We liked the Motorola Droid, which was Verizon’s first Google Android cell phone. So when Verizon introduced another Motorola phone with the Android operating system, we were excited to take a look. This is the first Verizon phone with Motoblur, which is aimed at social networking.
The Devour comes in a sturdy white cardboard box, as shown in Figure 1. We were glad to see that the box was small with no superfluous packing materials.
Inside the box is the Devour itself, a USB charging cable with a power adapter and two small booklets: Tips, Hints, and Shortcuts, and Getting to Know Motoblur.
As noted in Figure 3, the USB plug can be easily inserted into the power adapter for wall charging.
[nextpage title=”Main Design”]
As shown in Figure 4, the Devour is a simple candy-bar shape of cell phone. Made of extruded aluminum, it has a very sturdy feel and good design. The mat silver finish has good-looking black accents. Measuring 4.55” x 2.4” x .61” (11.55 x 6.09 x 1.54 cm) and weighing 6.35 oz. (180 grams), this is not the smallest cell phone on the block. And although it is not much heavier than the Droid or the iPhone, the density of the phone makes it feel a little heavier. It’s like having a block of metal in your hand giving you a solid feeling about the phone.
As you can also see in Figure 4, the screen has a black surround on all four sides. The black area under the screen has three icons which are touchable. Left to right, they are the Menu Key, the Home Key and the Back Key. When the screen is locked, the Menu Key also functions as the Unlock Key. Pressing on any of these key areas give you a tactile feedback, so you know you have completed the press. To the left of the Menu Key is a notification LED which lights when connected to charge and for a new notification.
There is also a fairly large silver area on the top and the bottom of the screen. On the top there is only the “M” for Motorola and the ear piece. On the bottom is the small square optical navigation scroll button. This button is a bit unusual so it takes a little getting used to, but you can just swipe your finger across it to make your choices. After we used it for awhile, we found it very functional for scrolling to and selecting various options.
The Devour has a bright, clear, and very responsive 3.1-inch touch screen (480×320 pixels with 65,000 colors). After using an iPhone or a Droid, this screen seems much too small and since there is so much unused real estate on the front of the phone, we were left wondering why Motorola didn’t put a larger screen in the Devour.
The Devour has an accelerometer and a proximity sensor. You can adjust the brightness and backlight time. There is a useable onscreen virtual keyboard that appears automatically.
There are five home screens that you can customize. The default home screen can be seen in Figure 5. The black arrow on the gray tab at the center bottom of the screen can be tapped to open a screen of apps. Figure 6 shows the apps screen. You can use your finger to scroll up and down the apps to see them all.
As we write this there are about 38,000 apps available in the Android Market and the number continues to grow. You can download apps directly to your phone. Verizon has added a few of its own apps including support for VZ Navigator, V Cast streaming video, and V Cast Music with Rhapsody. Be aware though, that some of the Verizon extras like the VZ Navigator require an additional monthly fee.
A few other useful apps also come pre-installed. The one that impressed us the most was the Moto Phone Portal. This allows you to use the phone’s Wi-Fi capabilities (or USB) to get instant access to the files from your phone on your computer. When accessing by Wi-FI, once you enable Wi-Fi and start the Phone Portal app, you are given the IP address of your phone. You simply enter that into a web browser address bar on any Internet-connected computer and you can see and work with all the files on your phone, including photos, wallpaper, ringtones, bookmarks, and browser and call history. It’s a great way access the data on your phone.
The apps are stored on the Devours 192MB of integrated memory, so there is the possibility of running out of room for the apps. Also, you have to be careful that the apps you choose are compatible with Android version 1.6 which is what the Devour runs. Many apps are for the 2.0 Android operating system and will not work on the Devour.
[nextpage title=”The Hardware”]
The top of the Devour, shown in Figure 7, has a Power Key that is pressed to put the display to sleep or held down to turn the device off. This power button is flush with the phone so that you can’t accidently hit it. Because of this, however, it is somewhat difficult to find and press without looking. In the middle of the top there is also a standard 3.5 mm headset jack.
The back of the Devour, shown in Figure 8, has the camera on the top left. The top and bottom edges are curved and covered with a black material that feels slightly rubberized. At the bottom you can see the holes for the phone’s speaker. You won’t find the battery compartment on the back of the phone. Instead Motorola put it on the side.
In Figure 9, you can see the curvature of the bottom as well as the speaker holes.
In a somewhat unusual, but feasible arrangement, the battery and microSD card slot are accessible via a door on the phone’s left side. This door is shown in Figure 10. It’s a rather unusual arrangement, but it works well. The Devour comes with an 8 GB storage card and can take cards up to 16 GB, so there is plenty of room for music, picture, and video storage. Under the battery/card door is a standard Micro-USB/charger port.
Pushing down slightly on the door, releases a large, thin rubber door, as shown in Figure 11.
The right side of the Devour has the Volume Keys on the top, as shown in Figure 12. Under that is the Voice Command Key. Near the bottom is the Camera Key. We found this placement very useable as the keys are far enough apart to find them without looking.
The Devour runs Android 1.6, making it not quite as capable as the Droid which uses Android 2.0. However, we liked the slide-out keyboard on the Devour much better than the Droid keyboard. As shown in Figure 13, the keyboard is a QUERTY style with three rows of dedicated alphabet keys. The blue Fn key on the bottom right is pressed to access the symbols shown in blue at the top of the alpha keys. What is somewhat unusual about the set up is that the top row is dedicated to numeric keys. This key arrangement make the space bar key much smaller than most, but all-in-all, we found this setup very useable.
The keyboard slides out quickly and easily and can be opened and closed with one hand. Figure 13 shows the open keyboard. The silver base that holds the keyboard is a one-piece construction that curves up at the sides. This makes the phone easy to hold when using the keyboard. It also gives the phone a wonderfully sturdy high-tech look and feel. The black keyboard keys are a little elevated and have a slight tactile response when pressed. Everything is centered. We loved this keyboard.
The Devour is Verizon’s first Motorola phone with Motoblur. This is a widget-based system that congregates a variety of social networking portals. So it allows you to access Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter on your Devour without having to open the browser and log into each service. Once you create a Motoblur account, the feeds and data from these services are pushed to your Devour and integrated in the home screen. It all work quite seamlessly.
You can use also use Motoblur to back up your contacts but its real beauty is that if your Devour is lost or stolen you can log into your Motoblur account from any computer and lock and locate your phone remotely. While we liked MotoBlur, the small screen on the Devour made the Motoblur information seem extremely cluttered, as you can see in Figure 14.
With the included 8GB memory card, you can store a lot of music on this cell phone. The music can be easily transferred from your computer. The music player, although not as elegant as the iPod, is perfectly acceptable. It supports playlists, shuffle, and repeat modes. The external speaker at the bottom of the phone is loud enough to listen to music and, of course, you can always add a pair of headphones. The Devour has Bluetooth and also supports Bluetooth in stereo.
Phone calls were crisp and clear through the Verizon network. We had no problems with the reception and those we called had no complaints about the quality of the calls. Our only gripe was a bit of slowness that we found throughout the phone use. In placing calls, when we needed to access the keypad to enter a number or an extension, there was a slight lag in having the keypad appear on the screen. Although slight, this was aggravating.
We also found this slowness in our web browsing. Although we enjoyed the web interface and found it very useable, we often encountered a slight lag.
Multitouch support includes double tap, but not pinch and zoom. However, you can use the icons that appear on the screen to easily zoom in and out. Also Motorola included Flash Lite in the web browser, which makes browsing certain sites better. Some sites that come up blank on the iPhone or the Droid, will appear on the Devour. The GPS functionality was very good.
Unfortunately, we had several crashes on the Devour. There were times when the camera stopped working throwing up an error on the screen and also several freezes when performing other ordinary functions.
The Devour has a 3-megapixel camera. We were found the camera’s performance adequate. Like many camera phones, you really need to hold the phone very still to take a good-blurless photo. We found outside shots to be pretty good, while most inside shots were a little on the dark side. Although there is no macro mode, closeup shots turned out better than expected (if you can keep your hand steady). There are only a few editing options and no geotagging, but the slideshow option in the Picture Gallery works nicely.
The Devour also has a camcorder that shoots clips at 23 frames per second in four quality settings. The video quality is nothing to write home about, but the videos are adequate for multimedia messaging and an occasional YouTube posting.
Email support is very good. The Devour supports push email for gmail and for exchange. You can sync your Outlook calendar and get a unified calendar. The Devour also supports other communication options including instant messaging, texting, and multimedia messaging.
The battery life on the Devour could be better. Although its battery life is rated at 6 hours and 28 minutes of talk time and 18 days and 10 hours, we found that we were constantly recharging the phone. In some cases it lasted the entire day, in others it didn’t. As with all smart phones, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sucked up a lot of power. Bottom line is that if you buy this phone you will want to purchase a car adapter and/or carry the charging cab
le with you.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Motorola Devour cell phone main specifications are:
- Carrier in the USA offering it: Verizon
- Dimensions: 4.55" x 2.4" x 0.61" (11.5 x 6 x 1.5 cm) (H x W x D)
- Weight: 6.35 ounces (180 grams)
- Network: 800/1900 CDMA EVDO rev A
- Processor: Qualcomm MSM7627
- Display: 3.1" HVGA, 320 x 480, 65K colors, touchscreen
- 3.0 Megapixel camera
- Slide-Out QWERTY Keyboard
- Storage: 8 GB microSD card pre–installed on–device, up to 16 GB microSD optional removable memory
- Operating system: Android 1.6 (Donut) OS with MOTOBLU
- Software: Integrated Google, Exchange, Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter Contacts
- E-mail Support: Gmail & Exchange, IMAP and POP, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail also supported
- WiFi Capable (802.11 b/g)
- GPS capable for E911 emergency location/sGPS
- Polyphonic and MP3 Ringtones
- TTY compatible
- Hearing Aid Compatibility: M4 T4
- Bluetooth v2.0+EDR
- Talk time: 340 minutes
- Stand-by time: 440 hours
- More Information: https://www.verizonwireless.com
- Price: USD 480 without a contract, USD 150 on a 2 year contract
The Devour is the first phone that we reviewed that brought out our strongest emotions. There were things that we loved and things that we hated. We loved the sturdy casing, the good call quality, and the MotoBlur social networking consolidation. We also loved the keyboard. However, we hated the Devour’s lag time and its occasional crashes. We also hated the fact that the screen was so small.
With a faster processor, a larger screen, and Android 2.0, the Devour could be a great phone. Without those, it is only mediocre. That said — if you can live with the drawbacks and are really into social networking, the Devour is worth a look.
- Sturdy metal casing
- Excellent design
- Functional feature set
- Excellent keyboard
- Good call quality
- Good button placement
- Responsive touch screen
- Good GPS
- Motoblur – great for social networking
- Moto Phone Portal is excellent
- Flash lite included in web browser
- Small screen size
- Slow – considerable lag time
- Occasional crashes
- Average to poor battery life
- Apps stored only on integrated memory
- Runs Android 1.6