July 31, 2014

Review: Verizon Motorola Droid 4

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The Droid line from Motorola and Verizon has made quite a stir over the years, and has almost set itself apart from the “Android” platform. Donned with an ultra techie moniker that any Star Wars fan would be able to relate, we’re  on the 4th iteration of this lineup, which is now known as the Droid 4. This model doesn’t stray far from the original intention with it’s powerful backbone and sturdy craftsmanship. I’ll say it over and over again throughout this review, but the Droid 4 seems to be made,marketed and sold to the many business professionals on the Verizon Wireless network. Typically on sale for $199 with a new 2 year contract from Big Red, I’m going to touch on some of “what I consider” to be key points during this review.

*LTE* Wow! Many people have had a chance to experience Verizon’s 4G LTE network by now, or they’ve heard from friends/family/co-workers how awesome it is. Unlike WiMAX, LTE will be around for much longer as we continue to see advancements in the technology. As all 4 major carriers in the US have announced plans to use LTE in the near future, we’ll likely see voLTE coming in the years to come. Verizon’s LTE was the first to arrive, with many reports of ~45mbit aggregate data speeds making 3G look like dial-up. Best suited for those on an unlimited data plan, LTE sure could chew up 2GB in a heartbeat. Sending and receiving documents and files at LTE speeds will be very fast, perfect for the out of office businessman.

Here in Kansas I am constantly seeing LTE speeds over 10mbit using the SpeedTest.net application from the Google Play Store. I would suggest a widget or application of sorts to help you manage the LTE radio on your device in order to maintain decent battery life. Areas without LTE could cause a drastic drain in the battery while it constantly searches for signal.

*Slide-Out Keyboard* I’ll be the first to tell you, YOU DON’T NEED A HARDWARE KEYBOARD!!! However, being realistic I understand there is a market for this. With that being said, the keyboard on this thing is fairly impressive. Cell phones didn’t always have 5-row physical keyboards, but this one does. The 5th row comes in handy when inputting numbers, as the “long-press” method gets tiring. They rest of the keyboard has a nice layout, all of the keys are in places they should be and they are all labeled very well.

Complete with functional arrow keys and a large spacebar, I kind of understand why someone would desire a device with a physical keyboard. The best thing a hardware keyboard gives you is the screen real estate that is often completely lost on a device with an on screen keyboard. So you can still see the entire screen while typing, which is very cool. That’s the one thing, in my opinion that really shows the benefit of the slide-out devices.

My only complaint with the keyboard could be about how loud it is while typing. There is a very pronounced “bounce-back” when typing. While the feedback of the button is nice, it is also louder than expected.

*Hardware* The hardware features listed below are all on par with today’s current devices. A fast dual-core processor with a ton of internal storage space make this a very capable device. As usual, I would like to see a larger capacity battery in such a large phone but the provided 1785mAh battery should get you through the workday. 8mp rear camera/1.3mp front facing camera 1785mAh battery 16GB built-in storage 1.2ghz dual-core CPU

*User Experience* It’s a BRICK. MotoBlur is atrocious. The keyboard is so loud you need earplugs to save your hearing!

OK, not really. Some of that is my opinion. What’s not my opinion is the Droid4 is in fact THE best phone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Dual core, ample RAM, big screen and blazing fast LTE all make this a viable choice for the business professional on-the-go.

I hope I covered most of the stuff you would find important, stay tuned for more reviews in the near future.