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Motorola DROID 4 Review – Verizon

droid 4 review

The DROID 4 has had an interesting early life. We handed out the first ever pictures of the device all the way back in October of last year followed by a weekend of D4 info overload that gave you every single detail that you could ever want to know about it. We fully expected this phone to launch in December, but for an unknown reason, it was pushed back and finally released this month. You can grab it now for $199 on 2-year contract in hopes that it can last you the life of a contract. Can it? We are pretty sure that it is up to the task, but let’s talk details for a few minutes. Then you can decide.  

The Good:

  • Keyboard:  If you are only interested in phones with physical keyboards, the Motorola DROID 4 should be on your list. Moto has created a beautiful edge-lit 5-row QWERTY that feels great to the touch, is responsive, and also large enough that even big fingered folk should have no trouble tossing out love letters via text. The position of the SHIFT key is still bugging me a bit, but overall, the layout works. Device manufacturers that have plans for future slideout phones (if there are any), take note.

  • 4G LTE:  Verizon’s LTE network is awesome. We all know that. The DROID 4 latches onto it with ease, holds onto it unlike some other phones thanks to always stellar Moto radios, and makes this phone feel “so 2012.” We still aren’t sure why they didn’t toss LTE into the DROID 3 and can this phone altogether, but that’s how Moto planned it. So far we are all good on the QWERTY and LTE fronts – time to move into hardware.
  • Hardware:  On the inside, the DROID 4 is exactly like the RAZR and RAZR MAXX. It has 1GB of RAM, a 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4430 processor, 8MP camera, front shooter for video chatting, and LTE. The only real differences are obviously the keyboard and then the screen (which we will talk about later). For the most part though, this phone is up there with some of the big boys and should have enough power to last you through a contract.
  • Size, Feel and Build:  As someone that has had a 4.3″ phone in my pocket for years now (seems weird to say “years”), it’s always an adjustment to go back down to something like the D4′s 4″ screen. And then also as someone that hasn’t had a slideout phone since the D2, I’m used to ultra-thin devices that constantly battle for “thinnest in the world” titles. The D4 actually feels pretty good though. It’s not heavy or overly thick for having a keyboard attached, and one could still make the argument that a 4″ screen is optimal. It feels great in hand with the keyboard slid out or closed and held up to your ear during a call. It’s a classic Motorola build job, which is a good thing.
  • Camera:  Motorola went through a period some time last year where they were putting quite possibly the worst cameras available in smartphones. Either that or someone finally showed them how to build software that works properly. As with the RAZR, the DROID 4 has a better than average 8MP smartphone camera. I left all settings as they came out of the box and took the shots you are seeing below. Not bad, not bad at all. The camera is quick to focus, quick to snap shots, and has enough settings and fliters that you can do some pretty fun things if you are into that sort of photography game.

  

  

  • Price:  Once expected to be $249, Verizon must have realized just before launch that this phone wouldn’t move unless it was under $200. Boy are we glad they did. This phone (along with the LG Spectrum), may indicate that Big Red will start to offer affordable LTE devices in 2012. We still expect to see top tier $299 phones going forward, but under $200 options are always welcomed.
  • Battery:  While it may not pack the 3300mAh battery of the RAZR MAXX, the 1785mAh battery inside the D4 produced enough life to at least get us through most days. With the current crop of LTE radios, we are never going to see long life on a standard battery, but the DROID 4 was able to outperform many other phones. One thing to keep in mind is that the battery is non-removable, so if you purchase this phone, you won’t be able to toss in an extended. It’s unfortunate, but this looks to be Motorola’s standard going forward.

 

  • MotoCast:  We all hate bloatware, but I’m actually a huge fan of Motorola’s MotoCast. This would be their “access your PC from anywhere” software. It works great too. After installing some simple software on your computer and then attaching it to your phone through MotoCast apps, you can play music, watch videos, view pictures, and fondle documents while on the go. The integration is pretty seamless and through a few MotoCast-ready phones now, I have yet to run into any major hiccups.
  • Smart Actions:  When I first reviewed the RAZR, I wasn’t all that big on Smart Actions. The idea seemed ahead of its time, but for me personally, I rarely found any that were useful. For whatever reason with the DROID 4, Smart Actions were recommending things all over the place and I actually used most of them. As a software that attempts to offer suggestions to make your smartphone experience more intuitive, they do a decent job. Your phone can turn certain things off when your battery is low or instantly pop up your workout playlist when headphones are inserted. This is one of those MotoBlur add-ons that we want to see grow.
  • Accessories:  The DROID 4 – just like all other Moto phones – has its share of accessories. There are Lapdocks, docking stations, cases, and more. Motorola is one of the few OEMs that produces decent accessories for many of their top tier phones and has them available at launch. (Yes, that was a cheap shot at Samsung.)

The Not-so-Good:

  • Screen:  And the winner for worst smartphone screen in history goes to…the DROID 4! I trashed this thing in my brief overview of the device and want to continue that here. I still cannot figure out what the hell Motorola was thinking. After putting in a Super AMOLED Advanced screen into the RAZR which came out months ago, why would they choose to drastically downgrade this phone so much? The ghosting between home screens or really anything for that matter, is so noticeable that it is embarrassing. The screen tech is incapable of producing perfectly straight lines, the pixelation can be seen with the naked eye, and the colors are just so unnatural that you at times don’t know what you are looking at. I honestly cannot imagine a more horrific display experience than what Moto has produced with this phone. It’s PenTile Matrix, and boy is it PenTile Matrix.

(Click to enlarge)

  • Gingerbread and MotoBlur:  I like Gingerbread for the most part. I can even admit that I like pieces of MotoBlur. But after coming from a Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich, these two pieces of software together feel so old. It’s not that the OS or the phone is slow, it’s just that this phone was released this month which just so happens to be 3 months after Ice Cream Sandwich became available. And with Motorola tossing out this ICS update timeline that doesn’t include any sort of specifics for the D4 other than that they are still evaluating it, it may be a while before you get off the 2010 Gingerbread train.
  • Bootloader:  Yeah, Moto did it again. This phone is locked up tight and will likely never be unlockable. If you are looking for a developer-friendly device, this is not it. Sure, there will be a small community dedicated to it, but the experience will always be shaky and you will have constant fears of potentially soft-bricking your phone without a way of restoring it.
  • Bloatware:  One of our favorite tasks while doing reviews over the last few years has become the bloatware count. As this Android world grows, so do the number of spam apps that carriers and manufacturers preload on devices. The official count drops it at around 25 apps. Yes, you are reading that correctly. Verizon and Motorola together have managed to load 20+ apps onto your phone that you will likely never use. Some of them are removable, but most are here to stay.

  • Non-removable Battery:  For some people, this is a killer. The battery life we saw was above average for an LTE phone, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be acceptable for many. Without the ability to add on an extended battery, some that were waiting for a real LTE slider may end up passing on it.
  • Design:  I’m a big fan of the styling of the DROID RAZR. I am not a big fan of the look of the D4. The keyboard is pure hotness, but the overall design is sort of…well, alienish in an ugly alienish kind of way. The metallic accents aren’t a bad touch, but we would have liked to see straighter lines instead of the wavy corners and oddly shaped profile.

Unboxing and hands-on:

YouTube Preview Image

Gallery:

The Verdict:

The DROID 4 is a solid phone. In fact, it’s the best 4G LTE slider ever made (for now). To those that follow Android, that’s not the most difficult title to obtain, knowing that there is only 1 other LTE slider available. But let’s not allow titles to get in the way here. With mostly high-end specs, a great edge-lit keyboard, and a 4G LTE radio, this is the phone for those that can’t live without a keyboard. For those that would go either way on a new smartphone purchase, this phone isn’t at the level of the Rezound, Galaxy Nexus or DROID RAZR. It’s a nice phone, but with one of the worst screens we have seen to date, it’s tough for us to hide the fact that we would go elsewhere. Unless of course you have to have a keyboard.

DROID 4 Specs | Other DROID 4 Coverage

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.armstrong.503 Matt Armstrong

    Do NOT get a Motorola Droid 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    PIECE OF JUNK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Who is the Genius that decided to put an anemic battery in a fully loaded Android phone that can NOT be removed????????????????
    Why have a phone that is reduced to 70% (sometimes 60%) in just 3 hours with NO use?????
    After using a Droid 2 Global & Droi…d 3, I mistakenly assumed the 4 would be an upgrade….. NOT!!!!!! I got a new Droid 4 towards the end of May 2012, and immediately knew there was a battery performannce issue, then realized the thing is taped, screwed and glued in!!!!!! WHAT!!!??? Then the unit started acting up and would go to apps without me ven holding it. I contacted Motorola (several times) and was told to “send it in for evaluation” like they didn’t believe me. When asked what I was to use in the meantime, I was told (by the company that MAKES them) that I was on my own. Did I send it in, NO…wait, Hell NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I didn’t make the POS!

    I gave Motorola several chances to make it right, so itt looks like I will become a new iphone owner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The primary reason I have the Droid is because of the slideout keyboard, but it is not worth keeping a POS for that :(
    I used to really like Motorola, but they really screwed the pooch on this one!

  • http://twitter.com/saralskeen sara

    I AM SO PISSED OFF WITH VERIZON AND THIS STUPID PHONE DROID 4! I WAITED 2 YEARS TO USE MY UPGRADE. AND FOR WHAT THE GET SCREWED! MY FIRST DROID WORKED BETTER. I AM BEYOND ANGRY THAT THIS PHONE NEVER HAS SERVICE, NEVER HAS GPS, NEVER HAS INTERNET! WHAT THE HELL AM I PAYING FOR THEN? AND WHY THE HELL AREN’T THEY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT! BATTERY SUCKS ASS… LASTS 4 HOURS AT MAX!, CAMERA FLASH IS NOT AVAILABLE! WHY? WHY DO ALL MY TEXTS COME BACK 5 MINUTES LATER UNSENT? BLUETOOTH DOESn’t WORK! OH AND IT JUST UPGRADED ITSELF.. AND STILL DOESn’t WORK!

  • BDU

    This phone is for sh** I have had to warranty 1 month after getting it for a charging problem and verizon had to send 3 phones until I got one that worked. Now 6 months later the screen stays black except right after a hard reset. and then the screen is okay until you go to use it. What a pile of Sh** for what you pay for.

  • ljasf

    the only complaint i have about this phone is the ghosting when scrolling, other than that this is the best phone i’ve owned

  • Ayush

    any news about the Motorola jet?
    when is it gonna launch?
    what might be its price range

  • Ayush

    can i get the unlock code for motorola droid 4 or razr maxx

  • james

    Buddy, get over the screen issue. It really isn’t that bad, and its a phone for god’s sake. For a four inch screen its great. This phone is awesome. I have had it for two weeks now and have very few complaints. I am from the camp that has to have a slider keyboard, and this is the best ever, so everything else on this phone is gravy. The one complaint i do have which i have been unable to diagnose yet is where two programs with the same function exist. For example, email and navigation. The navigation i can deal with, i just choose either vz nav or google maps. But the email programs are annoying. I am getting double notices. However, i am sure in time i will get this solved, its just annoying at the moment.

  • http://twitter.com/JSFEcho John Friedel

    After about a month and a half, I must say that I like my D4 screen.  Don’t see the things your’re talking about.  Only real complaint is the battery life, strange periods of ultra-fast power consumption and sometimes just not charging in the otherwise sweet HDMI media dock.

  • boagman

    Got my D4 yesterday as a result of the RAZR malfunctioning, and yes:  I had to jump through *several* hoops in order to get it exchanged.  That being said, I am 300% happier with this phone so far.  The RAZR might be a bit more whizbangery, but it’s a *far* less solid-feeling phone, and the D4′s performance is right up there.  For me and my purposes, this is a *much* better phone.

  • Coopergregorye

    Hi all, Caveman Gregory here from NW Washington, D.C. and I just wanted to draw a comparison between my old flip LG brick phone and my new Droid 4 . That was a trick statement because there is no comparison. I was at the end of my two year contract and , well, it was time to upgrade my cell phone with a new two year agreement. Being a Caveman, I figure that it will take two years for me to fully utilize all the features of the Droid 4; but I will make one observation, the key-pad is way to small for me to use for text communications, I do not text anyway, but the illuminated key-pad is
    surely a plus for all the text fanatics. The screen is a very nice size and the colors are true to life; and I am glad that I do not have to change batteries, the Sim Card was tricky enough to install. It takes a bit of getting used to, from the LG Accolade, and I find two drawbacks right off the bat: 1)
    The weight of the Droid 4 is enormous, I was on the cell phone for sixteen minutes and my arm was tired. 2) I have yet to figure out if a volume control exists for the speaker of the telephone; I know that there is one for the volume of the ringer, but not the speaker of the phone. It is necessary to charge the Droid 4 every night; even with my light usage, the battery will deplete down to 60%-70% by the end of the day. Overall, I would give it a Bravo because the Droid 4 will certainly keep me in good communications for at least two years, at which time I will upgrade with a new two year contract.

  • deewash

    I am a Verizon Wireless customer and I am considering upgrading, but Motorola comes out with a new phone every other month… it’s hard to decide which phone to go with especially if they are going to come out with something new and improved the next month. Any suggestions?

    • possomcrast1

      galaxy nexus

      • Jacob Kirchheimer

        motorola, not samsung.

        • possomcrast1

          Stock-ware, not bloatware.

          • Jacob Kirchheimer

            I was pointing out that the galaxy nexus in manufactured by samsung whereas he wanted a moto phone.

  • Chidoro

    This was the phone I was considering for the jump from my D1 into the 4G world of D4 as I’ve been available to upgrade for a couple of months now.
    Based on my brief time with it, the screen is pretty damn weak. The partitioning for apps seems pretty small relative to the entire phones space. And the phone just doesn’t feel anywhere near as rugged as my D1.
    if it wasn’t for the complete lack of app space and the weak as hell battery on my D1, I wouldn’t even be looking. At this point I will probably keep waiting until the next wave of phones hit. Shame too, I really wanted this to be the one to pick up.

  • skltr21

    this is by far one of the worst screens i have seen.  i just got mine the other day.  love the phone, but this screen is just bad……. what were they thinking?!  you can see every pixel!  and scrolling is terrible and jittery.  the phone itself feels great and to me looks great other than the screen.  too bad.  screen fail!

  • Kurosakiuzu

    I wish this was on Sprint.. -_- Sprint is lacking awesome phones.. -_-

  • Bootz

    is the screen at least as good as the d2? i love my d2 and refuse to go full toutch and i think the screen on my d2 is pretty damn good better than my computer screen for that fact which is better than the best tv in the house…..

  • over it

    Im sick of droids and Motorola all together. My next phone will be iPhone or android better come out with something that is truly amazing. I don’t care about rooting. My Droid x sucks, and my wife’s. Droid 3 is a pos. Feeling over android lately. I need a phone that just works without all the lag.

    • Diablo81588

      Buy an iPhone then. Noone will have their feelings hurt if you don’t buy an android phone. Just remember iPhones are not without their own problems, and you have almost zero customization options. Not to mention a tiny screen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Collins/100000326942819 Kyle Collins

      If you’re going to be assimilated and buy an iTurd, then why are you trolling on an android focused website? GTFO

    • Crimfresh

      Buy one of the phones the author recommends at the conclusion of this article.  Rezound, Galaxy Nexus, or RAZR if you want to be happy with your phone.  Or buy a iphone 4 without LTE and don’t come back to Droid-life.

  • http://twitter.com/moeshahazman moe6

    All I need to know is if the screen is worse than the OG Droid. If it isn’t, then I won’t care too much. I just really need a new QWERTY phone. Swype will always be my backup (1-2 words at a time!) but it’s just too much of a hassle to use an on-screen keyboard.

    The look of concentration (and “quiet” that follows) on most peoples faces while using an on-screen keyboard still makes me laugh :(.

    • Anonymous

      As someone who upgraded from an OG last week (finally!), I can say that the D4 screen is definitely not worse, and I frankly think it’s great.  I do notice the “ghosting,” especially when scrolling high-contrast screens (e.g., white text on a black background), but since I am blissfully ignorant of the apparently far superior screens on other devices, I don’t really mind it.

      If you need a physical keyboard, buy this phone.  If you’re coming from an OG, you’ll really, really like the D4.  At least, I do.

      Got mine for $150 from Amazon Wireless with no activation fee, and I got to keep my unlimited data plan.

  • Rb11411

    Does the keyboard stop lighten up while using it? or is it suppose to  stay light up untill you slide it back in?
     mine takes a few seconds to light up
    and sometimes during my using it, it goes off
     could it be my phone has a problem?
    aside from that
    this is the BEST Phone Ever
    LOVE IT

    • TikTok

      It lights up based on ambient light.

  • Justin

    I bought the D4 the Friday it was released, and I returned it yesterday. I loved the keyboard (I’m sad to give that up) and this is a good device, but after a week with it, I couldn’t get past the advantages of the RAZR MAXX (device thickness, screen size and quality, BATTERY), so I’m making the swap.The display on the D4 isn’t as bad as Kellen’s review indicates, but yeah it’s not great. Battery life was going to be ok with normal use, but I was worried about traveling with it.

    Coming from an HTC Incredible, I couldn’t get past the size difference. The D4 is a just little too thick.

    • Justin

      By the way, there are six or eight Verizon stores in my area, and the RAZR MAXX isn’t at any of them. Apparently it’s “direct fulfullment only.” So I returned the D4 and contacted VZW directly… They gave me an $30 discount on the phone (I didn’t ask for it), and shipped the phone for early Saturday delivery at no cost. Perhaps this is just a function of my account standing, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I’m pretty happy with Verizon right now.

  • Luis

    The Galaxy Nexus has a pentile screen.

    • dieringer scott

      Its a RG BG pentile  Not a RGBW pentile which is much worse     on a side note the G nex has a MUCH MUCH MUCH higher resolution making it unoticable 

  • angermeans

    I had a chance to play with this phone ahead of the launch at work and good god is it an ugly piece of technology. I am not a fan of “lets just cut off the corners, and ship” mentality that Moto has been shoving down our throats. I was once upon a time a big fan of Motorola’s hardware (well the Droid and Droid2 never liked the DX). I kept thinking to myself that the only reason Moto hasn’t released a 4G LTE Droid w/ a keyboard is that they must be keeping it for a great device, but oh boy was I wrong. This phone has a horrible keyboard (the review is not kidding), then again I’ve hated Moto’s screens lately. The Razr was horrible, the DroidX, Droid3, Atrix1&2, and even my precious Motorola Xoom had horrible screens. I always spend time on my fav Android device reading before I go to bed (I work full time and a full time college student) and for months I was having massive headaches when I woke up. Low and behold it is my Xoom’s screen. I just dont get it. If your going to cut corners Motorola then dont do it on the screen. Most people write it off, but when it comes to my geekdom I have always been a huge pixel density, screen resolution and quality nerd. The Super AMOLED HD screen on the Galaxy Nexus is easily my favorite part of the phone (yes even more than ICS and being a dev phone). The screen is what everyone sees and uses the most on a phone and all of Motorola’s devices this year have looked cheap and horrible. There will always Moto fans (and Im glad), but they have to know they are losing them by the handfuls with every release. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kyle-Collins/100000326942819 Kyle Collins

      samsungs AMOLED screens are exactly the same screen as the Apple A series.  Samsung DOES in fact make them, which is why Samsung won all the screen based patent disputes (if none of the others) with apple.  The fact that you sense a difference in two of the exact same screen shows that you have exactly 0 right to ever speak of technology again.  I’m sorry, but this is your intervention, you have know idea what you’re talking about.

      • David Russell

        What the hell are you talking about?  Apple A series is a family of SoC’s that compete with the Snapdragons/OMAPs/Exynos’s/etc. from other manufacturers, not a screen technology.   Apple uses S-IPS LCD screens in their phones.

        I do believe you are correct in mentioning Samsung, however.  I believe the Apple Ax series SoC’s are built by Samsung.

  • angermeans

    I usually agree with most that you say Kellex, and I agree that the Droid is one of the best phones ever, but the best phone of all time was the Nexus One. I guess that is what we love about Android (or what is left of it after OEM skins, locked bootloaders, and the crash of the Android Open Alliance) is that we have a choice and who am I to think that ones choice of their all time fav phone is wrong. I just wanted to let you know my opinion :) Keep up the great work best site on the net by far (well this AC and The Verge).

  • Anonymous

    Just wait for the Droid 4 Maxx in two months and it will have the good screen. 

  • OG2GNex

    The face looks like the OG with the metal edge.  When can we get a black metal phone again?

  • OzMan41

    Thanks for being brutally honest about the screen.  That’s definitely a deal breaker.

  • JOSby

    I’m utterly disappointed that they used the same screen as on my D3.  The colors on this thing SUCK.  If you disagree, try viewing a picture of a person’s face and tell me the fleshtones aren’t totally jacked up.  I agree with Kellex that it’s the worst smartphone screen I’ve seen.  I’m going to try RoadsterHD1′s suggestion for the Screen Adjuster app, though – I’d never heard of it.  If it improves me D3, I’ll get the D4.
    For those advocating ditching hardware keyboards – how do you safely text/email while driving?  That’s the sticking point for me…virtual KB’s are fine for me except when I need to touch-type, e.g. while driving.  Do you eventually get to where you can type without having to look at the screen?

    • Benjamin Landwehr

      Coming from the OG Droid and D3, and now having the Nexus, I DEFINITELY miss having a keyboard for short texts while driving.  The ability to not having to look at my phone while texting was great.  I now never(thankfully, you really shouldn’t be doing it on the D3 either.. lol, but I’m guilty as well) text while driving.  Way too risky.  I’m scared to even do it at stop lights.  At D3 was much safer to do that.

      I did compare my old D3 screen to the D4 in store though.. somehow the D4′s is STILL worse.  I personally like the screen on the D3 for anything except looking at pictures I took.  The D4 and it’s ghosting just sucks though.  The pentile screen just is easier to see somehow.. I’m not sure what’s different between the two.  

      I also like the design of D3 so much better. That should have had LTE.  It looks SO much more sleek.  My friends loved the look of that phone.  The D4 is barely lighter, but the D3 is more thin and has a much better look to it and doesn’t look like a copy cat to the RAZR.. except for fat.

      • Anonymous

        Does no one use the voice to text function on their phones since its introduction in Froyo? I fire off at least 2 texts a day with this method while driving. The only downside is you feel silly talking to your phone like a robot.

        • JOSby

          I’ve tried it, but it makes too many mistakes.  Also, you have to stop speaking periodically to add punctuation.  Between that and having to correct its mistakes, I found it required more looking down at my phone than just touch-typing on the QWERTY does.  I’m not the clearest enunciator, though, so its inaccuracies were probably partially my fault. 

    • Anonymous


      For those advocating ditching hardware keyboards – how do you safely text/email while driving?  That’s the sticking point for me…virtual KB’s are fine for me except when I need to touch-type, e.g. while driving.  Do you eventually get to where you can type without having to look at the screen?” oh i dont know…maybe either 1) pull over and text, or 2) wait til you get to your destination to text? is that text message really worth your, or someone else’s life?

      • Anonymous

        Or…

        “… I like Heineken because the bottle has a better grip and I can grab it from the cupholder while driving without looking. Coronas are a bit to slim and slippery. I much prefer to drink Heineken while I drive…”

      • JOSby

        Last weekend I drove three hours to Raleigh and during that time I was texting and emailing with two people.  I would’ve had to 1) pull over on the side of the interstate at least 10 times, or 2) wait three hours to reply.  Both of those suck, and with a physical keyboard, I don’t need to do either - all it requires is glancing down to read the incoming message, touch-typing my reply, glancing down to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes, then hitting the enter key.  This is no different than glancing down to change tracks on a CD player.

        From my question it’s very clear that I’m trying to AVOID distracted driving – I know there’s no way I could currently type on an on-screen keyboard without looking down at the phone for every single letter, and that’d be unsafe while driving.  I want to know if eventually it gets to the point where one can touch-type.

        I think the answer is no, though.  Yesterday I did a comparison with a friend of mine who sends 1000′s of texts a month from her iPhone 3 that she’s had for over a year…yet she still had to break eye contact with me to look down at her screen for every word that she typed.  Meanwhile, I was able to type an entire sentence (with no typos)  to her without breaking eye contact.

    • JOSby

      FYI, to anyone else unhappy with the D3′s colors, I found that +17 Red +17 Blue -0 Contrast in Screen Adjuster make it look better to my eye.  Far from perfect, but I don’t think it’s possible to fully correct the underlying physical problem in software.

  • Tadz

    old ass android and old ass screen tech… =( damn it Moto

  • Anonymous

    PenTile Matrix. is bad but with :screen adjuster” from the market the color and contrast can be corrected. The video looks way better. These screens tend to favor reds. If you increase the green and blue it takes the effects of the red away. Also. The contrast on these are extremely high. lowering the contrast with this app improves whites in the image. Beware however, you will not be able to install any apps from the SD card with “screen adjuster on” so turn it off before installing apps. Market direct apps are no problem. my adjustments are RED=0  GREEN=+5   BLUE=+11 and contrast -20. nice app try it.

  • Jonathan Fuchs

    I can’t be the only person to think this…. but the 4 contacts alongside the battery appear to be connection points for the optional induction charging backplate.  Verizon has the backplate and pad listed as accessories.  What’s to stop someone from making an “external battery” pack that fits and hits those contacts?  

  • Ahsan

    Where the hell is your Spectrum review? It came out a month ago.

    • Anon

      As someone else said when you trolled this in another article, if you’re going to be such an angry impatient jerk about something you aren’t paying, for , buy one and write your own review.

      • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

        I’ll admit that I’ve been putting it off. The Spectrum is painful to use thanks to its awful custom skin. Will hopefully have the review ready next week.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Rotkaeqpchen Ulf Schuster

    Its not fair what you say about the screen. I really LOVE LOVE LOVE the Droid 3 screen, its the brightest screen on earth, it’s perfectly readable in direct sunlight! IF I WANT PERFECT DARK BLACK, THEN I TURN OFF THE SCREEN!

  • Fishler108

    Ive had my d4 since friday…honestly I dont know what all the fuss about the screen is…it has very natural colors, a very deep contrast ratio and best of all I can read things perfectly in direct sunlight! I had the Nexus for a week and couldnt say the same. I do miss ics, but I can wait for cm9 =). This phone is beyond stellar; destroys the nexus in 4g reception here in Toledo, OH, and gets better battery life! Its got a sexy design and I couldnt be happier =)

    • Anonymous

      Toledo represent! (well Sylvania…)

    • Anonymous

      TOL! :)

    • ReturnofMctypething

      Kellex trashes every screen, don’t even pay attention to that part of his review.

      • Eh

        Yeah, just ignore the screen part of all his reviews. They’re all overly exaggerated.

        • Noyfb

          Can you use the d4 outside in sunlight? my og droid sucked at reading in sunlight.
           I hope when the d6 comes out next august, wink wink, google will drastically improve these moto devices.
          Also, I wonder how much companies pay to have their apps forced into bloatware on phones?

          • Pui

             In terms of outdoor visibility, the D4 beats the Razr and Nexus. That’s pretty important for people who go outside.

          • FusionVibe

            When I saw the screen in the Verizon store I too prefered it over the RAZR. The black might not be as black but the whites seem whiter which i prefer if I’m typing a document. The backgrounds just looked greyish on other phones. D4 text looked sharper then on the RAZR. I’ve been wondering how it looks outside. I’m transitioning from a keyboard based non-smart phone so it would be nice to have the physical as I get use to the on-screen one. oh, yea…TOLEDO!

      • http://www.elementary-project.com Kevin McDole

        Except for the screen on the Rezound…

    • DroidGuy?

      For a techie the screen is a deal breaker but for your average consumer the screen is something they won’t even notice as bad.

      • Bluebanzai

        I personally disagree. I am a techie with an imaging background. I prefer the screen here and this is why:

        To start, the screen’s colors on both the Galaxy Nexus and the Droid Razr have a very noticeable over-saturation of colors. The differences in pixel configuration between RGBW on the Droid 4 and RGBG on the GNex and Razr really make a difference in brightness, color balance and saturation. Saturation of colors can sometimes make for a more pleasing picture but create an unrealistic inflated “tint”. Moreover, the Razr has one of the most yellow tinted screens used in any device right now. The Droid 4 on the other hand possesses some blue tint. For many, it may be easy to relate this to color temperature. The Razr resembles a color temperature of 2500K but the Droid 4 is more at 7000K. Sure, some people have preferences but a majority of users typically prefer a higher color temperature for display purposes. This is preference but in all other industries (LCD computer displays are a great example) where most people prefer the cool mode over the warm mode. In my opinion, Motorola made the right decision.
        The arrangement of pixels on each screen is another issue.  The pixel matrix is more visible on the Droid but if you are holding it roughly more than 14 inches for a person with 20/20 visual acuity or 18 inches with 20/15 will not be able to see the pixels regardless. The Galaxy Nexus, with a superior pixel density as well as the larger screen clearly dominates this eg you can hold the display closer as well as having a larger screen occupying a larger field of view. The Razr with the lowest pixel density of the bunch should actually be the most noticeable. The problem lies in that configuration of pixels. Whichever manufacturer of the screens for these 3 devices (and the Bionic for example which shares the screen technology with the Droid 4) has for efficiency or some other manufacturing reason been unable to decrease the black space or the spacing between pixels. This creates that screen-door effect which is much more noticeable on the Droid 4 because of the spacing between pixels–if you are looking for it. When viewing high contrast subjects such as black text on white background, this will be come more noticeable. The white background is key to seeing this effect. Other situations such as video viewing this should actually help make blacks blacker–obviously a preference. Again, I believe with the apparent manufacturing constraints, Motorola has chosen an appropriate tradeoff as this is not meant for customers who overwhelmingly choose to watch videos.A good article that breaks it down can be found here:http://www.extremetech.com/mobile/95735-what-pentile-screens-mean-for-the-droid-bionic-and-other-phones 

        I won’t get into redraw rates on high contrast subjects. Most people are not reading text or watching a true high definition action film with extreme contrasts where ‘ghosting’ would make a difference. Simply put, in a real world situation this would be unnoticeable unless you specifically created a test to demonstrate. The only example that comes to mind is where text is scrolling up the screen quickly as you are trying to read it. In this test, the Droid 4′s redraw is noticeably slower.

    • JMonkeYJ

      i can understand being frustrated with the GNex’s radio performance, but saying it has bad visibility in sunlight seems crazy to me! it is easily the best phone i’ve ever used in direct sunlight. with brightness all the way up it’s virtually as good outdoors as indoors. i don’t understand how you could have had such a different experience. don’t mean to harp on you, it’s just that that is one of the things i always show off about my GNex.

    • Gadgety

      Yup, compared the D4 to my friends’ Nexus and Razr in direct sunlight. The D4 was more readable by far. Those pixels don’t matter when you can’t see anything.

    • Kal5el

      Shout out for the 419!

    • Blueteeth

      Really Kellex ?  The screen didn’t seem too bad at all inside the VZW store when I played it next to the Nexus and Spectrum’s “superior” screens.  I actually liked the D4 screen very much.  I used them all to play the same video at the same time (youtube “high def video” search) which pulled up a space shuttle launch.  The text on the shuttle was more readable and video looked better with the D4. Yes you could see pixelation on the smoke and backround sky of the shuttle launch moreso on the D4 but the overall video was better to me.
      All this after reading the initial comparisons.  I guess a third test is in order now…

      • DUN

        When looked at from less than an inch or using a DSLR to take a zoomed in photo, yes, the D4 screen looks bad.

        In real world use, the screen looks great and is more readable in sunlight than the other currently available phones.. Color and saturation are good too.

    • skltr21

      i just got mine a couple days ago and it’s by far one of the worst screens i have seen to date.  i love the phone itself, and having a keyboard again is amazing.  but this screen is HORRENDOUS! you can see every pixel on the screen…… and scrolling looks awful and is supper jittery. great phone, TERRIBLE screen!

  • NotoriousNeo

    Great review, hit all the spots perfectly. I love this things build quality, it is top-notch, and that keyboard is a dream, but the screen is just ghastly, especially the ghosting (har-har). And no, it’s not a “Moto Blur” effect, it’s ghosting, plain ‘ol low-quality screen ghosting. Still, I’m sure most will be able to get over that…mostly…but not I. Not after having a Rezound in one hand and Razr on the other. 

    • Anonymous

      Why do you have 3 phones?

      • NotoriousNeo

        The Rezound is my work phone, the Razr Maxx is my personal phone and the Droid 4 I carried around the week before we placed it on display. I usually do that with new phones so I have an idea of what to tell customers when they ask about it. 

  • Anonymous

    As a brand new convert from my Blackberry Torch, a keyboard is a “must” for me.  I can’t type worth a damn on a touchscreen.  I ordered my Droid 4 from Amazon ($99) last night.

    I will make an effort to type using the touch screen as much as possible, so that a keyboard isn’t necessary in my next phone.  But right now, the Droid 4 is really my only option.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25001493 Hank Godwin

       If you force yourself to make the jump now, you won’t even look back within a few weeks.  There were so many of us that HAD to have a keyboard back when the first Droid was released and now can’t imagine having a physical keyboard.

      • Anonymous

        I agree. I never thought I’d get used to a virtual keyboard pretty much always having QWERTY keyboards in feature phones. But with awesome keyboards like SlideIT, Swype, and SwiftKeyX, typing on an on-screen keyboard is a breeze.

      • Anonymous

         I’ve tried using touchscreens with many devices, going all the way back to a Pronto Touch screen remote control about 10 years ago (which I ended up using a stylus with, because I was so horrible at fat-fingering the virtual buttons).
        Given my history with touchscreen devices, it would be insanity for me to make a 2 year commitment to an Android device without a keyboard.
        Right now, I’m far better off with a mediocre screen and a keyboard than an HD screen and no keyboard.

        • Anonymous

          Really give Swype a go. I used the slider on my OG Droid (loved that phone, but man did that slider suck) until I got Swype. I took a couple of days to really learn it and never slid the keyboard out again. My wife is as non-techie as they come and she won’t use a device without Swype, now.

          When you get your D4, really give Swype a good try (like, 15-30 minutes straight and learn the more intricate features). Slider/hardware QWERTYs are going to be more and more scarce, and you’ll never get one that’s the latest and greatest, so you need to put in the time to transition (as you know). I thought it was cumbersome at first; now I type upwards of 30WPM easy with Swype.

          • Anonymous

             Thanks.  I will absolutely try to learn to use the touch screen keyboard using Swype.  I agree that, if I want the latest & greatest with my next phone, I will need to have weaned myself off of the keyboard by then. 
            I just think that it made sense for me to have a backup plan in case I fail as miserably as I expect to (and have in the past), and be stuck with a device that I can’t use effectively for the next two years.
            I hope that I’m wrong and that Swype (or some other tool) is what makes a touchscreen work for me.  But it would be foolish for me to count on that being the case and buying a phone that I could potentially hate, because of an issue that I could have avoided.

          • Anonymous

            Absolutely agree with your reasoning. One of the reasons I went with the OG Droid over the DInc was the keyboard; I needed some training wheels, as it were.

          • DroidGuy?

            How come you people can’t just accept that some people prefer using a keyboard? It’s like how Iphone lovers try to convince us that the Iphone is the best phone out there. Preference people. Respect.

          • Anonymous

            Maybe you should read the exchange we had again more carefully.

          • DroidGuy?

            no i got it you’re trying to help. but this person obviously prefers his keyboard over swype.

      • Raven

        I still can’t imagine NOT having a physical keyboard.  I do too much remote system administration from my phone.  Try sshing to a Linux server and writing a shell script from a virtual keyboard you will want to throw your phone against the wall before you ever finish.

        • Klw5688

          One of us nerds needs to make a keyboard for stuff like that…lol

      • Anonymous

        I have not had a physical keyboard for about 8 mos now and totally miss it. If ever get back to a situation where I need to send 50 emails a day from my phone, it will be a must.

  • Anonymous

    Just an off topic note, there’s no reason to include “Verizon” in the title because by default anything labeled with the DROID name has to be on Verizon, since they’ve licensed the name from LucasFilm.

    • Anonymous

      you
      are
      sooooooo
      smart!

  • Dolphfins2000

    Couldnt get over the fact that other then 4g & 1gb of ram since phone isn’t much more then my Droid 3 so I am forced to return it this weekend. I rather use my droid 3 with extra battery I have and go on happy knowing I have a upgrade to use down the road. 4g wasn’t a big thing for me since my area wont have it till end of year probably. If you don’t need 4g but still want front cam, hd video, hdmi, dual core, and a battery you can pull and swap then the droid 3 is so much better of a deal right now. Even used off contract on ebay they go for 200.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Yep, no real differences other than LTE when it comes to the D3 and D4. Hopefully they hit it out of the park with the D5 heh.

      • Raven

         Hopefully Motorola DOESN’T keep there word and releases an improved D5 by September when my NE2 is up so I can pick that up instead of the by then very ancient D4.

        • Anonymous

          *their

      • Anonymous

         you mean the DROID 4 MAXX?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Kellen, do you know if the docks for the DROID 3 will work for the DROID 4? I have looked online and it doesn’t say, but the ports look to be in the same place…I figure the OG and D2G could use the same docks so maybe Motorola was kind enough to throw us a bone.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Havent’ been able to test that, but would assume they will not work. Moto just released new universal docks with this phone.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah I saw those, I am personally more concerned with the car dock though…I guess I was just hoping against hope that Motorola wasn’t trying to kill my wallet again…

    • Anonymous

      Just go to Monoprice.com and pick up a mini hdmi cable for 4 bucks. Its not as pretty as a dock, but you can still stream netflix to your tv and you wont feel guilty about paying 50 bucks for essentially the same experience with extra plastic.

  • Anonymous

    Ya know, I prefer Slacker to other streaming services. I wouldn’t be too upset having that from the get go.

  • Anonymous

    Great review. I am dumbfounded that they are put that screen tech in there. Moto’s got some ‘splainin to do though with all the not-so-goods. I can’t believe how badly they treat their customers. The only way I’d ever purchase a Moto phone is if it was the next Nexus.

  • FUCKBEAST

    THE IPHONE 4S IS BETTER THAN ALL OF THIS GARBAGE, NOT TROLLING JUST TELLING THE TRUTH!!!!

    • EC8CH

      this garbage… yes

      Sexy-Nexy… not-so-much

    • Anonymous

      For once, I agree. If “ALL OF THIS GARBAGE” means the D4, you’ve got it spot on, buddy.

    • Skennedy412

       How can you compare a Iphone 4s to a Droid 4?

      ps. Your caps locks is on FUCKBEAST.

  • Dude

    Is this screen the same as the Bionic’s screen or is it even worse?

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Assuming it’s the same tech, however it looks far worse.

      • Anonymous

        I went from the X2 to a Bionic.  While the X2′s screen was brighter and whiter, the DB’s has somewhat more accurate colors and seems to ghost a little less (at least during Angry Birds).   So you would definitey say the D4′s Pentile screen is worse than the X2, D3 or DB?  Wow!

        • Dude

           Yeah, I love my Bionic. The only thing that bothers me about it is the low quality screen as I watch a lot of Netflix on it :/

          • Spamophile

            My OG DROID made it 2 yrs, then had a D3 for a few months (got stolen), now I have the Bionic. As with the D3, worst. Camera. EVER.

            Don’t care how many bells and whistles they put on it, I don’t think I can trust Motorola again on this point.

        • Anonymous

          I would say it easily feels worse than the Bionic. It looks somewhere around the X2 and D3, but still kinda worse for some reason. It really is pretty bad.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25001493 Hank Godwin

            I can’t even imagine a screen worse than my wife’s D3, so that is seriously scary.

      • http://twitter.com/Chasemanhattan3 Chase Chick

        It probably just looks worse because you have been looking at a Gnex screen and came to the D4 rather than whatever not-as-stellar screen you were looking at before you were looking at the D3

        • Anonymous

          This. The D4 is probably aimed at primarily the business crowd, so they figured (rightly) that their base demographic would find the screen more than adequate. The keyboard is the real star, here. If you don’t need a keyboard, don’t get this phone. Get the RAZR, Rezound, or GNex, all of which have a great screen.

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

        I sold one to a girl today and was amazed that she picked it. I showed it to her next to the stratosphere, which has a much nicer screen. she didn’t even seem to notice. I asked everyone if it was just me and they all said yes. :O I say they’re all crazy and I’m the only sane one! 

  • Greg Morgan

    Moto is really starting to FAIL big time. You said it in the review, between the screen on this phone, their timeline for ICS and the whole unlocking bootloaders, they are starting to alienate all their fans they had.

    • Klw5688

      I dont see how moto is failing with this phone… A phone that competes on every level as the other phones with the exception of the screen, but with a lower pricetag, and arguably the best physical keyboard ever. im sure most consumers think this phone is worth it compared to everything else. not everyone is a phone nerd/geek like us man. 99% of verizon customers  havent even heard the term bootloader before… -_-  nobody ive ever asked has even been able to tell me the version of android they are on… 

  • Anonymous

    They chose that screen so in a month they can come out with a new one with a better screen and larger battery or some other minor improvement.

  • Anonymous

    Regardless of the phone, everytime you review one, I want it…

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      This phone has a lot of potential. Bad screen though, yikes.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not getting one. Last year, I decided I can’t keep up with your phone collection anymore. :P However, I’ve got two upgrades coming in May. My wife is hoping for a VZW Note (surprise, surprise), I’ll wait to see what the “best” phone at the time is for me.

        • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

          Could be some fun toys out by May.

        • EC8CH

          Your wife likes ‘em big… no wonder she picked you up.

          • Anonymous

            LOL ;-)

  • EC8CH

    Bbbbbbbloatware

    I srsly LOL’d

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      :D