Almost a month ago, we posted about the Motorola Droid 3 popping up in GLBenchmark 2.0's online result browser, with a dual-core 1 GHz OMAP 4430 SoC at its core. Since then, Motorola made the Droid 3 official, announcing online availability for July 7, and in-store availability July 14 for the pretty standard $199.99 on a two year contract. We waited patiently and sure enough a Motorola Droid 3 hit our doorstep today, which we'll have a full review on sometime before the week is up. Until then, we're going to go over high level things in our usual This Just In format.

We're still running all our benchmarks, but for the time being have scores for the web suite, GLBenchmark 2.0, and RightWare's Basemark ES2.0. We now have independent confirmation that those previous Droid 3 results from the GLBench online result browser weren't crazy, in fact, Egypt has gone up slightly. 

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9

Rightware BrowserMark

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Taiji

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Hoverjet

GLBenchmark 2.0 - Egypt

GLBenchmark 2.0 - PRO

The Droid 3 is a world-branded phone, and thus includes a dual-mode baseband. If you've been following some of Motorola's other devices closely, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Qualcomm's MDM6600 baseband is inside the Droid 3.

There's the standard CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev.A 800 / 1900 MHz connectivity for Verizon and some roaming on other CDMA carriers, alongside GSM/UMTS 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 support for roaming abroad. There's 2.4 GHz 802.11n support, though no 5 GHz love for 802.11an.

Motorola Droid 3 - Network Support
CDMA2000 1xRTT/EVDO Rev.A 800 / 1900 MHz
GSM/EDGE 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
WCDMA/UMTS 850 / 1900 / 2100
HSPA Speed HSDPA 10.2/14.4 (UE Cat. 9/10), HSUPA 5.76
  Qualcomm MDM6600

The Droid 3 comes running the very latest version of Gingerbread out right now, 2.3.4. It's a breath of fresh air to play with something that isn't launching running 2.2 Froyo for a change. The device is also running the new brand of Motoblur Motorola's UI skin, which includes a new lock screen and some eye candy on the application launcher and home screens. I'm still making my mind up about how this compares to the previous brand of Motoblur that comes with the Droid X2. 

The other big change is of course the new five-row QWERTY keyboard, which thus far is honestly spectacular. I picked up the Droid 3 and immediately was speeding along comfortably. The domes are convex, very clicky, and provide great haptic feedback. I have to admit that I initially questioned the wisdom of dedicating an entire row to 0-9, but I completely understand how helpful this is after entering my 20 character WPA PSK and getting the Droid 3 on my WiFi network. Moreover, it provides a nice buffer so fingers and long nails don't hit the bottom of the slider. The slide mechanism still isn't spring loaded or on a particularly smooth rail, however.

The device is also 0.8 mm thinner than the Droid 1 and 2, and it's surprising how much that actually translates to a device that feels like it hasn't put on weight just because it has a keyboard. Check out the gallery for some shots of the sides and all around.

The Droid 3 curiously comes without a microSD card, instead going with 16 GB of internal storage. I was a bit confused at first, but sure enough there's no microSD card mentioned on the box. 

There's an 8 MP rear facing camera with LED flash. It's down to one LED instead of two with the Droid 3, but it looks like the LED has an improved fresnel lens atop it, and no doubt more power output. There's also a VGA front facing camera. 

The device can capture 1080p30 video at 15 Mbps with stereo audio. I'm not passing judgment quite yet, but things in the lightbox look a bit undersaturated, but there's great high frequency spatial detail. Check out the gallery for some quick pictures I took with the rear facing camera.

Stay tuned for our full review!



View All Comments

  • clt68tefft - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I'm undecided on the 3G vs 4G issue: we don't have 4G in my suburb which is where I use my phone. With unlimited funds, I would buy the latest and greatest.

    Re: Battery life
    I agree that almost all of us probably have battery chargers readily available. But I also want new technology to change my life for the better. Not having to buy/use a charger in the kitchen, bedroom, car and/or with laptop would be a definite improvement. Until that day comes (and I can afford it), I'll continue to charge my phone often and in different places.
  • bjacobson - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    Hi Brian,

    On the 1st Droid, on the back shown in this picture, there was a piece of plastic film.
    If you removed that, the sliding action suddenly became very smooth, without any rough resistance.

    If the Droid 3 has this, have you removed it? Makes the sliding action feel fine.
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    Yep it had that, and I removed it along with all the other protective stickers. The Droid 3 slider is just not initially very smooth, though a few hours later it's starting to get smooth.

  • bjacobson - Friday, July 15, 2011 - link

    The screen is sunk too far below the gorilla glass on these Droids...same problem as in the D1. Makes for a much-harder-to-see screen when there's a reflection. Reply
  • NRiess - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I disagree. I'm looking at my original Droid right now and the screen looks fine. Now I will agree with you regarding the Droid 2, I noticed the screen looked much lower than on the original when I played with one and compared the two. Reply
  • GrizzledYoungMan - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    This might be my next phone. The pentile display is definitely annoying, but not a dealbreaker at 4" (which, incidentally, I feel like is an ideal size). The color rendition beats the pants off the Droid X2, that's for sure. Application performance and the general smoothness of the UI is really impressive. And the keyboard is pretty darned good - up with some of the all time greats, like the Blackberry 8830.

    Sure, it lacks an LTE radio, but I'm guessing it would need a nuclear battery to power that and a dual core proc. As it is, this thing evidently rarely goes a day without needing a charge. I'm curious to see how the Bionic holds up, when/if it comes out, but I doubt it's for me; I'm not really a fan of the 4.3" form factor.
  • cmdrdredd - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    "Sure, it lacks an LTE radio, but I'm guessing it would need a nuclear battery to power that and a dual core proc. As it is, this thing evidently rarely goes a day without needing a charge."

    So you're saying you are away from any place to charge your phone for over 24 hours at a time? Hardly...just plug the damn thing in sometimes. It doesn't hurt anything to plug it into your PC to charge it a bit, in the car too. God people...
  • asdfasdfasdfasdf - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    yeah, just use it as a landline. Reply
  • GrizzledYoungMan - Sunday, July 17, 2011 - link

    Yeah, great point. I could just plug in my phone every 2.5 hours. Reply
  • kcmanuel - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - link

    Just got back from Verizon store to check out the screen on the D3. Was actually surprised that it looked better than the DX2 screen; same resolution screen and smaller screen size on the D3 makes for a much less grainier screen. The droid Charge next to it though sure made it less appealing.

    Eagerly waiting on the Bionic now.

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