After the Honeymoon: 20 Things I Don't Like About the Droid

by phil on Sunday Dec 13, 2009 9:31 PM

I've had an iPhone for a year and a half and have developed apps for the App Store. I switched to the Droid a few weeks ago, and during my honeymoon period with the device, I wrote a list of 20 Things I Like About the Droid.

In the interest of fairness, though, here's the opposite list. And by "Droid," I'm referring to the total experience of Google Android, Verizon Wireless, and the Motorola Droid device. Because, most new and prospective Android users right now will be on the Droid with Verizon.


  1. Removing Apps requires too many steps. Actually, I shouldn't refer to it as "Removing Apps," but rather use the Android terminology, "Uninstalling Apps," which is appropriate because it feels like a more involved process.
  2. No built-in screenshot button combination.
  3. I miss the slingshot feedback from the iPhone when you scroll past the edge of the screen. Otherwise, when I have a list that takes up the whole screen, I can't tell whether my screen is stuck or there are no more entries.
  4. What's up with all the buttons? The iPhone has one button and it's fine. What's especially annoying is the Menu button. When you're in an App, and you're staring blankly, hunting around for a feature, it finally hits you, "Oh, maybe there's something under the Menu button." Lame.
  5. Along the same vein, the back button is ambiguous. When you press it, you wonder, "is this going to take me back a view, or exit me out of the app?" The problem is there's no consistent indicator as to what "back" means. On the iPhone, the back button almost always has a dynamic label indicating what you're backing up to.
  6. This is not really Android's fault per se, but I dislike the lack of excitement and camaraderie that the iPhone has. I bought an iPhone around the same time that a lot of my friends were buying it, and I felt there was a lot of sharing of Apps and tips. I'm pretty much alone with an Android phone, and I have no idea what's good on the Market. I haven't had one of those, "Ooh, did you try this yet?" conversations.
Android Market-Specific
  1. Not all apps are required to have screenshots. As a result, only about a third of the apps I check out have a screenshot. I'm really taking a leap-of-faith getting an app without even seeing how it looks like.
  2. You can't really shop from your desktop. There's an Android Market website, but it's not comprehensive. When I had an iPhone, I bought about two-thirds of my apps from the desktop since I could more easily look at descriptions, reviews, and even videos.
  3. Oh, and when you buy an app, it doesn't ask you for a password. There's probably a setting for this, but man, as a default, this is a major security fail.
  4. When you purchase an app, there's a series of yellow warning signs saying things like, "This application has access to System Tools: modify global system settings, change Wi-Fi state, change network connectivity, change your UI settings." Every time I see these, I have an "Oh Crap" moment, when I just pray that the hive vetted this app thoroughly.
  5. The overall quantity, quality and polish of Android Apps isn't as high as the iPhone. For example, the best Twitter app for Android is nowhere near as good as Tweetie 2 on the iPhone. And some of my major favorites on the iPhone, like the Kindle app, don't exist. When using Android apps, I sometimes get the feeling like I'm back in the Blackberry or Windows Mobile world—i.e. in a world where apps aren't made with passion.
  1. Call quality doesn't seem as good as on the iPhone-AT&T.
  2. After having gotten used to Visual Voicemail for the iPhone, the lack of it with Verizon makes me feel like I'm using old technology. There's a Visual VM app that you can download, but you have to pay $2.99/mo. Fine, so I tried to do that today, and bam, got a message along the lines, "Sorry, but the service you're requesting is currently not available." Fail.
  3. This is an obvious one: not being able to use 3G Internet while you're on a phone call. When I'm on a long phone call, it's like I'm in a digital cone of silence, unable to know if I'm getting any new mail.
  1. One of the first major annoying things I noticed was that it takes much longer than the iPhone to charge up, especially when you try to charge from a computer. I've never had enough patience to wait for it to get fully charged when plugged into my Macbook.
  2. The battery cover slips off intermittently, especially when trying to pull it from your pocket. This is a major fail in my opinion, and Droid probably shouldn't have shipped with this problem.
  3. Proximity detection is not as accurate as on the iPhone. About a third of time when I draw away from a phone call, the screen remains blank. I have to then fiddle with the power button and otherwise fumble around.
  4. Screen refresh rate is lower than the iPhone.
  5. I was disappointed that there were no earphones bundled with the device. I tried my iPhone earbuds (both the 3G and the 3GS ones), and the buttons on them didn't work. I wish I could answer a call or stop a song from them.
  6. I don't care that much for haptic feedback. It doesn't really add much to the usability, and what you get in return are these sensations that are like stings or little shocks. As a result, every time you press the screen, you have this subtle anticipation that you are about to tap something that might buzz you.
Overall, I'm very happy with the Droid. I bought it partly for business reasons, and partly because AT&T was dropping calls at my new place. There's many many things that the Droid can do that the iPhone can't (true to the advertisements). For example, I typed a first draft of this post on the Droid's physical keyboard, something I couldn't have done on the iPhone. So I really feel like I have a device that I can do some serious work on.


blunckhouse said on December 14, 2009 8:59 AM:

Replace the word "fail" with "failure" or "flaw" at each usage and the credibility of your article increases tenfold.

Morgan said on December 14, 2009 10:20 AM:

I agree with the general feel of this article. The overall polish of Droid, and Android as a whole, is much less than the iPhone. That being said, the ability for Droid to leapfrog the iPhone is wide open.

Really, all of what you said are definitely annoyances, but nothing compared to the keyboard. I love my Droid, I just... can't get the hang of the keyboard. It's terrible, especially if you have headphones plugged in at the same time. It's really uncomfortable to use, and the buttons are much too hard to press.

That being said, I wouldn't trade in my Droid for a 3GS.

assaf said on December 16, 2009 5:06 AM:

1 more reason - those horrid sexist ads:

mastershake said on December 21, 2009 12:08 AM:

1. You can place shortcut to applications settings on desktop and uninstall with 2 clicks
4. Multiple buttons are for multitasking - switching between windows, going back separately which is easily accessible in keyboard mode as well. It's a habit problem for you not to check the menu first.
5. Back button either closes a pop up menu, or if you are in the main program, it leaves the program - I've never had a confusion about this.
12. You can increase the call quality of your droid on verizon menu
15. Charge from wall
16. Get a case - there are 2 piece cases which will protect your phone from shattering and keep anything from sliding out
20. Lack of habbit? good luck

JeepGuyMike said on December 21, 2009 1:22 AM:

20. You can turn haptic feedback off. What's a real #20 then?

Philip Dhingra said on December 21, 2009 1:29 AM:

Okay, then how about getting too many Application Update notifications. In some ways, I miss the more strict guidelines for Apple's applications.

mastershake said on December 21, 2009 1:51 AM:

Heh, I agree with that one, but I just don't update my apps unless I know I really want to

DroidDev said on December 21, 2009 8:36 AM:

Visual voicemail, really? Your not doing it right... google voice FTW.

Nichole said on December 21, 2009 9:22 AM:

Loved this post! Brought out some great things that will help me make the Droid decision. Still 100% uncertain.

Dov said on December 21, 2009 1:44 PM:

How about the fact that there is no spell check?

Philip Dhingra said on December 21, 2009 1:47 PM:

Or the fact that you can't see what you're typing in your passwords (Unless you change a setting to make all passwords visible). Or that form fields with numbers require you to double-tap Alt to put on the Nums Lock

Sara said on December 21, 2009 4:03 PM:

Or that cut & paste is such a trauma, where it even works. I too love my Droid, but that's just nuts.

Backnblack said on December 21, 2009 4:11 PM:

Sounds like a apple fanboi trying to give a supposedly unbias review...You sir FAIL...

Laurence5905 said on December 21, 2009 5:54 PM:

You really should check out a GOOD Droid forum, like It's a very active community, and folks there are very helpful. MANY of your complaints have been addressed there by the members. I'd say, of your list of 20 complaints, maybe 3 can't be helped (#5, #14, and #19). But I've seen solutions to or workarounds for all your other complaints on the website.

Philip Dhingra said on December 21, 2009 7:27 PM:

Where are all you visitors coming from?

Sleeve said on December 21, 2009 9:30 PM:, your entry was cross-posted. I've read both your pro and con posts. I think you needed to stretch to come up with 20 negative points. I don't question how you feel about personal preferences, but I think several of your comments are polar opposite to the typical poster at droidforums.

Many of us like the multiple buttons. In fact, at Thanksgiving I went to an all iPhone gathering and they were eager to see the Droid. One of the things they commented on was having more interaction options. The menu was popular among these 9 iPhone owners.

Their biggest concern was whether the market was real, and when I told them that you get 24 hours to try a paid app then request a refund, half of them started asking me Verizon rate plan questions.

@Dov, no spell check? Built in dictionary, user customizable, includes contact names, will either offer several word completion options or pick what you most likely meant based on an option you choose.

#9. Your use of the market from your device is connected to your Gmail account. That's your password. You (fortunately) don't need to log on to Gmail every time you want to use the market, you're permanently logged on.

#10. Don't pray. Don't use apps that enable features you think make no sense. You're given a full list of out of sandbox access that the app wants. I found a game that wanted contact list access, sent the dev an email, wtf? The dev explained but I still didn't like it. Uninstalled. Happy I knew, rather than having to guess.

Philip Dhingra said on December 21, 2009 9:34 PM:

Awesome, welcome Droid Forums ppl!

Full disclosure. Within a week, I had 24 things I loved about the Droid, which I pared down to 20. Four weeks later, I had 18 things I disliked about the Droid, which I stretched to 20.

amo said on December 22, 2009 3:21 PM:

I definitely agree with the people from

It is the most helpful community around, and there is definitely excitement there.

You just havent found that forum, or didnt even put the effort to try.

reed_wrangler said on December 22, 2009 5:12 PM:

Regarding your point #1, removing or uninstalling apps - I just installed a free app killer on my Droid and I love it - I don't know if it will uninstall the apps but it stops them from running in the background sitting there slurping up power. I love my Droid.

Firegirl said on December 23, 2009 10:18 AM:

Yea, I have to agree with others when they say your list seems like a stretch.

You sound like one of those iPhone users that won't be satisfied until your phone can wake you up, dress you, cook your breakfast, and start your car in the morning.

These are phones. Neither are perfect, but my experiences with the Droid have taught me that it's a better phone. It makes phone calls, period.

And I guess I still don't get the surfing the internet while on a call. Isn't that rude?

Philip Dhingra said on December 23, 2009 12:03 PM:

"And I guess I still don't get the surfing the internet while on a call. Isn't that rude?"

A non-rude use-case happens all the time. For example, I'm on a long call with a friend. I mention some factoid, he asks for a citation, I look it up.

zegolf said on December 23, 2009 12:17 PM:

Aren't you also making comparisons between devices with substantially different life cycles? As far as the droid-specific dislikes, you're comparing the device to the iPhone which has had YEARS of development to get where it is today. Lest you forget, the almighty iPhone once had its feeble beginnings as a device and had many people creating "20 Things to dislike" lists. Many of your arguments make reference to an operating system and device that haven't had the time to "polish" like the iPhone has. Rest assured, Google is making leaps and bounds in their development with the OS, and each release is a marked improvement over the last. I respect your opinion, but think that a lot of these arguments are a stretch. Don't fear change, rather embrace that you get a brand new device to master. If people want things to be more "iphone-like" then buy an iPhone.

I do, however, respect this list. It makes a great point of showing that there's a fix for just about every issue a user might have with this device. While a person might find something wrong with the Droid, chances are it's just something they haven't discovered yet.

Don't get me wrong though. I'm glad you're enjoying your device, and think you bring up a lot of good points.

Philip Dhingra said on December 23, 2009 12:48 PM:

As someone who works with trying to make user experiences better, you learn to simultaneously love a device and also be critical of its failings. In fact, loving a device often requires getting to know it well enough to tease out both the negatives and the positives, which I have done. And doing so, doesn't take away from my enjoyment at all from using imperfect gadgets.

I could easily make a list of 20 things I don't like about the iPhone. Or World of Warcraft. Or Google. Or any other holy cow of a product.

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