The Motorola Droid Pro on Verizon finally makes our greatest and fondest wishes come to life: a full-powered Android 2.2 Smartphone with a front-facing QWERTY keyboard. Sure, we've gone hands-on with the Droid Pro before, but nothing beats owning it and getting some impressions after a day of use.
So get those impressions, a video of the most notable aspects of the world phone, and plenty of photos after the break!
The short version is this: the BlackBerry-style keyboard is good but a little cramped. We're sure with time we'll be flying on those little ridges on each key, pounding out emails like the madmen we are. There were a few times we accidentally hit the standard capacitive buttons up above the keyboard while typing, but in that regard we're not (ahem) hitting the panic button just yet. Don't get us started on the decision to put the numbers in a horizontal row across the top instead of grouped together. Speaking of buttons: there isn't one for the shutter on the 5 megapixel camera and nothing on the keyboard sets it off.
Build-wise, it's solid if uninspiring. It's thin enough to not be embarrassing, although itdoes feel slightly off-kilter when typing. The 3.1", 320x480 screen does, in fact, feel just a little cramped, but we're chalking that feeling up to experience with more expansive Android screens. The specs on the Droid Pro feature that 1GHz processor which keeps most things moving along - but the MotoBlur skin did give us a few laggy moments and the Nuance Voice Control feature seems to take an eternity to get going. We've sort of found that sometimes MotoBlur devices like this and the Droid X need to run for a day or so to get up to speed, so consider our judgment withheld. In the meantime, we've got Skype for phone calls (3G only) and WiFi Mobile Hotspot to warm our hearts.
But back to that keyboard: it really is wonderful to be able to just start typing to initiate a Google search and we're finding that we're actually using the search + keyboard button shortcut system built into Android.
Stay tuned for our full review!