Motorola DROID 4 First Impressions

Aaron Baker – 
Published: February 10, 2012

The Motorola DROID 4 is the latest iteration of the "original DROID" line - that is, the line that arguably started the Android revolution in the United States.  While it offers some similar features to the now-old DROID 3 like a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor, 4-inch qHD display (with 540x960 pixels), an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, and Android 2.3, DROID 4 adds 4G LTE connectivity and a non-removable 1,785 mAh battery.  Perhaps best of all, it joins the LG Spectrum and Motorola DROID RAZR at the $199.99 price point, which is $100 cheaper than the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX, HTC Rezound, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

I've had the phone for a couple of days now, and while the changes are minor, it's a nice evolution from the DROID 3.  My thoughts:

  • The aesthetics of the DROID 4 have been brought into line with the other Motorola devices.  The edges are just a bit more brash, and the back has the curves of the RAZR line.  There is a removable door on the back that's incredibly hard to take off and reveals the microSIM and microSD trays.  The microUSB charging and HDMI ports are on the left spine, while the volume rocker is on the right spine.  The 3.5mm headphone jack and the power button can be found on the top.

  • It's packing a 4-inch display with 540x960 pixels instead of the 4.3-inch screen that's found on the RAZR and RAZR MAXX.  Having used both extensively, I noticed the size difference immediately while typing on the onscreen QWERTY, though users shouldn't have too much of a problem.  4-inches seems to be a nice sweet spot between the display size choices on the market.

  • Like the other DROID devices, the 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor performs well on the DROID 4.  I've yet to see any lag while browsing the web, surfing through apps, or using the keyboard.  On that note, it has a five row QWERTY keyboard with a dedicated D-pad and row for numbers and commonly used symbols.  The island keys are nice, tactile, and offer excellent viewability thanks to backlighting.
  • I've put the 1080p HD camcorder to the test, and have been impressed with audio and video quality.  Both have performed well, and I can see this phone being an excellent point-and-shoot replacement for the everyday video.

  • With a non-removable 1,785 mAh battery, the DROID 4 isn't going to win awards in the battery life department.  Moderate use like calling, text messaging, downloading some apps, and working on the web gave me about 10 hours before it powered down.  Fortunately, the phone charges relatively quickly, so those that thrive off of the quick charges during the day should have no problem making it.
  • This DROID comes with 4G LTE capabilities, which makes for some fast data speeds if you're in one of Verizon's LTE markets.  In tests so far, I've averaged speeds between 5 and 18 Mbps, with upload speeds between 2 and 8 Mbps.  Verizon also claims that the DROID 4 (along with the LG Spectrum) will offer global roaming capabilities later in the year via a software update.  This has been a point of contention for many international travelers that use Verizon (myself included at one point), as those that frequently leave the US have to resort to one of the global-capable 3G devices.

Outside of 4G LTE and a revamped design, there's not a whole lot that's new over the DROID 3.  It retains the same processor, camera configuration, and Android OS build.  But for those that need a physical QWERTY keyboard, this is a great option.  And better yet, it's available for $199.99.

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