What's hot: Solid build, good call quality, great for social networking.
What's not: Overshadowed by the Motorola Droid. Battery life is so-so.
Reviewed February 25, 2010 by Lisa Gade, Editor
Now the Moto Droid has a little brother on Verizon, the Devour. The Devour is actually no smaller than the Droid, in fact it's thicker. But the price is lower ($50 less when buying direct from Verizon) and a few specs are weaker: HVGA 320 x 480 display vs. 480 x 854 and a a 3 megapixel fixed focus camera vs. 5 megapixel autofocus. The Devour runs Android 1.6 Donut, while the Droid runs 2.0, but the Devour adds MOTOBLUR for you social mavens.
As we said in our Motorola Cliq review (Moto's first MOTOBLUR Android smartphone), MOTOBLUR keeps you up to date with your friends and colleagues via the top social networks (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, email, LastFM, Picasa, Photobucket, Yahoo mail, IM and SMS) at the expense of a very busy home screen and diminished battery life. These accounts integrate seamlessly into the MOTOBLUR-customized Android OS, and you decide which accounts you want and whether you want to show their desktop widgets. Fortunately, the Devour has 5 screens, so there's plenty of room for all the social widgets. These widgets don't give you the deep experience of dedicated apps but they're good for updating your status and seeing the newest updates from your friends.
When you tweet, you can send the same update to other supported social networks if you like and your social network friends are integrated into the address book (I found that Twitter linked into the address book but Facebook didn't). The good part is that you can see your friends' Twitter status updates in their address book entry, but the bad part is that you'll get address book entries for everyone you follow by default.
The Devour is a solid and relatively heavy phone at 5.89 ounces. The casing is made of aluminum so it looks less cheap than the tres plastic Cliq. The design is industrial and modern, but we wouldn't call this a sexy phone. It's a bit plain and the large bezel around the 3.1" capacitive display makes it look a tad old-fashioned. The smartphone reminds us of a cross between the Droid and the Sony Vaio UX180 micro PC, which used a very similar wrap-around slider a few years back. The slider is solid and locks into position when fully open or closed.
The phone has the usual creature comforts including a proximity sensor and accelerometer (you can also slide open the keyboard to switch to landscape mode). The keyboard is a short travel model but the keys are large and well-separated. It's not our favorite keyboard but it's better than the Droid's.
We like the grippy textured sides and impact-absorbing large end caps that also help break up the Devour's stark lines. There's a large speaker under one end cap and the very prominently placed 3.5mm stereo jack is on the other end. There's a dedicated Nuance voice command button just below the volume controls on the phone's right side. There's also a dedicated camera button- yes! The bad news is that the camera takes unimpressive shots (how much can you expect from a Moto 3MP fixed-focus camera?).
The 3.5mm stereo jack up top.
Wirefly price (no rebate required):
The optical d-pad up front is a mixed bag. We found it hard to control and superfluous given the touch screen just above. You can adjust the touch pad's sensitivity and turn it off. The display itself works wonderfully with touch, but alas there's no multi-touch and thus no pinch zoom. The touch-sensitive buttons below the display require a firmer touch than the display which is as it should be, in our opinion.
That small square at the lower left is the optical d-pad.
The display is sharp, colorful and bright. The resolution is the same as that on the HTC Hero, MyTouch 3G and Droid Eris, and while it's not as impressive as the Droid and Nexus One, it's more than adequate. The phone is responsive both in terms of touch screen and performance, and we didn't find ourselves wishing for the Droid.
Here's our 7 minute video review of the Motorola Devour that includes a comparison with the Droid.
The Usual Google Goodies plus Verizon
Like all Android phones, the Devour ships with Google sync for calendar, contacts and Gmail. It has Google Maps, Google Talk IM, Google search and Google's YouTube player. Moto adds their MS Exchange sync connector. The standard music player and photo/video viewer are on board and QuickOffice (MS Office document viewer) is included.
Verizon software includes VZ Navigator, V Cast Music and V Cast Video. VZ Navigator was a bit slow to re-route (it took 30 seconds for it to offer a new route) but other than that, it worked well.
Cross-network cousins: the Motorola Backflip Android MOTOBLUR phoneon AT&T and the Devour.
Phone and Data
The Devour has very good voice quality for both incoming and outgoing voice, and the speakerphone is loud and clear. Motorola is known for their strong reception, and the Devour is better than average but not as good as the Droid which manages about 8 -db stronger signal when tested in the same location. Nuance's voice dialing works well and we're glad to see it on board, and the phone played well with several current Bluetooth headsets.
EV-DO Rev. A handles the Devour's fast data connection, and web pages loaded quickly. Android Market applications likewise downloaded speedily and email is a breeze. The phone supports Gmail, POP3, IMAP and MS Exchange email.
The phone comes with news and weather widgets, MOTOBLUR's collection of social networking widgets and and you can download more from the Android Market.
Ouch. A powerful smartphone that's always keeping up with myriad social network status updates? Don't expect this to be the energizer bunny of Android phones. Like the Cliq, the Devour takes a hit thanks to MOTOBLUR though it does have 3 battery conservation settings (go broke, middle of the road and miserly). On the least conservative setting, the phone lasted just a day with light use. Thankfully you can swap in a spare battery if needed. The standard Lithium Ion battery is 1400 mAh capacity, which is decent enough by smartphone standards.
The Motorola Devour is (literally) a solid Android smartphone with a strong set of features. MOTOBLUR is a big part of this package, and we recommend it if social networking is your thing. Of course, you can turn off most MOTOBLUR features if you just like the hardware, but then Moto's own Droid is worth a look since it has a higher resolution display and a newer version of the Android OS. Given the relatively close pricing, unless $50 over the course of your two year contract is that dear, you should choose between these two based on MOTOBLUR vs. vanilla Android, features and the look. The Droid is thinner, but some find the design off-putting (we think it looks better than the Devour).
We like the colorful and responsive display, fast performance and integrated Verizon services. The GPS is a bit less responsive than other current smartphones, but it doesn't drop a fix (the problem may be with VZ Navigator more than the hardware since Google Maps performed well after an initial slow first fix). The battery life isn't a selling point and the keyboard, though roomy, is low travel.
Price: $149 with a 2 year contract via Verizon ($99 at Best Buy and some other dealers)
Display:65k color, capacitive HVGA touch screen. Screen size diagonally: 3.1". Resolution:
320 x 480, supports both portrait and landscape modes. Has accelerometer and proximity sensor.
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable.
Performance:600MHz ARM compatible CPU. Approximately 226 megs of internal storage.
x 2.78 x 0.53 inches. Weight: 5.89 ounces.
Phone:CDMA dual band digital with 3G EV-DO Rev. A.
Camera:3MP with fixed focus lens.
in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone
WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR with headsets, handsfree and A2DP stereo profiles.
Software:Android 1.6 (Donut) with MOTOBLUR. Standard Android applications including Gmail, Google Maps, Google Voice Search, Google Talk, YouTube player, webkit web browser, music and video players. Verizon applications: VZ Navigator, Visual Voicemail, V Cast Music and V Cast video. Nuance Voice Dialing included.