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Review: Motorola Droid 2

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

I'm not a fan of the overall look and feel of the Motorola Droid 2. I didn't like the form of the original, and the new model isn't improved enough for me to come around. At least the original Droid could be excused as aggressively masculine, but after adding just a hint of color and rounding out some of the edges, I now find the phone even less appealing. I've heard from other users who appreciate the design, I'm just not one of them.

The Droid 2 is almost the exact same size and weight as the original. It's big and heavy with defined edges, so it won't be comfortable in a pair of jeans.

I did not care for the buttons, either. The volume rocker, on right side, was almost completely flush with the phone. It was difficult to find without looking, and difficult to jack the volume up or down in a hurry. The screen lock / power key up top is likewise flushed. It was so difficult to press that I found myself opening and closing the keyboard to unlock the screen, since that move was more convenient than an expedition to find the Lost Lock Key. There's an open microUSB port on the left side that gapes like a small flesh wound. On the bottom right is a camera key, the best button of the bunch. It's a two-stage key, so you can easily focus first then shoot your picture. Up top, near the power key, is a 3.5mm headphone jack.

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The slide mechanism on the Motorola Droid 2 is very stiff, like it was on the original Droid. It does not spring open with a snap. It requires some pressure, and it feels too tight. It was also troubling that the slide loosened considerably during my test run, to the point that it was comfortable after a few days of continual use.

Once the slide is open, though, you get access to Motorola's great keyboard. It wasn't as springy as some other keyboards I've preferred - like the keys on the HTC Touch Pro2 - but it's still among the best on any smartphone today. The keys are large and roomy, but more importantly, they are aligned perfectly, exactly like your desktop keys. So, the M key falls under the J and K, instead of being pushed off to one side or the other. The balanced, symmetrical layout helped my typing considerably, and I could type without looking after a few days' practice.

Besides the full QWERTY alphabet, the keyboard also gets some nice shortcuts. There's an inverted-T arrow layout. The Droid 2 lacks a trackball or optical joystick, so this is the best way to fine tune your text. There's nothing fancy like a “.com” key, though “@” and “/” get their own keys for easier Web work. There's an Alt button and an Alt Lock button, a weird choice. There is also a key for search, a standard Android key, and a key for Voice Search. That Voice Search key is a nice addition, since the Droid 2 is the first Android phone to launch with Google's new Voice Actions software. Too bad that key is hidden under the screen; it would be even more useful with the keyboard closed.

 
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