Verizon's latest two smartphone offerings pit the new and much-lauded Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX against the most up-to-date member of the original Droid line, the Motorola Droid 4. Which best suits your needs?
Different Design Goals
There's a fairly big difference between these not just in design but in their whole philosophy. However, both differences can be summed up with a single statement: the Droid 4 has a keyboard and the RAZR MAXX doesn't. To that extent, any comparison is somewhat apples-to-oranges, at least as far as input goes. Some people cannot live without a physical keyboard, others don't care. Personally, I strongly prefer a keyboard -- but sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances. This is one of them.
One Single Advantage
The Droid 4 really has only one thing going for it: it has that keyboard we mentioned. And it's a really good keyboard at that. It's comfortable, well designed, well spaced, and has excellent lighting. Whether you're typing out emails or just a quick text message, the D4 is excellent for text input. And unfortunately, not a whole lot else.
The truth is, once you move past the buttons, the Droid 4 is nothing to write home about. It sports a very middling screen, average battery capacity, less memory than its rival, and a bulkier design that doesn't even have the excuse of having a removable battery. While the RAZR MAXX's battery isn't removable either, the designers at least had the excuse of trying to make it very thin.
Read Brighthand's in-depth review of the Motorola Droid 4.
In comparison, the RAZR MAXX sports a vastly superior Super AMOLED display with better clarity, better colors, and higher contrast. Not to mention a huge battery that will drive it almost twice as long as the Droid 4, yet without a big weight penalty. It sports 32 GB of memory out of the box, of which around 29 GB is available to the user, compared to the D4's roughly 11 GB available. And it has all the things the D4 does, like HDMI out, a dual-core processor, LTE, and the rest.
Don't miss our review of the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX
None of this is to say that the Droid 4 is a bad smartphone. It's not. But by the same token, it doesn't really stand out much, which is a problem when there are alternatives which do. For that matter, in some ways the Droid 4 fares less well against high-end keyboard-less devices than the Droid 3 might have. While the D3 lacked 4G LTE, it did have international roaming capability, giving it the ability to do something none of Verizon's other phones could do, something essential for business travelers. The D4 did away with this, leaving what amounts to a middling smartphone with a really good keyboard.
As someone who's a dedicated keyboard user I wish it were different, but this isn't much of a competition. While the Motorola Droid 4 does have great input, the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX beats it on virtually every other quality. Unless you just can't live without a keyboard, the RAZR MAXX is the better phone.
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