Motorola Droid Smartphone Review

Touch The World

Motorola’s Droid smartphone includes a unique feature that is the first of its kind, that we know of: video recorded with its camera can be uploaded directly to YouTube. This gives you the power to share widescreen DVD-quality video without a computer. This could be a world-changing feature.

The Droid (identified by the computer we attached it to as model A855) runs Google’s Android 2.0 operating system. It requires a good 40 seconds to start (but who actually turns off their phone anymore?). Once the operating system comes up, you slide a “switch” on the display to get to the phone’s main screen. From here you can access a number of goodies, including a web browser, the camera, e-mail, Facebook, gMail, Google Maps, Google Talk and YouTube. Oh, and it places and takes phone calls, too.

The phone includes haptic feedback, so whenever you touch a button, the phone gently vibrates to let you know that you activated it. However, the touch sensitivity takes some getting used to – we ended up activating several buttons we didn’t intend to (especially search). The slide-down keyboard is small but works quite well.


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We primarily tested the phone’s camera, since that’s who we are and what we do. To do that, we hit the camera button on the display and slid the still/video “switch” over to video. We found that there is a surprisingly large number of settings – there are actually more options on this phone’s camera than we’ve seen on most pocket camcorders. There are two quality settings: high (for recording to an SD card) and low (for sending video as MMS message attachments). You can set maximum video durations to 30 seconds, 10 minutes or 30 minutes. There are white balance settings: auto, incandescent, daylight, fluorescent and cloudy. And there are even optional color effects that you can turn on: monochrome, sepia, negative, solarize, red tint, green tint and blue tint. Curiously, there is no zoom control available when shooting video; only when shooting still images is the camera’s 4x digital zoom available.

While the phone is somewhat awkward to hold for taking video, the video quality is quite good – surprisingly good for a device that isn’t a “real” camcorder. The high-quality clips came out as 3GPP files running at 3Mbps with 16kHz, 96kbps mono audio.

After you shoot your video, you can go back to the main screen and select YouTube. You then touch the menu button and choose Upload. Log in if needed, then navigate to the video you want to upload. Give it a name and then touch Upload. The phone will send videos larger than 4MB only over a stable wi-fi connection, rather than sending them over Verizon’s EVDO network.

Tech Specs

Protocol:CDMA 1X 800/1900MHz, EVDO rev. A

Subsidy lock: Verizon Wireless

Form factor: Touchscreen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard

Camera: 5 megapixel, 4x digital zoom, 720×480 at 24 fps video capture

Power: 1400mAh Li-Ion battery, 385 min. continuous usage, 270 hr. standby

Bluetooth: Yes

Wi-Fi: Yes (b, g)

Web browser: Yes

Music player: Yes

GPS mapping/navigation: Yes

Computer connection: Micro USB

Memory card slot: microSD (16GB card pre-installed)

Headset jack: 3.5mm

Hearing aid compatible: Yes

Display: 3.7″, 16:9 form factor

Weight: 6 oz

Size: 2.4″ H x 4.6″ W x 0.5″ D

View the sample video here.


  • Direct YouTube upload
  • Many functions


  • Need wi-fi to upload big clips
  • No zoom for video


A truly remarkable wireless phone with revolutionary video capabilities.

Charles Fulton is Videomaker‘s Technical Editor.

Motorola Inc.

1303 E. Algonquin Rd.

Schaumburg, IL 60196

$200 with 2-year Verizon Wireless contract

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.