on May 5, 2011
I have had it only a few days. So this quick review is based upon that. I am your typical user. I use it as a phone, email, text, FB etc.
1. Build quality its nice and light feels good in the hands. I like the 4 physical buttons compared to capacitive touch buttons.
2. The super amoled + screen is the best on any phone out there..... No comparison
3. Using the phone I have no real issues with the Touchwiz interface. If coming from another phone you may not like it but its what you get used to. The phone is powered by a 1ghz hummingbird processor it works O.K. Sometimes the phone lags a bit. If anything that is my only complaint with the phone. Its not a deal breaker but when your pushing the limits of these processors for what you want the phone to do. You get the occasional hiccup. Of course this could be software related and it gets smoothed out in the future. Its really not that bad but something you notice once in a while.
4. NO notification LED's Really unforgivable Samsung. Would have been nice to look at the phone and see a blinking led to see if you have a VM, EM or PM. but nope. They do have a program out there that turns the screen into a LED since the screen uses such little power. (NOLED)
5. The biggest surprise. Unlike the Thunderbolt that I had that would constantly die in about 4 hours of use. I can get a day maybe a day and a half with out a charge. This is what a phone should be. You should not be afraid to use your phone for fear its going to die. With that being said keeping a charger around would not be a bad idea. After all you pretty much have a pocket computer in your pocket. Gone are the days of phones that just make phone calls and text messages and last for a week on a charge.
6. 4g LTE. What can I say it is seriously fast. If you use your phone on the 4g network and are forced to use the 3g network you will cry and find your self getting frustrated. The easiest way to compare this is the first time you used Cable internet, then had to go back home to your crappy dial up. That is what 4g to 3g is like. If you don't live in a 4g network area or will not use it for some time. You may want to look at the HTC incred 2. Its the Tbolts little brother pretty much. Same hardware - the lTE antenna.
7. In summary, great phone you can get it for 250.00 Here on amazon or 299.99 pretty much any other place. I think the price is a little to high for what your getting. For 80% of the users this phone will last you until the next contract is up. For that 20% of us, when the duel core phones start rolling out at the end of the year, and we still have a year left on the contract we might find our selves itching for more power, and paying the off contract price for those phones are not going to be pretty.
on May 19, 2011
Overall the phone is a great 4G device, the screen is unmatched by any other vzw phone on the market today. It does have some flaws that makes you wonder who handles Samsung's QC.
~Screen- Readable in all lighting, including sunlight. Text and Graphics are crisp
~Keyboard- I found no problems typing on the included interface
~Volume- Phone Ringer is very loud and easily heard in noisy environments
~Camera- Takes solid pictures & has many options for taking the picture such as face detection, blink detection, etc
~4G LTE- Service is very fast & generally runs above the advertised speeds of 6-12mb
~LTE Switch- You can turn off the 4G radio when your not going to use it, saving battery life
~Battery Life- Big improvement from the Thunderbolt, last for about a day with moderate use. If you remember to turn the 4G off when your not using it, it last even longer
~Responsiveness- The touchscreen is generally responsive with no lag time when using it. The only time it begins to tire out is when your running many apps at once due to the small amount of RAM installed on the phone
~Samsung's Touchwiz interface- not much to say other then you either love it or hate it
~Call Quality- Callers say I sound fine on their end but when listening to them while loud and clear sound somewhat robotic
~LED Indicator- There is None! Seems like someone in quality control overlooked this. There is no indicator light telling you that you have text messages or missed calls
~Bloatware- The phone comes pre-installed with 3 pages worth of apps(48 total), most are useless and you cannot uninstall them, you can only reorder them in your app list
~RAM- It only comes installed with only 328mb of ram. If you run many applications at once you will notice the phone slowing down a bit, which can be fixed by going into the built-in task mgr & ending apps/processes running that you don't need. For a high-end phone, more ram should have been included.
I would buy this one for the battery life, the built-in ability to turn off the LTE, and because it has the best screen available on vzw today
on May 18, 2011
Really nice display, fairly quick, and comes with a 32 gigabyte card. Camera is decent -- for a smartphone. Battery life is solid, too. Downsides are that it has a single core processor, runs Froyo (not Gingerbread), can get bogged down on flash-intensive sights, and doesn't have an indicator light. You can get by this last downside by downloading noled (free) from the android marketplace. There's also a lot of bloatware. Verizon's 4g network is a little inconsistent, even in areas that are supposed to have great 4g coverage, as it will occasionally drop to 3g for not apparent reason. When it is connected though, it's lightning fast -- literally 40 or 50 times faster than 3g. I have yet to drop a call on this phone. Hopefully Samsung can get a Gingerbread update out to this phone soon. On an expensive phone like this, there's no reason for it not being there at the launch.
on May 27, 2011
My last phone was a Blackberry Storm and I upgraded to the Charge. There have been some hiccups going from a Blackberry (and very easy syncing) to the Android platform. If you are a new convert or considering converting:
1. You have to setup a gmail account and you sync through that.
2. Syncing Outlook calendar is easy as Google Calendar has a very easy setup and auto sync.
3. Syncing Outlook contacts is a pain. If you are on a network e-mail client there is a sync program but if you are just an individual you have to go through saving the file as a .csv file. Then import in your gmail account and then sync on your phone. There are some apps that make it easier but they don't support all of the fields I needed and reviews show they wiped some data. But now I have this 3 step process for every time.
4. Syncing files is also an issue. But I discovered Dropbox, free up to 2GB, that allows you to sync files amongst several computers and phones.
The Charge has amazing speed, a very bright and colorful display and is very easy to use if you have ever used a smart phone before. But there are some quirks. It added some icons to the desktop when I never intended it to. The online manual doesn't show how to delete but I found an Android platform that shows if you hold down the icon a delete button appears that you can use.
There are several cool apps for the Android market and many are free. Some that are recommended:
Advanced Task Killer - really helps with battery life
Google Sky Map - hold it up at the sky and it shows the constellations
Battery life is not great. I am charging the phone every other day and not using it that much. But the wall charger works very fast and the USB crawls. In comparison I used to charge my Storm about every 5-6 days.
Uploads and downloads were very fast and it displays if you are on the 4G or 3G networks. Reception in my neighborhood is one bar better with this phone than my Storm. Phone quality is great according to the people I call but on my end I would say average. It doesn't drop calls like my Storm did but even on the highest volume I sometimes cannot hear them very clearly.
You don't need Verizon Navigator with this phone. I cancelled it and have been using Google Maps program for navigation. It works well and it is so much easier to integrate with restaurants. You can see reviews, rate, navigate, call, go to website, etc... Much more detailed than Navigator and it has been accurate so far.
My research covered several providers and phones and I was hoping to try the Droid Bionic but the original phone was scrapped and my Storm was dying so the Charge was my second choice. I am very happy with it but wish someone would make an Outlook - Droid sync program. Most forums have people saying they would pay up to $50 for that program and I agree .... File integration would be nice too.
on June 28, 2011
I purchased the Droid Charge about 5 days ago, but I have only been able to really use it in the past 2 due to going on a camping trip over the weekend and being left most of the time with a dead phone. This happened because of weak car charging capabilities (I will get to this later). Also, upon getting the phone, I flashed it's software to the voodoo based kernel which is supposed to give it a faster and more efficient file system in addition to rooting the phone and providing superuser access. Based on these factors, I will give you my first impressions of this phone.
- The massive 4.3 inch SuperAMOLED display on this phone is BEAUTIFUL! I cannot stress this enough! It blows away the screen on any other non Samsung mobile device on the market. The text is crisp, and the colors are amazingly vibrant. Even in the sunlight, this display is still very easy to see. This, and the sheer size of the screen makes most anything you view on it easily readable.
- Battery life (After being fully charged) is extremely good for a phone in the high end segment. On the first day, with regular usage, I wound up having 50% battery left. The next day, after gaming a bit as well as downloading lots of apps and HD video to test, I still had 35% battery by the end of the day. Techies explain this increased battery life from other 4g smartphones as being a result of Samsung's SuperAMOLED display's lower power consumption and other software updates. I can only see battery life being a problem if you are constantly using the phone for something that will tax it's resources and thus require more power (such as high end gaming or constantly switching from a 4g to 3g area) As a comparison, I only had slightly better battery life on my original droid, so I am quite content to have a much faster, high end phone that does not have to be constantly charged. And an additional FYI - I turn Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and data off when I am not using them. This I am certain helps my battery life and I advise that you do the same to conserve yours.
- Call quality is great on this phone. Even after being in a remote area with one bar of service, I had full use of my web browser (with 3g coverage) and crystal clear reception with no dropped calls.
- The keyboard on this screen is a huge improvement to my original android phone. I rarely, if ever, make typing mistakes like I had in the past on the touch screen. I attribute this improvement to the large 4.3 inch real estate and probably some software updates to improve touch responsiveness. Speaking of the keyboard, I enjoyed the new option of using "swype" to input text. This is an option found one some of the recent android based phones. It allows you to swipe the keys with your finger to improve the speed of texting and typing in general. In my limited experience with this feature, I found it to be easy to learn and I feel that once I improve I will be much quicker at sending messages than I ever was using conventional texting methods.
- I thought the 8 MP camera on this phone was very detailed and produced a great image, but I am not big into photography so I so not know how it compares to a professional camera. I feel that the one included in this handset is MORE than sufficient for a camera in a smartphone and is one of the best that I have personally seen. Again, this is coming from someone upgrading from a 5 MP phone.
- Speaking of cameras, it comes with a 1.3 MP front facing camera designed for taking self pictures and video chat although I haven't utilized this camera or it's associated features as of yet.
- This phone comes with a whopping 32 GB MicroSD card preinstalled - nuff said?
- Includes an HDMI out (I have not tested this yet)
- General responsiveness of the phone was great, but keep in mind that I flashed to a peppier "Voodoo" kernel with the improved EXT4 file system. I heard, and saw some videos, which voiced the complains of the slight sluggishness while changing menus and launching some applications with the native RTS file system that comes bundled with the Droid Charge. If you are a techie, you can resolve this lag issue like I did - by modifying the kernel. Keep in mind that by doing this, you will void your warranty if you send the phone back to Samsung or Verizon and they are able to notice the kernel modification. The responsiveness of this phone may also be hindered by having a few applications open due to the lesser amount of RAM that this handset has. This can be remedied by closing apps with the Charge's own task manager application or by installing a variant of "Advanced Task Killer", but keep in mind that you will notice some slowdowns after having a few applications open compared to if you had double the RAM on some of 1 GB phones in this class. This is definitely not a "deal breaker" or something extremely annoying (At least not at this point in the game) but it may become a problem down the road as applications gobble up more and more memory and you are still 1 year into your contract.
- I felt that the UI of the Charge was intuitive but only brought a few extra features to the table that don't currently exist on other Android handsets. I liked the fact that you can uninstall programs straight from the applications menu. I also liked that you can access all of the "battery drainer" functions of the phone (Bluetooth, Wi-FI, GPS, Data Services) straight from the notifications curtain which provides an easy way to save battery life without having to put a widget on the desktop. What I did not like was that the phone came with many useless bundled apps which are not easy to remove for the standard user. Also, the icons looked a bit "IPhoneish" for my tastes, but that is a matter of personal preference. Again, keep in mind that my comments on the UI may not be applicable to everything on the stock Charge since I flashed the kernel.
- The phone is lightweight (Much lighter than the original Android) and despite other reviews complaints of the feel being "cheap" because of the plastic backing, I did not get this same feeling. I suppose having a phone encased in metal would give it a more "upscale" appearance and feel, but this is a really minor detail. I suppose this matters to some people, so I rated the physical design as neutral. Still, you are really nitpicking at this point if you are making a commotion out of it.
- The 4g service is EXTREMELY fast on this phone - when it is working. Web pages load almost instantaneously and most apps download in seconds. A 100 MB HD sample I downloaded took well under a minute for me to receive. Unfortunately, I have seen the network bug out and cut service multiple times which required me to either turn on Wi-fi or disable and re-enable the data service on the device to remedy. This will soon change into a positive when Verizon works out the kinks and builds upon their 4g network. As a side-note, 4G and 3G data costs are the same price as this writing, but it is unknown how future pricing will work and it is unknown if current 4G cell phone customers will be "grandfathered" into any future pricing plans. Keep in mind that you may have to pay more for 4G service down the road.
- You can use this device as a Wi-Fi access point for up to 10 Wi-fi devices (and it is free until the beginning of July 2011). I briefly tested it and it was fast, worked very well and was easy to configure, but it will cause extreme drain on your battery if it is not plugged into a wall outlet. Verizon will definitely be charging for this service in the future.
- The phone charges pretty quick through a wall charger, but I found it to be very slow charging on the car charger - even after being plugged into a "quick charge" port. While using the Androids Navigation GPS service, and driving an hour, I found that the battery was at exactly the same level from when I plugged it in. Even after turning the handset off, and charging it for the hour drive back, I barely had 1/6 of a battery when I got home. Don't expect the car charger to be a viable way of charging your phone except on VERY long drives. Generally, it will only be useful for keeping your battery life at the same level when you need to use it on the go and while traveling.
- Although it sounds crisp and clear, the default speaker volume is not very loud even when maxed out (despite the warning it gives you that you may damage your hearing when you turn it up most of the way). I am sure that this can be remedied with different apps, but do not expect this phone be loud for media out of the box. On the contrary, the ringer, alert and speaker volume can be set to be relatively loud.
- Hardware: This phone includes a single core 1 GHZ Hummingbird processor with 512 MB RAM (328 MB user useable). While this is not necessarily a huge problem right now, it very well may be a year into contract when gamers yearning to play graphics intensive games want to use them on this phones beautiful SuperAMOLED screen. The only problem is that they will be using hardware from phones produced in 2010. I tried some of the more taxing games, and did notice sluggishness in some of them (Specifically the more intensive Gameloft HD series games like Extract 5, Assassins Creed - Altair and GT Racing HD). I feel that for the $200 price tag, there should have been at least 768 MB of dedicated ram and a Dual Core processor under the hood, not hardware that the year old Droid X features. As a side-note, I noticed MAJOR stuttering when playing 720P and 1080P videos, but I suspect that this may be a software issue that can be resolved down the road.
- There is no LED indicator on the phone, so you need to go through the phones interface to check battery life and other miscellaneous notifications like having a new voice mail or missed call.
- This phone gets pretty hot, even under moderate usage.
If you are not a big gamer, this device is wonderful especially considering it's gigantic 4.3 inch display and vibrant colors. Also, the call quality and ample storage for media mongols is welcome. The 3G service is great and the 4G service is even better on this device - it is more than enough for even those that are constantly browsing the internet. It's camera is one of the best used in phones within the high end segment. If your purpose for this phone is utilizing it's multimedia capabilities (Video, music, photos and web browsing) you will certainly not be disappointed.
On the other hand, if you are a gamer, you may not be satisfied with the hardware under the hood. There is currently some sluggishness while using high end games produced today, and this will certainly get worse as you get further into your contract. If you are one who primarily uses the device for gaming, you may be best advised to wait for the Droid Bionic or the Samsung Function. The Droid Bionic should be out by July 2011 and will feature 768 MB memory and a dual core processor with 4G capabilities, but you will lose the beautiful SuperAMOLED presently on Samsung model equipment. If you have even more time to wait, the Galaxy S2 equivalent for Verizon will arrive as the Samsung Function and will have a dual 1.2 GHZ processor with a beefy 1 GB ram and feature Samsung's popular display. Unfortunately, it is unknown when this device will launch, and it is unknown whether it will be in 4G.
Alternatively, the Droid X2 is a great gaming phone which is currently out and can be found for $120 on Amazon, but you will again lose the vibrant display and 4G capabilities.
on June 1, 2011
I have to admit, even though I am technical and pretty decent with computers, I am WAY behind the smartphone curve (I have never texted!) So my first purchase was the Samsung Charge. My reasoning: 1) Verizon will eliminate unlimited 4G soon and 2) of my three 4G choices, it had the best battery life and for me, the screen matters. I bought my phone last weekend (at Costco - don't hate me) and I am VERY happy with it. Prior to getting this phone, I used an Apple IPOD as my travel companion for games, books, maps, ... This phone takes the place of the IPOD, my dumb phone, and my camera. The battery easily lasts for 12 hours of use consisting of web browsing, software downloads (I am still adding apps to make it the ultimate travel companion), and reading email. I love it. It's fast, has a general good build quality (much better than other phones I looked at ... ). I wish it was global (note the Incredible 2 is, but it is only a 3G phone so you don't lock in 4G data). Another downside is it is so new, finding an extended battery seems to be tougher than I thought. Note at one time the Charge 4G was also called the Stealth. Anyway, I give it a big recommendation and I am very picky. Good luck!
PS. Google voice, maps, ... works great with this phone (Google products in general seem to work much better with Android - no mystery here).
Update (3 weeks of usage):
I am very happy with my purchase. Here are some additional positives:
1. you can pull down a menu and turn on/off: Wireless, Bluetooth, GPS, Mobile Date, Auto Rotation
> turning off mobile data you can still make/receive calls but it greatly enhances battery life.
2. fit and finish of this phone is very high (much better IMO than Motorola, have not compared it to HTC)
3. Android has a very similar application (main stream) selection to the iPhone
4. Android has a superior widgets (ex. airplane mode, screen brightness, ...)
1. compatible accessories are lacking - extended battery, inductive charging back, ...?
Well after using the phone now a good period of time, here are some more observations:
1. When someone says Samsung doesn't provide software updates and they only seem to care about the next big thing - it's 110% true.
2. Juice Defender doesn't work on this phone because the firmware is screwed up (2.2), too bad because it can really save battery life.
3. Getting your GPS to lock sometimes can take minutes, so if you know you are going to need it, turn it ASAP.
4. The phone would be a truly great phone if Samsung supported it.
5. Android could be great if Google unified their updates and forced compliance, but they don't.
6. If you want a care free phone you don't have to mess with, buy an iPhone.
Decided to try "rooting" my phone to install a custom version of Gingerbread. This is a first for me and yes, it invalidates the warranty so YMMV. It turned out to be relatively easy and now I am much happier with the phone. The phone is much faster (~2x), it finds GPS quickly, and I like the Gingerbread edit much better than Froyo 2.2. Plus, I am no longer waiting for the long delayed over-the-air upgrade.