Say hello to the Motorola DROID 4. Just arriving on our test bench we decided to quickly snap some photos and look over the latest iteration in the popular DROID line before giving it a full rundown. At first glance you’d almost mistake this for the new DROID RAZR, only the screen is slightly smaller and we have that all important keyboard. Coming in with specs similar to what the DROID 3 should have been, the D4 has some impressive power under the hood in more ways than one.

In case you somehow missed the countless leaks of this smartphone here are the details. We have a very similar overall device as the RAZR, only less screen real estate and a few other goodies. With the D4 we have a 4.0″ qHD AMOLED display, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor under the hood, 1GB of RAM, a beefy 8 megapixel camera around the back and a front camera for video chat. Last but not least is Verizon 4G LTE — the first DROID slider to rock this much requested feature.

For those that want a hardware keyboard, this is as good as it gets. With a new edge-lit QWERTY keyboard, and 4G LTE this is the best slider on the block — and probably will hold that crown for some time. Unless Verizon releases a DROID 5 this summer of course. The keys have a great feel with a good sense of spacing and almost a chicklit style like many laptops, only in a smaller space of course. The edge-lit lighting is more than just a gimmick and makes using the keyboard in darker situations quite nice.

Similar to the DROID RAZR and RAZRMAXX the DROID 4 has a very difficult to remove back and battery door. The RAZR battery isn’t user replaceable and you’re not supposed to remove the glued on back. With the DROID 4 the back does come off, but it’s no easy task. They’ve provided a small tool (don’t lose it) inside the box as a removal tool. Under there is where you’ll find the already installed micro-SIM for 4G LTE and a micro-SD slot for extra storage. It seems Motorola really wants to take the Apple route here, but is a bit undecided or afraid of the backlash that might follow. See the ridiculous picture below to see what I mean. Yes you must have the tool, and you pull the battery cover down and off — and it’s not easy.

Overall for first impressions the DROID 4 is pretty decent. Those wanting a QWERTY slide-out hardware keyboard it is excellent, but in terms of the Android market as a whole it’s pretty average for me. Being extremely similar to the RAZR many should love this phone powered by Gingerbread. See our size comparison in the image gallery below. The DROID 4 like many other Moto devices should see Ice Cream Sandwich within the next 3-6 months. Just like the bootloader the back is also secured by a Motorola lock and key, something that I’d rather not see in the world of Android. Stay tuned for our full review soon and check out the hands on video below.

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