Motorola Droid 3 Lightning Review: Another Summer Sequel

Illustration for article titled Motorola Droid 3 Lightning Review: Another Summer Sequel

The original Droid was the phone that put Android on the map. Two sequels later, here we are with the Droid 3. But is it more The Dark Knight Rises or Spiderman 3?


The Droid 3 is solid. Like tank solid. Assembled from magnesium alloy and glass and a soft matte plastic, it won't have complaints of cheapness hurled at it like say, the Nexus S. The keyboard has a satisfying clickiness to it and the added row of number keys—five rows!—is an unexpected source of phone joy. The Droid 3 is le snappy. Motorola's custom UI is tastefully implemented and relatively unobtrusive. Though it makes some parts of Android—like the home screen—look chintzy, it makes other areas—like the messaging app—look less ugly and rudimentary than stock Android. And the screen improvement (now 4-inches with qHD resolution), is solid, if not quite jaw-dropping, when it comes to picture quality.


No Like

Carrying the Droid 3 around is not unlike lugging a rock around in your pocket. It's dense, it's bulky, it's covered with hard angles. It's a trade off you've gotta make for top-notch build quality and a keyboard, but it doesn't make it more enjoyable. The sliding mechanism is stiff and grating (just like the previous models). Apparently there are users out there who like it very much. I don't. And where's the 4G LTE?

The Droid 3 doesn't do anything new—it would've been nice if the Droid 3 was a bit slimmer and lighter, but for existing Droid owners who love what they have and just want the same thing, but faster, stronger and better, that's exactly what this is. For everybody else, if you need a keyboard—particularly a rare 5-row keyboard—and are on Verizon, this isn't a bad place to start.

Motorola Droid 3
Network: Verizon
Screen: 4-inch, 960x540 Gorilla Glass qHD Display
Weight: 6.0oz
Processor: 1GHz, Dual-Core TI OMAP4430
Storage: 16GB internal + up to 32GB SD Storage
OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) + Custom Skin
Cameras: Rear 8-megapixel, Front 0.3-megapixel
Price: $200 with two-year contract


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I just picked one up after three years with my (now antiquated) LG Voyager. I have to admit that the first 24 hours with the Droid 3 were fairly frustrating, but that was largely due to my own unfamiliarity with the current generation of cell phone technology. Beyond that, though, I did have some issues with some strange browser behavior and wonky battery charge readings.

After letting the battery drain all the way down and then recharging, plus spending a day learning the ins and outs of the interface, I came to like the Droid 3 a great deal. I can't speak for those who have had smartphones in the past, but for a consumer like me who hadn't gotten a new phone since late 2008 (i.e. someone who wouldn't miss 4G anyway) the Droid 3 is a solid piece of tech - especially since I love having the pull-out keyboard.