Motorola Droid 4 and RAZR MAXX Hands On: Two Giant Leaps for Droidkind

By Brent Rose on at

I just copped a major feel on the new Motorola Droid 4 and the Droid RAZR MAXX. I'm going to cut right to the chase: they both carry on the traditions of their ancestors, but improve on them in ways that actually matter.

That the Droid 4 is the best of its lineage was probably a foregone conclusion, but what's important is how it's better than its ancestors.The biggest improvement? It's a Droid that finally has a very usable keyboard. They keys are prominent, have nice separation, and a sweet amount of click. There are some anomalies, like the tab key being way too prominent for a mobile keyboard (which led to some weird spacing in the test email I sent), and it will certainly take some time to get your fingers trained, but my first impression of the keyboard is that it's actually good. Better than the Droid 3, easily. It's also got Motorola's nano-coating (which debuted on the RAZR), which makes this sucker splash resistant. Clumsy people, rejoice!

The 4-inch qHD display is definitely underwhelming when compared to the 720p screens that are starting to float around, but it's quite bright. The hardware felt pretty solid with the exemption of the plastic back panel which seemed a bit flimsy. The hinge for the slide-out keyboard felt nice and strong. At half an inch thick it's a bit chubby compared to its keyboardless brethren, but it's certainly palmable. I would say this is a great transition device for people who are leaving BlackBerry (in droves). It's got a lot of enterprise-y business features/enhanced security, and you'll have a very usable keyboard to ease your touchscreen transition.

Next up, the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX (long name). This was the surprise of the day for me. When I heard about the hulky 3300mAh battery they packed into it, I assumed it was going to be a big, fat device that shouldn't be called a RAZR at all. I was totally wrong. Yes, it's thicker than the RAZR, but not by much, and only in some spots. It's right about on par with the Galaxy Nexus, which is a very thin phone (see photo comparison). Packing all that juice into such a small package is a remarkable feat. And the benefit? Moto claims that for that little extra thickness you get 21 hours of talk time. Or, if you're content to turn off your data, you get 380 hours of standby time. That's 15.8 days. As Kanye might put it, "That shit cray."

Everything else about the RAZR is the same. Same okay screen, same Micro SD card slot. It's still got MotoBLUR, which I'm not a fan of, but I'd call this one 250 per cent more buyable than the original RAZR. It'll cost you more, but when I think about not having to worry about finding an outlet to make it through the day, I'm more than okay with eating beans and rice for a week.

Bonus: I took a couple shots of the original Droid RAZR in purple. Which is exactly like the Droid RAZR. But purple.