Verizon Wireless shot us over a Motorola DROID Pro handset this weekend and after spending some time with it, here are our first impressions of the little bugger. For starters, the device looks better in person than it does in the press / online photos. It is a little awkward at first, being a vertically-oriented display as opposed to a horizontally-positioned screen on a traditional BlackBerry, but after you pick up the phone and start using it, you realize this is the only way the phone could work. As far as the screen goes, it’s probably our biggest disappointment — the resolution. We realize it’s not a huge screen but 480×320 pixels in a world of 960×640 and 800×480 isn’t doing the DROID Pro any favors. The display is also not terribly vivid or crisp, and it reduces the powerful impact the DROID Pro has. Besides the display, though, the Motorola DROID Pro continues to impress us. Not because it’s the greatest Android handset released, but because of the purpose it serves. We joked with someone that this is the RIM Antichrist on Verizon, and it is. It’s a direct assault on RIM, and as BlackBerry-loving individuals, we actually love this phone. The keyboard is almost identical to BlackBerry Bold keyboards, right down to the placement of each key (besides the ALT and Shift keys, which are swapped) and keys’ shape. The keyboard is pretty easy to type on, though the keys are a little bit firmer than we would have liked. Hopefully that changes a tad with continued use.
We love the weight of the device and the entire experience of using a candy bar Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard. We even like how there is a programmable application key (in BlackBerry terms a right convenience key) on the right side. Something we can’t move past, though? The ear speaker. Talking on the phone with the DROID Pro is probably the worst of any handset we can remember. The ear speaker crackles, is distorted, and it sounds like there is some weird noise cancellation going on. Sometimes, audio doesn’t even come through. We have to believe this is an issue with our specific unit — we can’t imagine they are all like this, though we did confirm with someone else in possession of a DROID Pro that they have noticed some weird ear speakers issues as well. We’ll let you know in our review how it turns out as Verizon is swapping our unit with a different handset. Check out the photos in our gallery below, including some shots with a BlackBerry Bold 9780 — it’s on!