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Quick First Look: DROID 4 by Motorola

motorola droid 4

The DROID 4 is finally official on Verizon. And after stopping by Motorola’s booth last night at PepCom’s Digital Experience, we had a chance to play with this 4G LTE dual-core wonder.

First impressions? It is a lot lighter than I expected it to be. Many of these sliders tend to carry that “tank” tag, but not the D4. It was light, the slideout mechanism felt solid, the keyboard with its side lit keys was very nice, and the overall size in hand was where it should be. The screen though, tough to come to a verdict on just yet. As far as we know, this is not the Super AMOLED Advanced that the RAZR carries and could just be the qHD PenTile matrix display that we saw in the Bionic and DROID 3. We will get confirmation on that when we sit down for some extra quality time, later today.

For now though, enjoy the pretty pictures. We will have video and detail hands-on time later today.  

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  • Postdante

    They f*** up this phone and the brand,
    It’s so ugly and looks very cheap and plasticky, even worse than Droid 3.

    I was fighting with myself over final opinion… but this is it – going after Sony Xperia S, no hope for qwerty smartphones

    OG Droid Owner

  • http://www.twitter.com/nblufire12 Nathan Patel

    after getting the gnex i just cant stand such a huge bezel on other phones

  • Anonymous

    This is what happened to the beloved originator. Le weep.

  • Moto Disappointed

    Motorola, you have succeeded in failing yet again…

    I got an OG the first day of retail release, and at the time it was amazing! I have never truly been fond of the keyboard size/design, but I did want a physical keyboard. When I experienced some issues with it shortly after the D2 release, Verizon gave me a D2 as a replacement. I was not crazy about Blur & bloatware, but the keyboard was slightly improved. Was hoping the D3 would be my next upgrade, but the lack of 4G ensured I would not. Then when the D4 leaks & rumors started I became hopeful… But, the inability to readily swap out a drained battery with a fully charged spare has driven me to the point of abandoning my desire to continue to wait on Moto to manufacture a worthwhile keyboard phone & get a GNex slab.

    I can tolerate the bloat & down-graded display. The global capability is for me, not an issue. Was looking forward to the improved keyboard & 4G. But, a non-replaceable battery means I will never purchase one. Because no matter how powerful, light, thin, sharp, shiny or the device may be; if the battery is dead, it is less than useless.

  • Juhcohboh

    Is it me or does it look thick?

  • Breadable

    Boo Pentile

    I had Bionic for a few weeks and the pentile is actually far worse than the blogs make it out to be.

  • Cknight91

    I don’t know if something went weird with their camera, but the screen on this phone looks horrendous. 

  • Sam
  • Anonymous

    Think I’ll hold out for the Droid 4 MAXX since I won’t be able to put an extended battery in it myself.

    Seriously though, the only things that would really hold me back from this phone would be the battery and, potentially, the screen if it is still the same as the D3. The locked bootloader is a further annoyance (but possibly overlookable – I think Moto’s bound to bend on this eventually).

    Right now, though, I think I’ll be waiting to see what HTC presents… wondering if the Fireball will show up as an LTE slider with decent specs. I wouldn’t want to bet on it, but it would be nice. Just getting tired of Moto’s unending ability to produce phones that come up short somewhere… I swear it’s intentional.

    • Anonymous

      Moto’s claimed they’ll unlock the bootloader (well, technically it’s decrypting the bootloader signature) with ICS, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I also wouldn’t hold my breath for an incredible screen since Moto doesn’t seem to like to do that on their sliders for some reason. Honestly, a pentile, qHD, LCD TFT screen is very far from bad; way better than most laptop screens that we would all be very OK with. An HD, sAMOLED+ screen would be nice, but the tech is still pretty pricey.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not saying that qHD is “bad”, per se, but I also don’t find it worth upgrading to. I currently have a Droid 2, and I also have an upgrade I’ve been sitting on since Sept 2010. I checked out the Droid 3 when it came out as a potential upgrade (I still haven’t really warmed to the keyboard on my D2), but when I compared the D3′s screen to the screen on my D2, I honestly felt like it was a downgrade. It may have more pixels, but it sure didn’t seem as crisp as the display on the D2 (which I’m pretty sure was the same as the original Droid). That was enough to make me decide to hold onto my money. If I’m upgrading, I expect to be upgrading everything (or at least not moving backward).

        • Anonymous

          I completely agree with you; I was just saying that it makes little to no difference for the average user. Right now, you don’t really have any slider QWERTY options. The Droid 4 is nice enough and would get you into dual core 4G territory, but the screen isn’t up to the RAZR’s quality. If it had the RAZR’s screen, I’d say screw HD vs qHD and go for it; but for 0.3″ less size and LCD vs sAMOLED, it’s not nearly as enticing. Maybe HTC will surprise us with something decent or Samsung will make a Galaxy Note slider for Verizon, but don’t hold your breath.

  • http://twitter.com/55938 MrSix

    Can you guys by any chance get a look at the back with the cover off? Androidcentral already informed me that the battery was non-removable…but I’d like to get a visual impression of just ow non-removable it really is.
    Also I’m really hoping they got bluetooth 4.0 in this like the Razr…

    • Anonymous

      From all I’ve read from those who’ve handled the device, the battery isn’t terribly difficult to remove, but it is of the very fragile soft-pack type – handling it incorrectly would damage it, hence making it “non-removable”.

      • http://twitter.com/55938 MrSix

        Ahh that explains it somewhat. I saw a teardown of the Razr a while ago and saw the battery, but I didn’t realize it was fragile.

  • Anonymous

    Can you please confirm whether or not this phone has a removable battery.  All the pictures of the back of the Droid 4 look like it has a battery cover so it looks like it might have a removable battery.  I’ve read conflicting information on various mobile phone blogs.  Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    great phone bad screen

    • http://twitter.com/55938 MrSix

      We don’t even know what the screen is. It could very well be the RGB matrix LCD on the Atrix 2.

  • Sapan Dhora

    So the only reason why I wanted a Droid4 was the keyboard because every single phone I have encountered until now that only has a on screen keyboard could not keep up with my hands for typing/texting. The Nexus does. I type incredibly fast and the nexus hangs on to every word and correct it as I go along.  Just a FYI for those who still like keyboards for the speed reason anyways.

    • Guest

      So you’re saying the tagline for top Android phones should be: “Nexus does”

  • Anonymous

    Wait, this phone is light? That means the build quality is terrible . And wait… is the back not made of Kevlar, Metal or glass? That means its poorly made.

    That’s how it works right? It’s got to FEEL strong, You know when you are crushing it with your bear hands. It has to look strong too, a phone that looks weak is weak.

    • Anonymous

      I actually have a friend that said he likes the build of his iPhone over my RAZR because of the weight. It’s smaller, thicker, and has worse screen tech, but it also weighs more so it’s better? I asked him how he thought his phone was a higher quality build when it had a fragile, glass back and an antenna on the outside whereas mine has a kevlar back and an aluminum chassis with a bigger, brighter screen and 4G; he didn’t have an answer to that, but he still thinks his iPhone is the bestest. Silly Apple people.

      • Anonymous

        You should make a call on both outside in a rainstorm and see how long he is your friend after that.  If he had a RAZR he still would be ;)

      • Geocranium

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but the iphones screen destroys the Razrs.

        • Anonymous

          Other than the size and screen tech, you’re right . . . which just leaves ppi. I don’t care about ppi. I like the colours and contrast that sAMOLED provides; IPS LCD is kind of old-school, though the LG panel on the iPhone 4/4S is a good example of the technology. Of course, LG’s 4.5″ trounces the iPhone’s display (what do you expect? LG will keep the best for themselves, like Samsung did with the Hummingbird vs. A4 or the Exynos vs. A5).

          Apple will run a sAMOLED screen in time. It’ll be just like all of the other things Apple fans said they didn’t need and then gushed over once they had them; you know, an app store, notification panel, copy and paste, multitasking, high res screens, camera flash, front facing camera, etc. I heard my Apple friends say about each of these things that they were unnecessary on a phone and now they love them. The same will be true for OLED screens (and, I would bet, >3.5″ screens).

  • FSM

    Please, for the love of Flying Spaghetti Monster, get confirmation on whether this phone has GSM and global capabilities.

    • Mori

      Please Kellex, can you focus on the signature features of the Droid  line: global and keyboard? I want Moto or Verizon to specifically comment on the global GSM.

      As for the keyboard can you confirm that shortcuts are still there since there are no ALT or menu buttons anymore. For example, select all, cut, copy, paste, undo and go to the start/end of line in text fields. In the browser there are go to the top/end of page, refresh, search text, go to the homepage, go to the bookmarks, go to the history, go to the preferences and activate text selection. Also, can the arrow keys activate mouse over elements in websites still?

      Thanks!

      • James

        Seriously, the screen being pentile or not is low on my priority list. Please ask why the D4 is not global even though the FCC documents specifically say it is (just blocked on US GSM carriers). What happened?

        As mentioned, the lack of the ALT key makes me fear that the keyboard shortcuts are gone. Can you verify that they are still there? For example, the SYM key has replaced the ALT key for shortcuts.

        • Les B.

           Yes, please ask what happened. Why would the FCC filings mention global capabilities but the actual product doesn’t have them. I didn’t even think about losing the keyboard shortcuts. I assumed they would still be there. Please ask if the SYM key takes on this role. Thanks.

        • Rick

           The top 3 things I want to know about:
          -reason for the loss of global GSM (from FCC filing to release)
          -possible loss of keyboard shortcuts
          -the idiot who thought a non-removable battery is a god idea

          • Joseph K.

            Please Kellex, spend your time grilling them about why they’re removing existing features instead of verifying the minor real world differences of the screen.

          • Anonymous
          • Jake

             I want to know what happened. The FCC mentions the global feature but it’s been removed.

          • Gadgetz

             What was the point in releasing the D3 without 4G if they weren’t waiting till they can make a global 4G slider?

            Motorola will be really stupid if they release a D4G in a few months with outdated specs.

          • Anonymous

            i agree with that but as has been said when it went through the FCC it was slated as being global.  there lies the disappointment.
            4G is great, but non-removable battery with 4G sucking it up and NOT a global phone is very sad.  the specs are nice, but not #the best phone ever# kind of specs to compensate.

      • Marc

        Hopefully, Kellex’s detailed hands on will answer our questions. I too, don’t care about the pentile screen since I can’t tell unless I see the displays side by side.

        The battery life better be stellar since I can’t put an extended battery in. Well, even if it is I would still want to put in an extended battery.

    • Justin

      Unfortunately, not a global roamer.

  • Tyler

    If it doesn’t use an AMOLED panel Motorola is just dumb.

    • Anonymous

      The target audience for this phone probably couldn’t care less. Personally, I wouldn’t purchase an LCD phone in this day and age (one of the reasons I went with the RAZR over the Rezound).

      • Tyler

        Personally I feel that LCD and AMOLED display panels have their ups and downs. AMOLED screens have richer colors and deeper black, while LCD usually have brighter whites i feel, and more accurate colors. But when you add Pentile to a screen, it just makes it look horrible. My friend has an Atrix which is a 4″ qHD display and in my opinion my droid that i had, used a nicer crisper screen then his phone even at lower ppi. My Galaxy Nexus screen sometimes bugs me with the fact that i can see the pixels on the screen, what makes up for it is the fact that the screen has such a high resolution and a great display panel underneath. Anyone with an attention for detail would notice the difference or if you asked someone which they liked better you would get a different response. Now i personally love the Color representation on AMOLED panels but the quality of the screen is so much better with a nicer screen. People hated the pentile screen in the bionic but yet like the screen on the razr, same resolution but the amoled is crisper. Hopefully you see what im trying to get at. (Sorry if there are spellling errors or gramatical errors its late)

        • Anonymous

          I’d agree on the higher colour fidelity of an LCD panel, but I disagree on the brighness/whites; at least for most sAMOLED screens. I also disagree with the pentile bit; stuff like that isn’t really noticeable unless you’re looking for it. There have been very few times that I’ve even noticed it on my RAZR (maybe two or three), and each was when looking at white text on a black background and not reading too terribly quickly. For all normal usage, the screen has been nothing but crisp and vibrant (love the contrast on the OLEDs!); especially with videos.

          I think we really make too much of the little things just because we know they’re there. If no one ever told us about pentile matrix, ppi, etc.; we would probably look at screens like the RAZR’s, GNex’s, and maybe even the Bionic’s and think they’re very good. I have a 27″ iMac at work and the display is brilliant. However, if there was a phone with the same ppi and screen tech (109ppi and a TFT active matrix LCD), we would say it’s absolute crap. The thing is, it wouldn’t be absolute crap. It would actually be pretty good.

          We’re becoming just like wine snobs with our mobile tech. Picture someone in a turtleneck with a goatee holding their nose up and saying, in a New England, upper crust accent, “Yes, this screen may appear nice enough, to the untrained eye, but I simply can’t stand the pentile matrix. And that colour gamut; godawful! Where did you get this, KMart?”

  • http://twitter.com/BlackTaxi2d Henry S

    hell yes, VZ NAVIGATOR BITTCHESS !!!!

  • Anonymous

    How disappointing.

  • Anonymous

    This phone looks so cheap, just look at the back. motorola build quality my ass. And the bloatware, so much bloatware.

  • U Mad Bro? No But Your Mom Is

    With almost every phone that has come out in the last several months, I just keep feeling more and more glad that I got the GNex. If their was no GNex, I’d get the Razr. If their was neither, I’d cry.

  • http://twitter.com/myermenson Michael Yermenson

    Ahh bloatware and blur, love my Nexus!!

    • http://fujibayashi.jp/ Gasai Yuno

      Did they add a hardware QWERTY keyboard to the Nexus? If so, I’ll be ordering my GSM QWERTY slider Nexus immediately. No game? Oh, wait, it’s Droid-Life and its usual denizens.

  • Anonymous

    If the Bionic was “the Droid to rule all Droids” and the Razr was “too powerful to get in the wrong hands,” where does that leave the Droid 4? (Gotta picture the guys voice from the commercials.) “Droid 4 by Motorola, second in command to the bionic, less powerful and twice as thick as the Razr, with a display that puts no one in its place, this is the best Droid ever launched in a February of a leap year.

    • http://twitter.com/myermenson Michael Yermenson

      IMO the only good one was the OG “in a world that doesn’t, Droid Does”  The rest are just gay.  

      • Anonymous

        I hate all the Droids besides the OG and incredible.

        • Anonymous

          incredible 2 was alright… no?

          • PSU_DI

            it was a minor spec bump and no LTE, it was a very forgettable phone.  I have to agree with fvqu, the OG and incredible were excellent phones after that the DROID brand lost the luster it once had.  I’ll still with the Nexus brand from now on.

          • Anonymous

            same. I just assumed the dinc 2 didn’t suck. It didn’t, but the specs were not all that great.

      • Anonymous

        I had the OG as well, and the two successors. Also disappointed at the continued lack of love for qwerty sliders. 

  • reyalP

    Thick! Exactly how I like my phones and women.

    • Anonymous

      Yea-yah!

  • PyroHoltz

     So, is the ‘SYM’ key going to be used to access the ALT functions or what?  Since I don’t see the same ‘ALT’ key as the D3 carries, color me confused.

  • Afox1208

    Check bootloader!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kortesoja Lance Kortesoja

    Battery Life two hours

    • Phoenixy

      …This is NOT a HTC.

  • http://twitter.com/LucasNJohnson Lucas Johnson

    Wow.. I thought for sure they would use the screen from the atrix 2. Why would they use pentile? and if so why would they not just use the qhd super amoled? if it has the same screen as the d3 then shame on them.

    • Anonymous

      More than likely because I don’t think sliders are aimed at techie / power users.  I think they’re aimed at business users who won’t buy a phone without a keyboard so the can pound away at the keys when writing emails.  I have a Droid X, which I love, but I would never use it for my corporate phone to type long emails to. 

      OSKs are fine for short text messages, but the one time I did write a long email on my X, it felt like a mission.  Sure there are other keyboard apps that make it easier, but **MOST** business users won’t care about that or know how to install it. 

      With that in mind, their strategy is that business users won’t care about how perfect the screen is… it’s a function over style argument.

      I could be wrong, just my two cents.

      • Anonymous

        You’re not wrong. The majority of people who get a slider QWERTY will neither know nor care about the screen tech and resolution. It’s no 360ppi HD sAMOLED screen, but the majority of people out there will actually be very satisfied (impressed, even) with a pentile matrix, qHD LCD screen. It’s just us geeks that wouldn’t be because we’d hold it from 2″ away and scrutinise the text rendering.

        • Anonymous

          as a member of the “majority”, I concur.

        • Guest

          Sucks to be in the minority then! I am a power user who wants a great phone with a great screen and a slide-out keyboard. Looks like I am effectively forced into getting a GNex at some point in the future when my OG finally croaks as it looks like we will never get OG 2.0. :(

          • Anonymous

            Unfortunately, they don’t really make sliders anymore for the geek set. I don’t know why that decision was made (though I will say, personally, I haven’t slid out a keyboard since getting Swype on my OG Droid).

          • Guest

            I don’t get it though: what about techies that also want to write emails and such garb?

            I did try Swype and found it to still be slower than the slide-out KB. Additionally, formatting with the slide-out was easier and typing “custom” words was as well (e.g. abbreviations or, say, various product names for company/tech emails). On-screen KBs in my experience work great for casual use, but the moment you try to write an email explaining to someone the details of debugging a piece of code and it’s good game.

          • Anonymous

            You guys are left out in the cold; at least, on Verizon. Samsung makes some killer sliders, but I don’t know if they have a GSII variant.

  • Anonymous

    Waiting for the Droid 4 HD with quad-core in 2 months

    • http://blog.vezquex.com/ Vezquex

      Droid 5!

  • Anonymous

    qHD. Ugh. Why no Super AMOLED?

    • Anonymous

      Droid 5…. Droid 6… etc. If they give you everything you want, it’s harder to wrangle you into another phone in a few months. (At least that’s the conclusion I’ve come to.)

      • Anonymous

        It sure seems that way. What a difference a year makes. I headed into 2011 so sure that I was getting nothing else other than the Bionic and that Motorola made the best phones on the planet. It’s a damn shame because the build quality is always top notch.

        But to spit out phones every few weeks isn’t helping them and I hope they get the memo – I’m sure they’re not selling many phones lately. Someone, SOMEWHERE at Moto Mobility HAS TO BE paying attention.

    • Anonymous

      qHD and Super Amoled are not the same. qHD is the resolution, Super Amoled is the type of display. This device is probably pentile matrix.

      • Anonymous

        You can have a pentile matrix with an LCD or a sAMOLED, though. I’m interested in the screen tech this uses; LCD is pretty old hat, imo.