Reviewer Chooses Droid

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-16 Print this article Print

The physical keyboard of the Droid ended up being a bigger deal than I expected, and it actually helped put the Droid over the top. And there is nothing wrong with this keyboard, at all, whereas the touch-screen keypads on the Droid and Eris originally gave me fits, with my not-so-nimble fingers mistyping.

When I got tired of slow, edit-ridden typing on the Droid, I was able to abandon the touch screen for its keyboard. No such luck on the Eris. I'm also no fan of the Eris' track ball.

Droid also has physical advantages: For example, I quickly found the camera button on the side of the Droid and began snapping photos and taking video footage. A small slider on the touch screen lets users effortlessly toggle back and forth between camera or video mode. The Eris has these virtual slider feature but relies solely on its touch screen. The Droid wins here.

Both the Droid and Eris are equipped with 5 megapixel cameras and take clear shots and video footage. However, the Droid has a 3.7-inch screen, while the Eris is 3.2 inches-this may matter for media-intensive apps. Watching YouTube clips on the Droid was more enjoyable.

As others lamented before me, the Droid is a heavy phone. It's the type of device that, if you have a small hole in the pocket of your chino pants, will only make it larger over time. But after carrying it around in my coat pocket for a couple of hours and using it repeatedly, I got used to it. I suspect people who carry it awhile will feel the same way.

At the end of the day, my heart lies with the Droid. Why? It just feels more comfortable in my hand. I don't always have to use a touch screen or a little lousy track ball to navigate. I can fall back on the keyboard, though I'll admit the touch screen on both devices got easier to manage after three days of consistent use.

My guess is the $100 cost differential is due to the presence of the keyboard, which always makes design challenging, and the inclusion of Google Maps Navigation.

But the Eris is a fine device, too. If you want a touch-screen-only Android phone that satisfies all of your communication and socializing needs, the Eris fits the bill. It's also got push utilities for Microsoft Exchange and Gmail, so it will play well for knowledge workers. For $99 after the rebate, it's a steal.

With Android software powering these two quality smartphones, it really comes down to physical preferences. You need to ask yourself what yours is before you put either the Droid or the Eris on your wish list.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to add information about the Droid's potential for multitouch capabilities.


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