Motorola DROID, the smartphone that was first released just two years ago and well known for being the phone that had a hand in making Anrdoid the big hit it is today has now had 3 successors, the latest being the Motorola DROID 4. The successors haven’t had such a big impact on the market as the first one for various reasons. For instance, Motorola DROID 3 was released without support for 4G LTE connectivity. So Motorola has corrected that issue with the Motorola DROID 4 and there are of course hardware improvements as well. So let’s see if this phone will be able to win back the crowd.
QWERTY landscape keyboard has been a feature of Motorola DROID phones and the same goes for the Motorola DROID 4. There is however some changes to the design as compared to its predecessors. Nevertheless, these changes, namely its tapered edges and sturdy build, are actually things we have seen on other Motorola models like the Motorola PHOTON 4G and the Motorola DROID RAZR. The Motorola DROID 4 also comes with water-repellant technology meaning it will be able to take a few drops of coffee now and again, but don’t dip in your coffee as it’s not completely waterproof. Albeit being the biggest DROID phone so far with its 5 x 2.65 x 0.5-inch body, it nevertheless has kept its compact 0.5 inch thick body. At 6.31 oz it’s not too light, but this gives us the feeling that it’s well built.
On the front of the smartphone sits a 4 inch qHD display that we will elaborate further later. A little further down the screen – in an effort to rid off accidental presses – are the trademark Android capacitive buttons. Also on the front is a 1.3MP camera which records videos at 720p too. The QWERTY keyboard on the Motorola DROID 4 trumps its predecessor’s already great keyboard somehow. It’s extremely easy to use and the keyboard is also very spacious. Motorola has maintained the same layout but has also given a slight dome to the buttons and some impressive backlighting too. If that’s not enough, then be amazed when we tell you it glows in the dark too. So we can actually say this is by far the best QWERTY keyboard we have seen on a smartphone. The power button and volume rocker were a disappointment as they were flush to the chassis. You will find both the microUSB and microHDMI ports next to each other as the phone has support for Webtop. Finally on the back, there is an 8MP auto-focus camera which has LED flash too.
The Motorola DROID 4 comes with an improved 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430 CPU when compared to its predecessor. Furthermore, it has doubled its memory with the 1GB RAM onboard. Put these two things together and we got some amazing results. Normal tasks were of course a piece of cake; we were amazed when it worked just as fine with live wallpaper.
The OS that powers this device is sadly still Android v.2.3.6 Gingerbread, not Android Ice Cream Sandwich. However an upgrade is in the pipelines, so there’s nothing to worry on that front. The user interface running atop the OS is the same MOTOBLUR that we have seen in the Motorola DROID 3. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth mentioning again that the interface still has got its swagger with the amazing 3D visuals and transitions. As mentioned earlier, we have the exact same interface as the one on Motorola DROID 3, so you will find the same organizer apps and they still work as good as they used to. The phone also offers an on-screen keyboard, but we really don’t see why you would be using that especially with a tremendous QWERTY keyboard already onboard. However, it’s our duty to talk about it and we would like to report that the on-screen keyboard seems a bit cramped but still responsive and fast. Email experience is as always amazing, something you come to expect now with Android powered babies.
The 4 inch qHD TFT LCD screen turned out to be a downer for the Motorola DROID 4. This is because, the screen gives a much washed out appearance and the contrast levels were bad. To exacerbate things, the viewing angles were pretty bad too. You won’t have a problem making out tiny letters though as you get a good pixel density of 275 ppi. However there was nothing to like about everything else.
Next up is the 8MP camera that comes with the Motorola DROID 4. There’s nothing new with the interface when compared to the camera interface found on Motorola DROID 3. So let’s not dwell on that too much. Moving on to the photos taken, we sincerely hoped it would be much better than the terrible performance of the camera on the Motorola DROID 3, and we are glad there were some improvements. Color production has improved but details are still lacking in the pictures. The LED doesn’t help too much when taking photos indoors either. All we can say is that, it performs better than its predecessor. Video recording is done at 1080p but still the recordings somehow lack details. At least the good 29 fps recording rate makes up for that loss.
Internet connectivity is another area where the Motorola DROID 4 has gotten a significant improvement, as it now comes with 4G LTE connectivity. It just had to be done or Motorola would just lag behind its competitors. To complement the great internet speeds, we also get a very good browser that tackles all the complex pages and also provides smooth navigation controls. Loading Flash content was also not an issue with the Motorola DROID 4. Meanwhile, in terms of connection options, we get the usual suspects like aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0 as well as mobile hotspot functionality to go with its ability to connect to Wi-Fi.
Motorola DROID 4 also deals with calling quality superbly. Voices on both sides were amazingly clear and the absence of background noise just made things a lot better. The speakerphone was also loud. This phone packs a 1785 mAh battery that sadly cannot cope with the demands of a 4G LTE phone. So keeping your charger within reach at all times is a good idea.
Pros and Cons
This phone has got the best QWERTY keyboard this world has ever seen; at least that’s what we think. For the offered specs, the $200 on-contract price is definitely worth it. Calling quality was simply amazing too on the Motorola DROID 4.
The screen should have been much better. We would like to see a much better battery for a 4G LTE capable phone in the future.
Motorola DROID 4 definitely has given the DROID name a boost with its cool specs, especially the landscape QWERTY keyboard. Offering 4G LTE internet connectivity at an affordable price definitely makes it appealing.