Android Wars: Droid 4 vs. Samsung Galaxy Nexus

With thousands of first-gen Droid customers from 2009 off contract this month a massive land grab is underway for your upgrade dollars. All the majors have unleashed formidable Android offerings including the HTC Rezound, Motorola Droid RAZR, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Motorola Droid 4 Specs

Motorola Droid 4 Specs

Droid 4 is just around the corner, with the latest reports (there is virtually no such thing as a real “leak” anymore – let’s call it what it is: guerrilla marketing) pegging availability on Verizon Dec 8.

With thousands of first-gen Droid customers from 2009 off contract this month (including myself) there is a massive land grab underway for your upgrade dollars. All the majors have unleashed formidable Android offerings including the HTC Rezound, Motorola Droid RAZR, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus (upgrade dilemma). None of those smartphones, however, include a physical keyboard.

Enter the Motorola Droid 4.

Likely the natural choice for those that love the tactile response that only hard keys can provide, it adds yet another decision element into the mix for us would-be upgraders, stuck in paralysis analysis.

Aside from the slider keyboard, what else do we know about Droid 4?

According to our friends over at The Verge, it’s rumored to be an LTE world phone, with an “edge-lit” physical keyboard, qHD LCD 4-inch display, and dual-core 1.2GHz processor. Nothing too surprising there, although the backlighting is a bonus for those that love to keep their Google+ streams active during the latest Twilight entry. If the Verizon ads are legit, Droid 4 will feature a 4-inch non-AMOLED display (boo!). No mention of ICS (aka Android 4) which would likely mean it will ship with an earlier rev. of Android, leaving Nexus as the only Android phone to carry the banner in 2012.

My assessment on Droid 4: bleh.

Weak sauce. Yes, the phone is an improvement over the original Droid. But I expect something more than just a backlit keyboard. And what’s that: a tool required to remove the back cover?! Moto engineers had over 24-months to hit us with their best shot, and the Droid 4 falls short of expectations. It’s as if 90% of the R&D went into the RAZR resurrection, with the leftovers used to add some light rope to the slider on the old Droid.

Then there’s the whole hardware keyboard. If you want it you want it. For me, it adds too much heft to the device (0.5″). The specs are just so underwhelming that I’m guessing a small contingent will choose it over the Nexus.

For now, my money is on Samsung’s flagship handset. If it comes in at only $199 as many are reporting, than that’s icing on the Ice Cream Sandwich.

[via The Verge, Droid Life]

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  • Anonymous

    WTF!! what is all this talk about Moto phones,  the real deal and most important phone has not been released yet Galaxy Nexus.. Verizon is purposely hold back on the galaxy Nexus because they can not add there bloat ware crap to the phone and they know everyone wants FULL Google  Galaxy Nexus.. Moto has dropped the ball to many times now for me it is time to move on with Samsung..

    • Anonymous

      Bloat is the one reason I hate VZ. Their CSRs have always been good to me except on one occasion.

      • Rick Mansur

        Let’s see, lets pay $10/mo for VZ Navigator or use Google GPS for free.  Hmmm, tough choice.  Just like when Microsoft paid Verizon an estimated $600 million to “hard wire” Bing as the default search on ANDROID phones, like 6 of ’em.  Microsoft trying to buy their way back to relevance.  I’m sure VZ is hoping that no one actually reads anything and goes home to watch “Dancing with the Stars” or “Montel’ and actually wouldn’t notice the Bing on their machine, which sadly, is probably true, well not probably, I know it’s true.  Verzion, like all of them, is really starting to piss me off, and I spend $300/mo. there with 4 original Mot Droids due for an upgrade this month.

        • Anonymous

          i was wondering how Bing got placed on verizon android phones, this tells me verizon despises the Galaxy Nexus and they will try to sabotage this phone in every way they can.. mark my words this will come to bite verizon in the @ss one day.

          • Anonymous

            Oh great. Spoil a perfectly good phone with Bing crap? 

      • Anonymous

        I’d pay someone good money to get the NFL mobile off my phone.  I can’t uninstall it.  Seriously, it works in the negative for me as my husband now hijacks my phone every sunday & monday night :(

    • Rick Mansur

      couldn’t agree more.

  • A7

    Bought my og on 11/7/09 & was eligible for upgrade in June or July. Had been waiting for Bionic in anticipation of said upgrade but heard of Nexus “Prime” in July & have been salivating ever since. I’ve half a mind to set myself alight in the lobby of VZ headquarters to protest their “guerilla marketing” but the other half wants some ham. All joking aside, it’s getting insulting to follow this (SGN) phone. It would be nice to have a physqwerty but it would be even nicer to be bloat/crapware free. Plus, on a 4.65″ looker, there’s no need for keys.

    To any VZ reps reading this: We’re going o buy your Nexus. And we’ll make all our less savvy friends who look to us for advice buy your Nexus. But we all hate you for how you’ve handled this launch. & with the holiday ad yesterday(oops?), we can only conclude you’re either sadistic or incompetent. The buying public is not so stupid & gullible as when your PR execs were getting doctorates in the stupidity & gullibility of the buying public. We know what corporate competence looks like & this has been a wonderful case study of how to screw the proverbial pooch.

    But we’re not leaving cuz you have the best network &, now, the best handsets. So instead of bending us all over the barrel on data & tethering, why not fire your entire marketing department? They are clearly of no use to you anyway & it would foster ENORMOUS goodwil among your customers. Something you marketing & PR divisions have been failing at for years…

  • Swag

    “to much heft”?


    • Guest

      Time to learn a new word!
      heft – noun – The weight of someone or something

    • Guest

      Unless that was
      in reference to him saying “to” instead of too and in that case don’t be so

  • Cento

    Does anyone know if the D4 will have the splash proof  technology that the Razr has? 

    Also, It’s amazing how VZ goes out of their way to make sure they DON’T make a perfect phone…..No removable SD card on the Nexus!!!  One of the many problems with that is that you can’t play stored  audio/music through a USB connection. 

    • mandroid

      You realize that Verizon had exactly zero influence on the making of that phone right?

      • Cento

        Ok for the sake of semantics lets say sell instead of “make” 

        Another good example is the Casio Commando.  A practically indestructible Android phone, but comes with an inferior processor and camera. Why?

         It is apparent they don’t want an ultimate phone. It seems like they want people to continuously look for the next best thing by never giving them everything they want in one particular phone.

        Don’t forget, the some of the original selling points for the OG droid was the sliding keyboard and the removable battery. No more removable battery on he D4.

        D3….WITH removable battery, NO LTE

        D4…..NO removable battery, WITH LTE

        Why can’t we have a waterproof, indestructible, 4″+, LTE phone with at least a dual core processor? 


        Verizon has 100% influence over these companies that make their devices

        Bing and Bloatware are a couple more examples

        • no they dont have any influence over making the nexus. what the hell are u talking about?

        • Me

          It has nothing to do with Verizon being able to sell another phone, it has EVERYTHING to do with the phone’s manufacturer being able to sell phones.

  • srk

    Terrible column.  If this is a world phone, it is the first LTE world phone on Verizon, with some serious hardware.

  • Alex Right

    I think the Nexus is obviously cooler… No sense in trying to compare it with the Droid 4…