I've spent the last week using the Motorola Droid 3 ($199.99 on contract from Verizon Wireless). I can easily avow that the handset is the best of the Droids yet-that is better than its two predecessors, the original Motorola Droid and Droid 2.
The Droid 3 has a crisp 4-inch, qHD (quarter-high-definition) display running at 960 by 540 resolution and is powered by a 1GHz dual-core chip. The chip facilitated application data well for a 3G smartphone trying to live on Verizon's increasingly 4G-centered network.
The device is half an inch thick, 2.52 inches wide and 4.8 inches long. The phone has a soft, black-matte finish that feels cozy in the hand, so long as one can get over the extra weight of the keyboard and the fact that that QWERTY slider feels like another piece of equipment on the phone.
While the larger screen (the first two Droids had 3.7-inch touch-screens) is welcome, the Droid 3 is as heavy as they come at 6.5 ounces, more than a half ounce heavier than either of its cousins.
That's due to the larger battery (1,540 mAh compared with the Droid 2's 1,400-mAh power supply), larger touch-screen and QWERTY slider, which adds a fifth row of keys dedicated to numbers only.
This keyboard is as great as physical smartphone keyboards come, featuring soft, perfectly raised and spaced keys for fast, accurate typing. The Droid 3's QWERTY slider alone may endear the phone to many messaging-heavy folks in the consumer and enterprise sectors.
This phone also runs Android 2.3 "Gingerbread," which is my personal favorite Android build so far for the aesthetic appeal, particularly the improved soft keyboard, which employs wider keys.
Phone calls across Connecticut and to family in rural West Virginia were satisfactory, but applications and messaging still rule the roost with the Droid 3. Facebook and Twitter for Android, YouTube, and the new Google+ mobile application with Huddle group messaging all worked as well as I expected.
The Droid 3 has something of a split personality, too, in that it's as much for consumer media as it is for work. What do I mean by that?
This handset offers "mirror mode," allowing users to flash photos, videos and more on a TV screen via an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output cable. Unfortunately, that is not included with the phone, though you can buy one from Motorola for $39.99. Still, it's a nice multimedia portability touch.