Motorola DROID 4 vs Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Introduction and Design

Nowadays, it can be rather difficult to shop around for an Android powered smartphone if you happen to be a Verizon customer, mainly due to the extensive quality devices that are readily available for the taking. Very recently, the Motorola DROID 4 brought the spotlight back to one of platform’s most prominent Android families, which is hardly a surprise considering that this model has been upgraded with 4G LTE connectivity and an even better keyboard. Nevertheless, it’s going to be intriguing to see how this newcomer will extinguish the light emanating from within the Samsung Galaxy Nexus to proclaim the coveted spot as the top Android smartphone for Verizon Wireless.


Neither device jumps out at us with some kind of killer design that’s awe-inspiring, but when it comes down to it, we simply prefer the fresh appeal of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Not only is it the sleeker, lighter, and the slightly sturdier handset, but its uniform clean front surface and rounded looks  seems to delight our eyes versus the angular construction of the DROID 4. Actually, Motorola’s beauty is equally sturdy on its own, but it seems more susceptible to damage if dropped from a good height because of its two-piece construction.

Mainly reserved for video chatting and snapping self-portraits, these two titans are ready for the task with their front-facing 1.3-megapixel cameras.

Thanks primarily to their distinctive feel and clicky response, we prefer the power button and volume control of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus – whereas, the DROID 4’s buttons are too flat. Donning the same ports around their sides, there isn’t a whole lot different between them except that the DROID 4 gains video out through its microHDMI port, while the Galaxy Nexus requires an MHL adapter for the functionality.

Round back, the Motorola DROID 4 packs the higher count 8-megapixel camera, but then again, the 5-megapixel snapper of the Galaxy Nexus is no slouch either. As usual, they’re both accompanied by an LED flash. As we know, the DROID 4 has an unremovable battery, but it has a microSD slot ready to supplement its internal storage. Conversely, the battery of the Galaxy Nexus can be swapped, but it doesn’t offer any sort of expandable memory.


Dim the lights, stare straight at the two beauties, and it’s safe to say that the 4.65” HD Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is superior in all categories over the 4” qHD LCD display of the DROID 4. Although it’s negligible to distinguish which is more detailed from a distance away, upon closer inspection however, it’s quite definitive that the Galaxy Nexus is sharper looking. Captivating our eyes even further, the polarizing colors, wide-viewing angles, and illustrious contrast of the Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Nexus all combine together to outshine the bland and washed out appearance of the DROID 4’s display.

Motorola DROID 4 360-degrees View:

Samsung Galaxy Nexus 360-degrees View:

Interface and Functionality:

Even as we speak, we’re constantly perplexed to find Android devices launching with Gingerbread out of the box when Ice Cream Sandwich has been popularized by the near 3-month-old Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Complaining won’t get us anywhere, but rather, we have to say that we absolutely prefer the most up-to-date Android experience on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus as opposed to Motorola’s customized UI running on top of Gingerbread. Visually, there are a lot of pleasing 3D and transition effects in use with Moto’s customized interface that make it a pleasure to use, but the cleaner look and uncluttered approach of stock ICS is simply preferred above all things. On top of that, the improvements and new functions found with ICS, such as easier multi-tasking, essentially makes it the preferred choice. Who wants something that’s already outdated at this point? We know we don’t, and probably you too!

Having the upper hand with its larger display, our fingers effortlessly tick away in composing messages with the spacious keyboard layout on the Galaxy Nexus – whereas, we find the DROID 4’s on-screen keyboard a tiny bit more cramped. Still, there’s no arguing that the DROID 4 is the ultimate messaging device for most people, simply because of the tactile response we gain while typing something up with its physical keyboard.

On the surface, there isn’t a huge disparity between their core organizer and email apps, but when we dissect the two even further, the refinements found on the Galaxy Nexus are more prominent – like the pinch gestures in place with the calendar to expand/shrink appointments. However, we find Motorola’s Smart Actions on the DROID 4 to be a delightful supplementary function that has some huge implications on how we manage the device to our liking.

Processor and Memory:

Frankly, we’re well aware that this two are packing speedy processors within their bodies to execute most basic functions without working up a sweat. Specifically, the DROID 4 features a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor, while the Galaxy Nexus sizes up with an equally reputable 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 CPU. Both are complemented with 1GB of RAM, but the Galaxy Nexus shows signs of sluggishness when live wallpapers are used. In contrast, the DROID 4 maintains its responsiveness, but we’re puzzled to this day to find prominent choppiness with things like pinch zooming in the gallery.

Although the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has the higher storage capacity out of the box at 28.13GB, the DROID 4 has the ability to expand its internal memory, which breaks down to 8GB for storage and 2.36GB for apps, by throwing in a microSD card into its available slot.

Internet and Connectivity:

Nowadays, we’re undeniably spoiled by so many 4G LTE devices, but ennui has yet to settle in as we’re constantly amazed by Big Red’s blazing speeds – even more, we’re appreciative of it after checking out 3G speeds. Naturally, the web browsing experience on these two devices are amazing as they’re able to maintain a high level of responsiveness with sites heavily drenched with Flash content. However, the Galaxy Nexus catches the glint in our eyes more since it exhibits the better fluid navigational responses.

Unfortunately, not all 4G LTE smartphones are made equally, as we’re made aware after running speeds tests. In fact, the DROID 4 has the upper hand as it boasts download speeds that are typically 2-3Mbits/s faster than the Galaxy Nexus. On the other hand, upload speeds are usually the same. Lastly, both devices feature aGPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot functionality, but the Galaxy Nexus is outfitted with an NFC chip to ready itself for the mobile payment explosion that’s expected to happen soon.


No question about this one, but the Galaxy Nexus is the clear choice winner if your primary focus is on taking photos. As we’ve come to expect, a higher megapixel count camera doesn’t necessarily translate to the better-looking photos, and of course, it’s quite indicative with this comparison. Although details are nearly the same on both devices with their soft appearance, it’s the natural color production of the Galaxy Nexus that enables its results to be the more appealing of the two. Also, it’s remarkably faster in snapping a shot versus the slower pace of the DROID 4. And even though their performances under low lighting aren’t anything worth bragging about, the LED flash on the Galaxy Nexus appears to be more potent as it casts some decent lighting to balance the tones of its colors.

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Likewise, Samsung’s pride and joy takes the crown with its pleasant looking 1080p high definition video capture. Even though the Galaxy Nexus has the better details, colors, and audio recording, the DROID 4 has the smoother playback thanks to its 29 frames per second rate, which edges out the choppy look found with the 24 frames per second rate of the Galaxy Nexus. Regardless of that, the DROID 4’s results aren’t that favorable since it’s void of any sharp details or neutral colors.

Motorola DROID 4 Sample Video:

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Sample Video:


Equipped with some spiffy looking 3D visuals with their music players, there isn’t a whole lot different with the two when you look at them on the surface – albeit, we appreciate the DROID 4 getting us to sing along to our favorite songs since it displays the lyrics. In terms of audio quality, our ears enjoy the robust tones emitted by their respective speakers, but the DROID 4’s volume output is a tad stronger, though, it’s not by much.

Enchanting us with its generous size and magnificent looking colors, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is evidently the preferred choice for watching videos. Well, it’s still acceptable on the DROID 4, but seeing its display is smaller and its colors are blander in tone, it lacks the iridescence to match the wonderful performance of the Galaxy Nexus. However, it’s worth noting that Samsung’s beauty cannot play videos encoded in DivX or Xvid out of the box – whereas, the DROID 4 can.


Seeing that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has some blemishes in the calling quality department, the DROID 4 is able to stand atop of the hill with its near perfect quality. Specifically, the Galaxy Nexus is plagued by muffled tones through its speakerphone and robotic voices that our callers are treated to on their end. Well, there are no problems with the DROID 4 as we’re treated to audible and noise-free voices.

Although it doesn’t happen as much, we still experience more dropped 4G LTE connections with the Galaxy Nexus. As for dropped calls, we’re happy to report that we didn’t experience any with either handset.

Clearly, these two feature filled smartphones are blessed with enough muscle power under the hood to justify their top-shelf status, but unfortunately, they’re abysmal when it comes to battery life. In fact, they both perform similarly seeing we’re able to get roughly 10 hours of normal usage out of fully charged batteries.


Normally, newer devices gain a lot of attention for being fresh on the scene, as opposed to some other models that have been around for months. Yes, we adore that the DROID 4 is the supreme messaging device, and even better, its $200 on-contract pricing is much easier on the pockets, but there isn’t a whole lot of “fresh” associated with it. In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is quickly approaching 3 months of life on Verizon’s lineup, but even now, it still feels like the newer device. Well, that’s partly all thanks to the fact that it’s the sole smartphone at the moment to offer Ice Cream Sandwich. Charming us with the most up-to-date Android experience isn’t the only tangible nicety going for the Galaxy Nexus, but in addition, it’s well complemented by a host of physical characteristics, like its beautiful display, to make it seem like the “fresh” device between the two. Indeed, you’ll need to shell out another $100 to pick it up at $300 with a contract, but trust us, you won’t be making a second guess with the decision.

Motorola DROID 4 vs Samsung Galaxy Nexus:

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