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Review: Motorola Droid 2

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The Motorola Droid 2 is a definite improvement over the original Droid. The keyboard, my biggest problem with the original, has been dramatically improved, and it's now one of the best smartphone keyboards around. While the original offered no interface enhancements from Motorola, with the Droid 2, Moto has added some slick, useful yet unobtrusive extras that make the phone easier to use. The contact and social networking widgets, for instance, are among the best examples of these features on any smartphone.

It isn't all good news. I still think the hardware design is plain ugly, even more so now that Motorola has smoothed out some of the sharp edges and dulled down the aggressively black, stealthy paint job from the original. Though I love the new widgets, the customized address book didn't perform well, and the few other changes to the system had me wondering if these tweaks will keep Google from offering updates compatible with the Droid 2 as quickly as they were available for the original Droid, which is to say - before everyone else got them.

There were also performance problems, a surprise since the phone uses a TI OMAP processor at 1 GHz. Every feature, from the interface and menus to the address book to the camera app, seemed to lag often. At best, the phone could be fast and responsive. But it would occasionally slow for no apparent reason, and sometimes features wouldn't respond at all.

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That said, the Motorola Droid 2 is the best full QWERTY smartphone on Verizon Wireless' lineup, at least until HTC makes a Touch Pro2 that doesn't run Windows Mobile. The few problems I have didn't come close to outweighing the positive experience I had with this phone. A sluggish Droid 2 is still much faster than an LG Ally, for instance. Plus, with that great keyboard, fantastic, hi-res display and all the extensibility that Android offers, the Motorola Droid 2 is an easy phone to recommend, though it might want to keep that Droid eye looking over its shoulder as stiff competition approaches.


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