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printed September 2, 2014
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Review: Motorola Droid 3

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The Motorola Droid 3 is outrageously huge. With the larger display, the overall dimensions of the device have stretched to wow-that's-big proportions. It is taller, wider, and thicker, and thanks to the blocky, sharp edges, it feels enormous. It still has the chin at the bottom to maintain family lines.

It feels big in the hand. While the back surface has a pleasing soft-touch paint job and rounded edges, the top is slippery plastics and sharp edges. It's like Jekyll & Hyde in one phone. The build quality and materials are solid and the Droid 3 certainly doesn't feel cheap. Pocketable? Yes, but the weight and size will always remind you that it is stuffed in your pants.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The large front surface is nearly all display, save for the four capacitive Android controls at the bottom. These buttons worked most of the time, but I noticed they required a second press from time to time.

The microUSB and microHDMI ports are in the same spots as on the first two Droids, on the left, tucked close to the bottom. Neither has a hatch. The volume toggle is on the right side, near the top. It’s a bit on the small side, but has excellent travel and feedback. Sadly, the Droid 3 loses the dedicated camera button that appeared on the Droid and Droid 2. Motorola offers no explanation, but I find this to be a disappointing change.

The power/lock key is on the top, and is easy to find and use. It has good travel and feedback. The 3.5mm headset jack is next to it.

The slider mechanism is not spring assisted. You have to slide it all the way up and all the way down. The Droid 3's full QWERTY keyboard is one of the best ever from Motorola. Motorola did a fantastic job improving the shape of the buttons and the action of key presses. The addition of a fifth row just for numbers is also a great help.

The space bar at the bottom of the keyboard is huge and can be pressed easily with either thumb. The keyboard includes dedicated period, comma, @, and forward slash keys for easier web site and email address entry. It has four directional keys to fine tune on-screen text editing, and, unusually, includes a Tab button, which will push the cursor to the next available text field. Handy. If you've been somewhat disappointed with the keyboard on the previous Droids (and, honestly, who didn't think the first Droid's keyboard stunk?), then you'll be much happier with the Droid 3.

The battery cover was a bit difficult to remove, but once you do, you'll be glad to know you can swap microSD cards without pulling the battery.

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