Droid Review Update

November 15th, 2009

It’s now been nearly a week since I started using the Droid, and I have some updates from my initial review.

Browser

First, I, like many reviewers, complained about the lack of multi-touch in the browser, thinking it inferior to the iPhone/iPod Touch as a result. I think I, and all those other reviewers, were mistaken. The great part about the Droid browser is that I can just double-tap on the content column, and it automatically zooms in to the width of that column (hiding left/right navigation or whatever else may be there). Moreover, the Droid browser also seems to render these columns narrower than the iPhone/Touch browser does. So some websites aren’t viewable on the iPhone even in landscape mode without horizontal scrolling, but work great on the Droid even in portrait.

Perhaps multi-touch pinching is missed in the map, but the utility of it seems far less important now that I’ve played with it some.

Vibration

I complained that the shortcut on the lock screen puts the device into silent mode, with no corresponding shortcut to put it in vibrate mode. That’s true, but there’s another annoyance: if you enable a “lock pattern” — the Droid version of a power-on password — even the shortcut to silent mode is gone. Doh. Now you have to unlock the device before you can put it on silent or vibrate.

Cool Stuff in Settings

There’s some nifty stuff in settings that some reviewers seem to have missed. You can see what services are running, and kill any of them. Even niftier, in the about the device screen, it can show you what’s using battery power, and how much. It lists apps, cell modem, wifi, OS, etc. It would be nice if the iPod Touch, with its worse battery life, had this feature; my Android, at least, doesn’t seem to really need it, as the battery life is fine.

I also appreciate that just about everything on the Droid has more options than on the iPhone/Touch. I was in the Wifi menu on Terah’s iPod Touch today, trying to figure out where the rest of the settings where. Then I realized — they aren’t anywhere; the iPod Touch doesn’t have those as configurable options.

Consistency and Duplication

I get rather annoyed with UIs or devices put similar functionality multiple places. The Droid has a habit of doing this sometimes. Here’s an example.

Say you want to remove an app. You can, as I did, go to Settings, then Applications, and remove it from there. But later, I was wondering how you can rate applications. I noticed a Downloads screen available from the menu in the Market. That’s where you rate it. You can remove apps from there too. Strangely, removing apps from the Downloads screen asks you why you’re removing it, but the other screen doesn’t. Wonder why that is?

Camera

I did check out the camera. I have very little experience using cell phone cameras. So I guess I’ll say the Droid’s camera is far better than the Blackberry Pearl’s and far worse than my Digital Rebel. Compared to the Digital Rebel, or even an ancient 35mm camera, it’s terrible. Maybe it’s typical for a cell phone, and I guess it works in a pinch. I wouldn’t rely on it for anything I want a print of.

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Comments Feed12 Comments

  1. -dsr-

    Strangely, removing apps from the Downloads screen asks you why you’re removing it, but the other screen doesn’t. Wonder why that is?

    I think I know that. The Droid lets you download apps from the Market, or from any website (save to the SD card) or copy them on to the SD card via a card reader or the USB connection. Only if you use the Market are you asked to leave feedback when you remove an app, because that’s the only time that the author is known to be registered.

    Of course, they could have just made it standard for Android packages to include a feedback email address… but they didn’t. Maybe next go-round.

    Reply

  2. Andrew Pollock

    To put the phone in vibration mode from the lock screen, try long pressing on the power button, then using the volume control.

    Reply

  3. Jason D. Clinton

    Re: virbration. From the unlock screen, hold power button for 2 seconds, select Silent Mode.

    Re: camera. There are a few known issues with the camera focus that should be addressed in the Dec. 11th firmware update.

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    Thank you — that’s a good tip. It didn’t occur to me that the power-hold screen could be called up from the lock screen.

    Where do you read about these pending firmware updates?

    Reply

    John Goerzen Reply:

    I should add – silent mode isn’t exactly what I want since it also turns off vibrate, but with Silent Mode Jammer, it works well.

    Reply

    Jason D. Clinton Reply:

    Silent Mode turns on vibrate on my phone.

  4. Ryan

    Camera is horrible. I very much agree pinch zoom, who cares?! That much more work, the double tap is fast! I have a droid for a week, and I think you got your review pretty good.

    Reply

  5. JC

    Double-tapping on a column zooms to fit on the iPhone web browser too. That doesn’t mean the Droid web browsing experience isn’t awesome, but I didn’t want people to read your blog post and wrongly infer that they couldn’t do the same on the iPhone. (The Droid’s higher resolution screen may mean that those columns may be more readable on the Droid than on the iPhone though.)

    Reply

  6. Mark

    Another issue is the lack of a disconnect button for the phone. When you’re on a call and the device has timed out, you need to first unlock the phone, then navigate to the call before you can disconnect.

    Reply

    John Reply:

    On my Droid the dial pad (with send and end buttons) appears as soon as I take the phone away from my ear.

    Reply

  7. Rob Kendrick

    Digital Rebel == Canon EOS? If so, absolutely. The EOS has a sensor 5 times the physical size, and a lens not made out of 5 cents of plastic. Nobody’s made a good camera phone yet, simply because of space restraints.

    Reply

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