We’ve been able to get some hands-on time with the Motorola Droid X2 the last couple weeks, and we’re happy to provide some firsthand impressions on the new device. Motorola played a pivotal role in launching Android to the success that it has known these last two years, thanks in part to their work on the groundbreaking Motorola Droid.
So has the manufacturer slowed up since their initial foray into Android? Motorola has put out quite a few Android devices since that original Droid, but do they still have what it takes to make a top of the line Android device? Let’s take a closer look in our Motorola Droid X2 review.
In The Box
The Droid X2, as with nearly all smartphones, comes with everything you need right in the box but nothing extra. Inside the box, you will find the Motorola Droid X2, a 1540 mAh battery inside the device, a wall/usb charger, 8GB microSD card and all of the obligatory guides and disclaimers.
The microSD is, of course, expandable up to 32GB and the 8GB card that’s included is nice for people who haven’t owned a smartphone before, because veteran owners are most likely going to transfer their old SD to the new device. Still, 8GB is nothing to sneeze at and offers a ton of storage for music, movies and music.
The Droid X2 right off the bat feels like you could put it through some heavy wear and tear throughout the day and it would still hold strong. As it was, I tend to baby my devices and treat them with some major respect so I can’t vouch for throwing this through windows or any of the other insane things people put their phones through. The X2 is made of a very durable, heavy plastic. Where Samsung prefers lightweight plastics and HTC tends to use part-metal construction, Motorola has found a really nice balance with the X2. The plastic feels very durable, unlike many lighter devices, but doesn’t feel heavy or bulky in your hands or pocket.
The form factor is very unique, which the photo below should give some indication. The device has a very squared look to it until you get to the top, back side of the device where there is a curious ridge that houses the powerful 8MP camera and LED flash. We’re unsure if the camera was simply bulkier than the slim design Moto had in mind, or if the ridge was added deliberately. Either way, we’ve found it to be very pleasant feeling in your hand. If you’re a two-hand user like me, the ridge comes in handy as a nice resting place for your non-dominant hand while the dominant types on the soft keyboard.
We always like to run through the buttons on any new device, see how they are placed and how much sense that placement makes in every day use. One of the great downfalls, in our eyes, of the Sidekick 4G was poor button placement. Looking at the image above, we’ll run through the button placement on the Droid X2. Starting on the bottom left, we have the HDMI-out and USB ports; moving up to the top of the device we have the 3.5mm headphone port and power/lock button dead center on the top of the phone. The power/lock button placement was pretty surprising but we actually really grew to like it during our time with it.
Moving along, the right hand side of the device houses the volume rocker and on the face of the device we have our beloved Menu, Home, Back and Search buttons. This combination of buttons has been perfect since the dawn of time and we love that handset manufacturers generally tend to leave it alone.
Battery, CPU, Storage
First up is the 1540 mAh battery that keeps the X2 running strong. The battery life on the Droid X2 was standard; we weren’t impressed by the lifespan of the battery but neither were we disappointed. Battery technology doesn’t seem to move as swiftly as CPU tech and general device performance, so it often feels like we are using devices on sub-standard batteries. While having the phone more or less idle throughout the date, the battery would drain a little less than 50%; meaning that without really using the Droid X2, simply keeping the device turned on drains the battery quite heavily.
Using the device more heavily throughout the day, it performed as one would expect; by the end of the day, we definitely needed to get that boy back on the charger and we could almost hear a sigh of relief from the Droid X2 as we plugged it in.
Storage wise, the X2 comes with an 8GB microSD card but that can be optionally expanded to 32GB if you need more space. Inside the device, you’re looking at another 8GB. All told, you’ll have a little less than 16 GB when you fire up your Droid X2 for the first time and it really depends on how you use your phone as to whether or not that’s enough space for you. For light to mid-range users, 14-16 GB should be more than enough space for your music, photos and applications. For heavy users, who like to store all of their goods on the device, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pick up a larger microSD card.
Now, when we’re talking about the CPU, we’ve definitely saved the best for last in this section. The processor on the Motorola Droid X2 is a dual-core, Tegra 2 1GHz CPU with some definite zip to it. We went ahead and ran some benchmarks, which you can check out below.
- Quadrant Standard: ranked at 2504, hovering around 30 frames per second in graphics testing
- NenaMark2, testing graphics power: 23.3 frames per second average
- Linpack, average from 5 tests: 36.6 – 37.2 MFLOPS, 2.26 seconds time
Outside of benchmarks, something that any Android user can notice is the exceptional performance when running applications; particularly when switching between applications and loading new ones. The Droid X2 never struggles or stutters on us, we are able to seamlessly switch between Gmail, Music Player and Messaging. Viewing media definitely seems to get a kick from the CPU, but when streaming we suffered the normal problems that 3G brings.
Camera / Video
Here are some samples of the 8MP, rear facing camera on the Droid X2. There is no front-facing camera to be found, however.
Stadium lighting conditions, widescreen resolution – not panoramic shot
Outdoor lighting conditions, no flash
All of the above images are taken and displayed here as-is, there has been no image correction or effects applied to any of the images.
The Droid X2 isn’t short of quality accessories, so let’s take a look at some of the hottest ones on the market right now.
In terms of cases, the Droid X2 has quite a few options on the table but the one we’re seeing a lot of right now is the Seidio SURFACE:
As you can see from the image, the Droid X2 is not dwarfed by the Seidio case, simply protected and taken care of. The SURFACE comes in a host of colors, ranging from standard Black to Amethyst to Sage; definitely something for everyone to keep your device representing yourself and protect it from daily wear and tear.
Additionally, if you’re a heavy movie watcher on your device, we would definitely recommend picking up a Motorola desktop charging cradle that you can both use as a viewing dock and a charger. While battery life is great on the Droid X2, it sucks to have your phone die on you and if that’s a primary concern for you then a spare 1500mAh, rechargeable battery might be a good choice.
Whatever you need in terms of accessories, we’ve got you covered so be sure to drop on by our store and take a look!
The Droid X2, like its cousin the Droid Charge, runs Android 2.2 at the time of this writing but it is definitely important to note that Motorola Mobility have already confirmed that the device will be getting Android 2.3. This was further confirmed when the original Droid X received its own 2.3 update.
The Droid X2 overlay is a lot of fun to use, fairly speeds along thanks to the CPU, and generally gave us no headaches. The user interface and widgets don’t go crazy trying to impress us and that, ironically, is what impressed us. Motorola is no longer really pushing the ‘Moto Blur experience’ on their devices, and what they’ve put together for the Droid X2 feels just like Android is supposed to feel; simple, fast, open and unique.
As with basically every phone under the Sun, the Droid X2 comes preloaded with a host of ‘useful’ applications that a lot of you will call ‘garbage’. Most of you will never use any of these applications throughout the duration of your devices lifespan, and they will eventually fade into the background but for what it’s worth, the Droid X2 comes with:
- Verizon suite – VZ Navigator, V CAST Apps, Music and Videos, My Verizon Mobile
- World Mate
- Slacker Radio
- Need For Speed: Shift
- NFL Mobile
- Mobile Hotpost
- City ID
- Let’s Golf
The Droid X2 has been rooted, so if you’re not into all of the preloaded software, just bide your time and hopefully soon a free’d up ROM will appear. As of the time of this review, Droid X2 development is progressing slowly.
The Droid X2 can definitely be an exceptional portable media player, but if you’re going to use it for that purpose rather heavily, you’ll definitely want to consider picking up that spare battery, as you’ll be running low before long. However, in terms of performance, the dual-core CPU really speaks for itself. Viewing media, listening to audio and streaming content was a pleasure and the only real hindrance was the lack of 4G on the Droid X2.
3G is what it is; it’s not the best but it’s certainly not the worst and it gets the job done in a pinch. With the recent advent of movie rental services, whether through Netflix, Blockbuster or the Android Market, viewing content on your phone has never been easier. The onboard music player is capable of playing all of the standard music files and does just what we’d expect it to do. We’ve been using Google Music on the Droid X2, streaming our cloud library, and the process has been fluid and enjoyable; no snags.
One thing we love is Motorola’s inclusion of an FM radio. The radio, of course, requires a headset to be plugged in which, as far as we know, acts as the antenna to allow you to pick up local FM stations. Most local radio stations offer a streamed broadcast online, but there has definitely been times where we were dying to hear the local baseball broadcast and ended up missing out.
The Droid X2 does have HDMI-out so, for those unfamiliar, you are able to connect your phone to your high-definition television or your HD monitor and watch your content on that display instead. This can be really great when you just don’t feel like hitting the movie rental store and are hankering for some epic Harry Potter action. The qHD display makes for some wonderful viewing by itself, so while you’re on the bus to work or school, this can definitely be an ally you’ll want to have on your side.
All in all, we absolutely fell in love with the Droid X2 during our time with the device and we’re certain that Verizon customers are going to love this one. Motorola has put together a sleek, attractive device that stays true to the Droid fundamental laws; it is unique, the dual-core CPU makes it groundbreaking on Verizon and it is attractive.
The qHD display makes for a wonderful multimedia experience, the durability of the device feels wonderful in daily use; emailing, texting and browsing the internet, Android 2.2 is definitely a great experience but the knowledge of Android 2.3 being inbound is definitely a welcome note. The only real complaint that we have about the Motorola Droid X2 is that we would have enjoyed coupling the blazing dual-core CPU with some 4G speeds, but the overall quality of the device far outshines this simple complaint. Long-time Droid series users will be honored to see this one join the ranks of Verizon’s hallowed Android franchise.
Planning on picking up the Droid X2? Check out the everything Android Store for a large selection of Droid X2 cases.