After Hours

Verizon Droid microphone problems = fun gadget, but not a quality phone

A Verizon Droid user recounts her experience with the mobile phone and the lack of customer satisfaction -- from both Verizon and Motorola -- when she reported audio difficulties in the original and replacement devices.

A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine was updating her Facebook status with complaints about her Verizon Droid. I asked her to send me an e-mail with more information about her experience. Here it is in its entirety:

"I bought my Droid two months ago. During the first 30 days, I called customer support to explain the problems I was having. The biggest one is that when I make or receive calls, no one can hear me. They say I sound like I'm talking through a tin can, muffled, and cutting in and out.

"I went back to Verizon within the 30-day exchange program but was only able to change the phone for a different phone, not the Droid. The tech checked my phone – he called his wife five times, asking if he sounded okay – and said that nothing was wrong. So, I decided to keep it.

"I made more follow-up calls and stops into Verizon. They claimed that I hadn't contacted them regarding any problems. According to the manufacturer's warranty with Motorola, they will replace my phone of 60 days with a used/refurbished phone, but not a new one. They call these phones "like new," but the replacement they sent had clearly been used and was older than my original phone. What's even worse is that this second Droid had the same audio difficulties.

"Clearly, the Droid is having problems with (for lack of correct terminology) the microphone in the phone. I've been on Motorola's Droid support forum and there are numerous posts regarding this exact issue. The Droid is a fun gadget but has not proven to be a good phone for many people.

"Bloggers on the site have offered solutions, such as when call clarity is poor, switch your speaker phone on and then turn it back off. This does clear it up for a few second, but then it reverts back to its original poor clarity. Another recommendation was to turn off the call privacy feature, but when I tried that, it didn't work.

"One guy posted the code to get into the hidden screen to change the vocoder level to the highest setting. Motorola warned people that this is tampering with the device, but I tried the EVRC-B setting anyway. Unfortunately, even that didn't fix the problem.

"Verizon is not acknowledging the problems and Motorola really is not backing the issues either. They say they are working to fix the bugs, but in the meantime, many people are stuck with a gadget that's fun but not a quality phone – and stuck in a contract with Verizon, waiting out the two years to get a new mobile device.

"I've already contacted the President of Motorola, the President of Verizon, the Midwest regional President of Verizon, and the Better Business Bureau. I'm going to continue to find more avenues to get the word out about the problem. Hopefully, the more people voice their difficulties with the Verizon Droid, the more motivate these companies will become to fix the known bugs and ultimately satisfy their customers."

Have you experienced problems with the Verizon Droid? If you were considering purchasing this device, does this user's experience make you pause or reconsider? Please share your feedback in this post's discussion thread.

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Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the several blogs.

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