One week after the Motorola Droid X launched, reviewers are giving the handset a C+ rating. The much anticipated Droid X quickly became a hard-to-find smartphone, but still didn't get the same fireworks-caliber launch as the iPhone 4. The Droid X debut was even overshadowed by Apple's Antennagate press conference and free bumper giveaway.
Here's a look at the Droid X reviews -- the good, the bad, and its uncertain future.
A Mobile Powerhouse: Every review of the Droid X I read praised its lightning-fast 1Ghz processor and responsive handling. The New York Times' David Pogue said: "In general, the Droid X is a speed rocket, much like its recent rivals. It's impossible to overstate how satisfying it is to use a snappy, responsive gadget." Other specs include 24GB storage, 8-megapixel camera, 720p HD video, HDMI Micro out, three mics for noise cancellation and built-in wireless with 3G hotspot powers.
Big, Impressive Screen: The Droid X's huge 4.3-inch touchscreen is one of the phone's most noticeable features, and the quality is great. Associated Press' Rachel Metz writes: "All this screen real estate is great for multimedia fans, as videos, Websites and photos look fantastic on the Droid X." The Droid X is built for multimedia consumers, not just people who want to send text messages and check e-mail.
All-Day Battery Life: Compared to the HTC EVO 4G, which ran out of juice after a couple of hours, the Droid X could hold a charge for two days if used normally. Using the Droid X as a Wi-Fi hotspot, however, is not considered "normal." SlashGear writes: "Unfortunately, one of the things we expect from hotspot functionality is that it guzzles through battery life, and sure enough a little WiFi-tethered browsing takes a big chunk out of the DROID X's 1,540 mAh Li-Ion battery."
Excellent Call Quality: It's a simple fact, but still worth mentioning: you can actually make phone calls on Verizon's network. USA Today's Edward C. Baig highlights this benefit: "Droid X belongs at or near the top of the Android list. Verizon has a sterling reputation. Call quality was good. In a week's worth of testing, I never had a dropped call. Find an iPhone user who can say the same."
Sluggish Interface: Despite the horsepower under the hood, the Droid X still fumbles. "Scrolling through the main menu wasn't always smooth and responsive. And oddly, whenever I swiped to unlock the phone, it stuttered a bit," reports PCWorld's Ginny Mies.
Weird Keyboard: The QWERTY keypad is apparently an issue too, as Slate's Tom Scocca attempted to write his review of the Droid X using the phone itself. The results are hilariously riddled with typos and nonsensical paragraphs.
Broken Screen: A small percentage of Droid X owners complained of a flickering and banding screen that made the phone unusable. However, Motorola and Verizon quickly acknowledged, addressed, and offered a solution to the problem.
Bricked if Hacked: Motorola doesn't want you modding, hacking or jail-breaking the Droid X. It built eFuse into the phone, which reportedly bricks the handset if you try to make alterations. As MobileCrunch points out, "Android is a platform that not only was founded on the idea of openness, but thrives because of it." Intentionally "sabotaging" a phone -- especially when you own it -- is counterintuitive to Android's philosophy. Because of the bricking, MobileCrunch gives the Droid X a "do not buy" rating.
Shipped with Android 2.1: Android 2.2 would've allowed the highly-capable phone to live up to its potential, but the Droid X shipped with Android 2.1. "It's unfortunate, however, that the X ships with Android 2.1, depriving it of the much-needed enhancements to performance and responsiveness that arrived in Android 2.2," says Ars Technica. Android 2.2 is expected to launch later this summer.
Ugly, Messy Software: Gizmodo burned the Droid X's software at the stake: "The software -- a discordant mélange of the not-so-fresh Android 2.1 and various bits of the Blur 'social networking' interface from Motorola's lower-end Android phones -- is the shudder-inducing poster child for the horrors that can occur when most hardware companies try to make software. It's ugly, scattershot, and confusing. It feels almost malicious."
The Droid X's Uncertain Future
Motorola's Droid X is selling well and even though it's received some lukewarm reviews, Verizon customers seem to love it. It's a shame that it's hard to get, just like HTC's Droid Incredible and EVO 4G, and, of course, the iPhone 4.
There are elements working against the Droid X, however. For starters, the Droid X is a niche device made for users who want a big handset. The upcoming launch of the Droid 2 -- first in line to sport Android 2.2 -- has the potential to overshadow the Droid X and turn many customers towards a more manageable phone.
And let's not forget the latest iPhone on Verizon rumors. During Steve Jobs' Antennagate press conference, it was revealed that there are Verizon cell towers on Apple's campus. iPhone on Verizon rumors have persisted for more than two years, but this fact almost makes it inevitable. If the iPhone lands on Verizon's network, do any Android handsets stand a chance?
This story, "Motorola Droid X: The Mixed Reviews Are In" was originally published by PCWorld.