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Motorola DROID 4 Review

Motorola DROID 4 8.5

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Motorola DROID 4 Review
Introduction:

Catapulting Android as we know it to the mainstream, we’re amazed to think that the original Motorola DROID launched into stardom only a mere 2 years ago. Since that time, we’ve seen two successors that maintained its landscape QWERTY form factor, but as a whole, they didn’t have the same impact found with the original starter. One of the biggest complaints about the Motorola DROID 3, which was launched a little more than 7 months ago, was the fact that it lacked 4G LTE connectivity and simply relied on last-generation 3G speeds – so yeah, it was a bummer in that aspect indeed.

Taking care of business, the Motorola DROID 4 rightfully eases the concern from last time, while employing some of the necessary iterative improvements on the hardware side to keep it in good light with the company. Some have argued that the DROID line has been on a steady decline in terms of allure and reputation, especially when the DROID 2 and 3 didn’t quite have the same profound impact like the original, but as always, we’re hopeful that the latest member of the family will bring back the spotlight to it. For starters, its $199.99 on-contract pricing surely looks mightily delicious, but it’s undoubtedly going to take more to become humbly memorable.

Motorola DROID 4 Review
Motorola DROID 4 Review
The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Removal Tool
  • Master Your Device Guide
  • Product Safety and Warranty Information

Design:

Bearing the same tried and true landscape QWERTY form factor as its predecessors, this new model obviously features a tweaked design – though, as a whole, it’s doesn’t come off as captivating. Actually, it utilizes the same design characteristics used on recent Motorola devices, like the PHOTON 4G and DROID RAZR, with its subtle tapered edges and sturdy construction. At the same time, it features water-repellant technology that allows it to withstand a few splashes of water, but it’s not entirely waterproof.

The Motorola DROID 4 utilizes the same design characteristics used on recent Motorola devices - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The Motorola DROID 4 utilizes the same design characteristics used on recent Motorola devices - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The Motorola DROID 4 utilizes the same design characteristics used on recent Motorola devices - Motorola DROID 4 Review

The Motorola DROID 4 utilizes the same design characteristics used on recent Motorola devices


Motorola DROID 4 Review

You can compare the Motorola DROID 4 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Interestingly enough, this is the largest one in the DROID family thus far, but thankfully it retains its streamlined 0.5” profile, which is great considering it’s packing a physical keyboard.  Finally, its accompanying weighty (6.31 oz/179 gr) feel provides us with a sense of durability with its overall construction. Improvements and tweaks aside though, its design is hardly one that’s going to be remembered or laureled throughout time, and in all honesty, we were hoping for something more refreshing to jump out at us.

Accidental presses aren’t an issue with the Motorola DROID 4’s capacitive Android buttons, mainly because they’re positioned far away from the bottom edge. Above the display towards the upper right corner, its front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera actually has the ability to shoot 720p videos.

Capacitive Android buttons - Motorola DROID 4 Review
Front-facing camera - Motorola DROID 4 Review

Capacitive Android buttons

Front-facing camera


Unfortunately we’re not fans of its dedicated power button and volume controls, since they’re rather flat to the touch and have a soft response when pressed. Knowing that this is a Webtop enabled device as well, its microUSB and microHDMI ports are found next to one another on its left edge – thus, allowing many of the existing Webtop accessories to work with it.

microUSB and microHDMI ports (left) - The sides of the Motorola DROID 4 - Motorola DROID 4 Review
Power key and 3.5mm jack (top) - The sides of the Motorola DROID 4 - Motorola DROID 4 Review
Volume rocker (right) - The sides of the Motorola DROID 4 - Motorola DROID 4 Review

microUSB and microHDMI ports (left)

Power key and 3.5mm jack (top)

Volume rocker (right)

The sides of the Motorola DROID 4


Towards the top edge in the rear, there’s an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with its accompanying LED flash nearby, while its speaker grill is located on the lower left corner. At first, the pinhole next to the camera seems to be a directional microphone, but in actuality, it’s used to remove the back cover with the aid of the included removal tool to gain access to its microSIM and microSD slots. Strange to say the least, the 1,785 mAh battery is actually non-removable and is hidden from view by a sticker that explicitly states the warning to not attempt removing it. Maybe it’s poor engineering on Moto’s part, but it boggles us that they would allow access to the battery, but not give us the option to remove it ourselves. Heck, they could’ve shut the entire thing closed a la the DROID RAZR and place its slots elsewhere.

Back - Motorola DROID 4 Review
Rear camera - Motorola DROID 4 Review
Battery compartment - Motorola DROID 4 Review
Battery sticker - Motorola DROID 4 Review

Back

Rear camera

Battery compartment

Battery sticker



Keyboard:

We’re undeniably taken by surprise to see Motorola managing to somehow improve upon the fantastic keyboard of the DROID 3 from last year. Getting down right to it, we have to admit that we’re smitten by its functionality, ease of use, and spacious nature to make it probably the best QWERTY-based smartphone on the market. Retaining the same layout as before, with its dedicated row for numbers and navigational keys, it’s tweaked ever so slightly by its domed buttons and exceptional LED backlighting – in fact, we’re mesmerized by its glow in the dark! Furthermore, we’re treated to the same solid feeling tactile response as before, thus, all culminating together to offer the best messaging experience on any device out there right now.

The physical keyboard of the Motorola DROID 4 - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The physical keyboard of the Motorola DROID 4 - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The physical keyboard of the Motorola DROID 4 - Motorola DROID 4 Review

The physical keyboard of the Motorola DROID 4


The LED backlighting - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The LED backlighting - Motorola DROID 4 Review

The LED backlighting



Display:

Call it a bummer or whatever, but we’re saddened to find this DROID outfitted with such an inferior display. Unlike the iridescence accompanying the DROID RAZR’s Super AMOLED Advanced display, the DROID 4 is instead boasting a 4” qHD (540 x 960) TFT LCD display that’s tremendously dulled by its washed out appearance, low-contrast, and poor viewing angles. Additionally, it has this ghosting effect going on that seems to blur icons when navigating across its homescreen. Well, at least its resolution is enough to enjoy wholeheartedly thanks to its pixel density of 275 ppi, which produces sharp visuals that’s easy on the eyes. However, we’re unable to overlook the distracting overall appearance of the display, and simply, there’s no love whatsoever for this DROID.

The Motorola DROID 4 is boasting a 4” qHD TFT LCD display - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The Motorola DROID 4 is boasting a 4” qHD TFT LCD display - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The Motorola DROID 4 is boasting a 4” qHD TFT LCD display - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The Motorola DROID 4 is boasting a 4” qHD TFT LCD display - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The Motorola DROID 4 is boasting a 4” qHD TFT LCD display - Motorola DROID 4 Review
The Motorola DROID 4 is boasting a 4” qHD TFT LCD display - Motorola DROID 4 Review

The Motorola DROID 4 is boasting a 4” qHD TFT LCD display



Motorola DROID 4 360-degrees View:



56 Comments
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posted on 10 Feb 2012, 08:37 8

1. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3116; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Such a small battery for non removable and the screen display is horrible. Wait until the Droid 5 :(

posted on 11 Feb 2012, 01:27 1

26. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


I think the 2 greatest failures of the D4 are the limited battery capacity and the junk (LCD - come on, WTF) display. Camera could be better too.

Maybe the D5 fixes these fails.

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:42

53. ZombiesAlso (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2012)


the greatest failure is denying customers custom kernel capabilities

posted on 12 Mar 2012, 14:03 1

57. Mark_Washington (Posts: 8; Member since: 05 Sep 2011)


Pros: Awesome keyboard - If you're a keyboard fan, this can't be beat.

Size - For me, it's the perfect size. I like that it's not as big as other Verizon phones, yet still has a very impressive display.

Battery life - I don't live in a 4G environment, but I have everything else constantly running - GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. Today was a fairly normal usage day for me (a little web-surfing, some texts and phone calls, streaming radio to and from work, even downloaded a couple of apps). Right now I'm sitting at 40% charge after 15h 38m 53s (per the phone) on battery power. I can't think of many reasons why I would need more.

Smart Actions App - Great app! Makes it very easy to seamlessly move from my home (wifi network) to my car (bluetooth on, Pandora opens automatically, wifi off) to the office (silent phone) without ever having to touch the phone.

Cons: Plastic construction already has some scratches from putting it into and out of my zippered pocket. They're very small (I only noticed them because I was looking very closely for "cons") and only on the plastic around the screen. The screen itself is Gorilla Glass and is not scratching at all. Not a big deal to me, but some people really want their phones to remain in pristine condition.

Bottom line, this is a great 4G LTE phone by any standard. The fact that it has that great keyboard literally puts it in a class by itself.

*Note: for best deal of the Droid 4 if you're will buy it, I suggest you have to check before you decide at -> http://androidphonesdeals.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/motorola-droid-4/

Hope this review helpful

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 08:38 4

2. Firedrops (Posts: 249; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)


Seems they really messed up on the screen, huh? D:

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 08:45 1

3. c.hack (Posts: 613; Member since: 09 Dec 2009)


Moto's best screens were the OG Droid and DX. Its interesting that Motorola hit a peak with their original Razr and stopped innovating. Now their Razr/Maxx/D4 marks another halt in innovation.

Bigger and heavier does not make a better phone.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 08:53 8

4. Bigbluetundra (Posts: 45; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)


D.R.O.I.D.- Dwindling Relaunch Of Innsignificant Device

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 10:18 7

6. Allday28 (Posts: 283; Member since: 19 Nov 2010)


You realise that android wouldnt be what it is today without the Droid line right? So before you say something stupid like you just did know what you're talking about first idiot!!

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 11:18 3

8. Bigbluetundra (Posts: 45; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)


I love you

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 14:36 2

13. cthunder (Posts: 125; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


Insignificant devices? Like the above poster stated, the OG Droid startered it all. Sure the display may or may not be bad. But it's an above average device with a QWERTY KYBD and LTE. Something a lot of physical kybd users (myself included) had been waiting for.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 15:40

18. Bigbluetundra (Posts: 45; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)


This incarnation of the device is hardly improved. I'm just having a little fun on a Friday with my first post, didn't realize it'd be taken so personally. Sure, the original was great. So was the first flip phone, carphone, bagphone, telegraph... Now it's just milking the franchise every few quarters and the sales are diminishing every time a new version hits. You can't honestly say this newest generation phone is still a significant device in the oversaturated VZ market. I'd think VZ would agree by way of thier instant price drop.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 10:09 4

5. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


Epic Fail. im all for android but this is just sad

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 10:44 6

7. snowgator (Posts: 3604; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Okay, not a worthy successor. But, if taken on it's own, the D4 is a still a better QWERTY device than anything else out there right now. Certainly a better option than Blackberries, way more powerful with a top notch keyboard than any other phone on Big Red, and what are you going to do: drop down to the Captivate Slide on AT&T and it's slower network?

I am very, very disappointed that Moto did not view the Droid line as an elite device. It deserves better. But, if you want a real keyboard, there still is no better option.

posted on 12 Feb 2012, 20:09

32. GeekMovement (unregistered)


Kind of how I felt when HTC relased the HTC EVO Shift (which btw does not have a decent keyboard imo) which was kind of disappointing. Wish they viewed the EVO line as an elite device as well.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 11:54 2

9. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3116; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


I might even go as far as to say to buy the droid 3 over this unless you must have LTE.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 15:31 2

17. cthunder (Posts: 125; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


Really?
Let's Droid 3 1Ghz, 512 mb vs 1.2, 1GB, a backlit keys and better overall kybd. and LTE. Yeah, those numbers make we want to get the 3 instead.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 18:54

21. aztaxia12295 (Posts: 272; Member since: 22 Nov 2009)


numbers always dont mean everything

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 20:42 1

22. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3116; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Having used the D3 the keyboard is also really good and you wont notice any difference between the two devices as far as performance. I cant get over how poor the screen quality is on this one.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 20:58 4

24. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5713; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


the Droid 4 is actually going to be a good bit faster than the Droid 3 if the difference between the Droid Bionic and the Droid Razr is any indication. i think it has to do with tweaking Motorola may have done with the drivers for the OMAP4 in 2.3.5+ as even the benchmarks behave differently.

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:49

55. ZombiesAlso (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Mar 2012)


And longer battery after removing all the google connectivity crap

android calendar/contacts are easily powered by a hotmail account... since microsoft licenses activesync to google

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 12:10

10. squeeb (Posts: 99; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


Glad I pulled the trigger on a D3 back in December.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 12:21 2

11. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Well, at least it's a lot better than the DROID 3.

posted on 12 Feb 2012, 13:57 1

30. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Which isn't saying much. ZING!

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 14:32

12. doubleD (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 Dec 2010)


Is the screen worse than the Droid 3? Everyone on here complained about the Droid 3's display even though I didn't have a problem with it. Just trying to figure out if the complaints have merit.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 14:37 3

14. cthunder (Posts: 125; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


I didn't think the Droid 3's display was all that bad. It just seems everyone wants super amoled or they aren't happy with the phone.

posted on 11 Feb 2012, 11:59

28. blazee (Posts: 414; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


no the screen is exactly the same as on droid 3 lol both have 4.00 inch lcd display with a resolution of 540x960 and pixel density of 275 ppi

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 15:22 3

15. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5713; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


I checked one out today and it doesn't feel as bad as you guys make it sound. it's about like the Droid 3 with a textured back. I am however disappointed about the lack of a removable battery. now really the only trade offs for the Droid 4 over the Razr are it's fantastic Keyboard and it's compact size along with a higher pixel density display.

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 15:29

16. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Did anyone notice that the Droid 3 is .51" and 12.9mm but the Droid 4 is .5" and 13mm
that makes no sence and needs correction phonearena

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 18:51 1

20. aztaxia12295 (Posts: 272; Member since: 22 Nov 2009)


yep, screen sucked, i saw it in the store today activating my nexus. it was very dull and dark and didnt have any pop. such another disappointment, 2, maybe 3 in a row for the droid line

posted on 10 Feb 2012, 20:56 2

23. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5713; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


maybe the brightness was turned down. bet you didn't think about that. :P

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Motorola DROID 4

Motorola DROID 4

OS: Android 4.1.2 4.0.4 2.3.5
view full specs
Display4.0 inches, 540 x 960 pixels (275 ppi) TFT
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
TI OMAP4430, Dual-core, 1200 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
1 GB RAM
Size5.00 x 2.65 x 0.50 inches
(127 x 67 x 13 mm)
6.31 oz  (179 g)
Battery1785 mAh, 12.5 hours talk time

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