>Motorola Droid X2 Review

>Last year, Motorola launched Verizon’s first beast-sized phone, the Motorola Droid X. It was very good for its time and it proved that large sized screens can still be svelte, in a time when the EVO was living it large. This year, Motorola has kept the Droid X’s successor, the Droid X2, looking the same, but has pumped it full of this year’s best hardware and revamped the software. Will the Droid X2 surpass its predecessor, or will it suffer from sequel inferiority? Find out below as we review Verizon’s flagship 3G phone!

Hardware
This is really where the Droid X2 steps it up, kinda. The form factor is big, but it’s actually slightly thinner and less wide than the X, but it weighs the same at about 5.5 ounces. What I love about the form factor is that where you actually hold the phone, it’s pretty slim. The bulk of the phone is at the top where the 8 megapixel camera lens and dual LED flash sits. It’s a pleasure to hold both one and two handed. On the front, you have the standard 4 buttons along the bottom. They are hardware keys, not soft ones, which I personally prefer. The buttons do take some pressure to activate, which is both good and bad. You certainly won’t have to worry about accidental button presses, but it can take too much effort to go Home or Back sometimes.The left edge houses the microUSB port and miniHMDI port for audio and video output. The power button is in the middle of the top, truly the perfect position for it, and the button is perfectly responsive. Also on the top is the standard headphone jack and a mic (more on that later). On the right is the volume rocker. It’s a little bit smaller than most other phones, and I’d really like if it were a bit longer. Sadly, Motorola took away the hardware camera button that resided on the right side on the original. I’m not sure why, but I wish they hadn’t.

The Droid X2 carries on the X’s tradition of having 3 microphones on it. The traditional one on the bottom for voice calls, the aforementioned top one is for noise cancellation, and one on the back for video recording. The top mic definitely works, the call quality is really quite good. The one on the back we’ll get too in a bit. The speaker on the front is crisp and clear for calls. The back speaker is pretty good, but could be louder; it’s definitely not as loud as the original’s rival, the HTC EVO 4G.

The Droid X2’s camera is killer and it’s clear that Motorola took a lot of time thinking about it. It’s takes incredibly clear pictures and has a ton of different modes for shooting, like macro, sports, etc., in addition to the traditional filters like black and white and sepia. Unfortunately, Motorola didn’t take enough time to test out the whole experience. The video capture is incredibly jumpy sometimes. The video camera does take advantage of the three mics on the phone, allowing for some serious noise reduction, but it’s hard to care about the noise when your video keeps skipping. Its not always like that though. Sometimes it was just fine, and when it isn’t screwing up it takes nice video. The other problem with the camera experience is the software. All of the options are well placed and easy to use, but it’s super buggy. Multiple times it froze up when I tried to change the scene settings. But let’s end on a high note: Motorola included some editing options right in to their preview section in the camera. The still shots can be rotated and cropped, colors can be messed with, and brightness changed. The video can be cut up as well, and you can add titles. Overall, assuming everything is working properly, it’s the best camera experience I’ve seen on an Android device.

The battery life on this bad boy is really good. For Android, that is. Let’s face it, you’re still going to have to charge this every single day. But compared to the EVO, which usually requires a midday charge, it’s fantastic. My X2 is normally put through the ringer daily, but I was incredibly impressed when a solid hour of using it as a hotspot barely even touched the battery indicator. The screen is also really nice. The qHD classification makes it one of Android’s highest quality displays, and it shows. I threw Tropic Thunder on there and it looked great. It’s really bright, and while it’s not as good as Samsung’s Super AMOLED, it still works quite well in direct sunlight.

Software
It’s Android 2.2. There’s really not a lot more to say about that because it’s been talked about to death. Instead, we’ll focus on the changes Moto threw on top of Android. If you’ve used any of Motorola’s phones that used their MOTOBLUR services in the past, you’d know what a crappy, battery draining experience it was. I was worried at first when I saw some if the signs of Blur on the X2. But after playing with it for some time now, I’m shocked to say: Blur doesn’t suck anymore. It’s significantly different from what it was on devices like the Backflip. It doesn’t require you to create or sign into a special Blur account, and everything about their changes are for the most part optional. You can still use the traditional Android widgets and services if you want, but Motorola’s widgets have ditched the kiddy style and actually look quite good. They included a universal inbox to add in email, Facebook, and Twitter messages in with your texts. The included combined social networking apps are pretty good too. Nowhere near as full featured as dedicated apps, but if you want to quickly fire off something to multiple networks (sadly not multiple accounts), then its easy enough to do so.

There are two changes I absolutely loved. Motorola couldn’t help but include a bunch of bloatware that can’t be uninstalled, but app groups allows you to totally ignore them. At the top of the screen in your apps list is a button that let’s you change which apps are shown. I just selected the apps I actually use and show that group by default so I don’t ever have to see the V Cast apps or Lets Golf 2 (That’s no typo, they forgot the apostrophe). At the top right is also a button for the app store, a small but useful tweak. The other big change in the old recent apps pop up. On most other devices you see a maximum of 8 of your most recent apps. The X2 brings up the whole app drawer, but shows the recent apps tab, showing you the last 12 apps you’ve used and allowing easy access to those you haven’t opened yet.

Wrap Up
The Droid X2 is easily one of the best Android phones I’ve used to date. The dual core processor definitely gives a noticeable difference in performance, especially with games and battery life. The camera is definitely one of Android’s best and the editing options are a great addition. The screen is really nice and the camera is exceptional. Overall, it’s one of the best Android devices today. It’s really only missing one thing: a 4G radio. Why Verizon didn’t have it thrown in, I have no idea. It would make a lot more sense for it to be a $300 phone than for the Samsung Droid Charge. But if you don’t live in a 4G area, or do most of your heavy data in WiFi, the Motorola Droid X2 packs a hell of a punch in a skinny little device. It’s a highly recommended device if you’re looking for a work horse on Verizon. Get it now before you can’t get an unlimited data option!

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