Aug 27 AT 12:46 PM Nick Gray 22 Comments

Review of the Motorola DROID 2

In the eternal battle for consumer mindshare, Motorola has had the upper hand ever since the launch of the DROID. In order to secure their dominance in the Android segment, Motorola has released the DROID 2. Diehard Android fans who purchased the original G1 nearly two years ago are still waiting for its successor, but it has only taken Motorola eight months to give DROID owners a reason to upgrade… or have they?


On the outside, the Motorola DROID 2 is pretty much identical to the original DROID. The main difference between the original DROID and the new DROID 2 is the brushed aluminum bevel which now covers the entire front of the handset. The back of the phone is now a dark midnight blue with silver highlights which replaces the black finish with gold highlights on the first DROID.

Sliding the screen up reveals the DROID 2′s four row QWERTY keyboard. At first glance, the keyboard looks pretty familiar. Motorola has kept the same concept as before, though they have stretched the keys which will give users a better typing experience. The extra space was gained by removing the d-pad and incorporating directional keys into the keyboard layout. While the keyboard in more spacious, we still find it a bit hard to use the top row of letters.  An extra millimeter of space above the top row could make a huge difference in the typing experience.

The DROID 2 features a 3.7 inch FWVGA capacitive LCD display (480 x 854), and the typical accelerometer, ambient light sensor and eCompass. The phone measures in at 60.5 x 116.3 x 13.7 mm and weighs 169 grams. Though the two phones weigh the same, the DROID 2 is slightly larger than the DROID’s 60.00 x 115.80 x 13.70 measurements.

While the exterior of the DROID 2 looks the same as the original, the real hardware differences are on the inside of the handset. The DROID 2 has been upgraded from the 550 TI MHz OMAP3430 to the newer 45nm 1GHz TI OMAP3630 processor with a dedicated PowerVR GPU that’s found in the DROID X. The extra speed gives the DROID 2 a little extra power while churning through applications, but those who enjoy 3D gaming will not see much of an improvement since the original DROID is still one of the best Android handset for gaming to this day.


Verizon’s Motorola DROID 2 is actually the first Android phone to hit store shelves with Android 2.2. Similar to the DROID X, the DROID 2 features Motorola’s custom UI (which Motorola is not calling MotoBLUR though it has all the same features). Motorola’s UI gives users a little more flexibility in customizing the home screen with 17 new widgets. The UI also eases the placement of the widgets since you no longer have to move icons out of the way. Simply place the widget anywhere you want and the DROID 2 will move other widgets or icons out of its way.

While the UI is the same as what we reviewed on the DROID X, the DROID 2′s home screen is a lot more sluggish. When swiping between home screens, the transitions have a bit of a stutter. The same happens on the handset’s unlock screen.

Since the DROID 2 does not feature an HDMI connection, Motorola has blessed it with DLNA support. The DLNA functionality enables the DROID 2 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 2 can also access media on other devices through DLNA. Opening the DLNA and clicking the “Play Media” button allows you to browse through and share media files on other devices on your Wi-Fi network.


Most of the new high-end Android phones have come out with some pretty impressive cameras. Unfortunately, we would find it hard to give the DROID 2 that same compliment. The DROID 2 features a 5MP image sensor with a dual LED flash. The pictures we took all looked great on the DROID 2′s screen, but once they are transferred to a computer, the flaws were very easy to spot. Most images featured a slight bluish tint and were not as sharp as we would have hoped. It’s safe to say that handsets like the DROID X, Incredible, EVO 4G, and Galaxy S all have a much better camera.

On the video side, the DROID 2 is capable of capturing clips in D1 (720 x 480) resolution. It’s pretty obvious the videos recorded with the DROID 2 will not look anything like what you’ll get from the DROID X, but if you’re in a crunch and have no other options, the DROID 2 is a lot better at recording video than Motorola’s other Android phones. To sweeten the deal, Motorola also included the same video editing capabilities that are found in the DROID X. You won’t be able to make any great movies out if it, but he video editor will allows you to shorten the clips, extract frames and save the m as separate images, add titles, and even resize the video files.

The DROID 2′s camera software has a few other notable features:

  • Self portrait: uses facial recognition to make sure the image is centered
  • 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.

DROID2_test_image_1 DROID2_test_image_2 DROID2_test_image_3 DROID2_test_image_4 DROID2_test_image_5 DROID2_test_image_6 DROID2_test_image_7

Battery Life

In order to keep the DROID 2 chugging along, Motorola has fitted it with a 3.7V 1390 mAh battery. It’s certainly not as impressive as the other 1500 mAh batteries floating around in other Android phones, but Motorola has done an incredible job at maximizing the DROID 2′s battery life.

Throughout our testing, we used the DROID 2 as our main device for several days and found that it was extremely hard to completely drain the batter in a single day. Most heavy users should be able to easily make it 12 hours between charges. If you are not constantly checking Gmail or Twitter, you could conceivably go a full two days without completely depleting the DROID 2′s battery.


When we heard we were getting a DROID 2 to review, we were pretty excited to see how it would compare to the original. The DROID 2 is better than the original DROID with a faster processor and GPU, but that’s simply not enough for most DROID owners to upgrade to the new handset. The performance increases are marginal and the hardware redesign isn’t enough for the DROID 2 to stand apart from its predecessor. Though the DROID 2 is loaded up with Android 2.2 right out of the box, original DROID owners may not be willing to give up their stock Android build for Motorola’s custom UI on the DROID 2.

That being said, the DROID 2 is a good option for someone who’s looking for an Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard. Those who have not used Android in the past will most certainly find Motorola’s UI more user friendly and certainly more customizable to their needs. The camera’s video capturing capabilities of the phone may not be superb, but they are certainly better than what you can get from Windows Mobile and BlackBerry handsets.

The DROID 2 is certainly a good phone, we’re just not sure that it lives up to the DROID name and the level of innovation and power that users have come to expect from it.

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://Website seans

    I see they’ve also changed the four touch buttons on the bottom of the screen. I wonder why the back button was moved to one of the center two.. its so convenient (especially when using the keyboard) at the bottom!

    • http://Website Nick

      I think motorola is finally trying ti standardize their button layout. The new button arrangement matches that of the DROID X.

    • Ryan C

      That is how all Motorola phones with thier new UI (motoblur) look. They changed the locations of the buttons, (wich would take me forever to get used to coming from a D1) and the icons of the buttons. Look at the Droid X, Droid 2, Charm, Devour, etc..

  • http://Website Deter

    I may be the only person wondering this, but is it at all possible to put the MotoBlur like version of android that comes on the DROID 2 onto the original DROID device?

    • http://Website Nick

      Yes and no. There’s no way of simply installing it on the original DROID. However, just like HTC Sense, ROM developers should be able to port over the DROID 2′s Froyo ROM to the original DROID. I’d check the DROID forums, I’m pretty sure a few devs have probably thought of the same thing.

  • http://Website Ryan

    I am using Launcher Pro on my Droid, but I am wondering how much of the Motorola crap I can kill by using LP for the Droid 2? I seriously like the new keyboard and the processor/RAM upgrade. Anyone have any input?

    • http://Website Nick

      I didn’t use LauncherPro while testing out the DROID 2, but I did use ADW as my main home screen replacement app for almost a week. It completely gets rid of Motorola’s custom home screen, but you still have the minor UI tweaks that Motorola has inserted into the contacts, gallery, and other pre-installed apps that come on the phone.

      The good news is, you can still use Motorola’s widgets on other home screen replacement apps. I’m sure I’ll get flamed for making that suggestion, but the calendar agenda widget that Motorola made is a keeper in my books.

  • http://Website Joe

    Just wondering, where was the video taken?

    • http://Website Nick

      Video was taken in downtown Minneapolis.

      • http://Website De

        I knew that place look familiar!

        • http://Website Andrew

          Nicollet Mall FTW :)

  • mobile reviews

    The Droid 2 is certainly one of the great releases by Motorola, intended in compeeting the new releases by HTC EVo-4g and others. The Camera quality looks pretty good, and also the Android version this time is a revised and improved version.

  • http://Website tsi

    It has a locked bootloader!…. android updates very slow and ALWAYS heavily bugged.


    • http://Website nate

      I could not agree more, we the consumer have to put our foot down so that these companies will realize we want an unlocked bootloader and vanilla android.

    • http://Website DROID Sam

      You do realize that you are speaking for about 0.01% for the people that this phone is targeted towards, right? Though the modding community speaks up pretty loudly, they are barely a blip on Motorola’s radar.

  • http://Website iSheep

    Look at the kind of blatant lies and crap that the iSheep love to spread about Android:

  • http://Website Chancy

    Nick, which is better? Droid or Droid 2? Why? Thanks.

    • http://Website Nick

      The DROID 2 is definitely a better phone, but if you already own the original it’s probably not worth the money to upgrade.

  • http://Website Jim Deeds

    Wow, looks like they might be onto something here.

  • http://Website tom so

    Not sure which way you’re leaning, regarding video quality of the Droid 2.

    “It’s pretty obvious the videos recorded with the DROID 2 will not look anything like what you’ll get from the DROID X, but if you’re in a crunch and have no other options, the DROID 2 is a lot better at recording video than Motorola’s other Android phones. To sweeten the deal, Motorola also included the same video editing capabilities that are found in the DROID X.”

    “is a lot better at recording video than Motorola’s other Android phones” suggests it’s as good as the Droid X. But you also say just the opposite. Which is it?

  • quotation form

    I was about to buy a mobile phone today. I planned for some other cell phone. But your review of Motorola DROID 2 has simply changed my mind. This mobile looks like the most suitable one for me.

  • anonymous-x

    Late in order but do you think any updates will be brought to the D2? I understand the R2-D2 will be GSM but those that stay here in the USA will we be be forgotten with our Droid 2? Thanks