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MOBILE DEVICES

Smartphone Review: Motorola Droid 3
By: wubayou
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    2011-08-15

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    The Motorola Droid 3 is an Android smartphone that boasts a slim design, a full set of features, and one of the best full QWERTY keyboards in the business. The Droid 3 is available for $199.99 after rebates and a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless.

    The Droid 3 ships running on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system.  Gingerbread offers some improvements in the form of better copy/paste functionality, faster text inputting, better power management, internet calling, a downloads manager, an applications manager, and more.  As is always the case with Googleís mobile OS, you also have the luxury of several pre-loaded Google applications, such as Gmail, GTalk, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Books, Latitude, and YouTube.  Your app library can be expanded easily with access to the Android Marketís huge catalog of apps across various categories.

    Verizon adds several personal touches to the Droid 3 as well with proprietary apps such as VZ Navigator, VCAST Tones, VCAST Music, and VCAST Video.  More options are available through the VCAST Media Store.  Other apps of note include Slacker for radio listening, Skype Mobile for the aforementioned internet calling, and Amazon Kindle for reading on the go.  A Quickoffice app gives you the ability to access Microsoft documents.  The GoToMeeting and Citrix Receiver apps are two more additions that should attract business users.

    Basic phone features on the Droid 3 include a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, a voice recorder, an alarm clock, calendar, calculator, and more.  The phone can hold as many contacts as will fit into its internal memory of 16GB.  You can add ringtones and photos to each contact for extra personalization.  The overall quality and clarity of phone calls using the Droid 3 is satisfactory, both on regular calls and when using the speakerphone.  Itís not the best call quality you will find on the market, but it should suffice for most users, even if you are in a noisy environment.

    Security features include complex password control and data encryption.  If the phone somehow falls into the hands of a stranger, the remote wipe feature will keep your precious data protected.  The Droid 3 is a world phone that can be used on overseas networks, which should make it appealing to anyone who travels internationally on a frequent basis for business or pleasure. 

    Moving up the Droid 3ís features ladder we find Bluetooth 2.1 with support for hands-free car kits, stereo headsets, and many other profiles.  Bluetooth pairing on the phone is seamless and will have you connected to your other devices with ease.  Integrated GPS works well with Google Maps or VZ Navigator to give you turn-by-turn directions and local information.  Internet connectivity can be achieved via 802.11n Wi-Fi or Verizonís 3G network.  The lack of 4G is disappointing, but Verizonís 3G speeds are decent when it comes to loading websites and streaming video.  The Webkit 5 HTML browser makes surfing the net painless, and it includes Flash support.  You can easily convert the Droid 3 into a mobile hotspot for up to five devices by purchasing Verizonís Mobile Broadband plan.

    The 1GHz dual-core processor helps with multitasking, but the overall speed when switching between apps or launching apps seems average.  Most casual users probably wonít notice any huge lags in performance, but if you have had the chance to try other smartphones carrying dual-core processors, you may find the Droid 3 to be a tad behind in terms of speed.  Battery life is solid overall.  You should be able to take full advantage of the Droid 3ís feature set without having to worry about constantly recharged.  Rated talk time is set at just over nine hours, while standby time is rated at 300 hours.

    Motorola equips the Droid 3 with a multitude of options to communicate with others besides the typical phone call.  Standard text and multimedia messaging kicks things off.  Thereís instant messaging for quick chats, and social networking fans can access their Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter accounts via pre-existing integration.  Pretty much all angles of email are covered, with support for IMAP and POP accounts through popular services such as AOL, Hotmail, and the aforementioned Gmail.  You also get push email support for Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, and Yahoo Mail to ensure that you get all of your important messages in a timely manner.

    Besides the aforementioned apps and messaging options, the Droid 3 comes with several other features to keep you busy.  You can listen to your favorite tunes with the Motorola music player or VCAST Music.  Video fun can be had through YouTube or VCAST Video.  Games are another option that can be downloaded from the Android Market.  The Droid 3ís 8-megapixel camera offers capabilities for taking photos and recording video in 1080p.  The photo and video quality is definitely not bad for a smartphone camera, and there are several adjustable settings to play around with.  Once you are finished, you can share your content with friends via social networking sites, or by DLNA wireless sharing with other devices.



    The Droid 3 has a rather standard design.  Its highly rectangular shape is nothing new, and there are no real frills to be found, minus a small lip at the bottom.  The phone is very solid, yet thin, measuring 4.9 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick and weighing 5.9 ounces.  Motorola claims that the Droid 3 is the thinnest full QWERTY smartphone in the world, so that should be a strong selling point for some.  It can fit easily into a pocket, and also has a soft touch back that provides a comfortable grip in your hands.

    Most of the phoneís real estate is occupied by its 4-inch qHD touch-screen display with 960 x 540 resolution.  The display is decent, but not up to par with some of the Droid 3ís competitors.  Still, it should suffice for most.  The touch-screen is very responsive, and works well with the smartphoneís user-friendly interface.  You can customize up to five different home screens in terms of widgets and shortcuts for a truly personalized experience.  Just below the display is a row of touch-sensitive controls for Menu, Home, Back, and Search.

    If using a virtual keyboard is not your cup of tea, you will love the Droid 3ís full QWERTY keyboard which is accessed by sliding the screen to the right.  The slider is stiff and sturdy, so dependability should not be an issue.  The keyboard has five rows, one of which is strictly numbers.  For messaging, you will be hard pressed to find a better smartphone keyboard.

    Motorola did not hit a home run with the Droid 3, but it did produce a smartphone that is solid overall.  Its lack of 4G and the average dual-core processor are the only true negative marks.  Other than that, if you are in the market for an Android phone with a solid feature set and a superb keyboard, give the Droid 3 a shot.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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