Tag Archives: Appalachian Mountains

Motorola Droid X & Verizon Wireless service–Reviewed by an iPhone and AT&T user


Okay, up front, I have been an AT&T customer for the past 6 years, and have been an iPhone user for the past 2.  With that said, this review is meant more towards the overall experience with the Droid X and Verizon’s service rather then with the technical specifics, you can get those anywhere.

BACKGROUND

I live in a small town in Kentucky, off of I75, and my job has me travelling across at least 36 counties in the southeastern section of the state, through the Daniel Boone forest and the Appalachian Mountains.  The general range I have to travel allowed me an opportunity to not only test a device, but I wanted to test a different service then just AT&T which I have been accustom to.  Verizon Wireless was gracious enough to give me an opportunity to not only demo their service, but also the Motorola Droid X for a couple of weeks.  My first venture with an Android based phone and Verizon.

THE PHONE

droidxThe first and initial impressions I had of the phone was not only its screen size, but the phone’s overall size.  When looking at the side by side, the Droid is noticeably larger then the iPhone, and to some this might be a negative, but after using it, I’d being willing to argue that it is a plus.  Not only was the screen very sharp, maybe not as sharp as the iPhone 4, but sharp none the less, and the larger screen made it nicer to watch videos, look at photos and play, yes; Angry Birds!

The phone comes with four basic function buttons at the bottom of the screen;  Menu, Home, Search, and Back.  As a constant iPhone user, this took a little adjusting to, I found myself having to remember to hit the Menu button for certain options to appear in apps that I was used to bring up with the swipe of a finger.  Nothing really to complain or fuss about, just the nature of the beast and difference between devices.  Call quality was fine for me, and I have no complaints in regards to the quality of the calls.

The device itself runs fast and responds quickly to commands and opening of apps.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of performance, but was impressed by the phone.  The interface took a little getting used to, but it didn’t take very long to grow accustomed to it.  I realize it’s a custom UI for the phone, and differs from other Android based phones, but as this is my first, I have no basis to compare, and won’t attempt to.  I found the IU extremely reasonable on how it functioned, and really have no ill regards towards it in anyway.

Another feature, which I was impressed by somewhat, was the camera.  Pretty much standard for any smartphone anymore, the camera worked well for the shots I took with it, including the built in flash, which was nice being that I’m still in the dark ages with my old school iPhone 3G and am not used to having a flash available on my phone.  One thing that truly impressed me was the video taking capabilities of the phone, as I recorded a few minutes of a basketball game, and had no problem with the video quality and fast movements that came with that recording.

The one draw back, which is something you will see mentioned on nearly all reviews, is the battery life of the phone.  I do a lot of texting, internet, and heavy emailing during the day, and my iPhone has been through the paces.  I have to charge it at least every night, if not plug it up at some point while travelling on the road to ensure I get through the day, so poor battery life is something I’ve just learned to live with currently.  That is one thing I did notice with the Droid X.  I didn’t use it near as heavy as I would my normal phone, and the battery would need to be charged by the evenings, especially if I did any heavy net surfing.  I would say its equivalent to the battery life I currently have on my iPhone 3G, which, isn’t that great, to say the least, but considering some of the aspects of the phone itself, I can see where it would get into having battery life issues.

Technical Specs

  • Verizon Motorola Droid X
  • Android 2.1
  • 4.3” LCD 854×480
  • TI OMAP 3630 1Ghz
  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB Internal, 16BG/32GB (microSD)
  • 8 Megapixel camera
  • 3G, Wifi b/g, BT
  • FM Radio
  • TV Out (HDMI)
  • 4.6 x 2.3 x .047”, 4.6oz
  • 1540mAh battery

THE SERVICE

This is the nuts and bolts of why I truly wanted a chance to do this.  I’m going to be very candid and say I’m accustomed to AT&T’s service.  I only have 3G speed available in one small area of my entire 36 county region, and that is in Somerset, KY.  I have grown accustomed to not only random quick dead spots that will cause dropped called, but full blown dead areas, not only in Rockcastle County, but throughout Eastern Kentucky.  Its something I’ve just learned to live around and know.  I’ve traveled the same roads so much the past few years, I know when and where I can make a call or need to end a call early, and the worst part?  In 6 years, nothing has been done to improve the signal quality.

When I received the Verizon phone, I wasn’t only surprised, but I was amazed.  The data speed in which the phone had, sitting in my living room was above and beyond what I received with my iPhone.  Even in the only AT&T 3G area I’m typically in, the Droid X moved faster on data then my iPhone.  Most dead spots that I had grown accustomed to, were none existent with the Verizon phone.  No dropped calls either.

One hiccup I did have, was while attending a college football game in Lexington, the Verizon service did seem to have a few hiccups while I tried to use it in the stadium, but so does my iPhone unless I turn off 3G, so there isn’t a big surprise there which the crowds at Commonwealth Stadium, I just felt it was something to note.

One other candid comment I’d like to make.  I sent the same request to all major Wireless providers in the area, including a few smaller ones.  I only had 2 respond to my request (One where I voiced desire to not only test a device, but their service in the region).  Verizon was the first to respond and have been very gracious in their support, I hope to work out another deal with the other company (Appalachian Wireless) to demo a product and give a similar report to their service soon.

BOTTOM LINE

As a iPhone user for the past few years, I was impressed with the Droid X’s design and functioning, not only as a phone but as an overall device, as I’m the type that expects a lot out of his device, and will milk it for everything it has.  For now, I’m personally going to stick with my iPhone, mainly because I have a few apps that I rely on, that are not currently available on the Android market.  Although with that said, let me also point out that I found some of the apps available on the Android market, very desirable, and unavailable to myself on my iPhone (NFL anyone).

As for the service.  I came in expecting it to be a little more reliable then AT&T, simply by word of mouth, but I was blown away by the difference between Verizon and AT&T’s signal strength and cell reception in what are typically weak and dead zones, not to mention the data speeds I was able to get around my test area.  When it comes to the iPhone being available on Verizon, I very well could be one of the first in line when it becomes available.

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