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Review: Motorola Droid 4 for Verizon Wireless

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Menus Calls/Contacts Messaging  

The Droid 4 runs Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with the same user interface skin that is on the RAZR and RAZR MAXX.

The lock screen offers two shortcuts aside from simply unlocking the device: One silences incoming calls, and the other opens the camera. Being able to open the camera from the lock screen has become a key feature that I look for in a phone. There are five home screen panels for user customization. Motorola and Verizon have preloaded an abundance of widgets and apps, though they can all be removed from the home screen if you so wish.

The main app menu is laid out in an alphabetized grid. You swipe side-to-side (not up-and-down) to access the different panels of apps. The settings tools let you group apps into folders of your own choosing, as well as sort through those that are most frequently used or recently used. The main app menu cannot be viewed in list form.

The settings menu functions as it does on any other Android 2.3.x device, though Motorola has updated the icons seen along the left edge of the phone. They look pretty sharp, if you ask me.

The biggest disappointment in Motorola's Android skin is that it doesn't offer basic settings controls in the drop-down notification shade. I like to be able to quickly turn off the Wi-Fi radio or GPS on occasion, and the notification shade is the best place for such tools. Instead, you have set up a widget on one of the home screen panels to access those controls, but obviously you lose valuable home screen real estate.

Performance was smooth across the Droid 4. I didn't have any trouble transitioning between screens, opening apps, multitasking, etc. The Droid 4 was responsive and performed every task I threw at it with no hiccups.


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