Motorola DROID Pro Review

As a relatively new convert to Android devices, I’ve been trying as many phones as I can get my hands on to validate my choice for buying the Droid X. So far only the Samsung Fascinate has made me second guess my choice. I even had a chance to trade my Droid X for that phone, but in the end kept the Droid X. Then I saw the Motorola Droid Pro from Verizon Wirelesswith its candy bar form factor and QWERTY thumb keyboard and my second guessing problems started anew. Looking at the Droid Pro takes me back to the good old days with various Palm Treos. As a button lover, this phone should be perfect for me right? Let’s find out.

Note: Most images in this review can be clicked to view a larger size.

Hardware Specifications

Processor: TI OMAP 1GHz processor with Dedicated GPU
Networks: CDMA 800/1900 MHz; GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Data : EV-DO Rev. A
Memory: 2GB Internal memory for emails, texts, and apps, 2GB pre–installed microSD card for music, videos, and pictures (expandable to 32GB)
Operating System: Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS with Motorola Application Platform
Display: 3.1″ 480×320 (HVGA) TFT display
Camera: 5MP with LED flash
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
BLUETOOTH v2.1+ EDR
Dimensions: 4.69″ (H) x 2.36″ (W) x 0.46″ (D)
Weight: 4.73 ounces
Battery: 1,380mAh with up to 390 talk minutes or up to 330 hours standby

Package Contents

Motorola Droid Pro Smartphone
Wall charger
3 international adapters
USB charging / syncing cable
Manuals
2GB microSD card
SIM card for global calling

Whenever I get a new phone, I like to compare the size with my other phones. As you can see here, the Droid Pro is right in the middle size-wise between the iPhone 4 and the Droid X. It’s not too big and not too small. It’s pretty much just right.

From what I can tell, the case of this phone is made of plastic, with no metal parts (correct me if I’m wrong…). The top part of the shell is a silvery grey blue, with a chrome band around the sides. The back is black with a gradient line graphic.

The face of the Droid Pro has the 3.1″ capacitive touch screen, touch panel and QWERTY keyboard. I’ve been using the Droid X with its ginormous 4.3″ display for several months, so the Pro’s 3.1 inch display seems cramped to my eyes and fingers. That said, it’s bright and easy to read. It is sensitive to the touch and I noticed no problems tapping and scrolling.

Below the display is the 35 key keyboard.

Honestly, my first impression of the keyboard was “wow, these keys sure are tiny!” They aren’t any smaller than other thumbstyle keyboard keys that I’ve used in years past, but I guess since it’s been quite a while since I used one, I forgot what it was like.

The keys are hard, with a strange shape. Instead of being domed or flat, they have an angled ‘wave’ to them. I really don’t care much for shape, but the keys work fine and they have good tactile feedback. I’m able to type without much difficulty, but I think I’m faster with the touch screen Swype keyboard on my Droid X than with this physical keyboard. It’s interesting to note that in landscape mode the Droid Pro has a touch screen keyboard, but they don’t offer Swype as an option…

Both the keyboard and touch panel right above the keyboard are backlit. At first I didn’t think there was a backlight at all, but after a bit of experimenting, both seem to be related to the light sensor and only light up when it’s dark. If hold my hand over the top of the phone, the keyboard and touch panel will light up. Take away my hand and the backlight goes out.

The back of the phone has the 5MP camera and LED flash.

The back cover of the case easily pops off to reveal the battery, microSD slot and SIM card for global calling. The cover is very flexible and at least with my review unit, it doesn’t feel like it snaps on very securely. I can barely stick my fingernail under the bottom right corner and it will pop up. It just feels too flimsy to me.

Along the top edge is a standard sized headphone jack and the power button.

The microphone is located on the bottom edge.

On the left side of the phone, you’ll find the volume rocker and the micro USB connector for charging / syncing. There’s an LED around the USB connector that lights up in white while the phone is charging.

The right side has one button that when pressed, launches the calendar app by default. You can customize the button to launch any app you like though. You can also customize quick launch keys to open apps by holding down the soft search (magnifying glass) and pressing a keyboard key.

Except for the flimsy back cover, the Droid Pro feels solid and comfortable in hand. It doesn’t flex (except for the back cover), creak or crack when squeezed.

Phone

One of the main advantages of the Droid Pro is that it is a global phone. It has support for both CDMA and GSM technologies for roaming outside the US. When you’re here in the US, the Droid Pro will communicate on Verizon’s CDMA network, but when you’re outside the US, it will automatically switch to the international GSM (850/900/1800/190MHz) and UMTS 3G (850/1900/2100) networks by way of the GSM SIM card that it ships with.

Of course, you’ll have to pay extra for global calls… Voice rates start at 69 cents a minute. You can add a global value plan for $4.99 per line/per month for discounts in 150 countries. Here’s the link for more info on devices, plans, roaming, etc: http://b2b.vzw.com/international/Long_Distance/index.html

The phone can also be unlocked after 60 days so that you can swap out the GSM card with another.

I didn’t test the GSM global calling features of the Pro, but for regular domestic calls, I found that it performed as well as other Verizon phones I’ve tested. Call quality and volume were both adequate and I had no dropped calls. I’ve read that some people are complaining of bad call quality, but I’ve not had those issues with the review unit I’ve been testing.

Camera

The built in 5mp camera does a pretty good job. It at least passes my macro requirement. I often use my mobile phone camera to take pix of books and magazine pages when browsing bookstores and the Droid Pro is able to capture those types of images just fine.

Here are some sample images. Click to see the full size version.

I do wish that the right side app launcher button would double as a shutter button while in camera mode instead of having to tap the screen to take a picture. There doesn’t appear to be a way to use it for that function though – unless I missed it.

This camera can capture video but not 720p HD. It does support 720 x 480 pixel (DVD) mode though.

Battery Life

I haven’t had a chance to really test the battery performance of the Droid Pro, but from the few days I’ve been using it, it seems to do better than my Droid X :) It can get through a day or two with normal use before needing a recharge.

Is the display too small?

By adding the keyboard below the display you do lose some screen size. Is that a big deal? I’ve included some screenshots comparing the Droid Pro with the Droid X to give you an idea…

Gmail in landscape mode gives you the same amount of info… just smaller.

In portrait orientation, you lose one line item in Gmail when compared to the Droid X.

Angry birds is still playable…

You lose a row of icons…

Surfing and ebook reading on the Droid Pro will require more scrolling, so if those are your two main uses (or if you’re an avid game player), I’d not pick the Droid Pro as my main device.  This phone is aimed at business users anyway, so a gamer probably would not have this phone on their radar to begin with. It’s much better suited for people that are heavily into texting and need the global calling capabilities.

I like the form factor of the Motorola Droid Pro, but I think this phone has finally made me further realize that I no longer need or want a physical keyboard. And yes, I’m still very happy with my Droid X :)

Posted in: Android related, Reviews

27 comments… add one

  • Andy Chen December 6, 2010, 1:18 pm

    Thanks for this review! I too have had a wandering eye for this, vs. my current Droid X. I believe I’ll be stickin’ with what I have, too, unless I have an itch to use a physical keyboard.

    • Julie December 6, 2010, 1:22 pm

      @Andy Don’t do it :) Trust me :) The Droid Pro is nice, but you won’t be happy moving down to that size display. If I were going to switch to another phone right now, it would still be the Samsung Fascinate due to the AMOLED display and great battery life.

  • Andy Chen December 6, 2010, 2:10 pm

    After using the iPhones and the Droid X, I think I’ll be sticking to keyboardless phones from now on! Just my preference!

  • anson December 6, 2010, 7:21 pm

    I wish I was offered the same difficult choices as you guys in the USA… Here in snowy Toronto Canada, it’s pretty much get an iPhone4 and sit wait it out for Android scraps :(

    If i were in your shoes… I would be a happy camper using a Droid-X. The only thing tempting me would possibly be the forth-coming Sony-Playstation Android phone or Dell Venue Pro (win7)

  • AJ December 8, 2010, 5:58 am

    Julie – does your Droid X sync up with your Mac? Contacts? Calendar? etc.

    • Julie December 8, 2010, 7:36 am

      @AJ No, it syncs with Google contacts, calendar, email. I believe there are 3rd party apps that allow syncing via Macs and PCs though.

  • Lou C December 9, 2010, 3:08 pm

    The Droid PRO is unacceptable for business users because, like all of Motorola’s recent Droid phones (including 2, X, 2 Global), it does NOT reliably received pushed emails from a corporate Exchange email account on a timely basis. After a brief time, the phone stops synching and you will not receive another pushed email until you manually update your inbox. There are hundreds of complaints about this on Motorola’s support forums. This is a known problem for the phone and Motorola continues to market them to business users. If you rely upon getting pushed emails quickly, do NOT buy this phone. For more info, see this thread on Motorola’s forums with nearly 18,000 views and 400 posts: https://supportforums.motorola.com/thread/40791?tstart=0

  • Jason December 22, 2010, 8:08 pm

    Excellent review of the device. I believe you are right about the plastic.

    Hey Lou C,

    Can’t you use the Gmail smpt to send your emails securely? I was dealing with the same issue – I just use the Gmail outgoing server for my push (POP3) email.

  • Jw December 31, 2010, 3:22 am

    Love these reviews of phones where the reviewer doesn’t do anything but a surface examine. Is that really a review? Did you actually try to use the phone for any period of time?
    If so you would have super-imposed a giant red X across the pictures of this piece of crap device. Horrible phone. Poor call quality but worst of all is the complete and utter BS that the corp sync for Exchange doesn’t function reliably. I love the keyboard but the rest of the phone is pretty much shiat.

  • Ashleigh January 2, 2011, 7:51 pm

    Wow, this is the best review of any product that i have ever read. The pictures and descriptions were so helpful. who wrote this article??? Great job who ever you are. I have had a blackberry since the beginning! I don’t like the touch screen but have always liked the fact that iphones and droids had more applications and better photo quality. It’s nice to be able to google something in a pinch and have access to the internet. I also use it to take pictures, but the pic quality on all of my blackberry’s have been terrible. I utilize my blackberry primarilty for business and texting, which is why I always get them. I can type fast with the key pad, but cannot master the touch screen keypad to save my life. I thought the droid pro looked like a good alternative for me and a way to get the best of both worlds???? I tried the blackberry torch and didn’t like the key pad, too small (as was the display screen). thank you for the helpful info!

  • Dusty January 4, 2011, 12:35 pm

    What email program does the droid pro use? Is there a good one we can us on this phone for our POP 3 account with our corporation? Thanks for the wonderful reviews here, it’s great!! Happy New Year to everyone.

    • Julie January 4, 2011, 12:45 pm

      @Dusty there are 2 email programs. A GMail client and then a regular email client that you can setup for your Pop account. I’ve never used the regular email client though. I’ve been a Gmail user for a few years now.

  • Dusty January 4, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Ok, well thank you very much Julie. Have a wonderful New Year and take care.

    Dusty

  • amelia February 10, 2011, 12:54 pm

    Thank you for the write up, it was super helpful. I’ve yet to see anyone, personally, using this phone which is why I was curious about it when I heard of it.

    thanks!!

  • Prasad Subramanian March 10, 2011, 2:09 pm

    NICE REVIEW. i like using physical keyboards along with touch screen ( i was using imate jaq) and was looking for android phone with qwerty.

    I love the big displays aswell.

    I like to add that physical keyboard has practical advantages, like you can type error free even while travelling in a shaky bus to office. somehow with touch i make errors. Its just me i guess.

  • Erick March 13, 2011, 1:57 am

    I hate this phone. It wont txt to anyone. I really liked it at first but now the txt messages either wont go through or they’ll just come up as blank messages. it really sucks! I cant txt anyone and verizon doesnt care. And i dont like that the camera button isnt on the side and mine wont change. Other then that… I like it…

  • Shanice March 19, 2011, 5:37 pm

    I love this phone. The only problem I have is getting more than 10 hours of battery life out of it. I am an active user even when I am sitting at my desk. I’m an ops manager so people call mobile and landline while I am in the office. As far as my business email…I gave my phone to the IT department when I received it, they installed my business email account and I haven’t had any problems getting my emails as soon as they arrive. This is my first phone with a touchscreen. I was trying to wait for the iphone 5 but desperately needed a new phone, my bb tour had seen better days, so decided to go with a phone that would essentially give me the best of both worlds, touch screen and QWERTY and I believe I found it with the Droid Pro. Now if I could just get the darn thing to retain battery life for at least 18 hours I would be a very content user.

  • jkm March 21, 2011, 8:48 pm

    Those having trouble with push email might want to try K9. It’s a free app in the market and works very reliably. Best email program I’ve tried for Android.

  • Pro User July 5, 2011, 2:19 pm

    I really want to like this phone and I have been trying since december but alas it’s a piece of shit. I have replaced this phone 4 times and hopefully in an hour it will be 5. The first phone power cycled, the second phone (after 3 weeks) refused to turn on. The third phone would do a disappearing act with my icons on my home screens, randomly power cycle and the screen would go really fuzzy, like you were in a crappy movie theatre. This phone that I am currently typing on also does the magic act with my icons, freezes all the time and it also power cycles! I loved this phone when it came out, it was the hardware I wanted with the OS I was excited about but really it sucks.

  • Alan Seeger September 22, 2011, 7:30 pm

    I initially got this phone because I thought I would have problems with an on screen keyboard due to my fat fingers, but after using it for a few weeks I wish that I had opted for something like the Samsung Charge; larger screen, more brilliant colors, and overall, just a better unit. Oh well, two more years…

  • DonnieH. November 16, 2011, 11:35 am

    The DROID Pro sucks. its what I’m on now. The keyboard backlight comes on when it wants. If I type to fast the phone either freezes or exits to the home screen, the screen resolution sucks, the touch screen is mediocre and so is battery life. I only bought the phone because of its keyboard. I previously had a Palm Pre2 and was anticipating the Pre3 until HP killed it. The Palm was SO much better than this piece of crap. If the Iphone only had a physical keyboard I would buy one tomorrow even though this DROID Pro is only a few months old. Android is an OS that was half assed. People who love Android do so because they usually have had nothing to compare it to. You may love your Ford but its only because you have never driven a BMW. Where the Iphone and Palm were like a 5 series and 3 series the DROID Pro is more like a Ford Festiva. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!

  • jon May 13, 2012, 8:05 am

    Lol, Ford out sells BMW worldwide……whats that say donnie?

  • Alan Seeger May 14, 2012, 12:47 am

    It says that more people can afford Fords than can afford BMWs.

  • Chris August 10, 2012, 12:07 pm

    most of you users make it seem like this phone isn’t a piece of crap. which it is.
    lets be brutally honest here, there are people still buying this phone and some (like me) are getting it free.
    I agree with Donnie
    i JUST replaced this phone about a month ago because I actually lost this exact model. well i’ve only had this phone for about a month. The E-mails don’t sync up like they’re suppose to (i used both of the e-mail programs) my screen comes on and off whenever it feels like, This phone turn on and off whenever it wants to, half of the keys light up some of the times, most times it will freeze and half of those times it will freeze at the lock screen so i don’t even know if the phone is on unless i recieve a notification because the LED light will be on. sometimes whenever i type some of the keys on the keyboard, some letters will go to apps that start with that letter WHILE I’M TEXTING A MESSAGE to someone. the screen sucks ass because sometimes you’ll try to scroll and the phone will vibrate and it mistakes your finger for two and act like you’re trying to widen the screen. Don’t worry about setting a ringtone, this phone will reset that ringtone by tomorrow or lets say within a week sometimes. just because it doesn’t happen now doesn’t mean it won’t happen. oh gosh, i cannot remember how many times i was late to college because my alarm didn’t sound or as i said earlier MY PHONE TURNS ITSELF OFF RANDOMLY. you add a contact to the list, their name and everything and next thing you know you are texting someone with this number but no name but you programmed their name into your phone like a month ago. the battery is THE MEANING of pathetic. sometimes it dies after telling me my battery is on 74%.
    to think i went from t-mobiles Samsung Galaxy S to this piece of trash. but unfortunately THAT couldn’t be helped.
    People, don’t get this phone, and sure as hell don’t buy it. don’t let your gf/bf/mother/father etc. get it for you.
    you will want to punch a baby dead in the face.
    i haven’t even used a 4th of my entire memory card, haven’t downloaded any pirated apps haven’t downloaded anything that would give me viruses.
    this phone genuinely suck and i’ve have two of them to prove it.

  • Chris August 10, 2012, 12:22 pm

    I completely forgot about the part when i didn’t receive ANYONES texts or calls ALL DAY until my phone turned itself off. atleast i know people talk to me huh?

  • Cori April 5, 2013, 1:16 pm

    I have had my droid pro for awhile now and to anyone who is looking into it, don’t. I have had so many problems with mine. The SD card will randomly stop working and not show my pictures sometimes when the phone is turned on it will say SD card damaged and you will have to take it out and repeatedly put it back in until it no longer says this. It freezes up often and there is no way to fix this other than taking the battery out and starting the phone again. This happens often especially when using apps such as instagram and Facebook. The battery life is terrible and my phone dies often. Now granted I do text a lot but the buttons are worn out on my phone you can’t even see what letter half the buttons stand for. So to anyone looking at this phone. It is not worth your time. Can’t wait to get my iphone and move on from this crap.

  • Cori April 5, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Also along with what Chris said my phone some days just doesn’t give me messages so I will think no one is texting me and then when I restart it I have so many messages that people had been sending me all day. It has ruined so many plans.

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