The Motorola Droid launched in the US last month, and while there is no firm UK release date yet, the smartphone is certainly highly anticipated in the UK. We've taken a closer look at Motorola's latest Google Android handset to discover what's good and bad about it.

Under the hood

A lot is going on underneath the hood of the Motorola Droid. It boasts a powerful 550MHz processor as well as a 1400mAh battery rated at 270 hours of standby time and 385 minutes of talk time.

It also comes with a preinstalled 16GB memory card and offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 support, which includes the use of stereo headsets and a Wi-Fi adaptor.

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NEXT PAGE: Beefier handset

  1. We take an in-depth look at Motorola's latest smartphone
  2. Beefier handset
  3. A smartphone with a good camera
  4. New Android features
  5. Street View

The Motorola Droid launched in the US last month, and while there is no firm UK release date yet, the smartphone is certainly highly anticipated in the UK. We've taken a closer look at Motorola's latest Google Android handset to discover what's good and bad about it.

Beefier handset

Since the Droid first landed in our offices, many of our colleagues have remarked on how large and bulky the phone is.

At 0.54in thick, the Droid is slightly beefier than the 0.48in-thick iPhone 3GS, but it still has room for a 40key, slide-out qwerty keypad.

When closed, the 4.56x2.36in Droid is almost the same size as the 4.5x2.4in iPhone 3GS. But compared with other phones having slide-out keyboards, the Droid is downright skinny.

The Motorola Cliq is 0.6 inch thick, while the HTC Touch Pro 2 is 0.7in thick.

Slide-out keyboard

A keyboard is generally a welcome feature on a touchscreen phone - unless, of course, it isn't designed well.

Alas, the Droid's keyboard is far from perfect. It is so shallow - and the keys themselves are so flat - that our testers (with various hand sizes) had trouble using it.

In addition, the top keys are very close to the ledge of the display, so your fingers are constantly knocking against it.

We were also thrown off by the two 'dummy' keys (fake keys you can't press) in the bottom row of the board. The keyboard seems wider than it really is due to the four-way directional pad that takes up a good chunk of real estate.

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NEXT PAGE: A smartphone with a good camera

  1. We take an in-depth look at Motorola's latest smartphone
  2. Beefier handset
  3. A smartphone with a good camera
  4. New Android features
  5. Street View

The Motorola Droid launched in the US last month, and while there is no firm UK release date yet, the smartphone is certainly highly anticipated in the UK. We've taken a closer look at Motorola's latest Google Android handset to discover what's good and bad about it.

A smartphone with a good camera

The Droid's 5Mp camera includes a dual-LED flash and supports DVD-quality video recording and playback at 720x480 pixels.

The camera has a respectable amount of advanced features, such as scene modes, colour effects, and white-balance controls.

Outdoor snapshots looked great, especially on the Droid's stunning display. Indoor shots, however, suffered from a significant amount of graininess. The dual-LED flash didn't help, unfortunately, and tended to blow out details and wash out colour.

Snappy browser

The Droid's snappy browser loads images quickly thanks to the powerful 550MHz processor and speedy hardware-accelerated graphics.

Pages on the Droid's generously sized 3.7in, 480x854 display looked very appealing, with sharp text and images.

Video from sites such as YouTube also looked impressive; the playback of a high-definition YouTube cartoon was excellent, with no stalling or audio dropouts. But don't try pinching to zoom into a page's detail; since the Droid's display isn't multitouch, you must tap to zoom.

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NEXT PAGE: New Android features

  1. We take an in-depth look at Motorola's latest smartphone
  2. Beefier handset
  3. A smartphone with a good camera
  4. New Android features
  5. Street View

The Motorola Droid launched in the US last month, and while there is no firm UK release date yet, the smartphone is certainly highly anticipated in the UK. We've taken a closer look at Motorola's latest Google Android handset to discover what's good and bad about it.

New Android features

Notable new features in Android 2.0 make communication with your family, friends, and colleagues a breeze.

You can now manage multiple email accounts through your device, including web-based and Exchange addresses (left image).

Android 2.0 also synchronises all of your contacts from these accounts and lists them in a simplified view called Quick Contact (middle image). Quick Contact creates a menu bar with easy-to-read icons that show your contacts' communication modes (email, IM, text message, and so on).

You simply tap on your contact's photo (pulled from Facebook), and the bar pops up, whether you are in your contact list, in email, or even in your calendar. You can also view all of your email accounts in a combined view on one page (right image).

Google Maps Navigation

Perhaps the best feature in Android 2.0, however, is the free Google Maps Navigation app for turn-by-turn directions.

While driving directions via Google Maps have been available on many mobile devices for years (on Apple's iPhone and iPod devices, for example), Google Maps Navigation raises the ante by adding spoken turn-by-turn direction, something available only with extra-cost additions to the iPhone.

Google Maps Navigation has many useful features, but one of the coolest is the ability to see your route in 3D satellite view. You can search for your destination by typing or speaking, and Maps Navigation will start giving you directions.

Mobile phone buying advice

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NEXT PAGE: Street View

  1. We take an in-depth look at Motorola's latest smartphone
  2. Beefier handset
  3. A smartphone with a good camera
  4. New Android features
  5. Street View

The Motorola Droid launched in the US last month, and while there is no firm UK release date yet, the smartphone is certainly highly anticipated in the UK. We've taken a closer look at Motorola's latest Google Android handset to discover what's good and bad about it.

Street View

Another helpful feature is the nifty use of Google's Street View. As you approach your destination, an interactive photo of the area pops up with an arrow to point you in the right direction. Instead of having to look for a building number, for example, Street View provides visual confirmation that you're in the correct place - or at least mighty close to it.

Optional extras

When you insert the Droid into the separately sold tabletop dock (shown), it sits at a good angle for watching videos or just poking through email.

It immediately switches to a sort of alarm-clock mode and displays the time in large figures while providing other information, such as the temperature, in smaller type below.

Another separately sold option for the Droid is a car mount. When you place the Droid in the mount, it automatically enters 'Car Home' mode; in this mode, it looks more like a stand-alone GPS device.

Large icons labelled View Map, Navigation, Voice Search, Contacts, Search, and Home fill the screen, and the display rotates as needed.

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See also: iPhone vs BlackBerry vs Droid vs Pre

  1. We take an in-depth look at Motorola's latest smartphone
  2. Beefier handset
  3. A smartphone with a good camera
  4. New Android features
  5. Street View