The Motorola Droid 4 ($200 with a two-year contract on Verizon) is the latest keyboarded version of the Droid family. And while Droid hasn’t had a big push on the keyboard-style designs, this one takes the grand prize in terms of usability and function.
The Droid 4 reminds you of the Droid Razr, except significantly thicker, measuring in at 2.75 by 4.98 by 0.50-inches. It packs two cameras: a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and an 8-megapixel camera on the back. Button-wise, it doesn’t have much…that is besides the enormous physical keyboard. Only a volume rocker and a power button remain as extra hard navigation buttons. The battery is not user-removable, and the SIM and MicroSD card slots sit inside the phone.
The full QWERTY keyboard is the best on the market. You can type on it with extreme accuracy, and I might add, quickly as well. The keys have a slight bump on their surface and they’re spaced out well. This makes typing a lot more comfortable.
The Droid 4’s 4-inch, 960-by-540 (qHD) display is not bad. It’s a PenTile display versus an LCD, which still delivers relatively sharp images. The 1.2-GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor, the same processor found in the Droid Razr and the Droid Razr Maxx, is fast and responsive. Graphics-intensive games run well, and I never experienced any slowdown or freezing. Call quality, as with all Motorola phones, is the best in the business, and I got a full day of activity out of the Droid 4’s battery.
The [amazon_link id=”B006FXY9LC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Droid 4 [/amazon_link]ships with Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread), along with Motorola’s custom overlay. Additionally, you get access to useful software such as MotoCast, which gives you access to the media on your computer while on the go, and Smart Actions, which lets you program your phone to automate tasks such as silencing your ringer when you get to work or turning off GPS while you’re at home. Motorola has also pre-installed Let’s Golf 2 and Slacker for your enjoyment.
The device is great for playing games and HD movies, and the Droid 4’s LTE connectivity makes it a good candidate for streaming music and video. Its built-in speakers sometimes sound a little muffled, but using headphones really blares out the tunes. The Droid 4 doesn’t ship with a MicroSD card, but it does supply 8GB of onboard storage.
The camera is not the best, but it’s not the worst either. Images captured outdoors look pretty sharp. It’s only the indoor shots that produce some grainy and discoloration. Still with 8-megapixals to play with, the physical prints look pretty good. The front-facing camera is ironically better, and you can use it for video calling with apps like Skype. The Droid 4 captures videos in 720p by default, but you can adjust its settings to record in 1080p. The Droid 4 did a pretty good job of picking up audio as well.
In conclusion, the Droid 4 was designed for the power user, offering one of the best physical keyboards on the market, access to Verizon’s 4G LTE speeds, a responsive touchscreen and suitable battery life to accompany the demands of on-the-go productivity, all for $200 on a two-year contract. It marries two concentrated markets: consumers demanding a physical keyboards and the enterprise user. The screen is not as sharp as the Rezounds and the Nexus’s of the world, but it does just fine. If you’re in the market for a phone with a very usable keyboard and everything else Android has to offer, than the Droid 4 should be your first shopping stop.
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