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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