It looks like Verizon didn't want ATT to get all the attention this week with the BlackBerry Torch, so they pushed out the Droid 2. In fact it was in stores before it was in most reviewers hands! The Droid 2 is as you might guess, the follow up to the extremely successful Moto Droid that was released less than a year ago. It's a don't mess with success release, and that means a few weaknesses were addressed but there are no big surprises here.
The overall shape and size are the same but Moto has mainstreamed the looks, opting for slightly rounded corners and a gunmetal chrome surround that's not unlike the Torch's. Personally, I prefer the original Droid look: it dared to be different and was keenly modern minimalist (if not very masculine). The Droid X looks more like the original Droid in terms of surface texture and lines than does the Droid 2.
Inside we have an upgraded 1GHz CPU that keeps up with the big boys. In fact our benchmarks say it smokes most of the big boys, including our Nexus One running Froyo. The Droid 2 ships with Android OS 2.2 (Froyo), a first for Verizon. We appreciate the speed improvements Froyo offers, along with Flash 10.1 video and a WiFi hotspot sharing feature ($20/month extra on your bill if you want to use it). But Motorola's MotoBlur software counters some of Google's UI improvements. Happily this isn't over the top MotoBlur and the Droid 2 won't give you flashbacks to the Motorola BackFlip, but we're not totally loving it.
Above: the Motorola Droid X and Droid 2. Below: the Droid and Droid 2
The keyboard is improved: it's wider since the d-pad was axed, and the keys are slightly domed. But the travel is still less than we'd like. The smarpthone has twice the RAM of the Droid 1 and 8 gigs of internal storage. Verizon includes an 8 gig microSD card as well, along with USB cable and charger in the absolutely tiny box.
The Droid 2 is a fast phone than easily keeps up with the very responsive Samsung Captivate and it can handle 3D games, not that many are available for Android.
Reception has been excellent for us, and call quality is good but not best of breed. The Droid 2 shares a similar speaker design with the original Droid, but to our ears it's not quite as loud.
The Droid 2 has 3G EV-DO Rev. A, WiFi, Bluetooth, a GPS and a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash. It can record 720 x 480 video, but we're not in awe of its quality.
Here's our video review, and our final review and verdict will be out in a few days.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview