Jul 28 AT 12:55 PM Nick Gray 29 Comments

Verizon Motorola DROID X review

If you haven’t heard, “the next generation of DOES” is finally here. The new Motorola DROID X went on sale nearly ten days ago, ushering in a new area of DROID dominance on Big Red. Though the DROID X has some incredible features, it definitely has its work cut out for it to prove to the world that it can compete with other elite Android smartphones.


Looking at the DROID X for the first time, we’re pretty sure that no one will be able to confuse it with any of the new Samsung Galaxy S phones or even the similarly sized HTC EVO 4G. The DROID X has an extremely plain, rugged design that not even a loving mother would be able to call pretty. The front of the phone features the large 4.3 inch WVGA (480 x 854) display with four physical buttons (menu, home, back, and search) and voice mic right below it. Above the screen is the speaker, ambient light and proximity sensor. Along the right side you’ll find the volume toggle and red camera button and along the left are the micro HDMI and USB connections. The top of the DROID X houses the power button, 3.5mm headphone jack, and noise cancellation mic. Flipping the handset over reveals the battery panel, speakerphone speaker, a third microphone for video recording, and the 8MP camera (capable of 720p video recording) and dual LED flash.

Those of you who have been following Android for a while might be familiar with the “chin” concept that HTC has used on their phones. While the DRODI X doesn’t really have a chin, it does feature a prominent protrusion on the back of the phone where the camera is located. We’re not exactly sure why Motorola chose to add this extra bulge, but we are inclined to conclude that they did so in order to fit in the necessary optics for the camera.

On the inside of the phone, the DROID X features a 1GHz TI OMAP3630 processor with a dedicated GPU.  While 1GHz processors aren’t anything new, this is the first one we have seen from Texas Instruments on the OMAP3 platform.  To give you an idea of how it stacks up against the 1GHz Snapdragon processor on the Nexus One, Linpack tests show that the DROID X  yields 8 MFLOPS, about double of what the Nexus One can pull of running Android 2.1.  For a more detailed look at how the DROID X’s performance stacks up against the competition, you’ll definitely want to check out our benchmark comparison post from last week.


Like most of the new phones hitting the streets these days, the Motorola DROID X is running on Android 2.1. There’s been talk about an update to Android 2.2 sometime this summer, but we don’t really expect the update to hit the phone until the last week of the quarter. While many of you may be familiar with Android 2.1, the DROID X is the first phone from Motorola to feature their enhanced version of MotoBLUR. We’re pretty sure that Motorola and Verizon are probably not too happy that we’re calling the custom UI by that name, but the fact remains that it accomplished the same social media integration we have seen from MotoBLUR in the past, but has a new refined look.

The cheesy blue and green contacts and phone icons next to the app drawer have been replaced with simple white icons. All the widgets have been given a facelift and most now have the ability to be re-sized right from the home screen. HTC Sense does give users the ability to choose various sizes for the dozens of widgets that they offer, but on the DROID X, users can simply re-size the widgets when they are moved. The best part about the widget resizing is that if you re-size one and it goes over another widget or application icon, the UI simply moves things about (sometime to another screen) in order to accommodate your change.

Like other manufacturers, Motorola has pre-loaded the new SWYPE keyboard onto the DROID X. But rather than loading SWYPE and calling it a day, Motorola has also developed their own new multi-touch keyboard, a first for Android. The new keyboard allows the phone to recognize multiple inputs at once, which reducing errors for those who type fast on the touch screen. A few unscientific tests showed that the multi-touch keyboard is quite a bit more accurate than Android’s standard keyboard, which allows users to type significantly faster. My wife actually stated that she would give up SWYPE on her Nexus One if I would find a way to port the DROID X’s multi-touch keyboard to her phone.

Like most of Motorola’s other phones that feature MotoBLUR, most of the stock Android apps on the DROID X have been modified. The customizations are not too horrendous, but those who prefer stock Android will most likely want to pick up the phone and smash it on a rock. MotoBLUR did add some nice enhancements to Android when it was introduced last year on Android 1.5. Unfortunately, the custom applications actually seem to dumb down or even remove some of the functionality of Android 2.1.

Fortunately, the DROID X features DLNA support, a feature that Google still has not implemented in stock Android. With DLNA support, the DROID X is able to stream music, pictures, and videos to other DLNA capable devices on the same Wi-Fi network. Users simply need to walk through the media sharing options in the Media Share app once they are connected to a Wi-Fi network. Streaming media to my PC and PS3 worked flawlessly when hooked up to my home network. The DROID X can also access media on other devices through DLNA. Opening the DLNA and clicking the “Play Media” button allows you to browser through share media files on other devices on your Wi-Fi network.

While the DROID X does feature a micro HDMI connection which allows you to directly connect your phone to your fancy LCD or PLASMA TV, the functionality is limited. Currently, HDMI output is limited to video and picture files and you’ll have to pony up some extra cash for the cable as well. In our opinion, the DLNA connectivity almost makes the HDMI connection obsolete.


If the design or software build have not impressed you yet, we would like to take a few minutes to give you our thoughts on the camera. Like most other top of the line Android phones, the DROID X features an 8MP camera with dual LED flash and the ability to record 720p HD video. Neither of these two features are anything new, but Motorola has definitely invested the time and money into this handset to make it stand apart from the competition.

Image quality on the DROID X is superb. Phones like the DROID Incredible and EVO 4G take some pretty nice pictures, but the DROID X seems to capture the correct color tones while producing some incredibly sharp images. Motorola has included the typical camera effects (black and white, negative, sepia, and such) but they went out of their way to add special picture modes for self portraits, panoramic images, and multi-shots.

  • Self portrait: uses facial recognition to make sure the image is centered
  • Panorama assist: select which direction you are going to pan to and simply take the first picture. Pan left, right, up, or down and the phone will been and take the next shot
  • Multi-shot: camera switches to 1MP resolution, but is able to take six sequential images in less than two seconds. Great feature for capturing action shots.

Currently, the DROID X, EVO 4G and the Galaxy S family of phones are the only Android phones to officially support 720p video recording. While the EVO does an OK job for being a phone, the video quality produced by the DROID X is far superior. The X also includes some pretty neat features like slow motion and fast motion video recording, essentially increasing or reducing the frame-rate of the recording you make to achieve the effect.

Knowing that users would be taking advantage of the DROID X’s video recording capabilities, Motorola has added an extra microphone to the back side of the handset.  Users can select various audio options to use the mic that’s facing their subject or the one on the front for dictation.  It may not sound that impressive, but if you compare audio quality from two different handsets, you’ll definitely notice a difference.

Battery Life

The Motorola DROID X is definitely a feature rich handset. More features equals more use from handset owner. More use equals faster battery drain. With that in mind, Motorola has chosen to equip the DROID X with a massive 1540mAh lithium-ion battery. With heavy use, the X can typically make it at least 12 hours between charges. While this may not seem like much, it should be enough to get you through a whole day’s worth of work. We did find that the DROID X does fair extremely well during low use. During our time with the phone we were actually able to use the handset intermittently for three days before the battery completely died on us.

As with most other Android phones, we would definitely suggest picking up an extra charger for the office or for the car just to make sure you have enough power at the end of the day.


With a vast array of Android phones hitting the market these days, it’s becoming more difficult to find the perfect Android phone.  The DROID X’s large 4.3 inch display, 8MP camera with 720p video recording, and 1GHz processor with dedicated GPU puts the phone in direct competition with the HTC EVO 4G.  While the DROID X does perform a bit better than the EVO in 3D gaming and image/video capture, the EVO comes equipped with a front facing camera, a kickstand (which we are very fond of), and the ability to use Sprint’s 4G network. The X is definitely the most powerful option on Verizon’s network, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option.  Quite a few people will simply shy away from the DROID X due to the massive 4.3 inch screen and opt for the similarly featured HTC DROID Incredible.
It’s a tough choice to make, but we’re pretty sure you’ve already made up your mind by now.  Is the DROID X the phone for you?
Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://Website beaver

    come to europe please!

  • http://Website jo

    locked bootloader so NO THANK YOU MOTOROLA.
    samsung galaxy s rocks ;)

    • http://Website Francois D. Dillinger

      It doesn’t mean you can’t root it.
      There is a one click root available for X http://androidandme.com/2010/07/news/droid-x-owners-are-just-one-click-away-from-a-rooted-device/

      • http://Website Simon

        Having ROOT is a good thing, but it’s gonna be galaxy S since Cyanogen is already starting to work on custom ROMs

    • http://Website Derek

      I tell you what rocks… That 3 days on one charge of intermittent use. With a galaxy S you’re lucky to make it through one day of medium use. Heavy use and forget it, you’ll be dead by 2pm.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

    Hey, wasn’t there supposed to be video editing software on the X? Did you guys find/use it?

  • http://Website Prewto117

    The evo and the droid x the only two devices that support 720p video recording? Really, guys? The Samsung Vibrant and Captivate would like to have a word with you.

    • http://Website Nick

      Those phone don’t count! OK, they do count, but they must have slipped my mind. Thanks for catching that. The change is going in now.

      • http://Website sct

        Now that you made that change you forgot to edit the following phrase which still says (the only TWO phones) ;)

  • http://Website hiddengopher

    The Droid Incredible has 720p video officially now.

    • http://Website cody

      720p is officially on the Incredible? Please tell me where and how to activate it!

  • http://overclockers.ge NODO-GT

    how does Droid X 720p video compare to Galaxy S quality?

  • http://Website DroidX

    Yes, the Droid X has a built in video editor that allows you to trim clips as you see fit, you can also add a title, resize the video and remove audio.

    • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

      can you combine multiple clips and add music?

  • http://Website Dan

    Love this phone. Can’t wait for froyo to get on it also

  • http://smartkeyboardpro.com/ anon

    Smart Keyboard Pro has had multitouch keyboard ability for AGES. AGES.

    Have your wife try it out.

    • http://Website Nick

      Great suggestion, it’s a great alternative if you don’t have the DROID X.

  • http://Website Jordan

    The droid x multi-touch kb is available on the nexus, actually!


    Bye-bye swype :p

  • http://Website JH

    Question…in the Battery Life section, you have a picture of the open panel for the battery, which shows a filament with a tab sticking out labeled “pull.” Before installing the battery, should this filament be removed by pulling on the aforementioned tab? If not would that explain why…a friends…Droid X battery often feels hot with a lot of use?

    • http://Website GadgetQueen

      NO! Do not pull out the tab! The tab is there to allow you to remove the battery once installed. If you pull it out, it will void your warranty. Unfortunately, many people opened their new X and saw this stupidly labeled tab and… pulled it out, removing the fcc label with it. A better label for the tab may have been “Battery”, thus avoiding the problem.

  • dswhite85

    I’m sorry, but I’ve always thought that Motorola never made that great of phones ie the Razor. They lost me after that one and with all the bloated-ware I hear about on this phone, I’d rather get an Incredible if I didn’t already have a lovely Eris.

  • http://Website MaxK

    And how does the phone work? It is a phone too, right?

  • http://Website Richard

    I am the proud owner of the htc evo 4g in my world this is the best android phone on the market. These phones are coming out and none of them are 4G CAPABLE…All these phones would have to become 4g so they meaning all the carriers would have to redo all of there phones. HTC already has a winner for many years to come and SPRINT already has 4G Service in 38 cities way ahead of others carriers…LOOKOUT for the HTC EVO 2 that will have 5.0 screen and either 1.5 or 2.0 snapdragon processor…DAM SPRINT RULES

    • http://twitter.com/maverick262 Scott

      I’m really happy for you, Sprint 4g, and imma let you finish, but T-Mobile has the fastest data speeds in the country. This is due to hspa+ 21mb/s down and I believe 5mb/s up. In Philly, I routinely hit about 5/6 down and 2 up on my Nexus One. Sorry to rain on your parade, but the facts are as is stated. Have a good day!

      • http://Website factsarefacts

        Read and comprehend…if possible

        WIMAX top range = 144 mbps > HSPA+ top range = 56 mbps

        In it’s current state, T-Mobile has more HSPA+ coverage than Sprint has WiMax coverage but this will change quickly. T-Mobile already has spotty 3G coverage compared to Sprint, and HSPA+ is dependent on their 3G coverage since it’s just an upgrade over that existing hardware. Combine that with the fact that Sprint also has a massive amount of spectrum for WiMax and that WiMax transfer speeds are dependent on coverage area (you have to tune the WiMax towers to either coverage area or speeds, hence the current poor coverage that prioritizes connection area but with only 3-6Mbps and 10Mbps bursts), and you have a recipe for Sprint WiMax eventually trumping T-Mobile HSPA+.

    • http://Website GadgetQueen

      Unfortunately Sprint’s 4G is not likely to be in my, or many other people’s, areas for months if ever, and I for one just don’t like the idea of paying $10 extra a month for something I can’t actually use. I would also not get too cocky about that 4G as Sprint’s current 4G format is much slower than the format that both Verizon and ATT will begin rolling out soon, and Sprint has been hedging about not being totally married to their current 4G format, implying that they may jump over to LTE like everyone else, don’t know what will happen to the EVO then… I figure that I won’t get LTE in my area for at least 18 months, so I’ll be due for an upgrade by then anyway.

  • http://Website dave

    I switched from tjw iPhone to the Droids X and I could never go back. I couldn’t believe how advanced these devices were, the Droid x litterally makes my iPhone feel like a child’s toy.

  • http://www.cdmacellulars.com GlenGodfrey

    The Motorola Droid Verizon wireless phone, boasts a gorgeous display and the benefits of Android 2.0, including a faster Web browser, Google Maps Navigation app, and better messaging and contact management. It also offers excellent call quality, long talk time, and improved speed over previous Android devices. The solid 3G connectivity is more than sufficient for web surfing and keeping in-touch with social networks. Despite of some design issues and a couple of missing features, the Motorola Droid wireless phones are the most powerful and fastest Google Android device to date.

  • http://Website Dmacksimus

    WHOA,…. hold up here a minute. were there tests conducted on this battery life, or did you just completely pull that out your ass? ON heavy usage you are lucky to get 3 or 4 hours out of it, on light usage (few phone calls, texts, light browser, maybe light youtube) you might be able to stretch it the whole day, but even thats a tough. this review on battery life is very misleading.