Droid 2 review: Slightly better than last timeAugust 13, 2010: 11:49 PM ET
The Droid 2 is a tuneup on the original.
Motorola (MOT) didn't have a launch party for the Droid 2 like the one they threw for the Droid X, mostly because it really isn't a huge update. There was no fanfare, no lines, and no special guest appearances by Andy Rubin and Adobe like the Droid X last month. Maybe Verizon should have called it the Droid 1.1...or maaaybe 1.5.
There isn't much difference between the Droid 2 and the original Droid that debuted last year. In fact, besides the better keyboard, bluer back and longer lip on the front, you probably won't notice a difference. But that's not such a bad thing. The original Droid was (and still is) a damn fine piece of equipment.
Under the hood, Motorola's made some improvements including a 1GHz TI OMAP processor (up from 550MHz.), double the RAM to 512MB as well as a faster Wifi chip that now let's you attach to 802.11N networks. The improved performance, which is not not noticeable in most day to day actions, doesn't take a toll on the on the battery. I get about the same or slightly better usage as the original Droid, once updated to Froyo.
Froyo also brings you Flash, which runs pretty well on the Droid 2. I am able to run most Flash video on Froyo without a second thought. Games and interactive Flash sites are a little hard to master.
Speaking of Froyo, one of neatest things to do on the new Droid is use the 'Voice Actions' feature. It works eerily well. But it works just as well on the older Droid so current droid users shouldn't feel left out. I've started to use Voice Input for a lot more actions (like emails, maps and SMS) than I ever considered before. It is totally changing the way I use a smartphone.
Voice action works with Pandora with about a 10 second round trip
There are a few other software extras which come in handy. You also get DLNA to wirelessly move around and Swype for faster texting on the virtual keyboard, should you choose to use it. I just streamed a movie from my hard drive to my phone for the first time. A nice trick but I won't be trading in my TV anytime soon.
The camera is the exact same as the Droid 1. It DOES fine. It won't win you any photography awards, however. And Droid 2 doesn't do 720P recording either, not that any camerphone delivers great 720P results in this area. The size and weight are the same or so close to the original that you won't be able to tell the difference.
The one other bit of difference is that the Droid 2 acts as a 'hotspot.' According to Verizon, the original Droid didn't have the horsepower under the hood to do this. Right. The hotspot worked for me though Verizon has broken this out into its own app rather than keep it in the Wireless settings area.
Well, that's it. Not much more to talk about. I'm going to put this thing up against the Sprint Epic 4G this weekend to see which Android keyboard phone is the keeper.
You can pick up the Droid 2 at Verizon for $200 after instant rebates or on Amazon for $149 with a two year contract with Verizon. That's the same price as the Droid ncredible but $30 less than the Droid X. The original Droid is still available for free.
An online store called 'Let's Talk' has them for $99 with with a plan for new customers. On the day of launch.
Some comparison shots below: