The Motorola DROID X2 might be the second handset in Verizon’s Android lineup with an ‘X’ in its name, but it’s the first to feature a dual-core processor. The NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip clocked at 1GHz is definitely the key selling point for this phone, but a crisp and big qHD display rolled into a familiar and successful form factor make the X2 easily one of Verizon’s best handsets to date. The lack of 4G LTE connectivity will deter some future-looking buyers, but if the next-gen network technology isn’t on your list of must-haves, the Droid X2 is definitely worth a long, hard look.
The Droid X2 really shines in the hardware department. Motorola continues the trend of bringing the latest cutting-edge technologies together with sleek looks under the Droid name. The things that will instantly stick out to anyone checking out the X2 are its blazing Tegra 2 processor and bright, beautiful, and big qHD display. Motorola chose to not fix what wasn’t broken, and instead key upgrades are what make the Droid X2 a real powerhouse.
The Droid X2 carries Verizon’s first dual-core processor, a Tegra 2 clocked at 1GHz per core, and it really cooks here. The X2 isn’t the fastest dual-core handset we have had the pleasure of getting to know, but we’ll chalk that up to Motorola’s often-bulky MotoBlur interface (we’d be real interested to see how the X2 would perform with stock Android). Launching applications is quick and smooth, navigating amongst homescreens and launching profiles feels seamless, and 3D graphics and gaming performance are top notch.
The 4.3-inch qHD display with its 540×960 resolution is a real treat as well. We can’t say it tops the Super AMOLED Plus of recent Samsung handsets, but video, web sites, and images look clear and bright, and text is as easy to read as ever. The X2 is capable of 720p video playback, and an HDMI out provides the ability to show 1080p content (courtesy of that powerful Tegra 2). The HDMI out also provides a mirror mode for 1:1 mirroring of your handsets display on a larger HD monitor.
Of course, such heavy-hitting hardware comes with one major fault: battery life. A dual-core processor and large display have been known to drain a battery pretty fast, and while the X2 gets a decent lifespan for basic messaging and calling, the minute you start playing 3D games or watching high-quality video content the battery’s power takes a significant dive. We’d hate to see what would happen if 4G LTE was on-board, and perhaps this was part of the decision to leave the network technology out. Yes, the X2 lacks 4G, and it might be the biggest drawback of a handset that otherwise dominates Verizon’s current lineup.
The Droid X2 ships with Android 2.2.2 and the latest version of Motorola’s MotoBlur interface on top. It has never been our favorite interface — and that doesn’t change with the latest version — but some improvements have been made here that do improve the overall experience. The custom UI does at times create lag that would otherwise be unnecessary, but otherwise everything functions smoothly out of the box.
You notice immediately the new blue/grey status bar that mimics the look of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Gingerbread, however, is not here (an update is in the works). The interface features seven home screens and three profiles, giving a grand total of 21 panes of home screen goodness. Switching between profiles is easy, as is jumping to any particular home screen using the hardware ‘home’ key.
A set of four icons along the bottom of each home screen remain static and provide quick access to the phone dialer, messaging, camera, and apps launcher. The apps launcher itself is updated with new sorting options and the ability to hop directly into the Android Market.
The standard array of social networking, messaging, and information portal widgets are here, and they function as advertised. Nothing to write home about, and sometimes clunkier than necessary. Many users will get a lot of use from these built-in services while others might simply remove them from their home screens. The X2 comes with plenty of pre-loaded software at launch, including your standard Google Mobile Suite options and Verizon V Cast offerings.
Given the excellent hardware of the handset, we can easily look past any flaws that MotoBlur brings with it. We’re excited to see where the Droid X2 goes when it receives its Gingerbread update in the near future.
Gaming, Media, and Web Browsing
Here is where you will get your money’s worth with the Droid X2. The combination of dual-core processor and updated display technology with plenty of screen real estate offer some of the best gaming, web browsing, and media viewing experiences to date on an Android phone.
The X2 breezes through full-3D offerings, rendering graphics with ease and hardly skipping a beat. And it isn’t all for nothing, as the qHD display translates said 3D graphics with brilliant clarity.
The 4.3-inch screen provides a great web browsing experience, rendering pages as they should look and giving plenty of room to read text and view images. Scrolling is flawless and responsive and page loads are snappy.
Viewing video on the X2 is, likewise, a real treat. Again, you can thank the large display and fast processor for this (are you seeing a trend?). Battery life remains an issue when using the X2 heavily for video and game consumption, but given a charge is nearby you could easily lose hours to all that the X2 has to offer.
The Motorola Droid X2 is a superbly crafted handset that takes all that was good with the original and spruces it up in all the right areas. You can’t go wrong with the X2 for gaming, media, and other tasks that require some pretty powerful specs. Simply put, this is a power-user’s handset, but it could find a home with nearly anyone. It’s large size may turn a few off, and a lack of 4G LTE connectivity doesn’t provide a future-proof device, but if those factors aren’t an issue you can’t go wrong with the Droid X2.