12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2012
The Droid 4 is almost perfect.
Its incredibly fast, very easy to use, has decent battery life for a smart phone, and the layout of the keyboard is awesome.
It even lets you make a phone call!
But i say "almost" because there is a huge design flaw with this phone.
The back light illumination for the keyboard has all kinds of issues.
The lighting will randomly shut off in the dark after a couple seconds and wont turn back on unless you slide the phone closed.
Even in the middle of a typing it will just go off for no reason, with no change in light level.
Sometimes it does not even turn on at all, even in complete darkness. It basically makes the slide out keyboard completely useless in low light situations.
And the slide out keyboard was the reason I decided to buy this phone rather and than an iPhone 4s in the first place, and it is the #1 attraction/deciding factor for most owners of the Droid 4.
The sensor is located between the front speaker and the front camera, embedded underneath the glass in the black border. Its hard to see, but if you look closely under bright light its there. Cover it up with a sticker, and (after a lag of several seconds), the keyboard will illuminate. Uncover the sensor, and the back light goes off. There is something wrong with either the sensor itself, or the software that controls it. Either way, it is a deal breaker.
The worst part is that there is no way for the user to set the back-lighting to "always on" or "stay on when keyboard open". There is just not any user control over the illumination at all.
This is a known problem. Verizon knows about it. Motorola knows about it. And they refuse to acknowledge the problem.
Ive discussed it with customer service and their "fix" is to offer an exchange for the same phone, even though all Droid 4's have the problem.
There is a discussion detailing the problem here on an Android forum:
If Motorola ever issues a fix for this I would give it 5 stars. Unfortunately they don't seem interested in doing anything, so I cannot recommend the phone to anyone.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
Outstanding across the board. Personally, I'm not a heavy user so the 4G maybe a little lost on me (3G plenty fast), but all of the other upgrades are so worth it. If I had to pick a downside, I'd say that I'm not used to the larger size (a bit harder to "single handle" compared to the Droid 1) or the most "plastic" feel to it (vs. more metal Droid 1). Otherwise, rockin' phone that's been a pleasure to own.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I cannot begin to express how much I rely on my Droid 4 - besides using as a cell phone, texting and responding emails, I use my Droid 4 for many functions including online banking to watching the stock market to reading my Kindle books to watching videos to listening to Pandora to sharpening cognitive skills with educational apps. The Droid 4 a smartphone, ipod, Kindle, Nook, dictionary, flashlight, compass, navigator, NOAA Alert, and DS all rolled into one device.
Verizon has now rolled out ICE CREAM SANDWICH so the DROID 4 is now a global device (and yes uses a SIM Card.)
The 5 row slide out keyboard is a must have for those who text / type novel length emails and reviews. The button placement is very intuitive though the power button needs to be relocated due to frequent hitting when typing on the keyboard. Annoying but it improves over time.
The industry standard microUSB allows for convenient recharging; be sure to invest in a battery boost, typically about $25!
Also spend a few bucks to get a microHDMI to HDMI cable to display videos w/audio to HDTVs or projectors.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2012
I remember in my search for the next phone, a reviewer titled an article on the Droid 4 "How the might have fallen". They couldn't have been closer to the truth. As a long time fan of the Moto Droid series and user of Droid 1 and Droid 2, I can't begin express my frustration and disappointment with the 4th edition. Something was clearly missed in the development of this phone.
I'll start with the one and only good feature of the phone- the keyboard. This has been the primary driver for me to stick with the Droid lineup. The other options for Verizon are limited and there are not too many compelling options from other carriers that warrant jumping ship. That said, they keyboard is fantastic. The extra row of numbers on top is a huge upgrade from the previous Droids and the keys feel light, springy and well spaced. In my opinion, having a physical keyboard is the best way to input text into a phone and the Droid 4 slideout keyboard is the best I have ever used.
When you first open up the phone the keyboard marvels- then things rapidly start going downhill. Lets start with the screen. The resolution is bumped up, the screen size is larger but the quality is nothing short of atrocious. The pentile screen is one of the worst screens I've ever seen on any device, period. You can physically see the individual green pixels on the battery gauge from armslength away. This is a major distraction. Contrast is awful- pictures have no definition in shadows, and highlights are blown out of the water. It is actually depressing to look at pictures on this phone- the low quality screen will dismay you from showing off photos since they simply look terrible on the 4. Futhermore, the screen has a blue tint to it. This can be fixed with some apps at the expense of even worse contrast. Moto really dropped the ball on this one and this alone is worth avoiding this phone. My Droid 2 (which I switched back to after this broken experiment) has much better color production, screen quality and perceived resolution.
Under the hood disappoints as well. Using the phone for three weeks I found myself constantly resetting, dealing with program crashes and laggy controls. Flipping the keyboard open has a noticeable delay before the screen switches over. The camera can barely compete with its older Droid 2 brother. Pictures came out dark and grainy. The lens is set to a higher then usual telephoto zoom. Thus you get very narrow view on pictures as oppose to many other phones set to wideangle. And good luck trying anything in low light.
Design wise the phone is already outdated (yes I realize this was a feb release, but still). A thick bezel surrounds the phone making it feel much bigger then it is. It also feels like wasted space. The phone is slim for a slider but in generation 4, I expected a much sleeker phone compared to its predecessors. The 1700 mAh battery disappoints, especially for a phone of this size. Also as a side annoyance, the footprint of the device is much different then the Droid 1/2. While this is obviously due to the increased size, it is incompatible with any docks previous Droids have used.
Amazonwireless was gracious enough to let me return this phone (and are a pleasure to deal with). Keep in mind Verizon only allows you to try out the phone for 14 days, NOT 30 as Amazon does. I went over this deadline by three days and it took 2 hours of phone calls for Verizon to allow me to return the phone.
In conclusion, I would not recommend this phone. As someone who really appreciates a physical QWERTY keyboard, Droid 4 falls short in too many ways. Verizon and Motorola should be ashamed of this product. I'm back on the Droid 2 for now, which is a tough little phone but is showing its age. I'm considering running out my contract with Verizon and trying out a different carrier since the options for keyboard phones with Verizon is pretty much nothing right now. Buyer beware.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
My daughter had a list of reasons I should get a smartphone so I gave in. The first one I got was a Samsung. I HATED IT! So I returned it and got the Droid 4. I can't say that I love it yet but I do like it. I'm still working on doing things with it but most of it was pretty easy to figure out. I do have one word of warning to other non tech savvy parents limit your child's help because they know how to make these phones almost stand up and dance and trying to make them be still again is a challenge. To those who read this and think it is a useless review let me say everyone isn't a phone geek and this review is for those of us who aren't. There are plenty of reviews for the rest. I miss my simple little phone but this one is a keeper. If you like touch screens then you will love this because it gives you both the touch screen and a keyboard. I love the keyboard. With the other phone if I didn't push a button and propped it to talk I would disconnect the call. Haven't had that problem with this phone. When you put it to your ear the screen goes dark when you move it away it lights up so you can press a key. Making phone calls isn't as easy as the other phones sometimes my tap doesn't take but there is an easy way around that, bluetooth and tell the phone who to call. One touch to the headset is all it takes. The speech to text option is good and works well as long as you speak slowly and clearly. The phone will also improve your spelling ability although sometimes you mean one thing and it inserts another and you don't realize it. So if this is going to be your first smartphone I recommend giving this one a try.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2013
This phone on paper is a tower of achievement.
Let's go through what bothers me so much. (Not in order of importance):
1. Lack-luster battery. And you can't swap it out yourself----it's actually a requirement that Verizon do it for you. That's unforgivable all by itself.
2. Beautiful 8 million pixel camera (on paper) that produces 8 MILLION FUZZY PIXELS. Seriously, in order to get a sharp picture out of this phone you have to have amazingly bright sunlight behind you. And don't even try to tell me this is normal for today's sensors. It just is not. So many times I wished I had a camera, reached for my phone, and then sadly put it right back into my pocket without trying rather than face the aggravation.
3. You can FORGET about it finding any GPS satelites. Bright cloudless day, middle of my yard laying flat and held up high, and it will *not* find one.
4. Screen does not have adequate subpixel response time. You'll get ghosting galore even on simple scrolling.
5. First one had a broken headphone slot. Would not take the plug no matter what. Replaced the phone because of that.
6. You cannot use the car charger on this thing without a whine being produced into the sound. So if you're using this as your music source (or whatever) in your car, be warned you need to try a few different charging techniques to find one without the high pitch sound added in.
7. Charging heats the phone up incredibly.
8. Playing a graphics heavy app (like any of the Angry Birds variants) heats the phone up to the point of me worrying about it and cooling it down with the keyboard extended just in case. I mean, /really/ hot.
I'm going to try Samsung next because I hear that they've got a much smoother implementation all around than the motos.
If you do buy the Droid 4, good luck. You've been warned.
And I soooooo wanted to like this thing.
The good: The keyboard. HOWEVER there is a low-level bug regarding the keyboard driver & Verizon SMS app that appears from time to time where hitting the letter "a" makes an apparent "ctrl-a" (somehow) and selects everything, and anything you type from there on of course replaces the selection. The only way in and out of that debacle is to hop out of SMS entirely and hope it goes away.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2012
First off I read a lot of complaints on the battery life, I personally do not have a problem with it, it lasts me a good while actually. It lasts me all day I just gotta make sure I charge it when I go to bed. Also, there are applications that help enhance your battery life, so you can get longer battery power. Also, it's very user friendly, it even reads my Itunes! (I had to use Isyncr to convert) I love texting with it! The physical keyboard is awesome, I am not used to using touch screen so this phone was very useful for that purpose. I also love playing with the applications too, I got some free stuff and I am having a blast. It also runs like a laptop so I do not even have to use my Macbook as much. It's a very awesome phone I love it to death, I can't leave home without it! The Droid 4 is great! I almost got an Iphone but I just felt more comfortable using this badboy. It's an excellent phone!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2012
As SysAdmin is part of my job description, I often will get a SMS when I am out and about. If it's on the weekend, and I'm not near a computer, I turn to my phone to remote into which ever server is having trouble. Having to SSH into certain ports, having a dedicated number row is much better than toggling back and forth on the software keyboard. Also, a lot of my passwords are mixed characters, with numbers. Having a keyboard as a SysAdmin is a must, if you plan on using your phone for work. The keyboard on the Droid 4 phone is unbelievable. This is the 4th Android phone I have used (Started on the Eris, which was awful, awful, awful, and Verizon upgraded me to the Droid 2, Droid 2 Global, Droid 3, and now the Droid 4) The Droid 3 had a decent keyboard, but the buttons on the Droid 4 are spaced and sized much better.
Although the phone is heavy, its weighted nice, and feels tough. I kind of miss the OG Droid "lip" which was dropped in the Droid 4, in favor of the Razr look. It does look nice, but I still miss that lip. I don't know why. The back of the phone looks real nice, and it's got a decent speaker. Nothing like the OG Droid, but it's good enough.
The screen would be the only thing I take points off for this phone. Some people can't stand it, but I'm fine with it. Pictures look crisp enough, and I mostly use it for email, web sites, and SSH'ing into servers. It's plenty fine for that. I'm not doing color proofs for a magazine, so I can live with a lower quality screen.
Coming from the Droid 3, which only had 512MB of RAM, the extra 512MB in the Droid 4 really makes this phone hum. I had done everything to my Droid 3 - it was rooted, running ICS (albeit missing HW codecs, and true camera functionality), removed all the "Bloatware" to free up as much RAM as possible, but the phone was still horribly slow. It ran fine after a factory reset, but once I started loading in my apps, it started to crawl. It would take 5 seconds to launch the camera, and another 4 seconds for the shutter release, so by then, I missed a lot of cool pics of my kids. Even my kids were frustrated with the phone, as I was always having them hold their poses. I had done every crazy hack I could find, but the phone just sputtered and sputtered along. ICS was awesome, and I can't wait for the official Motorla release to hit (a leak has already hit the Internets, so it's getting close!) One thing ICS does, is very fast start-ups, and shut-downs. Google did an excellent job with getting the phone up and running from a cold restart. There's plenty of other things in ICS to like, and it did make my Droid 3 a bit faster, but no where near how fast the Droid 4 is.
Which leads into my next favorite new feature of the Droid 4: Speed. The Droid 4 is fast, real fast. I don't care what report shows what benchmark for speed - speed to me is what I perceive. Can it keep up with my button presses? Oh yea. I'm yet to see any lag with this phone. I guess I was lucky, because the latest system update for the Droid 4 was only released at the end of April, so I can't speak for how the phone was prior to the update, but I am digging the speed. The camera speed is my favorite. That speed increase alone made the upgrade worth it. No more waiting for the camera to load. 1/2 second to launch it, and 1/2 second to have the shutter release. It's nice and fast. Sure, it's not as good as the iPhone camera, but again, having the physical keyboard was my number one weighted reason for getting it.
Another thing that surprised me was the 'bloatware', which doesn't seem to be dragging on the rest of the phone. I rooted this phone the day I bought it, thinking that once I got all my apps installed, and configured the way I wanted it, that I would be freezing system apps to improve battery life, and increase speed. I have not had to do that yet. And some of the apps actually seem useful (more the Motorola apps, than the Verizon apps). The Motorola Blur icing on Google's Gingerbread isn't that bad. The Home launcher needs some work, and replacing the Home launcher with something else is no big deal. I prefer the Apex launcher on ICS, so I am missing that, but having a blazing fast camera, and working HW codecs are going to keep me on stock - Motorola/Verizon will be launching ICS soon enough. We'll let the Razr folks flush out all the bugs first :-)
1GB RAM = Fast, fast, fast!
Battery life has been much better than my D3 was
Gingerbread is old
Screen not the best
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2013
Most professional reviewers have rated this as the best physical keyboard phone on the market. In most respects it is great - great keyboard, very fast, 4G, nice screen, etc. - but it has defects. The email program has a big bug in its design which makes it hold onto all emails until you physically delete each one. With other smart phones, once the email is no longer on the server, it will delete automatically from the smart phone. I talked to Motorola, Verizon Wireless, and Verizon FIOS about this, and none could find any solution to it, altho they all insisted it should refresh from the server. Another problem is that built-in applications seem to be borrowed from non-physical keyboard phones and are awkward with the physical keyboard. The problem is that they are designed with some of the controls only working when in portrait mode. But you can really only use the physical keyboard in landscape mode, in which important controls vanish. That controls issue would be somewhat of an issue with any smart phone, but it becomes really serious in a keyboard phone which is designed for primarily landscape mode when using applications requiring input. Motorola's developers didn't sufficiently consider the user experience. Practically you have to go back and forth between portrait and landscape while using the physical keyboard, something that is very awkward and a customer-hostile design.
3/29/13 UPDATE: They have now upgraded the Droid 4 to Jellybean, and replaced the entire interface. In doing so, they have removed the ability to set the phone to vibrate only. I consider this an essential feature. It allows you to use other applications on the smart phone in a setting where a phone ringing is inappropriate (e.g., I used to set the phone to vibrate in church, and use the Bible application). I can't imagine what possessed them to remove this feature. (NOTE: I chatted with Motorola Technical Support and confirmed they removed the feature.) DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2012
I was an OG droid owner who preferred/needed a physical keyboard. Well two years later and I still prefer/need a physical keyboard. A lot of reviews I read stated the D4 has the best qwerty keyboard ever for a smartphone and quite simply it does. The keyboard is sick. Everything else is bigger, better and badder coming from the OG droid phone. I've had the phone up and running for 10 days, battery life is fine, it's really fast and the lone complaint....the headphone jack location is no bueno when plugged in and using the keyboard. No biggie, just have use that new age touchscreen keyboard when it's plugged in for music. So if your looking for an upgrade or a new phone after owning the OG droid for two years now, this is the easy choice!