Motorola's Droid 3 comes with business-friendly features, much like RIM's BlackBerry phones. Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired.com
The BlackBerry has long been seen as the device of choice for business-savvy types for over a decade. Motorola wants to change that.
As the latest iteration of Motorola’s Droid-branded devices, the Droid 3 caters to the professional crowd. With its pre-loaded QuickOffice software and slide-out keyboard, it’s meant for those accustomed to doing more on their phone than just playing Angry Birds. After we spent some time with a test device, we’re ready to get to work.
Immediately noticeable is the phone’s physical bulk. Like its two predecessors, the Droid 3 is chunky, almost an electronic brick in your pocket. Granted, at .50 inches thick, it’s slimmer than both previous generations of the model (though only by four-hundredths of a millimeter). Couple the bulk with hard lines and a squared-off design, and you’ve got a phone that’s an enemy of most pants pockets.
But Motorola isn’t aiming for your jeans. It’s a professional’s device fit for a blazer pocket, complete with the full Qwerty keyboard that so many white-collared BlackBerry users know and love. The idea is to move those with older generations of corporate-friendly RIM phones — people reluctant to change devices for fear of change — into the Android environment. I fired off a few e-mails on the keyboard with relative ease; the raised buttons make quite a difference for typing compared to the flat ones of the first Droid phone.
While the keyboard itself is nice, the slider mechanism leaves us wanting. It’s a bit sluggish, as if there’s something stuck between the two halves of the phone. Unfortunately, it’s nothing like the snappy, responsive slider on Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play.
There’s another big draw for the U.S. business crowd that does any overseas traveling. The phone comes with a SIM card, allowing for calls in countries outside of the states. The SIM runs on the Vodafone network, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. That means you’ll have cellular capabilities in over 200 countries. There’s one catch: Data roaming charges outside of the states could cost you over 20 buck per megabyte. But if you’re on the corporate dime, who cares?
The Droid 3’s waist size may have shrunk, but its screen certainly hasn’t. Motorola added an extra .3 inches to the screen’s diameter, measuring in at an admirable 4 inches of real estate. It’s more than enough space to view movies and photos, especially on the qHD screen.
Speaking of photos, the 8-megapixel back-facing camera takes rather good ones. I shot a few indoor photos, and the flash worked well in grabbing details under low light conditions. The phone also comes with a front-facing camera, which takes decent enough pictures, and can be used for video chat.
Another big difference from previous Droid models: The Droid 3 comes sporting a dual-core 1-GHz processor, a trend amongst powerful smartphones debuting this year. Unfortunately it’s only backed up by 512 MB of RAM, but we didn’t run into any problems running apps.
Overall, we think it’s a solid phone at first glance. Whether or not it will usurp the BlackBerry, however, remains to be seen.