwidth limits as much if not moreso than actual GPU / CPU performance. Devices with faster memory (like the Droid 2 / Droid X) definitely seem to fare better in Quadrant scores then those with RAM bandwidth bottlenecks.

          • http://Website motaz

            nice info :)

      • http://Website Derek

        Doesnt need to be backed up, its common knowledge to anyone with half a brain. Snapdragon has a terrible GPU in it. The OMAP 3430 at 600Mhz and its 530 GPU is already just as good as snapdragon. Now you take the 3630 at 1Ghz with its 530 GPU will dust snapdragon now.

    • http://Website tttt

      Of courses it’s better, it’s made by TI!

  • http://Website joeskie

    Motorola makes garbage phones. I would like to see texas instruments come out with a handset all their own. That would rock som ass…oh wait…what was that? …really?! Its called a what? Amp what? Coming to t-who?! No way. I has a quad core what?holy crap I’m waiting for that one.

  • http://Website jo

    nice stuff. i want one!
    haha, he says 45 mm (millimeter) processor :D … that would be a ‘little’ big :D

  • http://Website Helmore

    The higher performance in the GPU benchmarks is (probably) a result of the higher clockspeeds of the GPU in the OMAP36X0. The SGX530 in the OMAP34X0 runs at around 110 MHz while it will probably run at around 200 MHz in the OMAP36X0.

    • http://Website jo

      i guess this video has been shown around a lot before but it explains the improved graphics performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQQM3w8atsM
      ti says the 3630 does 180% of 3430 (with the same powervr sgx530 gpu). nice! :)

    • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

      You are correct sir. Though, the limiting factor was memory bandwidth, which is why the GPU was downclocked to that speed in the first place.

      I’m pretty sure the 3600 series features LPDDR2 memory, removing much of that bottleneck.

  • http://Website erick

    someone needs to learn how to white balance their camera..

  • shanky_j

    Waiting for this to come to India :)

  • http://droidsmartphone.com Willie

    Excellent. After Apple debacle on pre ordering this phone could see huge sales IMO. Many users want a keyboard and with the younger crowd wanting touch screens they have a niche for sure.

    • http://Website Tate

      LOL …right.

      The iPhonatics who tried and failed to order on the first day possible will definitely just switch to Android. After all their devotion is based mainly on ease of early pre-ordering.

  • http://Website Brantyr

    Could you put the benchmark figures of other phones in the tables/graphs please? It would be nice to see how it compares with the snapdragon/hummingbird without having to read the numbers and look up benchmarks you’ve done in past articles!

  • bryanl

    Are you sure motorola has new phones for this year? I coiuldnt seem them releasing phones in the middle of summer and the releasing new ones during Christmas. Just doesn’t seem right. I’m sure they are ultimately going to move to a yearly cycle.

    • Lane

      Moto’s CEO has confirmed there will be more phones (front-facing cams and 2GHz). One phone across networks still doesn’t seem to fly in the U.S. (see Samsung Galaxy S).

      Look to how HTC does it. They have a steady stream of changes to each tier and just rotate what network they’re being released on. Makes for constant evolution and spreads out demand across the year instead of having super huge phone line release-gasms.

      • http://smartic.us bryanl

        Perhaps I should have been more clear. What I was saying is that I don’t believe that Motorola will release any more phones on Verizon this year. (Of course I hope they do)

        • http://Website Luke

          Motorola’s CEO already said they will be releasing more phones toward the end of the year with a 2ghz processor and forward facing camera. The Droid 2 and Droid X are both slated for release in July. They will be announced on June 23rd at a Verizon/ Motorola/ Adobe/ Google press conference. So there will be plenty of Motorola phones still slated to come out this year.

  • http://Website LostMyNutsToMeWife

    This is really good news. My moto droid is overclocked to 1.1 and running android 2.2 and its benchmark from quadrant is 1500. You performed the test with android 2.1 OS so when it gets upgraded to 2.2 its gonna have even better score. Really good news indeed. Just the fact that it has more memory is a performance booster right there. Wonder why they didn’t go with 512 MB from the get go?

  • http://Website azureus

    Can anybody tell me what the speaker quality is like on the droid? i want to buy the droid 2 but coming from a nexus one the speaker is quite frankly appalling. so this is something I was wondering. How does the droid speaker (i assume it’ll be the same or better in the droid 2) stack up against the iphone 3gs?

    • http://Website Dane

      The speaker on the droid 1 is incredible. From what I’ve read, motorola just has their speaker technology down to an art, and I certainly love the volume and clarity of mine. Given the form factor, my guess is that they haven’t changed it up much. If that’s true, it’s a good thing.

    • http://Website Sean

      Yeah, like the guy above said, the speaker on the first Droid is second to none. It gets loud as hell and remains quite clear. I don’t imagine them making it worse for the successor! If anything, it will only be better :)

  • http://Website Ross

    What is the person covering with their finger on the front of the phone?

    • Androidawg

      I kept wondering the same thing. They are definitely covering something because every pic that showed the front of the phone had someone’s finger covering the lower left corner. What are they hiding back there?

  • http://Website Dave Lister

    Something I’m curious about is whether the Droid 2 will fit in the same docking station and car mount as the original Droid.

    • http://Website luke

      good question… the usb and audio ports could potentially be in the wrong spots so as not to match up with their respective plugs. can anyone confirm or deny this???

  • http://Website nicj

    Wouldve been nice to actually have seen the screen waste of time.

  • http://www.devfuel.com ee

    “Both phones are the same physical size, shape, and weight”

    Presumably, this means that the Droid 1 accessories (case/window mount) will still work with droid 2?

  • http://Website bobby

    When would this come out in europe (as milestone 2 i presume) ?

    • http://Website azureus

      i really want to know this as well, living in england. i hope to god motorola bring this out in the uk, either online or through a carrier. preferably as the droid with an unlockable bootloader as well! Milestone is a boring name!

      • http://Website Optimus Maximus

        Verizon has a Copyright on the name ‘Droid’ for the phones. So i guess it will be called the Milestone 2. And Yes.. ITS A SUPER BORING NAME!

  • http://Website Chris

    You sure it’s a OMAP3630 and not a OMAP3640? Wikipedia lists the 3630 as 720MHz only but the 3640 is a 1GHz chip.

  • http://Website Logan

    looks like a crock to me! why would motorola release a droid 2 and a droid x at the same time?! The person is hiding something with their finger, and they have made the video private now!

  • http://www.warpcity.com/dating/ The OS2Guy

    Looks cheesy, clumsy and certainly not something you could grab and get things done quickly. Has an overall second-rate look to it. I bought the first Droid and I won’t make that mistake again. I want it sleek, fast and feature-laden. This just doesn’t do it for me.

  • http://Website Dewey

    Please make video public.

    • http://Website compuguy1088

      Agreed, why was the video made private???????

  • http://Website DrymR

    hello !
    is there anyone who could give me some information on the chip named
    “IVA 2+” that chip seems to control the hardware acceleretion on the new OMAP3 platform
    ( normally in charge of the ARM core itself )

    it could be that “plus” that boost the DROIDS performance ?

  • decks

    Ever since i heard about the droid x coming out, i said forget the incredible. But the only thing that thorws me off is the motoblur. Could if be possible to turn off the blur and install the htc sence or something similar. This might sound dumb, but i love the way the sence looks over the blur.

  • http://Website eizyark

    why is the video set to private? :( i want to see the video :(

  • msmarpledaisy

    How can I view the video?

  • taras

    Weird that they changed from black and gold (classy, looks elegant etc) to blue and silver (tacky – at least black and silver??)

    What’s the betting that the ‘silver’ wears off after 6 months?

  • http://Website DrymR

    Someone knows if the 8gb storage will be entirely availaible for installing apps ? or only partially like for the galaxy s which offer 2gb on the 8gb storage it got .

  • http://Website iHateSoftKeys

    WHY havent they changed those STUPID SOFTKEYS to normal physical buttons.
    It’s the only weakness of the Droid1 -.- now they ported it to the new phone

  • http://Website Jeff H.

    I’m glad that it didn’t go through a huge form factor change. Although I’d like to see the new Droid 2 without the physical keyboard…doesn’t need it. I’m assuming that I can still use all the accessories with the Droid 2. Even though the physical design of the Droid is a bit of an ugly duckling, the design is great when using the car mount or the dock. The iPhone kept it’s same form factor for years and I thought that was a smart thing to do given all the accessories. I was excited about the Droid X until I saw the form factor…not a fan of the curved back. I really like the incredible but wasn’t a fan of the protruding camera lens in the back either. I was hoping the new Droid X would have a form factor that of the iPhone 4. Maybe in due time.

  • http://Website Stardaddy14

    I love all android products!!!!!!! The iPhone can burn in hell

  • drparnassus

    how come i cant see the video of the droid 2. im gonna cry. droid fan boy here. someone help im so excited i cant take it anymore. Droid 2 please hurry and have a face time or video app through 4g or 3g not wifi. 8mp camera would be sick full keyboard is the best. dont care what anyone says a touchscreen will never be as responsive as a keyboard. and sick pixels wrapped in a huge battery for unlimited talk time. do it droid. please…

  • http://Website ebinrock

    This phone would be perfect if it were the physical size of the Droid X (or larger). The Droid X lacks the physical keyboard. Combine the features of X with Droid 2 and you have the perfect smartphone.

    • http://Website mikoniko

      I completely agree. I have Droid 1 and daughter has the Eris. I was so jealous of the Incredible with the 8mp cameral and the X with the 5 device wifi hotspot but am not willing to give up my physical keyboard. I been freaking out about the D2 all day! I really wish it would come with the giant screen though because what good is the Blocbuster app without it. Well maybe by the time i’m upgrade eligible (just in time for the christmas launches) they will give me exactly what I want. Then I can rest…at least until the new hotness of course.

  • http://Website AlexL

    Jesus Christ, learn to adjust your white balance. These pictures are an embarrassment.

  • http://Website Jason

    Weill this droid still offer the free navigation like the original did?

    • http://Website Nick

      Yes. The Google Maps integration is thanks to Google’s Android App, not Droid’s functionality. Therefore, we will see it in the Droid 2 and Droid X.

  • http://Website Max

    Is there an European date for this???

  • http://Website Jeremy

    So I am confused, what is the difference between Droid X and Droid 2?

    • http://Website Jonathan

      The droid x has a bigger screen, a slightly faster processor (1GHz vs 7xxGHz of the D2), lack of a physical keyboard, and an 8MP vs 5MP camera of the D2. Oh and it comes with a larger sd card.

  • http://Website stephen

    how can d2 have the same performance as dx. it has 2.2 which would increase the system performance 2-5 times

  • http://Website diana r

    I have the druid 2 I love it except for the fact of not being able to delete things digits after down loading even free stuff.