The Motorola DROID 4 is the next update to the slide out keyboard toting Droid family. It's come a long way since the original Droid! The Droid 4 is available now from Verizon for $199 on a two year contract.
Here are the stand out features:
- Android 2.3.6 - update to ICE coming
- 4g LTE
- Dual-core 1.2GHz processor
- 1024mb RAM
- 16gb built in storage (does not come with sd card)
- 4 inch 540x960 qHD display
- 8mp camera with 1080p video
- 1.3mp front facing camera
- 1,785mAh fixed battery
- QWERTY keyboard
Motorola obviously made the Droid 4 look a little like the Droid RAZR. It has the same corners. They did away with that iconic bottom lip of the Droid 1 - 3 era. The back is rubberized plastic with rounded corners that feels great in your hands. On the right side you'll find the volume buttons and on the left you'll find the charging port & HDMI port. The top sports the power/sleep button and headphone jack.
Here's a quick comparison of what the Droid 4 looks like next to the Droid 3:
As you can see it's the largest Droid yet, which is somewhat disappointing considering how thin the Droid RAZR is. I thought Motorola would've taken some more time making the Droid 4 thinner, but I guess not.
Jump over to this page for a more detailed comparison of the Droid 3 & Droid 4.
Here it is next to the Droid RAZR:
Obviously the main feature of the Droid 4 is its keyboard. There's really no reason you would be buying this Droid if you didn't want to type with physical buttons. Motorola did a really good job updating it this time. Each button has a very stylish backlight, which only comes on when needed. The layout is almost identical, apart from moving the voice button to the tab sym position, moving the @, eliminating the search and alt buttons (the shift button now controls the alt keys), adding a dedicated caps lock, sym button, & dash and equal keys, and moving different characters up to the number row.
Motorola may be starting a trend here of batteries that can't be removed from the device. To get the back cover open you have to insert a supplied tool. Once you have it open you'll see where the 4g SIM goes and micro SD. Then you'll look at the battery and turn your head like a confused dog. It looks like it's just glued in there. You'll say to yourself "I can get that out of there, pft!". The only problem is you probably won't be able to find a replacement. To replace this battery you'll have to send it to Motorola. I could understand this for the RAZR, but not the thick Droid 4.
While the battery is 1785mAh it looks like that 4g antenna eats up a lot of it. It's rated lower in stand-by time by almost 100 hours versus the Droid 3 at 204 hours. It does have a nice couple hour boost of talk time to 12.50 though. Of course it's nothing like the Droid RAZR MAXX. The battery numbers are very similar to the regular Droid RAZR though.
The Screen - The screen is the same 4 inch qHD screen on the Droid 3. Note that it is the same resolution (540x960) as the Droid RAZR's 4.3" screen, however the pixel density is lower. Unfortunately it is hard to see in direct sunlight even with the brightness turned all the way up. In other words, the screen could be better.
The Camera - The 8mp camera with 1080p video seems to be the same one on the Droid 3. It's not the best camera out there, but it works. See the Droid 3 review for sample pics.
Processor & Memory - It's good to see that motorola updated these, bumping the process by 0.2MHz per core to 1.2GHz and doubling the RAM to 1024mb (1gb). Even with this I did notice a couple times where the phone would just stop responding to typing on the keyboard and touching the screen. After locking/unlocking the phone, things would return to normal.
Software - The build of Android is identical to the one running on the Droid RAZR (2.3.6). It's not too far off for the current one on the Droid 3 (2.3.4). The real reason you'll want to upgrade from the Droid 3 is when Ice Cream Sandwich comes out. When will that happen? Probably not until the summer. I wouldn't hold your breath.
Unfortunately for the original Droid series, this one is the last to get the 4g LTE antenna. Hardware keyboards are slowly becoming a smaller market, and Motorola is releasing updated phones accordingly. I was disappointed that the Droid 4 is no thinner than its predecessor, and has a 'fixed' battery. The hardware updates are good, but nothing ground breaking. The keyboard is obviously the shining star of this phone.
Reasons to get the Droid 4:
- You have the Droid 3 and want 4g
- You absolutely must have a physical keyboard
- You don't care about a physical keyboard
- You want a slimmer phone with a larger screen
- You like having the luxury of swapping batteries out for new ones