By GeoffreyFarinha | January 25, 2011 1:48 PM
Motorola’s Droid Pro has been created with the business user market in mind. It combines a touchscreen as well as a full physical QWERTY keyboard to give its users the best of both worlds. It seems Motorola is attempting to steal some market share from RIM’s Blackberry. Is the Droid Pro a suitable contender? Read on below to find out!
Here’s our unboxing of the Droid Pro. Inside the box you will the Droid Pro device itself with a pre-installed 2GB microSD card. You’ll also find three international wall adapters, an AC adapter with an extra long cable, and a USB sync cable.
Let’s get down to business with the Droid Pro’s specs. If you’re going to create a device to be catered toward business users, you need speed and dependability. Motorola made sure the Droid Pro would not be a slouch by incorporating a 1GHz processor with 512MB of RAM. This allows multitasking when necessary without sacrificing consistency. The device comes with a 2GB microSD card installed, but it can be expanded with up to a 32GB microSD card.
As you’ve seen in our above hardware overview video, the front of the Droid Pro is home to both a 3.1″ capacitive touchscreen and a full physical QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard is almost an exact replica of the newer Blackberry keyboards in terms of design and layout. If you’re planning on switching to the Droid Pro from a Blackberry you’ll have little to no difficulty getting acclimated with this keyboard.
The 3.1″ screen features a fairly low resolution of 320×480. In a world of high resolution AMOLED and sAMOLED screens the Droid Pro appears faded and in some cases less detailed. We noticed that when taking pictures or recording video with this devices camera, the screen did not do our recorded subjects justice. However, this does not take away from the overall experience and usability of the device. If you’re currently used to a large Android display, you’ll need some time to get used to this 3.1″ screen. Once you’re comfortable, you won’t even notice.
On the left side of the device are the up and down volume rocker, as well as a microUSB charging port. One great feature of the charging port is that it’s surround by rubber. This equates to protecting the port and charger itself from breaking when plugging in or unplugging your device. There are also LED lights behind the rubber, which left off a cool glow during charging, a great effect at night.
Moving to the right side of the device you will find a user programmable shortcut button. Users can set this button to open any application on their device. Pair this with the same ability to set keyboard shortcuts, and you have a surefire and rapid method to opening up your favorite and most useful apps in the blink of an eye. This is such an extremely productive feature.
At the top of the device are the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack. No headphones are supplied here, so you will need to use your own. Located on the back of the device is a dual LED flash camera with the ability to record 720p video at 30 frames per second. Be sure to scroll down to our camera section if you want to see how it stacks up in both photo and video.
Removing the plastic battery cover uncovers a 1420mAh battery, which Motorola chalks up to achieving seven hours of talk time. Beneath the battery is a SIM card slot (this is a Verizon world phone), as well as a microSD slot. As mentioned, a 2GB card is supplied, but the phone is capable of reading up to 32GB.
Like many of the other manufacturers creating Android handsets, Motorola embeds their own BLUR UI as a skin over the Android OS. In our software overview video we took a look at the general features and navigation through the UI. Android 2.2 Froyo is preinstalled on this device, which helps attributes to the great speed the Droid Pro achieves.
In our software video we demonstrate the above-mentioned feature of user programmable shortcuts. We also show that users have the ability to combine both standard Android widgets with Motorola’s own widgets. This concept can actually improve the overall experience and potential. We feel that BLUR will allow business users to be productive during their day, but also enjoy the aspects of social networking during their leisure time.
The Droid Pro’s 5 megapixel camera takes good quality pictures when outdoors or indoors with ample lighting. As you can see, color saturation looks good and clarity is up to par. When taking a picture at near full zoom there is little to no sacrifice in quality. The camera suffers in low-light conditions though. The flash is weak and there is quite a bit of noise present.
Motorola details this camera as being capable of recording 720p video at 30 frames per second. The video below is a camera test outdoors that showcases just how well this camera can record. As you’ll see, Motorola seems to hold true to their claim with solid detail quality and a very smooth frame rate.
The 1GHz processor allows the Droid Pro to open applications in rapid succession. Navigating through the UI was very pleasing and the shortcut commands succeeded every time without a hitch. Multitasking was consistent and easy due to the 512MB of RAM. Anyone, from light to heavy users of this device, will be happy with the overall performance.
CALL QUALITY/NETWORK SPEED
Call quality on Verizon Wireless’ network was extremely good with zero dropped calls.
Callers on the other end commented on how clear our voice sounded. The same can be said about the voice quality from the person we were talking to. Verizon is known for having great coverage in the US, and the Droid Pro is no exception. Combine that with the world phone capability and you have a phone that will literally maintain reception everywhere.
Motorola depicts a battery life of seven talk hours from the 1420mAh battery. With our review unit we found to this to be an overestimation. In our testing, we achieved about five hours of talk time per day. We expected that a device claiming to be the perfect business phone would have exceeding battery life. The release of an extended battery will make many people happy. An argument to be made however is that most business users likely already own a car or secondary charger of some kind for their device. With that being said, if Motorola wants to complete with Blackberry, they need to increase battery life and efficiency.
PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY
Motorola’s Droid Pro is currently available from Verizon Wireless at $179.99 with a two-year contract.
+ Physical keyboard
+ 1GB of onboard ROM memory
+ Picture and video recording quality
+ Dual LED flash
+ Android 2.2 Froyo preinstalled
+ World phone with amazing call quality
+ User programmable shortcut and keyboard buttons
- Small screen take some getting used to
- Short battery life
- Low screen resolution
- Plastic casing goes against normal metal of Droid devices
Finding an Android device with a full physical keyboard in a candy bar form factor is a difficult task. The Droid Pro fills this gap quite nicely. Users who have waited to make the switch because they “need” a physical keyboard should be happy here.
Pair this with Verizon’s well-developed network, and the speed and consistency of Froyo with up-to-date specifications, and the Droid Pro impresses. We wish the screen was larger with a higher resolution, but many business users will see this device simply as a tool to get their job done and move on. Thus, they won’t mind not having the highest of quality screens. We do wish the battery life was better, but let’s be honest; most business users carry a second charger with them already. Lastly, we’re not too fond of the plastic battery cover. This goes against the typical metal covers of the Droid line of devices.
Business people: this device is for you. If you need a physical keyboard, you’ve got it. If you want a simple yet sleek form factor with the latest and greatest Android currently has to offer, you’ve got it. If you don’t mind using a second charger of some kind the battery life shouldn’t scare you away. The price of $179.99 feels right, at least as a brand new device. We give the Droid Pro a 4.5/5.