Motorola Droid X2 Review
There’s this saying in film, that sequels are almost never better than the original. Well maybe that rule doesn’t apply to Back to the Future II, but in most cases it’s pretty spot on. However in the world of tech a follow up almost guarantees major improvements where the first effort came up short. Just like film not all mobile devices deserve a part two or three, but it happens anyway. So is the Droid X2 another blockbuster hit? Or should it have been a straight to DVD release? To find out move past the break for our full review.
Look and Feel
I never was a fan of the original Droid X’s body style, it felt a bit too blocky for my liking. With the X2 you pretty much get the same top-heavy metal body design minus one big feature. For some reason Motorola decided to do away with the dedicated camera button, something that we immediately missed. Aside from that you’ll find “Droid X2″ in red branded on the back of the phone and if you break out your color wheel, you’ll notice it’s a shade darker than the original.
Everything else with the X2′s layout is completely identical with the original. You’ll find four physical Android buttons below its display. On its left side there’s micro USB and HDMI out ports. Your volume control is located on the device’s upper right-hand corner. Move to the crown of the device and you’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack sitting next to the power button. Finally if you flip the X2 over there’s an 8-megapixel rear camera that shoots up to 720p HD video.
The X2 doesn’t feel bad in your hands, but its uninspired design left us wondering if Motorola got a tad bit lazy. The X2 was a major opportunity to right the wrongs of the Droid X. Blunders like removing the physical camera button felt like a step backwards. Perhaps the third incarnation in this series will be slimmer and do away with that awful rear headrest.
Software and Performance
Running Android 2.2 layered with MOTOBLUR, the UI feels clumsy and bloated. If you’re not careful, widgets will run wild across your screen. There’s already promise of an update to Android 2.3, but MOTOBLUR will still be there to weigh you down. On a positive note the notification window has received a subtle update and is now semi-transparent. This gave the feel of still being able to see what’s going on when pulling down a message.
The X2 may carry a strong physical resemblance to its predecessor, but inside it’s a completely different animal. If you pop the hood on the X2 you’ll find a sparkling 1GHz Tegra 2 dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM bearing the load. This addition makes it feel like you’ve received a true upgrade and not just a do-over. Though it wrestles with MOTOBLUR at times, the Tegra 2 flexes its muscles and moves things along at a fairly quick pace.
The processor isn’t the only thing getting a bump with the X2, this time around you’ll be treated to a 4.3-inch qHD display. Packing a resolution of 540 x 960, you’ll quickly notice the difference between X2 and the original. Colors pop and text looks sharp. This really enhances your web browsing experience, making videos and reading long news articles a lot easier on the eyes. The qHD display holds up pretty well when outside under natural light. You should have no trouble reading text or emails when on the go.
With all the goodies mentioned above, one might think the Droid X2 drinks batteries like water in the desert. We’re glad to say that the 1,540 mAh battery really gets it done. If heavy texting and web browsing is part of your everyday routine, the X2 is up to the challenge. You’ll easily make it through a full day off of a single charge. If you’re more of the moderate type, you can expect about two and a half to three days of juice.
Phone and Data
As far as being a phone goes, the Droid X2 is connected to Verizon’s rock solid 3G network. Taking into consideration that LTE isn’t available everywhere, a nice 3G handset is a welcomed option. Call quality was everything you’d hope to get from a smartphone. Running our usual call test throughout Los Angeles county produced good results. At some point people didn’t know I was on a cell phone. Motorola’s noise cancellation does a great job of keeping things clear. The X2 has a decent loud speak which came in handy for quick calls on the road. Overall we were very pleased with the Droid X2 as a phone.
After being spoiled rotten by LTE, data speeds are what you’d expect from a 3G connection. At best we saw a consistent download speed a bit shy of 1MB and upload speeds a little over half of a megabyte. Nothing blazing fast, but sufficient enough for sending and receiving mobile data.
If you’re an existing or future Verizon customer and want a dual-core phone and LTE isn’t in your area, the Droid X2 pleads a pretty good case. The X2 may not win any beauty contests and MOTOBLUR is quite bloated, but at the end of the day it’s a decent device, especially if these are your circumstances. Add in the promise of the latest software and it pretty much makes the X2 a worthy purchase. Now if you’ve got LTE in your area, it’s hard for us to recommend the X2 as our first choice. We’d say skip this device and see what lies ahead.
Final Verdict: 7.5 out of a possible 10