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Review: Motorola Droid 3

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The Droid 3 runs the latest version of Motorola's customized Android interface, though it is no longer being referred to as Motoblur. It's not stock Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but it's not far off, either.

Motorola hasn't done anything interesting or innovative with the lock screen (such as what HTC does with its Sense software.) Instead, it mirrors what we've seen on other Motorola Android devices. The Droid 3 has five home screens. Verizon and Motorola have preloaded content on three of them, leaving two blank. As with any Android device, the home panels are yours to do with as you please. Load 'em up, or leave 'em empty. It's all on you to make it yours.

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There's a set of four icons that are at the bottom of all five home screen panels, which provide access to the phone, messages, camera, and main app menu. The main app drawer is navigated from side to side, rather than up and down. There are 60 applications on board, 20 appearing on each screen. They are arranged alphabetically, but can be sorted into groups such as favorites, most recently used, and so on. There's a nice animated effect when you swipe from screen to screen.

The settings menu is essentially unmodified and works as expected. I wish Motorola had added some basic controls to the notification shade, as other manufacturers have been doing as of late. It didn't, and instead the notification shade only provides notifications.

Motorola hasn't done anything to really spice up the way Android works, but it definitely feels like a Motorola phone thanks to the (very light) interface skin.

A note on system performance: During initial set up (when you're syncing your myriad accounts to the device) performance is very sluggish. Any time you see the syncing symbol in the notifications bar (two arrows circling one another), the phone is talking to the network to get everything up to date. When those circles are visible, the phone will run a bit slow. Once beyond the initial sync, however, I noticed no problems in terms of speed and performance. Basically, give it a few hours to settle down before you freak out.


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