Motorola Droid 3 has a nice touch

February 26, 2012 12:01 am

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In the age of the smartphone, hardware keyboards seem to be moving toward extinction. As more phones get touch-sensitive screens to enable their smarts, there seem to be less need to build in expensive keyboards.

But if you text a lot, having a hardware keyboard is still a nice touch - especially if the keyboard is well designed. That's why the Motorola Droid 3 on the Verizon Wireless network is a breath of fresh air. It has a nice hardware keyboard (which is also why my college age son quickly offered to help review it.)

It's understandable why keyboards are disappearing. They are expensive to put into a phone - not only costing more money - but also taking up lots of room for a good keyboard, on devices on which real estate is more valuable than ever. Small phones with large screens means squeezing them on is more difficult. Vendors have used tricks to incorporate keyboards in these environments, such as folding them out and sliding them out - the latter of which is the way Motorola created the Droid 3 for Verizon.

The slide-out QWERTY keyboard on the Droid 3 is almost as wide as the phone when in landscape mode, and has five rows of keys - well spaced and large enough to enter your text easily with your index finger or even your thumb. Motorola has managed to include a whole row of number keys instead of incorporating numerals on the alphabetic keys, and even has arrows for navigation, which I hardly ever see these days on touch-screen phones.

While the keyboard is the main draw for the Droid 3, it also has other high end features, such as an 8 Megapixel camera with face recognition on the back and a second camera for video chat on the front. It captures HD video at 1080p resolution and lets you use HDMI for high resolution transfer to your TV screen. Motorola claims the Droid 3's directional audio capture will help you reduce background sounds when capturing your videos, but we weren't able to see a noticeable difference in the few videos we captured.

First Published 2012-02-25 23:30:37

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