By Daniel Webster | June 15, 2011 4:00 PM
A little less than a year ago Motorola introduced the Droid X for Verizon. The Droid X had a large form factor and was quite the contender in the smartphone arena. It was popular among consumers that wanted a large screen for their Android platform. Now Motorola has revamped the internal guts of the Droid X while maintaining a similar physical design in the Droid X2. The new Droid X2 is the first device for Verizon that has both a qHD resolution display and a dual-core Tegra 2 processor. Read on for the full review to find out how the new Droid X2 has improved on the Droid X of yesteryear!
The Droid X2 comes bundled with the essential items to get up and running. The peripherals included are a USB 2.0 charging/sync cable, a USB wall charger, an 8GB microSD card, and the device itself. A few things lacking which would make the Droid X2 complete are a headset and a microHDMI cable. There is little documentation and the Droid X2 is packaged in one of the smallest boxes this side of the iPhone 4, to keep everything eco-friendly.
As the first smartphone for Verizon to have both a qHD display and a dual-core processor, the Droid X2 makes for an impressive device. The screen is a 4.3-inch qHD (540 x 960 pixels) LCD underneath a glass capacitive multi-touch digitizer. The computing power comes from the 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 250 dual-core processor that is combined with 512MB of RAM. The internal memory of the Droid X2 is 8GB and comes with a 8GB microSD card which is expandable to 32GB.
Like other Androids recently debuted, the Droid X2 has the usual Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, assisted GPS, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity, light sensor, and the extra bonus of an FM radio. The cellular radios keeping the Droid X2 in service are CDMA 800/1900. If Motorola had integrated LTE into the Droid X2 it would definitely take the cake for the 2011 smartphone lineup.
Other hardware included is an 8MP cameras with dual LED flash, 1500mAh battery, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, a microHDMI port (1920 x 1080 pixel output), three separate microphones, mono speakerphone, and a microUSB 2.0 port. The device dimensions are 65.5 x 127.5 x 9.9 millimeters, and it weighs 155 grams.
At first glance the Droid X and Droid X2 are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The only obvious physical change to the exterior design is the omission of the dedicated camera button. But like a book, it’s never good to judge by the cover. The internal specs of the Droid X2 dwarf that of its predecessor. The speed and screen clarity make for a truly impressive Android experience.
The Motorola Droid X2 ships with Android 2.2.2 Froyo and a new version of MotoBlur, which many consumers will probably favor over the previous builds. While some of the apps that come preloaded on the Droid X2 are trials, which can be removed without rooting, some are quite useful such as DLNA, Data Usage, Mobile Hotspot, and other core Android apps.
Verizon has also added their own apps in the mix, but thankfully most of the trial apps can be removed by uninstalling. This open approach will definitely appeal more to power users or anyone that finds proprietary software obnoxious. For other Verizon apps that cannot be uninstalled, the GingerBreak root will help out.
The Motorola Droid X2 can take photos up to 8MP resolution and includes a dual LED flash. The photography software is simple to use and has a few customizable settings and effects to provide a professional look. A couple of downsides to the Droid X2′s photo proficiencies are demonstrated while capturing images in low light situations or while panning quickly.
For video recording the Droid X2 is capable of up to 720p HD resolution. While this may seem like the standard for other smartphones appearing recently, the dual-core Tegra 2 has more than enough power to record at 1080p as seen on the LG Optimus 2X or T-Mobile G2X. Perhaps in the near future there will be an update along with Gingerbread or even a reengineered version of the stock Droid X2 ROM that will allow for the 1080p video capture. The video quality is similar to other smartphones that have been introduced over the past year, and many would construe that the blurred panning effect is hindering to quality videos.
The Droid X2 is fast, plain and simple! The device experienced no lag while playing video, loading webpages, or doing anything else deemed power hungry. The benchmark results yielded average scores:
Smartbench 2011: Productivity 2765, 2468 Games
LinPack Pro: 36.7 MFLOP, 2.3 Seconds
Motorola and Verizon state that the Droid X2 should be able to provide around 480 minutes of usage and 220 hours of standby time. The actual usage time experienced was very similar to the projected estimate. The battery is 1500mAh lithium-ion. While in standby the Droid X2 seemed to halt all activity to preserve the battery life; like the Energizer Bunny, it just kept going.
The SAR ratings are as follows: Head – 0.74W/kg; Body – 1.5 W/kg.
CALL QUALITY/NETWORK SPEED
The audio quality of the ear speaker was clear with little distortion. The speakerphone on the other hand was difficult to hear, but thanks to the trio of microphones the other party was unaware of the highway noise. At no time were there any dropped calls in the Seattle metropolitan area. Thanks in part to Verizon’s strong network; the Droid X2 seemed to never be without a missing bar of reception.
The network speed of the Droid X2 is nothing too impressive. The average download speed was around 1.2Mbps and upload was about 900Kbps. Had Motorola integrated LTE into the Droid X2 the device would certainly appeal to more consumers, but would probably make for a thicker form factor, so it is a double-edged sword.
PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY
The Motorola Droid X2 is available from Verizon for $199.99 after a qualifying two-year agreement. The non-subsidized price has been set at $449.99 and both purchasing options come with free overnight shipping.
+ Large 4.3″ qHD resolution screen
+ Tegra 2 dual-core processor
+ Solid battery life
+ Dual LED flash on the 8MP camera
+ Clean version of MotoBlur
+ Able to delete most trial software
- No 4G/LTE
- No headset or microHDMI cable included
- External speaker audio quality is poor
- No 1080p video recording
With the nearly identical design to last year’s Droid X, the Droid X2 may not turn any heads. Of course the power of the Droid X2 will cause many heads to spin. The speed of the NVIDIA Tegra 2 is astonishing and combined with the Droid X2′s qHD screen bequeaths an experience unmatched by any other Android smartphone currently available. These hardware specs will appeal to the smartphone aficionado looking for a fast device, but if versatility is what matters, a two-year commitment is quite a long time to be without 4G/LTE.
We rate the Motorola Droid X2: 4/5