November 20, 2014

Droid 3 Review

From the first, to the second, and now the third, the Droid series has been one of the most promoted and well-known Android devices on the market (at least in the U.S.). The Droid 3 was defiantly a huge upgrade from the Droid 2, which lacked some key features for its time. It’s obvious that Motorola went all out on the Droid 3 as far as specs are concerned. The Droid 3 offers a whopping 1GHz Ti-OMAP 4430 Dual-Core processor, 1080p HD recording, and the latest version of Android (2.3.4 Gingerbread). Some other specs include:

  • 512 MB RAM
  •  4″ qHD Display (960×540)
  • 16GB on-board Storage
  • Full 5 QWERTY Keyboard (dedicated row for numbers, finally!)
  • World Phone Functionality (Vodafone/VZW SIM Card)
  • 8MP Camera (with LED Flash)
  • Hot-swappable Micro SD Slot (No Micro SD Card included)
  • 1500 mAh Lithium-ion Battery
  • VGA Front Facing Camera

Motorola managed to cram all this hardware into a device that is even slimmer than the original Droid. If you are looking for a flagship device, I would look again. In my opinion, the Droid 3 is by no means a flagship phone for Verizon. Big Red’s next flagship device (according to speculation) will be the Droid Bionic. At any rate, the Droid 3 will run you only $200 with a new two-year contract, or $460 without a contract. Check out my unboxing of the device below.

Buttons

I think Motorola did a great job with all of the Droid 3’s buttons. The power/lock button is centered on the top of the device and has a firm, yet comfortable feel to it. The volume buttons are located on the right side of the device, and the capacitive Android buttons (Menu/Home/Back/Search) worked very well. They were responsive and the haptic feedback never experienced any lag. For a hardware tour of the device, check out the short video below.

Keyboard

The Droid 3 offers a 5-row QWERTY keyboard, the 5th row being a dedicated to numbers. I’ve used other Droid keyboards in the past and they always seem to fall below par for me. My first impressions of the Droid 3’s keyboard was good, and has remained throughout my daily use of the device. The keys have a good amount of spacing between them, great feedback, and a rubberized feel.

Screen

The Droid 3’s beautiful qHD display is, well, beautiful. Since the resolution is 960×540, pictures and web browsing look bright and crisp. The Droid 3 has a high resolution camera and HD camcorder, so you can view your HD videos full-screen without any black bars. Besides the look, the screen is very responsive and the haptic feedback works perfectly.

Camcorder

The Droid 3 has a full 1080p HD camcorder built in. To start, the camera works perfectly with the phone, the frame-rate never drops, and the camcorder never freezes. The 1080p quality is nothing like a real camera would obtain, although it comes close to the 720p quality of the Flip camera. I shot a brief video with the camcorder, which you can check out below.

MotoBlur

Whatever they’re calling it nowadays, the new MotoBlur is very nice and definitely a step up from the old MotoBlur. The new Blur is perfectly suited to work with the dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM. It offers a 4-icon dock, and users can change 3 out of the 4 icons (4th is the app drawer). I thought I would quickly jump to ADW or another alternate launcher, but I surprisingly enjoyed the new MotoBlur. Along with the new dock, Motorola added a horizontally-scrolling app drawer and a “3D” style homescreen scrolling effect. Blur brings new widgets that can be resized. My personal favorite is the new contacts widget, which uses a swiping gesture to bring up all of your favorites. All of the new “content” widgets are scrollable, even when used with third party launchers.

Camera

The Droid 3 has an 8MP camera that produced wishy-washy shots at best. I think the camera could have taken much better shots than it did. I did notice a good bit of lag when snapping photos. Motorola offers a cool “panoramic” effect that’s built into the camera, but when using the effect, photos are saved 2/5 times.

Performance

The phone only lagged out a few times, but never to the point that I had to pull the battery. I think the main reason for any slight lag is MotoBlur. Although the improved Blur is much better, we can’t escape the fact that manufacturer UIs cause lag here and there. The only apps that seem to lag at all are system applications. Of course, Blur can’t take all the blame, because a dual-core processor should be able to cut through the UI like butter.

Battery Life

Before I got my Droid 3, I read on various blogs that the it has significant battery life. Because of this, I opted to not get an extended battery. That was a bad idea. It may just be me, but the battery life is not the best. I really dislike how many Android phones have horrible battery life, and the Droid 3 only reaffirms that.

Conclusion 

With an impressive dual-core processor, newly revamped UI, and the latest version of Android, the Droid 3 is the perfect option for almost any user. The phone is nicely priced at $200 with a new 2-year contract, and the keyboard is impeccable. With the new keyboard and faster speeds, any businessman or power user would enjoy this phone. With the full 1080p HD camcorder and a decent camera, photography and cinematography junkies would also love this phone.

Overall, I do enjoy using this phone, and I am glad I chose to use it as my day-to-day phone. Now I just need to grab an extended battery. Don’t forget to watch my full video review review below and feel free to leave any comments or questions after the break!

 

 

 

  • http://www.videoconverterfactory.com/resource.html Pablo John

    It seems that is has a little progress than Droid 2~ So I won’t change. By the way, good review~!

  • http://www.tantalize.in mjpru

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

  • https://www.planetoftheherbs.com/ herbal incense

    The flash on mine makes every single picture blue, without the flash it’s a grainy mess. The HD video does record very well though.

  • Anonymous

    I went with the extended cap battery recently, though I quickly dumped Motoblur for Launcher Pro. Some of the eyecandy, but a fraction of the resource utilization.

    Given these 2 minor changes, my D3 now lasts a whole day, even under heavy (non-gaming or video playback) use.

    Bluish camera output most of the time, though. It appears the Moto camera app does not have a correct whitepoint value set, and no way to change it.

    • Lourdes

      I have to charge my D3 three times a day.  My navigation stopped working. :( 

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikokritikos1975 Niko Kritikos

    You didnt mention if this has a front facing camera, I just ordered my wifes because it said it has this feature, so that we could video chat. I would think this would be an important feature consitering it is a physical piece of hardware on the phone. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikokritikos1975 Niko Kritikos

    ok, just saw the last review and it finally says it has a front facing camera….. thanks.

  • Amccann

    My glass digitizer cracked. Bought a new one online for $60. Can’t find any instructions on how to replace it. Any recommedations?

  • Xoxredheadxox

    well so far I’ve been enjoying this phone I’ve only it since xmas. The battery life is not the best I had the cosmos before this n wow what a differce 2 different type of batterys make any who, my keyboard will stop glowing whem I need it most like at night but I love it don’t go by what u read try it out at a store or fins a friend that has one

  • Katwaters91

    I got my first Droid 3 back in September, and it is BY FAR the WORST phone I have ever used or owned. I sent my first one back and it was replaced with a refurbished one. With my refurbished one I’m experiencing even more problems. The camera SUCKS, it does not focus worth shit. It will randomly force close any application I used, most frequently is the camera. The keyboard will periodically stop working, so I have to restart the phone to get it to work. When I upload a picture to Facebook the “uploading” icon does not go away in my notifications bar. The touch screen is very temperamental. I have taken VERY good care of this phone, just like the rest of my electronics it has never been dropped or abused and it still acts this way. It also periodically shuts itself off. I wish I had NEVER upgraded from my Env3. It’s 3mp camera took better pictures than the 8mp camera on my Droid 3!!!!!!!

  • Trevon97

    How do you use the escape button?

  • Libra783

    I wanted the I phone 4s or the thunderbolt, but hubby needed a new phone too and this was a BOGO offer, so we each got the droid 3. It is an ok phone at best. Had issues with wifi, apps not closing, battery life and some other issues too. I do not like that the only maual is an online manual, no book included. Alarms & reminder ringer volume too low. Constantly have trbl sending and receiving emails, phone freezes constantly and the camera is TERRIBLE. My env touch was a more reliable fone (obviously less features) but a fantastic camera and as a mom of a 2 yr old having a camera on the ready is essential. I also find the web browsing to b slow. The best feature on this phone is the full keyboard…. All in all I am truly disappointed with this phone. Next upgrade I will dump this for the I phone 4 or 4s…..spend the extra $ and get the better phones that r out there….

  • Rach200

    I have had my Droid 3 since last November and all i have to say is that this phone was a whole lot better than the Incredible 2 (which I returned 4 times). I have replaced this phone once because it overheated and as i found out it wasn’t the phone itself its the battery. The battery life isn’t the greatest either since it always seems to be on the charger. But in a couple days I should get the S3 so hopefully it would be better.