Verizon and Motorola had some interesting Androids to show at CES, including a brand new member of the Droid family. It's not as thin as its RAZR siblings, but 12.9mm still sounds great given the arsenal of features it offers (4" qHD screen, slide-out QWERTY and LTE are the headliners).
The Motorola Droid 4 measures 126.7 x 69.9 x 12.9 mm and weighs 179 grams. If you've just handled the Motorola RAZR (like we did) it feels a little chunky, but it's fairly compact for its class. It's heavier than the Droid 3 though (167g) and while it's not the heaviest phone, we were hoping it would be lighter.
The Droid 4 packs a really fancy slide-out QWERTY keyboard - the edge-lit, laser-cut keys provide a very good typing experience and the backlight is very even.
The LCD screen on the Droid 4 measures 4" in diagonal and boasts a qHD resolution. The display is protected by scratch-resistant glass. We'd really like to get a better chance to examine the screen to make sure it doesn’t use a PenTile matrix as Moto has used before on its 4" qHD screens.
Anyway, sliding the screen and keyboard apart isn't the most comfortable experience as there's no spring-assistance mechanism to smooth things out.
The back of the Motorola Droid 4 felt rather ordinary but that's probably because we got spoiled with the Kevlar-coated back of the RAZR.
Inside is a 1785mAh battery that is good for 12 hours and a half of continuous talk time and about 8 and a half days of standby.
Motorola have added a couple of protective layers on the Droid 4 - a hardware one (special water-repellant coating) and a software one, called Business Ready. Business Ready offers government-grade encryption for your contacts, emails and calendar.
Verizon is touting 5-12Mbps downlink and 2-5Mbps uplink speeds through their LTE network when using the Motorola Droid 4, but we didn’t get a chance to test that.
The Droid 4 will be launching soon but there's no pricing yet. It will use Android 2.3.5 at launch, but the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update is on the way.
Motorola had a couple of other interesting handsets for Verizon - the RAZR MAXX and the purple version of the original RAZR. The MAXX is the one that had our jaws drop to the floor though, it's a little thicker and a little heavier than a regular RAZR but it offers the amazing 21.5 hours of continuous talk time. Now go back and read that again.
The key to this nearly day-long talk time (people with insomnia will probably appreciate it) the giant battery that Motorola somehow managed to cram inside. We are talking a capacity of 3300mAh here.
That's almost the size of a 7" tablet battery. Big (in capacity) batteries are usually big (in physical size), but we put the MAXX next to one of the thinnest smartphones ever, its RAZR XT912 half-twin, and saw only minor physical changes.
At a micron under 9mm the Motorola RAZR MAXX is still slimmer than an iPhone 4S and its battery has more than twice the capacity. The MAXX weighs more than a regular RAZR, thouhg (145g vs. 127g).
Everything else about the Motorola RAZR MAXX is virtually identical to the regular RAZR for Verizon - that means 4.3" qHD SuperAMOLED screen with scratch resistant glass, 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and LTE connectivity. We're happy to report that the Kevlar-coated back is still onboard too.
The Motorola RAZR MAXX will be available soon for $299 on a two-year contract with Verizon and it will come with 32GB storage (16GB built-in + 16GB microSD). It will launch with Android 2.3.5 but 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will be made available later on.
The third phone of the Verizon Droid roster is the purple version of the Motorola RAZR XT912, which will be available soon for $199 with a two-year contract with Verizon.
The purple is more of a highlight - the glass bezel all around the screen is still black, it's just the plastic around the edge that's purple. On the back, the grey/black Kevlar surface dominates and the glass that houses the camera, flash and loudspeaker is black too. We suppose Motorola couldn’t have painted the Kevlar, but it would have been nice if they colored the black glass at least.
Specs-wise there are no differences between the purple and black models of the Motorola RAZR for Verizon.
We do a hands-on with this or that, but here's a droid you can actually put on your hand - the Motorola MOTOACTV.
It's a tiny (46 x 46 x 9.6 mm) device that runs a full Android OS and is intended to be your training watch/fitness tracker of choice. It weighs just 35g and when you attach it to the wrist strap, it really feels quite comfortable (there are other ways to wear it, an arm band for example).
It's rain resistant and sweat-proof, so you don't have to worry about that. There's Gorilla glass on top of the 1.6" touchscreen (176x220) too, for extra protection.
It has a built-in GPS receiver to track your run and custom software to keep track of your exercises. It will also play music for up to 20 hours from its 8GB built-in storage (a 16GB option is available too). A 3.5mm audio jack can be used to plug in any pair of headphones.
We mentioned that the MOTOACTV runs Android and it does - but there's a custom skin on top to make it usable with the small screen, especially while exercising. There are a couple of big hardware buttons too, so you're not relying solely on the touchscreen.