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Review: Motorola's Droid X

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The Droid has an 8 megapixel camera. Camera features include autofocus, dual-LED flash, and a mechanical shutter. Very few phones have shipped with mechanical shutters. This is important because it helps increase clarity and detail in action shots (which might otherwise be blurry).

Press and hold the dedicated camera key to launch the camera. It opens much slower than I'd like. It probably takes 2 or 3 seconds to launch. You expect faster performance than that when there's a 1GHz processor under the hood.

The camera controls and user interface have been modified a bit in a positive way. Motorola has opted to skip the awkward pull-out drawer normally found on the left side for much easier icon-based controls. The right side of the display has four large icons to quickly adjust exposure, color treatment, the flash, and switch to the video recorder. Want to make a change to any of these settings? Simply press the icon, and then swipe left or right to cycle through the options. Nice and easy.

You have to use the physical menu button to get at some of the finer controls, such as changing ISO ('sensitivity' of the camera) or the number of megapixels captured. Oddly, the default setting for the Droid X is 6 megapixels, which Motorola says is perfect for shooting 16:9 shots formatted for HDTVs. You can dial up to 8 or as low as 2 megapixels if you want.

The Droid X focuses in about one second, and then takes about another second to capture and process images. Once captured, images can be sent, shared, deleted and fired off in pretty much every way imaginable.

It is perhaps notable that the Droid X does not have a user-facing camera.



The Droid X has a new custom-made photo gallery widget built into the home screen that I really like. Choose an album, and the gallery (which sits in a picture-frame type graphic that consumes about 50% of the display) will automatically play a slide show. The slide show shuffles across the little window pane, letting you see your images. It's neat, but viewing them in full glory in the main gallery application is still more satisfying.

The gallery automatically sorts folders and albums. Personally, there are a few too many steps to get to a view of your images, with a few too many folders to dig through. The problem is there are separate storage locations (internal and microSD card), and the Droid X is aggressive about keeping these folders separate.

Organization aside, slide shows of images look glorious on the large display. Images float past quickly, and when you can share such large pictures it makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.

There are also a host of editing features, but you have to dig to find them. You can apply effects, crop, rotate, color/brightness corrects all after the fact if you wish.


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