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printed July 24, 2014
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Review: Motorola Droid Pro

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch  

 

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The Motorola Droid Pro is an odd looking beast. It's sort of a Frankenstein's monster of an Android phone. It's got parts from Droid phones, parts from BlackBerry phones, and a huge forehead. You could snap off the keyboard at the bottom and be left with a tiny Android phone. The 3.1-inch touchscreen has the same four buttons beneath that you'll find on every Android phone: Menu, Home, Back and Search, in that order. But beneath that row of touch sensitive buttons, you'll find a four row QWERTY keyboard. Well, more like three-and-a-half rows, since the bottom row only has five keys.

The keyboard is very nice. It is so much like a BlackBerry keyboard, I wonder if Motorola hasn't licensed the design. The keys are all nicely raised, with a swooping ridge cutting across the top of each key, making it easy to find and fast for typing. I was surprised by my own accuracy with this keyboard, and most of my errors were caused by mistakes from Motorola's auto-correction software, and not my own typing ability on the keyboard. The top three rows are all letters, with a few symbols thrown in. The number keys are alternates for the top row. You don't get a dedicated .com key, but you do get an @ symbol, as well as a dedicated key for voice commands. I'd like to see more punctuation keys on the keyboard, since the Droid Pro only offers the period and comma their own keys. Still, this is a more convenient layout than the surprisingly similar BlackBerry Torch, since the BlackBerry offers no punctuation or shortcut keys on the keyboard.

The Droid Pro has a volume rocker on the left side, nicely raised with tiny bumps on either end to make it easy to find without looking. Beneath that is an exposed microUSB port. I'd always rather find an exposed port than a cheap port cover, like you'll find on the Palm Pre Plus, another competitor. On the right side is a single, customizable button. By default it opens the calendar, which is nice for business use, but I changed it to open the camera. It does not offer two-stages for auto focus, but there are extensive options for customizing that key. Up top, you'll find a power button / screen lock. There is also a 3.5mm headphone port, so you can use your own music earbuds with this phone.

The Motorola Droid Pro may seem like a large portrait QWERTY phone in photos, thanks to the tall screen up top. In fact, it's actually fairly compact. It's taller than the BlackBerry Torch or even the Motorola Droid 2, but it's also more narrow and thinner than both of those devices. Even better, the Droid Pro is almost an ounce lighter than the new BlackBerry, and it even weighs less than Palm's lightweight Pre Plus.

While I was running my tests, I noticed the Droid Pro could grow quite warm. It wasn't hot enough to burn my face, but it might feel uncomfortable in the hand after a long time. This was more of a problem when I had Wi-Fi turned on, though it could still get too warm even after a long period of use on the cellular network, or while it was plugged in and syncing with music transfer software on my laptop.

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