The Droid 3: big and bulky, but with a great keyboard [Review]

Motorola's Droid 3 is a phone buoyed by its keyboard but dragged down by its weight. But will consumers mind?

The Droid 3 is the third iteration is a series of beloved Android phones. While the first iteration of the phone was pivotal and revolutionary, the rest of the industry has since caught up, leaving Motorola to differentiate its prized Android line in whatever way it can. [Gallery: Droid 3 in photos]

The Droid 3: built like a brick

A confession: Less than two hours after unboxing the Droid 3 review unit sent to me by Motorola, I dropped it. It landed dead on its face, and you know what? It was perfectly fine.

But perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. The Droid 3 is a dense, 180g beast, 11 grams heavier than the Droid 2 and original Droid. In fact, the device's weight is probably the first thing you'll notice about it. And you probably won't like it. While the device does feel particularly sturdy and well-made, the Droid 3 remains forever noticeable in the pocket, a solid and dense lump compared to comparatively lighter phones like the Nexus S (129g). What that means is that, while the Droid 3 is portable, there are time where it feels significantly less so.

What works: the keyboard

But maybe you'll forgive Motorola's indulgence. After all, the Droid 3 brings to the table what very few smartphones do nowadays: a full, backlit QWERTY keyboard. At five rows, the Droid 3's keyboard is, in a word, generous. With a number row, expansive space bar, and even a tab key, its keyboard is responsive and well-made. In fact, the Droid 3's keyboard is so good that it made me question at times our seemingly unstoppable march towards touchscreen-based input. If there is any reason to invest in a Droid 3, this is it.