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Best phone Verizon has ever offered
on September 8, 2011
I've been on Verizon Wireless since high school and have gone through a ton of phones and a few smartphones including the Motorola Droid and the iPhone 4. This is BY FAR the best phone I have ever owned. My girlfriend is even ditching her DROID Charge for this phone. I'm going to try and give a good review and cover all the goods and the bads about this phone.
The build of this phone is what you would expect from a Motorola phone - A nice solid piece of hardware made of metal with gorilla glass over the display. I had my iPhone for 3 months before I needed to replace it, but had my Motorola Droid for over 13 months and never exchanged it or repaired it, so Motorola definitely knows how to build a good piece of hardware. This phone is the first Verizon dual-core 4G LTE phone and it is FAST. Multi-tasking is effortless on this phone. Blows my iPhone 4 out of the water in this aspect. The display is amazing! It's a LARGE 4.3 qHD display (960x540 pixels) which is the highest resolution display on an Android phone to date. I wouldn't necessarily say better than the iPhone 4, but it is certainly as good. Some people are wondering if this phone is too big and bulky, but surprisingly it's pretty sleek and slim with a weight that makes it feel like a quality device, but not too heavy. Shooting pictures and videos is a ton of fun with this phone, the pictures look great. I posted a few on Facebook and they look awesome. The 1080p video is great as well indoors or outdoors. As for the front facing camera, it works with Skype, but you have to enable video chat in the settings on Skype (I heard a few people complain it wouldn't work). As for the quality of the front facing camera, it's not the greatest, it's only VGA (0.3 MP or something like that) but I mean it's video chat from your phone, you can still get your point across without lags or hitches because of Verizon's crazy fast 4G network (or over Wi-Fi).
So I have heard a lot of people that have been a little wary of getting this phone because of Motorola's skin "Motoblur". But as far as I can see this phone is almost completely void of Motoblur with a few added Motorola elements that are actually pretty useful. For example, you can pick some of your favorite contacts and make them widgets on one of your homescreens. Not sure if this is a Gingerbread feature, but I think it's unique to Motorola. As far as the Android OS goes it is a great OS. I am a huge fan of iOS, but I can say honestly that I probably won't be going back because Android is a hundred times more customizable and that really appeals to me. The QWERTY touch keyboard can be used in portrait or landscape and the phone is pre-loaded with "Swype" which is in my opinion the best option for a touch screen keyboard. The only thing is that it is heavily dependent on the phone's dictionary so you may need to manually type in some words for a while before it becomes fully useful.
The phone has some Verizon "bloatware" on it, but there's so much storage space on the phone for apps, you will hardly notice the 7 or 8 apps it comes with from VZW. The social media apps are AWESOME, especially if you like to share things like photos, videos, articles or web pages. It's incredibly easy to share things with your friends and the dual-core processor makes switching from Twitter to Facebook to GMail seamless. This phone comes preloaded with some setup accounts including Exchange or Corporate Sync, POP E-Mail, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, PhotoBucket, Picasa, and Twitter. Personally my favorite application on this phone is Google Maps because of the FREE turn-by-turn navigation that it offers which for some reason iOS still does not have. I also really like the ZumoCast application that allows you to access your computer remotely. Pretty cool and convenient. This phone is also Netflix ready. Haven't downloaded it from the market yet, but really eager to see how well the Netflix videos stream. There is also an app called "VideoSurf" where you can record a video of what you're watching on tv and the app will find information on the internet about the show or movie which is really cool, but a little unnecessary.
This phone has a lot of cool accessories. I purchased the car and desktop docks from Costco and also got an HDMI cable for mirror mode. The car dock is nice because you can just put the phone in and it automatically switches to "Car Mode" where there are main apps like Navigation, Calling, Contacts, Voice Search and Music and they all show up as large buttons so they're easy to access and you don't have to do any scrolling. The HDMI mirror mode is actually pretty cool and I will probably be using it a bit more once I get my Netflix set up on this phone. I've connected the HDMI cable to my girlfriend's TV and played some of the HD video I recorded. It looks great!
A lot of the criticism with 4G LTE phones is the battery life especially with the horrible battery life of the HTC Thunderbolt. I have had this phone for approximately 13 hours and got about 5 1/2 hours without charging on HEAVY usage (Wi-Fi, recording HD video, playing HD video in mirror mode, browsing the internet, navigation on Google Maps, YouTube, Skype Video Chat, ZumoCast, etc.) Which is pretty good on any network. I drained the battery to 15% and threw it on the charger and it was fully charged 90 minutes later. The battery is 1735 mAH, which is usually the size of extended batteries. I expect with normal usage of calling, texting, checking emails and browsing you could easily get 8-10 hours. I have only used the phone for texting, calling, and GMail since I took it off the charger 3 hours ago and the battery is sitting at 80%. Impressive.
Making calls on Verizon's LTE network is just like it's 3G network. Dependable and clear. Never had a dropped call on Verizon 3G, don't expect to have any on 4G. Loading web pages is FAST. I mean REALLY FAST. It's actually faster than Wi-Fi which is crazy to me, but true. Using the speedtest.net speed test (seems redundant) the average download speed on 4G after 5 tests was around 17 mb/s and upload speed averaged about 2 mb/s. Videos from YouTube and web pages played effortlessly and looked great on the qHD screen.
Like I said before this phone is FAST. It multitasks much better and more smoothly than my iPhone 4. It responds immediately every time I touch it and going from app to app is as easy as pressing the home button. I literally cannot put this thing down because I am amazed at how responsive it is. I have yet to run any benchmark tests to test the speed of the processor, but from what I've heard it is faster than any of the 4G phones and even faster than the dual-core DROID 3 which beat the HTC Thunderbolt and iPhone 4 in benchmark tests.
I would say this is the best phone I've ever owned. Definitely the coolest and most fun. It's a much larger screen than I'm used to, but I actually really like that. The display is awesome, pictures and videos look great and Android is obviously a great OS. Verizon has finally come through for its customers with this phone. I would recommend this phone to anyone. Now there are rumors that the iPhone 5, Samsung Stratosphere (Galaxy S II variant), HTC Vigor, and the Samsung Droid Prime are coming to Verizon in about a month or so. I don't know much about any of those phones, mostly just rumors, but as of now this is the BEST 4G phone on Verizon hands down. If you have an upgrade and you NEED a new phone I would say get this phone. You will really like it. If you're thinking about upgrading early or waiting for the line of phones coming in October I would say wait til then. You have to remember this phone was originally set to release in the Spring so the new phones in Q3 and Q4 may hold a slight advantage over the Bionic. Either way if you decide to go with this phone you won't be disappointed.