Motorola have just delivered their eighth Android device, the Motorola DEVOUR, and the latest to hit Verizon's network in the US. As we discovered in our brief hands-on at MWC 2010 last week, the DEVOUR's high-quality extruded aluminum body goes a long way to making up for its somewhat blocky style; read on for more first-impressions.
A mid-range device, the DEVOUR lacks the AMOLED display technology we've seen making inroads with the Nexus One and HTC Desire, but its 3.1-inch capacitive LCD panel is nonetheless bright and crisp. On top is a capacitive touch screen that's proving as responsive as the Motorola CLIQ before it, together with three touch-sensitive buttons for Menu, Home and Back. Of particular interest is the optical trackpad, squeezed into the lower left-hand corner (when the DEVOUR is held in portrait orientation), which replaces the D-pad of previous Motorola’s. It works well, though it takes a short period to get used to; navigating can be jumpy at first, until your thumb learns the best way to use it.
The trackpad is actually better placed for using the DEVOUR with the keyboard slide open, and since it doesn't offset the QWERTY (unlike the CLIQ and DROID) typing is a little easier. The keys are hard and slightly domed, and the layout is well spaced; however while we appreciate the full number row we would have preferred Motorola not separate the bottom letter row with the spacebar. The angled end-plates of the DEVOUR go some way to disguise the fact that it's actually a pretty thick handset, though that's meant there's room for a full-sized 3.5mm headphone socket, but we wish there were better optics than a fixed-focus 3-megapixel shooter.
As for software, the DEVOUR is running Android 1.6 since Motorola haven't yet updated their MOTOBLUR social networking suite to suit more recent versions of the platform. MOTOBLUR is unchanged from the CLIQ, which means you get a central "Happenings" widget that pulls content from the DEVOUR itself (SMS, MMS and email messages) together with updates from social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. It's one of the more comprehensive attempts to tame the increasingly hectic stream of news we deal with on a day to day basis, but there are still some obvious flaws that Motorola have left unaddressed; our perennial annoyance is that MOTOBLUR doesn't treat Twitter "@" replies as it does Direct Messages, and so they get lost among the general feed.
Elsewhere, there's a full HTML browser together with Google Maps Navigation, along with the regular Google apps like Gmail, and of course access to the Android Market. The battery side-loads, as does the microSD slot, and you don't have to remove the former to slot in a card.
Where the problem might be is in the pricing and range positioning; the DEVOUR will be $99.99 at Best Buy, assuming a new contract, but the retailer are also dropping the price of the DROID to $99.99. The DEVOUR's keyboard is arguably better than that of the DROID, but otherwise the older handset's bigger display, better camera and newer version of Android win out.
Motorola Devour Unboxing and quick hands-on