Review – Droid X

Where’s the other X and an L in the latest Droid’s name? In the world of bigness, America already has cars, waistlines and oil spills that dwarfed anything found in Europe. Now the 4.3-inch, 24GB Droid X lurches out to demonstrate US superiority in the world of (barely) mobile phones.

Sink your teeth into the 854×480-screen and you can taste the meat of the T1 OMAP processor, well oiled by Verizon’s 3G network. Web pages snap to life in seconds, HD video rolls out without a stutter and apps fall over themselves to multi-task.

Sure, you don’t have the sheer pixel density of Apple’s Retina Display (or the eye-melting colour of the Samsung Galaxy S) but the X has detail, speed and brightness to spare – plus HDMI and DLNA to make streaming media to or from TVs and laptops unbelievably simple (you’ll need to buy a micro HDMI cable).

The generous Droid X can also share its 3G connection, with a built-in hotspot app that can support up to five Wi-Fi gadgets (albeit at a $20/month premium). The feature works fine but hammers the battery and turns the X into a very efficient hand-warmer.

Media wise, forget what you might have heard about painful shutter lag. My production X shoots in about a second – or no delay at all if you pre-focus. The LED flash is perfect for portraits and HD video is smooth and colourful. The X doesn’t bother with girly features like detail or subtlety in its over-saturated and noisy full res shots though – you asked for raw American firepower and that’s what you get.

Functionality worth keeping includes the Swype text input engine, which works beautifully on the X’s huge display, voice search and input benefitting from three (!) microphones and Google’s roadtrip-friendly (and free) Navigation service.

Incredibly, the massive Droid X still has some more growing up to do – but only on the software side. An update from Android 2.1 to 2.2 is vaguely promised for this summer, as is Adobe’s frantically anticipated Flash for Android. With those in place, the X could represent a real alternative to the iPhone – at least for musclebound geeks with the pocket space to spare.