Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Droid X Review

Some people have been asking for my opinions of the Droid X since I've been using it since mid-July.  This post is for anyone interested in my opinions of the phone since you've asked.  You won't find a lot of scientific facts or detailed technical info here.  There are a lot of reviews online with more info if you want that type of thing.  Oh, this is also a follow up to my previous entry about the phone adventures and trying to find the right service, plan and phone: The Droid X Arrives, Phone Adventure Concludes.

First things first.  Opinions are opinions and not facts, right?  You should do your own research when buying a new phone.  What works for me may not work for you.  I probably have very little influence over your purchasing decisions, but feel compelled to spell it out since this post is public: these are just my own personal opinions.  Right-o, moving on.

For the A.D.D. crowd, I'll jump quickly to conclusions.  The Droid X is awesome. 

This phone has room for improvements, but who/what doesn't?  This phone is pretty amazing.  It helps me do what I need to do throughout the day, remember what I need to remember, and gets met where I need to be pretty consistently.  It was also a rock star during my visit to Charlotte for the social media conference I attended earlier this month.

The Droid X is pretty great.  If I had to give it a rating of one to 10 (with one being the worst), I'd probably give the phone an 8.5.  Here's more about why.

The reception on the phone has been great, with two tiny exceptions.  There's a spot in my home that never gets good reception, and a call made with Google Voice had a ton of interference on it.  These two exceptions are so tiny (and hardly related to the actual phone) that I'll forgive both of them. I haven't had any dropped calls in the six weeks that I've been using the Droid X. 

While on AT&T, I had countless dropped calls.  Dropped calls on the iPhone were probably 65% of the reason I returned it in less than 30 days.  This little baby, the Droid X, has had no trouble with that in my six weeks or more of using it.  It works like a phone is supposed to work, thank goodness.

Use with Google Voice
I started giving out my Google Voice number a lot last year after a very tech-savy friend of mine told me how to use it.  It was glorious.  I fell in love with Google Voice immediately.  Then I switched to the iPhone.  On the iPhone, I found the process of using Google Voice to be cumbersome and obnoxious; the iPhone and Google Voice hardly play well together. 

The Droid X is a Google phone, though, so it is easy to utilize Google Voice to its fullest potential.  I love how the two integrate so beautifully.  I prompt the phone to make a call, and each time it asks me if I want to make the call with Google Voice.  Texts from Google Voice show up in my little update bar thingy at the top of the phone, almost just like my regular texts show up.  This prevents me from missing incoming messages, which is great. 

My contacts sync automatically, too.  It's a convenient way to keep track of so much information; I don't want to lose people's contact info.  If I lose the Droid X or the battery dies, I still have access to my contacts via Google Voice. Win.

Public Reactions
I'm not what you'd call an early adopter, despite my fascination/obsession with new technology.  That's one reason it's been a lot of fun to have the Droid X.  It's a conversation starter.  And you know me, I love a good conversation.  People will stare for a few minutes until they work up the courage to ask about the phone, and then I'll show them all the fun things about it.  People have commented most on the Droid X's size, software, weight and lack of keyboard.

From so many people, I have heard comments about the size of the phone.  This was one of the things I mentioned in my initial reactions post.  This bad boy is huge.

I have heard--from lots of folks--that the phone is entirely too big.  It's too big to put in your pocket.  It's too big to hold with one hand.  It's too big to use with ease while walking, driving, etc.  One dude even asked if I felt like I was putting a piece of toast against my ear when having a phone conversation.  (Sometimes I do.)

While the Droid X is huge, it has proven that it's not entirely too big.  It's not too big to fit into my cute little clutch when going downtown.  It's not too big to hold in one hand when not in use.  It's actually not too big for a lot of the things I do, so this over sized screen is actually quite nice to have around.

So far my reactions to the phone have been pretty positive, but when it comes to the software I have a few complaints.

The software works well enough, but there are entirely too many home screens.  The iPhone adds screens as you add apps, which I think is smart design.  This phone comes with, what, seven home screens?  Each one is customizable, but I think it's silly to have them in the first place.  I only use three of the seven they offer, and I find the other ones to be excessive and unnecessary.  If you want to see how that looks, just search for "Droid X home screen" on YouTube and you'll find some helpful videos and reviews.

Aside from the excessive home screens, there's also a lot of crap already loaded on the phone--most of which is obnoxious and in the way.  Again, this is personal opinion.  You might be watching movies on your Blockbuster app on your Droid X and loving it but I haven't tried that yet.

The big negative when it comes to the software is that my Droid X also freezes regularly.  When I try to text someone, the phone takes a lifetime to open text messaging.  In fact, I can open Google Voice and send a text faster there than I can on the phone.  The entire phone goes black for a few minutes until it can open text messaging.  Every time I try to show someone this problem, it works without any trouble--making a total liar of me each time.  It freezes in other applications, but most often when I'm trying to text someone.

Oh, right.  I should also add that the phone supposedly self-destructs if you try to change its software or something.  I read about this before I got the phone, but don't really care that much about it because I'm not going to try it any time soon.  But read up on it if you know you want to hijack the OS or something.

The Droid X may be a big phone, but it's surprisingly lightweight.  It's really skinny, too.  This is a big plus because a heavy phone makes for a heavy purse, which no woman could want.

One of the things people comment on most is the lack of the keyboard.  I thought I'd have to have a keyboard, but have fallen in love with the on-screen keyboard because of Swype technology.  Ooooooh how it has spoiled me.  I almost expect my laptop's keyboard to anticipate my every word now.  Also, each person who told me that they, too, had to have an external keyboard when they bought their phone has since stopped relying on it.  So they're carrying around extra weight for no good reason.  Just something to keep in mind if you're in the market for a new phone.

The Bottom Line
The Droid X works well, but still has areas for improvement.  My complaints about the phone are pretty minor.  For me, the bottom line is having a phone that works as a phone (no dropped calls, good reception), but is smart enough to keep up with all of the other things I need it to do: calendar, email, social media stuff, camera, etc.  I think I have found a phone I can live with for a while...at least until my "new every two" discount comes around again.

Are you considering a new phone?  Do you have the Droid X?  How do you feel about it?