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Motorola Droid 3

*Est. $200 with contract
Reviewed
February 2012
by ConsumerSearch

Droid 3 only a minor upgrade in the Droid family

Pros
  • Spacious QWERTY keyboard
  • Front-facing camera for video calls
  • Bright, colorful 4-inch qHD display
  • 1080p high-def video recording
  • World phone
Cons
  • No 4G capabilities
  • Screen isn't very crisp
  • Some slowdowns in processing speed
Where to Buy
 

Following the success of the Droid and Droid 2 comes the Droid 3, which sports an excellent keyboard. The thinnest smartphone of the bunch, the Droid 3 features a spacious slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a bright 4-inch qHD display and 1080p high-definition video recording. While it has an impressive list of specs, reviewers say it doesn't play out as well in reality and faces competition from the Droid Bionic (*Est. $50) and other high-end Verizon smartphones. It's "not as 'revolutionary' as the original," says Brad Molen of Engadget.com, "but QWERTY keyboard lovers will find it to be worth a consideration."

Taking most of its design cues from its predecessors, the Droid 3 is hefty, but solid. It is taller and wider than the other Droids thanks to its 4-inch qHD display, but it's slightly thinner. Though the screen is bright and colorful, reviewers say it can appear pixilated or less crisp at times, with Jonathan S. Geller of BGR.com describing it as "incredibly pixelated, and cheap." The slide-out QWERTY keyboard is "a vast improvement", says Armando Rodriguez of PC World. Its spacious size and dedicated number row make typing fast and mistake-free, according to reviewers.

Interface and 3G not the zippiest

Internally the Droid 3 runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Motorola's custom user interface (UI) layered on top, all powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor. Reviewers feel the UI slows the processor down. "The Droid 3 packs a dual-core 1GHz processor, but you definitely wouldn't know it," says Geller. In the multimedia department, the Droid 3 includes an 8-megapixel camera that takes decent photos and a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera for voice chat. Video records at 1080p HD, and the Droid 3 includes a port for outputting to an HDTV.

While the Droid 3 is a world phone, it's stuck with 3G speeds and can't tap into Verizon's 4G LTE networks. Several reviewers suggest that those who can do without a physical keyboard try out the Droid Bionic instead for its 4G speeds. Bonnie Cha of CNET reports that while the lack of 4G is a disappointment, 3G speeds "weren't bad." In her tests, full websites loaded in roughly 16 seconds and mobile sites loaded in 6 to 9 seconds. Battery life lasted through a workday with moderate use and call quality proved decent, though some complain of low volume and muffled sounds.

Generally in agreement that the Droid 3 sounds better on paper than in practice, several reviewers tested its 3G speeds, call quality and battery life. CNET and PC World offer summaries of the smartphone's software and hardware performance, while Engadget.com offers image and video samples. Pocket-Lint.com takes a more detailed, technical look at the Droid 3, while BGR.com points out several of the smartphone's flaws.

Our Sources

1. CNET

Awarding the Droid 3 a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, Bonnie Cha compliments the smartphone for its "excellent" QWERTY keyboard but finds that the rest of the phone's improvements "fail to impress."

Review: Motorola Droid 3 (Verizon Wireless), Bonnie Cha, July 19, 2011

2. PC World

Armando Rodriguez rates the Droid 3 at 4 out of 5 stars, listing its keyboard and Android 2.3 software as pros, and its poor camera and bloatware as cons.

Review: Motorola Droid 3, Armando Rodriguez, July 15, 2011

3. Engadget.com

The Droid 3 has a "top-notch" keyboard and "high-end specs," Brad Molen says. Although the Droid series has had a good run, it seems to be fading.

Review: Motorola Droid 3 Review, Brad Molen, July 21, 2011

4. Pocket-lint.com

Mark Harris ranks the Droid 3 at 3.5 out of 5 stars, calling it a "perfectly respectable handset" but notes that unless the keyboard is your top priority this likely isn't the smartphone you want.

Review: Motorola Droid 3 Review, Mark Harris, July 19, 2011

5. BGR.com

Calling the Droid 3 "rushed," Jonathan S. Geller says that Motorola has "pretty much missed the boat" thanks to the Droid 3's "borderline atrocious" call quality and its bulky size.

Review: Motorola Droid 3 Review, Jonathan S. Geller, July 27, 2011

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