Droid 2 review roundup

Droid 2 has arrived on Verizon Wireless. So what are the reviewers saying about the latest handset in the popular Motorola Droid line?

Droid 2, the latest iteration of the top-selling Motorola handset, hit stores. Here, a close-up look at the Droid 2 touchscreen.

Droid 2, an upgraded version of the Droid, has hit store shelves. Last week, we compared the Droid 2, which ships with a slide-out keyboard, Android 2.2 Froyo OS, and Adobe Flash 10.1, to the Droid X. Our Verdict: The Droid 2 is sleeker, and comes loaded up – right out of the gate – with a better software package. But what are the professional reviewers saying about the newest Motorola handset? Let's take a look at two recent Droid 2 reviews.

Over at Engadget, Chris Ziegler praises the "modern" look of the Droid 2. The phone, Ziegler writes, "is coated in a fantastic soft-touch material that virtually guarantees you're not going to drop it (unless you want to, possibly in a fit of rage or what have you). It's basically the same as the Droid, except Motorola's decided to throw in a splash of color this time and make it a subtle shade of blue."

But Ziegler has some major reservations about the 5-megapixel camera, which also shoots high-resolution video.

"The original Droid has a famously bad shooter, and we regret to say the Droid 2 doesn't seem to be much better – autofocus is still noisy and slow, macro mode doesn't really work, and images are often hazy and heavily artifacted," Ziegler writes. "Making matters worse, Motorola has started using the same cumbersome camera UI featured on the Droid X, which makes changing modes awkward and a less efficient process than it has to be."

Bonnie Cha of CNET likes the 3.7-inch touch screen on the Droid 2, which she says is "a good size, as well as sharp and vibrant, so reading text and viewing Web pages, pictures, and video is quite nice. If you do need to get a closer look at something or want more screen real estate, the display offers pinch-to-zoom support and a built-in accelerometer. Both functions work smoothly and quickly," Cha notes.

Cha also likes the software on the Droid 2, which ships with the Android 2.2 OS and the Motoblur interface.

The Motoblur on the Droid 2, Cha writes, "is nothing like what we've seen on the Motorola Cliq and Backflip. You still get widgets for your social-networking updates, weather, photo gallery, and favorite contacts, but they no longer take up huge chunks of space on your home screen, and you can even resize the widgets. It makes for a much cleaner experience, and you don't feel overwhelmed by all the information," she adds.

Of course, Verizon Wireless is likely hoping that the Droid 2 will help snap Apple users unsatisfied with erratic AT&T service. So how does the Droid 2 stack up in the reception department? We're going to give the last word here to Ziegler at Engadget, who reports that "signal strength was a major issue for all four Engadget editors who've been able to spend time with four different Droid 2s in different parts of the country this week."

The symptoms, Ziegler says, "include a wildly fluctuating meter while the phone's sitting still, weak or no reception in places where you're usually fine on Verizon, and a complete lack of data service (which was actually how we noticed the problem the first time). We're used to seeing 3G drop to EDGE, GPRS, or disappear completely on our iPhones on AT&T, but it's a rarity on Verizon."

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