As a Droid 2 lover (and a user of almost all the 4G Droid phones, including Thunderbolt, Charge, Bionic) I have to say this is one of the best Droid phones yet. Like many people, I cut my Smartphone teeth on a Blackberry so I've been a fan of keyboards for years - and this one is maybe the best and most PC like keyboard ever found on a mobile phone.
Here is what you need to know:
+This is the first Droid to have a full QWERTY keyboard. It is still super thin, though. This keyboard is sweet - rubbery individual buttons (unlike Droid 1, or 2.) Each button gives a satisfying click as well. I love that it has the Shift, Cap Lock on the keyboard where they are on a PC. It is so much more natural than other mobile phone keyboards.
+4G LTE from Verizon is the fastest and most built out 4G network and this is blazing fast.
+8 MP rear camera is as good as any other phone in the US. There is a front facing 1.3 MP camera for video calling as well. It also has 1080P video recording. Both function well outside. Inside under artificial light doesn't work as well, but there are better capture apps that you can get (like Camera 360 and Vignette) that can help out for inside pics. It does come with a program Smart Movie HD that allows you to edit your videos - a great faeature - that other Droids haven't come with.
+Android 2.3 Gingerbread with a promise from Motorola to push Ice Cream Sandwhich in the near future.
+Dual core 1.2 GH TI OMAP4430 processor rocks. Every page and program runs quickly and you can run a ton of stuff at the same time.
+1 GB of Ram so you can run lots of apps without bogging down.
+Gorilla glass (harder to scratch) and a water-resistent coating. Still not waterproof, but anything is better than nothing to help the phone avoid water damage.
Some things that you may not like:
-You can get a day's worth of talk without a ton of apps running (maybe 8 hours), but you will certainly want a vehicle power adapter and also a desk charger for work. If this bothers you remember that this is a computer in your hand and how long does your PC run without being plugged in? It's worth it.
-A lot of Motorola's new devices seem to be almost the same phone. Razr, Razr Maxx, Droid X2 are all basically the same with different batteries or radios. Droid 4, Bionic are similar in specs with only the keyboard being different. Some may say that Motorola is over providing options recently and I would agree to an extent. But the keyboard on this phone makes it a worthy option that is different enough from the others.
Overall this is a great phone. It is similar to a Bionic or Razr in specs but has the keyboard. If you love using a keyboard then this is - in my opinion - the best keyboard 4G Droid on the market. Highly recommended.
on May 19, 2012
If you're upgrading from an original Droid with which you were very satisfied, like me, you're probably trying to decide between buying the Droid 4 and the Razr Maxx. For me, the Droid 4 is much better. The two are identical in many ways. I see the following as the three key differentiators.
* Battery life - advantage Maxx, by a long shot
* Keyboard - advantage 4, by a long shot, and I consider this two advantages (see below)
* Display - advantage Maxx, but only by a small margin
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see a big difference between the two. I'm very happy with the Droid 4's display, which is noticeably nicer than my original Droid.
There are some other small differences. For instance, the Maxx comes with a 16gb microSD card preinstalled, but the 4 carries no preinstalled card. However both will support up to a 32gb card. I'm fine without the preinstalled card, since I'd rather have the full 32gb, and it didn't cost much to buy one. (I went with a G.Skill Class 10 card. There were no ratings for it here when I bought mine, but it is highly rated elsewhere.)
The Maxx is priced higher, but if the battery life is that important for you, it's still cheaper than having to buy a separate extended-life battery (as we USED TO be able to do for our phones! Are you listening manufacturers?) and especially if you'd be satisfied with the 16gb preinstalled microSD card.
So for me, it really came down to a battle between the battery life of the Maxx vs the Droid 4's keyboard. I opted for the 4 and am VERY happy I did.
The Droid 4's battery life is about the same or a little better than my old Droid. I'd love to be untethered at least for a full day, and fondly remember going days between charges with my former non-smartphones. I already have chargers at work and in my truck, and the old ones work fine with the Droid 4, so at least it's not worse than my established routine from my original Droid.
The Droid 4's keyboard ... I love the keyboard. The feel is great. I don't find it too big at all, but rather more of a relief after a couple years with the smaller keyboard from my original Droid. My hands aren't huge. My glove size is medium. It works well for me.
Many are calling it a full QWERTY keyboard. It's not. But it's close enough. The dedicated numeric keys alone are a big improvement. Having the correct symbols also assigned to them is huge, especially for those of us with symbols in our secure passwords. My secure passwords were difficult with my original Droid's keyboard, and with all of the virtual keyboards I've seen. This feature alone makes smartphone use a whole lot better for me.
The old Droid keyboard was good. The new Droid 4 keyboard is even better. I am much more efficient and comfortable using the physical keyboard than a virtual keyboard. I've tried Swype. It's a great idea, and I like it for some uses, but it's usefulness seems seriously limited when I need to switch between the different virtual keyboard views - lowercase, uppercase, numbers with symbols, and another view filled solely with more symbols. Regardless, the physical keyboard with its shift and SYM keys is a big advantage for me. This might not be true for you.
With the Droid 4 keyboard I can see everything on the screen while I'm typing. Especially when I'm replying to email or using the browser, it's frustrating to have the majority of the page blocked by a virtual keyboard. To me this is a another big advantage over a virtual keyboard. The advantage of a nice, big 4.3" hi-res screen is lost when I'm mostly looking at a virtual keyboard when I need to type.
A shortcoming of the Maxx's virtual keyboard is that it doesn't have arrow keys. I use them fairly often, so this is another advantage for the Droid 4 for me.
I have seen one or two complaints from people saying they keep accidentally hitting the power button while typing on the Droid 4's keyboard. It's easy to understand how frustrating that would be, but I have yet to have that problem after using mine for a week. I'm guessing it's a difference in hand placement or something.
One quick side note ...
At first I was deeply concerned because music sounded awful. Actually, it wasn't the music itself, but it sounded like the vocals were coming through a long tunnel and were being drowned out by the music. Thankfully I found that some of the Media Audio Effects had been turned on from the factory. My original Droid had nothing like this and, now that I know about it and have taken advantage of it, it's GREAT! Bass was lacking when playing my original phone through my truck's stereo. That's no longer a problem. If the audio doesn't sound right to you, go to Settings / Sound and find "Media audio effects" under the Feedback heading. Next hit "Wired stereo devices" and adjust the settings as you see fit.
So in my book, the Maxx gets one advantage point for the battery, but the Droid 4 gets at least two points for the keyboard. Your mileage may vary.
P.S. It would be NICE to have a Droid 4 MAXX. But if Motorola thinks I'm shelling out for another phone within the next 2+ years, they're sorely mistaken. Regardless of what you choose, I hope you thoroughly enjoy it.
on February 15, 2012
This is an excellent phone with two major flaws. I switched to the Droid 4 after using the Droid x for the past 15 months. While I liked the Droid X, I find the Droid 4 to be a major improvement in many ways. The 4G is very noticeably faster than the 3G. You type in a search and you are there instantly. The screen display has also been improved. It is very sharp. I am not using a screen protector (though I did use one on every other phone I have owned) since I am not particularly tough on my phones and am relying on the guerilla glass. (Though I realize not all agree with me on this).
The main reason I switched to the Droid 4 is the keyboard. As a longtime BlackBerry user I have to admit I like a physical keyboard better than a virtual keyboard. Though the virtual keyboard on the Droid 4 is far superior to the virtual keyboard on the Droid X, the physical keyboard on the Droid 4 is the best I have ever used on any phone, including BlackBerry. The keys are large, lit and well-spaced. You just can't beat it.
Now the negative- first the battery - it can't be removed so you are stuck with it . Mine only lasts for 10 hours before needing a charge (and I am not a super heavy user). The Droid X could make it till the end of the day; the 4 can't even come close. Sure I can disable the GPS, 4G and my apps, but then I would be using a phone that was not much different from a Blackberry. I have purchased the external battery, but haven't started using it yet. My first impression is that it is kind of large to be carrying around on a daily basis.
The second major problem is the placement of the power /sleep button. It is at the top of the phone. Unfortunately, that means that when you are using the physical keyboard, you hold the phone horizontally and your left hand constantly hits the button causing the screen to lock or the power off message to display. This makes no sense and I am unable to find a way to disable this function.
If it hadn't been for the two problems, this phone would have earned a "5". Unfortunately, it does have these problems and as a result I have to downgrade it to a "3".
on February 24, 2012
I came from the droid x and really hate the virtual keyboard. The phone was ok other than that but i really did not like not having a physical keyboard. I got the droid 4 for vday although i was really worried at first as a lot of people had negative things to say about it based on what info was already leaked as far as the screen and the battery. I def am glad i made the switch as this phone is immensely superior than the droidx. I have a habit of always carrying a charger on me at all times and also of course have a car charger so although yes def the battery drains quick when you browse and stuff i have yet to have the phone actually die on me. Also one thing to note which i just started getting into with this phone is the "smart actions." When i first got the phone i over looked it but soon realized its potential. For example you can set up a trigger, one i have is that when the phone gets to 25% battery capacity i have certain things turn off automatically like the auto sync and all other extras like that (bluetooth etc.). Other smart actions i have set up is a home one so when im home the screen automatically gets brighter and it automatically switches the ringer on if its off...then at work i have it automatically turn to vibrate as well as some other features (also like the dif screen savers that change between profiles if you choose to do so). And these smart actions automatically switch on depending on your location its not something you have to switch to. The other complaints that i hear and heard were about the screen quality...the screen def is not the same as the droidx and unfortunately sometimes you can see the pixels themselves...now taking this into consideration it really does not bother me and i have not really had it cause issues while web browsing as some other people have stated in the reviews...i even upload movies from my computer onto the phone to watch at work on my breaks and it really is not that bad at all, something i can completely without a doubt live with. Again the major thing for me with this phone was, in order, the key board, 4g, and the dual core processor. The keyboard is completely awesome (i actually got a case at the verizon store that fits it perfect and blocks the sleep button which i read another person have issues with when typing where he would press it all the time, this has never happened to me due to the case). The processors make the phone very fast and not laggy which i did get a little bit of with the droidx. and then of course if you have ever used 4g after using 3g it is incredibly faster. In the store i downloaded the app "speed test" to run a test on the demo model while at the same time running it on my droidx and the results speak for themselves. Other than that i really have no complains, my call quality has been good and i havent dropped a call yet, the speaker on the phone is pretty loud (external and phone speaker), and one small thing that i love is how you can go to the camera from the main screen while swiping your finger (the screen before you unlock it). Oh one small complaint...no idea why when listening to your music you dont have music controls when you lock the screen like i did on my droidx...that was kind weird. All in all if you need a keyboard and hate the virtual ones and want to experience 4g this phone really has it all. If i had listened to all the negativeness (which seems to stick out to people more than the positives) then i would not have gotten the phone, but if given the chance to make my choice again hands down i would get this phone again. I hope this review helps someone like me who was on the fence as that is my goal :D and hey if youre on the fence you have time to return it if you dont like it. So give it a try!
on February 16, 2012
(Review by Joe's wife) I'm not sure what the other folks are complaining about when it comes to battery, my battery, at the end of a day and a half, still had 20% battery life! Maybe they are on their phones all day or maybe they just aren't using all the smart actions - which btw, are amazing! I can make my phone do (almost) anything I want it to do when I want it to do it - which helps battery life a lot! (helpful tip - I find creating your OWN rules is easier than trying to find your way around the pre-set ones) This is my first smart phone and I think I made a great choice. I'll do the cons first since the list is short: 1) no dedicated camera button 2) wish it came with a memory card. Besides that, this is far exceeded my expectations. Coming from a tiny 2 inch screen of the Samsung Alias 2 basic phone, this screen is a dream. Touch screen is excellent. Phone is very well built - perfect size and weight - not too big, not too small. I NEEDED a physical keyboard because I hate typing on the virtual ones - this keyboard is the best I have ever used! It's large, it's lit, it's perfect. Now on the other side of things, I have been learning how to Swype for quick messages. That's what I love about this phone - so many options for typing. I am enjoying being able to customize everything as well. I am glad to be free of my basic phone and I can now sell my Ipod touch, so now I just carry this. BTW, this phone has been quite the eye catcher! My friends with their iphones and blackberries drool over my slide out keyboard and large screen. :) So go ahead and get this phone, you wont' regret it!
on February 16, 2012
I am a Droid lover. I had the first Droid, and most recently the Droid X. My husband got this for me for Valentines day because he knew I missed my keyboard. As far as the keyboard goes, WOW... it just does not get any better. Everything I hoped it would be and more!
As for the rest of the phone, It is starting to really grow on me. I was worried about the battery issue, but have noticed that I can do much more browsing on my Droid 4 than I could on my Droid X before the battery starts complaining. Yes, by the end of the day it is in need of a charging, but I am impressed that it lasts as well as it does with heavy browsing.
The browsing is super fast and the phone response is pretty impressive... smooth and quick! The display is pretty decent. I did not think so initially, but after you play with the settings and get it to your liking it is fine! Even though it is smaller than my Droid X, I find that I am not noticing so much.
I use my phone camera a lot! Although it is not as quality as I would like, it gets the job done quite nicely and I have gotten some pretty nice photos. All my camera apps are run so much quicker. Unlike the reviewer that complained about the lack of a physical camera button, I actually really like that! The front camera is a nice addition.
My first day, I was not sure if I would be keeping this phone or taking it back, but I am finding that I really like it! If the non-removable battery is not an issue for you, it is a great phone! It keeps getting better!
I have had this phone a few more days now, and there is NO way I would go back. The few flaws this phone has is more than made up for with its good points. LOVE IT!
on February 29, 2012
Pros: Awesome keyboard - If you're a keyboard fan, this can't be beat.
Size - For me, it's the perfect size. I like that it's not as big as other Verizon phones, yet still has a very impressive display.
Battery life - I don't live in a 4G environment, but I have everything else constantly running - GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. Today was a fairly normal usage day for me (a little web-surfing, some texts and phone calls, streaming radio to and from work, even downloaded a couple of apps). Right now I'm sitting at 40% charge after 15h 38m 53s (per the phone) on battery power. I can't think of many reasons why I would need more.
Smart Actions App - Great app! Makes it very easy to seamlessly move from my home (wifi network) to my car (bluetooth on, Pandora opens automatically, wifi off) to the office (silent phone) without ever having to touch the phone.
Cons: Plastic construction already has some scratches from putting it into and out of my zippered pocket. They're very small (I only noticed them because I was looking very closely for "cons") and only on the plastic around the screen. The screen itself is Gorilla Glass and is not scratching at all. Not a big deal to me, but some people really want their phones to remain in pristine condition.
Bottom line, this is a great 4G LTE phone by any standard. The fact that it has that great keyboard literally puts it in a class by itself.
UPDATE: I'm now over 3 months into my Droid experience and still as happy as can be. The area where I live and work now has 4G LTE coverage, but I still usually have no problems getting a full days usage out of my phone on one charge. If I spend a significant amount of time (2 hours +) playing games, the phone does have to be put back on the charger after about 12 hours or so. The bezel around the screen is still scratch-prone, the worst of it came when I accidentally dropped the phone onto the asphalt one day. There was no damage to the workings of the phone. Even if I was purchasing this today against the newer phones out there (including the rumored iPhone 5) I think I would still go for the Droid 4.
on April 12, 2012
I love this phone but concede that the battery is an issue, but mainly due to the 4g network (which works great where I live). I've read many critiques of the screen, but I like the screen, and I can see it fine in sunlight. The camera also gets critiqued, but it seems ok so far. I'll be better able to tell when I can compare it to previous vacation photos this summer, but it comes up quick and works well. For the battery, I recommend downloading the Data Enabler widget from the google play market. You can use it to toggle off the data stream (phone and text still work) when you don't need it and toggle it on when you do. My battery is now lasting all day. The qwerty keyboard on this phone is the best I've used and I have owned a blackberry.
on July 12, 2012
I have come from using four years worth of two different iphones (3, 4) and was a bit apprehensive about the switch to an Android phone and the Droid 4. Almost got a Razr Maxx, but decided it was way too big and this was basically the same phone with a better grip, not so big it is bulky in pocket, and I can live with battery life (see below). I am an objective reviewing, not an Apple or Droid fanboy, so hopefully this helps some of you:
1. 4G LTE speed. In my mind, this makes the phone. Compared to my iphone 4, the speed is blazing fast..my phones with apple always took forever to buffer when watching videos, and this just blazes! Of course, runs on regular 3G network also, so you always have coverage if in non 4 G area.
2. TWO Keyboards, one physical, one touch. What is great about this is that you can use the touch for short texts, bursts, etc, but if you need a physical keyboard for accuracy on business emails or texts this works out great. Physical keyboard is one of the best I have ever used, keys soft and tactile, and backlit.
3. SIZE of phone. As stated, almost got the Razr Maxx. But read many reviews of issues with that phones sounds, speakers, and freezing. ALSO DON"T LIKE A HUGE PHONE IN POCKET! The Maxx is thinner than this phone, but not by much , and the screen size on this surprised me cause I thought it would be a lot smaller than the RAZRs, but it is not.
4. Customized....As someone who has been with Apple, their system is limiting. I hated the folders and lack of creating widgets and shortcuts like you can here. This system is a lot more open.
5. Voice Quality. Excellent on Verizon. No crackling or speaker issues.
Battery life, but EQUALS IPHONE 4! I had to have a charger at home , work, and car for iphone, so this is NO change for me. IF you need that longer life, GO FOR THE MAXX, but I am also told with ICS update the battery life on Maxx is same now as other droids, that may be not true in all cases.
I have found that with heavy texting and phone use my battery lasts all day with some web surfing, etc. Have not tried a ton of vids or movies or gaming yet, but with the 4G I am excited to do so! Fast!
Screen RES: Not quite as crisp as Apple, but certainly not bad. I see no issues with this unless you are taking tons of videos and photos that are necessary for your job or livliehood...for the average user, it is fine.
I rarely give a phone five stars, but am doing so here. So people grump about battery life, but reality is on any smartphone it is going to suck up the battery. If this bothers you, get the Maxx but be aware if you upgrade to ICE CREAM SANDWICH upgrade you may lose that edge.
I DO NOT have a problem while texting like some state on these reviews with hitting the power button.....it is really not an issue.
This phone is fast, fluid, and has two keyboards with lightning fast speed. A Winner!
on March 22, 2012
I have had the droid 4 for two months now. My first smartphone was a Blackberry Curve; the phone after that, my last phone was a first-generation Droid Incredible. I have been around iPhones and other smartphones but the Blackberry and Incredible are really my only basis for comparison.
Size- My first impression of the phone is that is was a brick. It felt thick and heavy in my hand. I am very comfortable with the size and weight now.
Keyboard- my first impression was that it was too wide. I felt like my fingers had to stretch to reach the center keys. A week or two into using it I felt comfortable. The individual keys have a really nice feel. I don't know why but I get some weird pleasure out of typing on this thing and then slapping the keyboard shut like I used to get from closing my old flip-phone to hang up. The only thing that you might find annoying ( I don't) is the noise from the keys clicking. If you type long emails on your phone around people in a quiet place the keyboard would be obnoxious.
Screen- I saw that a couple of people mentioned "wash out" from looking at it in the sun, for me this phone's screen is an improvement in that aspect (over the Incredible). Maybe my old Incredible was really bad though. The resolution is 20% better but the screen is 20% larger in dimension so it doesn't really look any sharper (I.e same "pixel density"). I recommend researching pixel density if you are looking for a phone that looks sharper than an iPhone. There are very few phones with equal or greater pixel densities to that one.
Battery life- again I see a lot of complaints about this but I see an improvement. This phone holds like 40% more charge (based on mAh) than my Incredible did and it seems to last almost twice as long with similar use. It has a cool battery management program that you can use to "teach" the phone how to shut down functions you don't use under certain conditions (I.e. dim the screen and turn off wifi/gps when battery gets to >25%). I pay for the ability to use the phone as a 4g wifi hotspot and this seems to kill 10-15% more battery per hour, just FYI. Unless I turn on the 4g hotspot the phone has no problem being unplugged in the morning and re-charged at night (for me).
Verizon 4g- this is my first 4g phone and I am never going back. The slowest download speed I have tested so far was 3.5Mbps in the middle of the Atlanta airport. I have seen 27Mbps where I live. I put my wifi-only iPad on the 4g hotspot and it works great. FaceTime is flawless and seems to use about 6-7 megabytes of data per minute or 200Mb for a thirty minute video chat (again, just FYI so you can guess at your data plan needs). I pay for 6Gb/ month and I am burning about 4 up. I use the 4g hotspot in lieu of hotel Internet 3 nights a week (I travel a lot). Oh, and I have been pretty impressed with the 4g coverage too. I was getting 17Mbps down in Davenport, IL the other day. Like an idiot I didn't look up 4g coverage maps before buying the phone. I recommend doing that. I have had a handful of times that I had to re-name the hotspot and turn it off/on for the iPad to detect it.
Miscellaneous- it has a multi-color LED above the screen. I set different colors for different notifications and get a lot of use out of the function when it's on silent (red light for texts, green for emails, etc.) The power button is a little annoying. It seems almost recessed into the phone. I guess the designers wanted to prevent accidental bumping while using the keyboard. I don't bump it much when I am typing but it has happened.
Overall impression- it's a 4g smartphone with a good slide-out keyboard. The network and the keyboard are the only things that stand out for me. I hated typing on a touch screen. This phone is what I was looking for and I am happy with the purchase.