Recently had a week with the Motorola Droid 4, which was introduced and heavily hyped at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
It has a 1.2 gigahertz processor and a five-row QWERTY keyboard with edge-lit keys. To me, the keyboard and keys, while they felt a little small, were the best things about the phone. The raised and curved keys, when you got used to them, worked well, but to be honest, after years of typing on the flat surface with our thumbs, we’ve come to prefer the “faux typing.”
Still, the phone will do everything you want a phone to do: email, make calls, play games, etc, but it’s not running the latest Android software (yet) and its 4-inch display just doesn’t look as good as the Samsung Galaxy line of Android phones that are selling so well. Frankly, the screen just isn’t very good. In daylight, you’ll need to cover it to see it. That was a big drawback.
If you want a keyboard, this phone, while a touch heavy, is a good alternative. It’s got government grade encryption, Motorola claims, for email, calendar and contacts. We were quite impressed with the 8-megapixel camera and the 1080P video recorder. And the hot spot functionality can now power up to eight devices.
Oh, it’s also sporting Verizon’s 4G LTE and that means your phone will probably cruise around the Internet faster than your home PC. Verizon’s network is no joke. Battery life was also improved over past Droids. We managed to get between six and seven hours of use before it was needing the electricity.
Coolest thing? You can connect the phone directly to an HDTV and put what’s on the phone on the screen — in HD. There’s an available $300 “lapdock” that you can plug the phone into and turn it into a full-fledged PC. Not our favorite feature, but we’ve seen guys using it. We do like the “MotoCast” app which allows you to remotely stream documents, videos, music and pictures from work or home computers to the handset.
Our take? If you want a QWERTY keyboard on a smartphone, this one is worth a look. We prefer this to the latest BlackBerry models, but there are much, much better Android alternatives out there if you don’t want the raised keyboard.