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Motorola DROID 4 Review

0. phoneArena posted on 10 Feb 2012, 08:09

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, but as always, we’re hopeful that the latest member of the family will bring back the spotlight to it...

This is a discussion for a review. To read the whole review, click here

posted on 11 Feb 2012, 09:49 3

27. jellmoo (Posts: 2045; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

Doesn't an 8.5 seem awfully high a score for this device? It has a terrible screen, relatively weak battery life without a removable battery, lacklustre design,poor camera quality, poor video quality, only offers the user half of the advertised storage, and runs outdated firmware.

Does having a good keyboard as the only real plus warrant such a high score?

posted on 14 Feb 2012, 03:52 3

37. EarnYourLeather (Posts: 87; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

Not at all.

Super Amoled is not a smartphone industry standard and I would hardly call the screen terrible even in comparison to that. Lackluster, sure, but there's nothing terrible about it. The battery life is average for a modern Motorola device, certainly not a Maxx (could you imagine the size of such a phone?) but not subpar. As for design, lets leave our own aesthetic opinions out of the equation when it comes to criticism- fans of the Droid series may love the design direction it's taking so who are you to call it lackluster? As for the camera, again, have you ever heard of a Verizon Motorola phone with a camera worth bragging about? The camera is on par with the contemporary market. If nothing else, it's better because the shutter is instant and the camera autofocuses, unlike previous Droid models which would focus before each shot causing a long delay. Audio is great on the videos and the videos themselves are decent.

The only valid claims you really have are no stock ICS and non removable battery, which by now are old news. The half of the advertised storage is a BIG minus though. That being said, there's nothing subpar about this phone. The specs are not spectacular but it is a very respectable and modern phone in that regard.

When it comes down to it, this phone is for a niche market. And this is the single best, and thinnest, 4G QWERTY slider in that market. Period.

So is 8.5 merited? Yeah, I think so.

posted on 14 Feb 2012, 09:13

38. jellmoo (Posts: 2045; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

The thing is, I'm not talking about what the device actually merits. Whether your points are true or not isn't quite what I'm getting at. I am simplt basing my assessment on the content of the review itself.

In the words of the review:

Screen: "...but we’re saddened to find this DROID outfitted with such an inferior display... FT LCD display that’s tremendously dulled by its washed out appearance, low-contrast, and poor viewing angles."

Battery: "Rather, we’re brought back to the chilling reality of yet another 4G LTE smartphone with poor battery life. In fact, we’re able to get close to the 10 hour mark of normal usage before being warned about low battery. So yes, we’ll continue to dream on about battery life, but in the meantime, it’s something that requires constant charging whenever and wherever possible."

Design: "...this new model obviously features a tweaked design – though, as a whole, it’s doesn’t come off as captivating."

Camera: "Yet, its overall quality still pales in comparison to the stellar photo-centric devices on the market, but at least it’s tolerable enough to accept."

Video: "Ehh…they’re not stellar in quality, but its 1080p video recording is nonetheless better than its predecessor."

Storage: "Advertised as offering 16GB of memory, the DROID 4 instead boasts 8GB out of the box for media purposes, with another 2.36GB reserved strictly for apps – meaning, you’ll probably want to invest in adding a microSD card of some size to supplement its capacity."

Firmware: "Unfortunately, there’s nothing new whatsoever with the experience on the DROID 4, as it retains the same one as its predecessor, but even more revolting, is that it’s running on top of Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. Yeah, we know that’s a downer considering we’re expecting nothing less than Ice Cream Sandwich at this point, but nevertheless, Motorola assures us that it’ll be upgraded sometime in Q2 2012."

Whether these points are accurate or I agree with them is not my point. My issue is based on these criteria, they rate the device at 8.5. To me it simply doesn't add up. Maybe the device does warrant an 8.5. But based off of this review, I wouldn't think so.

posted on 14 Feb 2012, 19:53

40. firelightx (Posts: 71; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)

Funny, I didn't even look at the number score. The paragraphs felt pretty scathing to me.

It seemed to me like the reviewer WANTED to like the phone, out of some misplaced respect for the original Droid.

Thing is... it's not the original. Motorola has consitently dropped the ball on their droid line for the past two years. Between bad launches, delayed launches, awkward phones, software glitches and bugs galore, a lack of support for a 2 month old device, and planned obsolescence within only 6 months... I honestly don't understand why anyone takes that company seriously anymore.

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 00:39

44. EarnYourLeather (Posts: 87; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

jellmoo posted on 11 Feb 2012, 09:49
"Doesn't an 8.5 seem awfully high a score for this device?"

jellmoo posted on 14 Feb 2012, 09:13
"The thing is, I'm not talking about what the device actually merits."

... OK.

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 08:41

45. jellmoo (Posts: 2045; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

Read the rest of my comments. The review makes negative point after negative point. Going by the guts of the review, the device has an awesome keyboard while everything else is mediocre. This device is given an 8.5. That, to me, makes no sense.

I'm not sure what isn't clear about this. The score does not reflect the comments.

The Bold 9900 falls into a similar category. A slew of mediocre points followed up by a great keyboard. It got a 7.

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 14:39

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

Your problem is your taking his review out of context. For example, he states "we" are saddened with the display. Like all smartphone reviewers if the phone isn't super amoled it's below standards.

He next states the battery life is poor, but yeah he is able to get 10 hrs of normal usage. Well, this is from PC World - "We're still awaiting the results of our official PCWorld labs battery test, but in my informal hands-on use, I got a full day of activity out of the Droid 4 while checking my email, browsing the Web, playing a level or two on Dead Space, and fielding calls". I have read other site, blogs etc saying the same thing. The biggest complaint about the battery has been the fact it's non removeable.

Next he clearly states while the camera isn't stellar like some of the phones on the market. It's still adequate. Again he clearly states with the video, not stellar but adequate.

Next with firmware he again clearly states they were bummed because they were expecting ICS instead of 2.3.6 Gingerbread. And this is a problem with all smartphone reviewers. They expect every new phone to come out with ICS even though only the Nexus has ICS. And even though it's been said a "million times" newer and some older phones are schedule to get ICS sometime this year.

So truly his only real complaint is the non battery removal and the misleading storage. Nothing he said above about was poor, it just wasn't what he preferred. It's the reason the phone recieved 8.5 rating instead of something lower.

posted on 17 Feb 2012, 07:14

49. jellmoo (Posts: 2045; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

If your interpretation of what was reviewed is true though, the best that can be said for all of those points is that they are "adequate".

If that is the case, how does a phone that is labelled as adequate with a great keyboard warrant an 8.5? Compare this to the review done for the RAZR MAXX, which also got an 8.5. Yet that phone is praised for it's design, gets mild praise for its screen, and big points for the battery. Does having a good keyboard make up for the difference?

An 8.5 should, and has been a great score for a device to have. Comments should reflect that though. There should be several elements on a phone that are above "adequate" for it to warrant that score.

posted on 12 Feb 2012, 11:27 1

29. ajoshi06 (Posts: 20; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)

I was expecting a better... heck a TFT or LCD screen... but they gave us a WTF screen??

posted on 12 Feb 2012, 17:42

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

FYI, It is a LCD Screen.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 12:11

33. sferris33 (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)

Ok. This article seems to cover all the bases on it except what the phone quality is like on droid 4. Can someone tell me if the phone quality is like. I like the idea that it has both touch and a qwerty, but this is feature one of the most important since it is still a phone and must function like one before I buy

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 12:27

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

when it comes to calling quality Motorola sets the bar and if it's not them it's HTC.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 16:49

35. airstream25 (Posts: 30; Member since: 18 Jun 2011)

Is this a world phone or not? Did not see GSM listed in the info.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 17:06

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

it has a GSM radio so it can be a world phone like the Spectrum but for whatever reason or the other Verizon hasn't enabled them.

posted on 14 Feb 2012, 19:49 2

39. firelightx (Posts: 71; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)

See, the part I can't get over is this... in the past 2 years, Verizon and Motorola have launched 8 phones:

Droid 2
Droid Pro
Droid X
Droid X 2
Droid 3
Moto Citrus
Droid Bionic
Droid RAZR

8 of them. Massive number of phones. Number one contributor to the customer's typical "things are moving too fast, everything is obsolete within two months!' complaint. But here's the worst part.

Of those 8 phones, 7 of them have had widespread bugs and software glitches. Always software. I realize this is anecdotal, but I know at Verizon I fix far more motorola droids than any HTC, LG, and Samsung androids combined. Talking it over with my co-workers suggests the same thing.

What I'm getting at is... 87.5% of moto's launches on Verizon have had terrible, crippling software issues on a relatively large percentage of costumer's phones. Why do we keep treating them like they're a good, solid company?

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 11:15 2

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

@firelightx. Don't know which of those 8 you are saying wasn't plagued by problems, but the Droid 3 was/is a great phone. Biggest complaint was that it didn't have 4G. Since it seems like all 4G phones released around that time had connectivity problems, it was actually a good thing it was left out. Only other complaint was camera quality, which is hardly a major problem, and was fixed by update anyway.

posted on 04 Mar 2012, 07:46

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

because no one will pay for firmware maintenance

And I would not tolerate the drm bs that they would require to sell it

public beta testing is an abominable practice all the same... worse not allowing for informed consent

Rooting is joy on these phones. Verizon unofficially endorses rooting for those who are not intellectually stunted.

MORE OFFENSIVE is the flood of the ADWARE flavor of MALWARE in the google android market claiming to be free. The COST of ads is FAR TOO HIGH: privacy.

However I remain a moto fan

posted on 14 Feb 2012, 21:44 1

41. ellarsee (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

This might seem like a funny question to ask on a review of a cell phone, but you folks didn't seem to mention how it works as a phone.
Am I the only person who uses my droid to make phone calls now and then?

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 11:08

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

It talks about call quality at the top of the last page under Performance, same place it always is. I know the review is negatively biased, but try reading the whole article..

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 12:24 1

46. ellarsee (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

Thanks. I looked through the whole article, I remember looking at performance, I also looked several times for a header that said something about call quality.

Also note comment 33, someone else who could not find any mention of call quality.

I also remember looking at the pros and cons, and call quality wasn't mentioned there.

I wonder if they edited the article after the fact to mention call quality.

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 14:47

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

So far, from other views of the droid 4, android central, phonescoop, pcmags, cnet, etc. All rave about the call quality. Unfortunately, this reviewer left it out I am not sure why. To me it seems like he was too busy wrting about why he didn't like or felt the phone was stellar than writing about what made the phone worthy of a 8.5 rating.

posted on 20 Feb 2012, 18:49 1

50. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)

Anyone notice a pattern with Phone Arena and OSs of phones?

Froyo comes out, a phone that comes out shortly after "how dare they not have froyo", then Gingerbread comes out "how dare they not have gingerbread", then of course ice cream sandwich "how dare they not have ics" and so on. We'll see the same when Jelly Bean comes out.

Fact of the matter is, ICS is still new and a large portion of apps dont support it yet. It makes more sense to support the currently most popular format that runs the most apps and then update to ICS when app developers more heavily support it.

posted on 24 Feb 2012, 08:57 1

51. glennman (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


The Droid 4's keyboard while great for a landscape one, has the same issues of other landscape ones. Basically, the result is I can type so much faster on a portrait keyboard than on a landscape one. Now I'm sure that the larger keyboard IS good for people with arthritis like my dad but how big is that market? (He doesn't push data, just pulls it anyway and therefore loves his iPhone.)

So why can't MOTO and other manufacturers produce an Android phone with a PHYSICAL PORTRAIT keyboard like those on Blackberry's, old Palms, etc??? With so many landscape Android offerings, one would think that there would be a good differentiated portrait model -- NOT.

Please Reply if you'd also like a good physical portrait keyboard.


posted on 05 Mar 2012, 16:48

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

Portrait keyboards are my favorite form factor as well. But we are in the vast minority,glennman.

posted on 26 Feb 2012, 14:00 1

52. ellarsee (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

The big draw for me of the droid is the landscape keyboard. *That* is the selling feature, everything else is a case of making sure it has the performance I need in other areas.

posted on 02 Dec 2012, 21:26

58. KandM (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Dec 2012)

This is the biggest and most expensive piece of s**t I ever owned. This mother f**king device froze 4 times just today alone. I had to force close it each time. The internet gets disconnected everyday. This is just not worth having it. I feel extremely stupid buying it. I want my money back.

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