HTC Droid Eris smartphone
If you can live without a hardware keyboard, the HTC Droid Eris is an affordable and feature-packed alternative to the Motorola Droid
- Direct outlook synchronisation, bright and sharp display
- Ships with Android 1.5 instead of 2.0, front panel softkeys difficult to find
If you can live without a hardware keyboard, the HTC Droid Eris is an affordable and feature-packed alternative to the Motorola Droid.
We're yet to get our hands on the HTC Droid Eris smartphone, but here are the impressions of our North American colleagues.
The HTC Droid Eris marks the second in Verizon Wireless's parade of the Droids. Also due this week from Verizon, the Droid Eris shares the Droid moniker and many features of competing Android phones, but it also adds some touches that improve the experience for business users.
The Droid Eris touchscreen handset (a CDMA version of the HTC Hero) has dimensions similar to, and much of the same functionality as, the T-Mobile myTouch 3G GSM unit, also made by HTC. Side by side, the first thing that jumps out is the Eris's brighter, sharper-looking display. While both handsets have a 3.2-inch, 480-by-320 pixel screen, the Droid Eris supports 262,000 colors while the myTouch 3G has just 65,000 colours.
Unlike the myTouch 3G, which has six hardware keys on the front plus a roller mouse button, the Eris replaces the top four buttons (Home, Menu, Back, and Search) with embedded softkeys. In practice, the four software keys were usable, but not as easy to activate as their hardware counterparts. I've found the myTouch 3G's real Send and End buttons and roller mouse (which glows if you have an incoming text message or other notification) more useful than the Droid Eris's softkeys when fumbling around in the dark. (The Motorola Droid lacks any front-panel hardware buttons.)
The Droid Eris has a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM 7600 CPU, while the myTouch 3G has a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM 7201A chip. The Eris has a 5.0-megapixel camera (up from a 3.2-megapixel camera), Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.0; includes a GPS receiver; and supports the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands on the Verizon Wireless network. It also has a standard headset jack, something the myTouch 3G lacks.
Under the hood is the Android 1.5 operating system, not the Android 1.6 (Donut) update or Android 2.0 (on the Motorola Droid). (T-Mobile has already pushed out the Donut update to its G1 and myTouch 3G customers.) However, some of the improvements tossed in with Donut are in the Eris anyway. For example, the updated Google Maps application, which includes transit directions, comes with the phone; and the video and still cameras are accessible through the same interface, as is the case with Android 1.6. Not present here is the Google Maps Navigation turn-by-turn application that comes with Android 2.0.
Android Marketplace, from which you can find hundreds of independently developed applications for the phone, uses the Android 1.5 version in the Droid Eris. This version unfortunately doesn't support thumbnail images of the apps. A Verizon Wireless spokesman says the Droid Eris phone will be receiving Android updates at some point in the future.
What sets the Droid Eris apart is how it caters to business users. For example, it allows direct calendar and contact synchronisation with Microsoft Outlook. This means that, unlike Google-branded Android phones, you don't have to sync your data with your online Google account first before downloading it to the phone--a boon for users. Also, Verizon has preinstalled an Adobe PDF file viewer, a link to Verizon's Visual Voicemail, a "Stocks" link to financial market information from Yahoo Finance, and support for Microsoft Exchange corporate e-mail.
Also preinstalled: A Peep application for Twitter and Footprint, which allows you to capture an image, attach comments, and use the phone's GPS capabilities to log its location and create a map, all of which can be shared.
Interestingly, the Droid Eris has the now-familiar pull-down Android notification screen, but the home screen behaves differently. Instead of having a pull-up menu containing all of the applications, the home screen instead offers a link to the application menu display.
While the unit can't match the Motorola Droid's 420-by-854-pixel display, the HTC Droid Eris performed well with standard and high-definition YouTube videos, depending on the quality of the data connection.
The 5-megapixel camera lacks a flash but performed adequately, capturing reasonable images under adequate ambient light. The virtual keyboard, which offers haptic feedback if desired, worked well in portrait or landscape mode. At just 4.2 ounces and measuring 4.5-by-2.2-by-0.5-inches, the unit fits comfortably in a shirt pocket.
If you want a cheaper Android-based alternative to the Droid and can live without a hardware keyboard, the Droid Eris is a good choice at $US100.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 BlackBerry Priv review: When old habits die hard
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Google Nexus 6P review: An outstanding multimedia machine
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- BlackBerry’s PRIV hits Australian shores
- Apple might show off iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 at March 15 event
- 34 per cent of global online transactions made mobile: Adyen
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Windows Phone can now work on smartphones with Intel x86 chips
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTApplication Packaging & Deployments Team LeaderNSW
- CCTechnical Tester - AutomationVIC
- CCJava Development Contract - MelbourneVIC
- CCContract System Analyst (SQL/.net) 160205/SA/561Asia
- CCEnterprise Systems Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- CCWeb Content WriterSA
- FTSenior .NET DeveloperVIC
- CCRisk AnalystVIC
- CCImmediate iOS Developer RequiredNSW
- FTSenior Consultant | Project work | National Systems IntegratorNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - HRIS ProjectQLD
- CCPython Web Developer - DevOPS EnvironmentVIC
- CCSenior Information Security SpecialistNSW
- CCSolution Architect - .NET environmentACT
- FTNetwork Engineer | NV2 clearance | Defence projects | Immediate interviewACT
- FTManager, Portfolio GovernanceNSW
- CCContract Junior Programmer (JAVA/Mobile App) 160115/JP/vhaAsia
- CCDesktop Applications PackagerSA
- FTNetwork EngineerNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (Java, Oracle ADF) 160115/AP/vhsAsia
- CCSenior Project Manager - DigitalVIC
- CCTest AnalystACT
- CC.NET DeveloperACT
- FTLinux AdministratorVIC