on June 6, 2011
Updates / Further Notes About Battery Life after about a month of the original review:
I see a lot of people complaining about the Droid's battery. So, I thought I share my experience in how I get GREAT battery life from the Droid Charge every single day:
Simple Habits That I Develop:
- I leave it in 3G mode (CDMA) most of the time. It's more than fine for most web browsing. I only switch to 4G if I am downloading a big file, or streaming video from YouTube, etc. (BTW, in many cases, Verizon 3G is faster than my old HTC EVO on Sprint 4G!)
- Avoid using Skype!!! If I have Skype signed in, the battery is drained in 3-4 hours!
- Install the "Program Monitor" widget on home screen. It is VERY useful because it tells you how many active apps are running in the background. I always keep an eye on it to make sure I did not leave any power sucking apps running that I forgot to close.
- If you use GPS Navigation, remember to fully exit the app and/or turn-off the GPS when done.
- Turn-off WiFi if you are not using it. (I often forget to this.)
The above is really just common sense. I have NOT installed any "power trick" programs, such as JuiceDefender (I tried and uninstalled it). I leave GPS on most of the time. I am completely "stock" in terms of settings. I have 2 GMail and 1 Hotmail ActiveSync accounts and I let them sync using default settings. I have DoubleTwist which occasionally sync using WiFi. In other words, I don't really pay any special attention to saving power. And I STILL get at least 15 hours out of it most days. I typically starts at 8am, average about 30-60 minutes talk time in a day, and spend about 2 hours web browsing, playing games, reading news, email, etc. When I get home around 9pm, I normally still have at least 30% battery left if not more. I have the occasional car trips where I would use Google Navigation, and for short trips (less than 30 minutes) I don't even bother to plug the phone in anymore.
The same usage pattern on my HTC EVO would normally means needing to recharge by 2pm.
________Original Review Below___________
First of all, I want to say that Amazon is great. Shipping was fast. When I ordered the phone, the $199 price was $50 cheaper than even Verizon. They then dropped the price further to $149 a couple of days after I ordered. One pleasant phone call to Amazon, and they gave me a $50 refund without any hassle. Can't beat that!
OK. Now the phone. I came to this from a Sprint EVO 4G, and an AT&T iPhone 3GS before that. The Droid Charge is perhaps the most refined and advanced phone out there.
- Ridiculously long battery life, especially if you leave it on 3G. I can easily go a full day plus more on 3G, and a 8-10 hour day on 4G without any tricks, and without turning off GPS, Bluetooth, etc. all the time.
- Slim and lightweight, yet feels VERY good in the hand
- Large screen. As good as the iPhone4 screen, but WAY bigger.
- 4G LTE is really fast. It downloads large files faster than my office WiFi.
- 3G is not too shabby neither for web browsing, email, etc. I leave it on 3G most of the time. Based on my experience (in SF Bay Area), the Verizon 3G is faster or at least as fast as Sprint and AT&T 4G.
- Price. Particularly, you cannot beat the Amazon $149 price.
- I have no huge issue w/ the TouchWiz interface. It's not ridiculously snappy, but more than adequate.
- Finally, I think the shape and style is more attractive than your run-of-the-mill iPhone and clones.
- I love that the battery / back cover is plastic and replaceable ($9.99). Why bother with extra weight and bulk of a skin case, when you can get a new back cover for $10? I generally am very gentle with my phone and never get any scratches on the side anyway.
- The charger is the same tiny cube shape as the iPhone. Very compact.
- Camera is AWESOME.
- The tactile buttons are a mixed blessing. They feel great. But when I am lounging out on a bed and operating it with one hand, the touch buttons are easier to operate.
- Camera not very good with close up, and underexposes Flash photos (easy fix using the exposure compensation)
- It's not a dual core. But on the other hand, that's why the battery life is so great.
- The on-board memory is only 512MB, although I have not had any real life issues with this.
- No HDMI mirroring
I honestly think it's the best phone out there at the moment. The single greatest useful feature is the battery life. What a great sense of freedom!
on May 28, 2011
Super long battery life with everything turned on(iphone like battery life), the best screen on a phone - wow factor, stable and wifi-like data speed and call quality on verizon 4g lte (network is order of magnitude ahead of the competition). Runs all android apps and games flawlessly with no lag. What more can you ask for?
I consider myself a power user but not a spec geek, so the lack of gingerbread update & dual core does not bother me, as they have no impact on how I use my phone - it just needs to be fast, stable and last 24 hours. Everything on android right now works fast and perfect with this phone. By the time when dual core is actually being utilized as oppose to a spec innuendo the geeks obsess over, my 2 year contract will have expired for a new phone. This along with every other flagship phone will be nothing more than a $100 outdated doorstep on ebay.
Some perspective, I have tried the iPhone on AT&T (constant call drops, communication error running apps), the LG g2x dual-core android on T-Mobile(horrible signal strength, only has EDGE instead of even 3G in a lot of places) and the ThunderBolt on Verizon 4G LTE (This takes the cake - 4 hour battery life haha), before settling on the Samsung Droid 4G LTE.
Unfortunately your phone is only as good as the network, and in the US, there is just no comparison to verizon 4G LTE, so no matter how good the hardware is, if it's not on verizon 4G LTE it's meaningless.
To wrap it up, I finally found the perfect phone...for the next 2 years anyway :)
on July 23, 2011
I have had my Droid Charge for three weeks, and I don't know how I lived without it! Battery life is very good now that I read the Task Manager section of the manual and know what I was doing wrong at first. The phone is excellent for texting, talking, emailing, calendaring, and sending pictures. The camera is truly amazing and works better than my "real" camera! I can also store all kinds of files and have easy access to them anywhere, and I was able to put all my MacBook's iTunes music on it via Double Twist. The phone is light, but feels well made. Did I mention the amazing clarity on the screen? I wear glasses with progressive lenses, but I have absolutely no trouble with the screen. I have found many useful apps, and I now use my phone each morning to do a quick check of the news and weather. With 4G service, the speed of everything (web, email) is phenomenal. I thought I'd get an iPhone since I am a MacBook and iPod Touch owner, but the iPhone won't access web pages that use Adobe Flash (which several sites I need to access for work do). I'm afraid to pinch myself because the Droid Charge is the phone I have been dreaming about, and if I'm still dreaming I don't want to wake up!
on May 29, 2011
First some background. You can call me a smartphone addict. I have had the following phones recently (not in order). HTC Thunderbolt, Samsung infuse, Iphone 4g, Nexus S, Droid X2, HTC incredible 2 and of course I had many of top 2010 phones for android. I work downtown Chicago and I take the train. I need a phone that gets reception on the train and works in my high rise offie building. Verizon is the only carrier which works. So I am limited to Verizon as long as I work downtown. Beleive me I tried AT&T and T Mobile with different phones and they do not work well at all.
The the DC (Droid Charge) meets all by criteria. I use Exchange for corporate email, and all phones do not work well on this.
DC does. Email clients are not all the same. DC works well. The display is really nice. Sreen to screen, Youtube and moviess all look great. The phone is very light and feels great in hand. The tbolt was so big and thick. This phone also allows screen shots a really cool feature. I have take some and shared with friends on facebook. I cool app from the market is pi cube a 3D cube which you an customize with your own pics. It shows off the great display. I have only had this phone now 1 full day and I am starting my second, so too early on the battery life but it has to be better than the horrible battery life on the tbolt and many of the other phones I tried. Performance not as fast as the tbolt but still acceptable.
reception so far better than the tbolt.
I love this phone and will keep for 2 years.
on May 21, 2011
Will try to touch on areas other reviews have not mentioned.
I am a senior citizen and this is my first smart phone. I was able to pick up on almost everything just from playing around with it a bit - everything except how to answer the phone when it rang. Finally called Samsung support. Agent did not have the best English and did not understand my question. Got to a supervisor who was easier to understand and who did understand the question.
**When phone is ringing and it is dark, scroll down from the very top left to bring up the phone., Then scroll the green button to answer.**
This phone has the highest hearing aid compatibility rating there is and works very well with my hearing aids - no lost words, no static - everything is great. My old phone dropped about 1 word in 3.
Phone does get quite warm when used.
Very poor battery life, especially if using any of the apps. OK if only using it for a regular phone, but not if want to do anything else. 4G internet use heats phone up and depletes the battery. Playing Angry Birds also really depletes battery. One reason I purchased this phone was to help keep the grandchildren occupied (frequently fly coast-coast with one) so the battery depletion rate is a big negative for me.
My screen is set to turn off after 30 sec, but it frequently turns itself off in only 5-10 seconds. I have to press the power button to turn the screen back on.
No manual anywhere. If one clicks on the ask a question button on the Samsung droid charge website, one is sent to a dead page.
Name stinks. Samsung - try searching for 'droid charge' and see what you come up with. Name makes it difficult to search for accessories; wish you had picked a different one.
Also wish you sold a good protective case.
I purchased the phone 1 week ago - the first day it was offered for sale.
UPDATE: Had the phone almost 2 months now. Love it even more as I find more and more things it can do. Just purchased a house and have been using it to connect my laptop to the internet as we don't have internet service yet (can't believe how frustrating and time consuming it can be to deal with V.. and CC for service. Understand other major providers are the same.) Having this phone takes the urgency off of getting a major provider. Husband has even agreed that it was money well spent!
UPDATE: April 2012 - The latest update has greatly improved battery life. Still not great, but noticeably better!
on June 19, 2011
At least, that's what people would tell you. Realistically I find it to be a combination of the two. Anyway, this review is specific to comparison of 4G devices, NOT jumping from a 3G device to this.
I have owned the Thunderbolt since the early days of 4G. It has its issues, especially if you don't root it. But one thing about the Thunderbolt: I know what to expect of it day to day. I've only had one instance of erratic behavior and it hasn't happened since. I recently considered the Charge as a potential superior battery replacement to the Thunderbolt. What I found was rather shocking.
First, the build quality of the Charge is identical to its 3G brothers; the Fascinate, Captivate, Vibrant. Cheap plasticky shell with no real feeling of durability. However, the Charge's side bezel reminds me of a BlackBerry Curve the way it's designed. I'm sure that wasn't accidental. From a general solidity perspective the Thunderbolt and the LG Revolution both run circles around the Charge. If you're the type of person who likes a feather light phone you probably won't really care. To put it in perspective, I would get this for a girl in a hot minute.
But what I found intriguing about the Charge is that it does get superior battery life to the Thunderbolt. The problem is why: the Charge has many network-related issues that cannot be explained, and no real clear way to work around these issues. First, the phone took hours to actually activate. Apparently the software has been configured to auto-activate itself, but this failed numerous times. I had to continually power cycle to get it to finally click through and accept the activation, and even then it still said it wasn't activated on the last reboot. Next, the phone struggled to maintain a 4G signal, even when the Thunderbolt right next to it was surfing along happily on 4G with no hiccups. That indicates a problem with the reception for the phone...and given the case material for the Thunderbolt, I would expect it to have more issues than the Charge, but realistically the Thunderbolt seemed better capable of maintaining a 4G signal. Once connected to 3G it was of course rock solid, but you don't buy a 4G phone to do 3G, so I was thusly disappointed with this. It's unfortunate, because outside of the build quality, I might have been tolerant of everything else, but the inability to sustain 4G is a dealbreaker for me. Unfortunately I can't prove it to the local Verizon Wireless store because they don't even get 4G in there. It's a miracle they manage to sell any such phones.
Where the Charge exceeded over the Thunderbolt is in general microphone and speaker quality. The Charge's microphone was able to recognize my voice extremely well, and the speaker is at least twice as loud as the Thunderbolt on the loudest setting. There are also some vocal quality settings you can adjust on the Charge that are not present on the Thunderbolt. Additionally, the Chaarge seemed less affected by wind noise than the Thunderbolt.
I'm not suggesting you steer away from this phone if you're in a strong 4G area, but I am warning you that even though the signal might be strong, you may still experience issues staying connected to 4G. Even if it does connect, you might not be able to browse, which indicates a connection issue. The Thunderbolt at least has a way around this by way of programmer codes; the Charge presently has no such codes. The other issue is that HTC is more apt to update the software than Samsung, so you may be stuck with older firmware, as is what happened with the Fascinate.
There are other features that I have purposely glossed over, such as the Touchwiz interface and such. But I do so because I want the reader to understand that the biggest, most important feature of any phone is the ability to handle its calls and data (if applicable) properly. If a phone is sold as a 4G phone, it better be able to do 4G with minimal issues. I'm not suggesting the Thunderbolt doesn't have its share of issues. Rather, I had substantially less data and call issues with the Thunderbolt than with the Charge. If you decide on the Charge, make sure you are happy with it, run it through its paces, and don't be afraid to return it if it doesn't work for you.
on September 9, 2011
After using my Samsung Charge Android Verizon phone for the past month, I must say I'm very disappointed in it. First, may I say I'm quite experienced in mobile devices and computers, being in IT for 30 years and having owned over 15 smartphones over the years, including iPhones, BlackBerries, and Windows Mobile. On the pro side, the Charge has a nice display, and 4G data service is REALLY fast when it's available, which for me isn't too often. The Verizon data service is more reliable in that it doesn't get clogged like AT&T's 3G service does in major metro areas. I haven't had a dropped call yet. And I get access to the filesystem. Now, on to the problems. The Charge uses battery power amazingly fast. I couldn't go more than 8 hours of minimal use with the standard battery. With the extended battery, which weighs a lot and makes the handheld huge, only goes about 14 hours before being at 10%. And I don't even have WiFi or Bluetooth or GPS or mobile hotspot turned on, and have few data sync apps going. It can barely keep the same charge when powered through a USB port or a car battery. Only with the AC adapter will it charge more quickly, and even that takes 3x as long as my BlackBerry. The user interface is very slot and inconsistent. It takes a good five seconds to get to the phone screen after pressing the phone icon. Entering a calendar entry start time took me 20 sec once while the phone was doing who knows what. No, I haven't loaded on any malware or CPU-hogging apps. Button presses don't always take, or if they do there's no change while it thinks, so I don't know that it recognized the press and I press again. Updating an app fails about half the time. Apps crash regularly, including mainstream ones like Pandora and Meebo. The GPS is next to useless; it can take 10 minutes to acquire a signal and start doing turn-by-turn directions. The camera is so-so, but it regularly gives moiré patterns, and it crashes the whole phone if I use the flash (I have to reboot). When I turn off the sound, apps still can make sounds. I need a separate file transfer app that rarely works the second time after a reboot. The On button is poorly placed opposite the volume button, so I often press it when pressing the volume button. Sometimes I can't answer a call; I swipe to accept it but the screen is totally unresponsive. The data service often goes between 4G, 3G, and 1X all within 20 minutes of sitting in the exact same spot. You have to kludge together Outlook integration with a couple different apps that are hard to configure, whereas it's easy on the iPhone. The Gmail app UI is pretty bad. Voice quality is warbly. I can't believe I'm going to have to live with this thing for two years!
on October 23, 2011
Ordered this from Amazon for what I thought was a great price at the time, I was wrong (see below).
Original phone I got could not record video unless it was freshly rebooted. Talked to Amazon and they agreed to send me a replacement. The second phone wouldn't recognize the SD card (neither the one it came with or the one from the first set) so I sent that one back and asked for another. The third set would not recognize the SIM card. I finally just decided that video recording was something I could live without and sent the third set back to Amazon and told them I'll just live with the original as is - my mistake.
About a month later the set just stopped connecting to any data source, Wifi, 3G or 4G. After a few days though it magically started working again. I have have random reboots, missed calls, random notifications sometimes days late (I had none of this on my OG droid which I used in the same area) since then. The battery life can be OK but I have had it last as little as 8 hours from full charge to the phone telling me to charge it but I knew this coming in that a 4G phone would not get me great battery life.
My big problem though is that I am stuck with a defective phone that seems to be slowly getting worse. I contacted Amazon and they said they would take the phone back since they could not provide me with a working model, however I used my Verizon upgrade to get this phone so the refund I'd get from Amazon doesn't come anywhere near the price of getting me any other smartphone from Verizon. So basically I can get $199 back for this set but would have to pay full retail price (generally about $650) for a replacement phone. Verizon also will not help despite the first person I talked to saying they wanted to take ownership of this problem and they insist on telling me what a great phone I have and that they get virtually no complaints about these sets.
So buyer beware - I generally like Amazon BUT had I paid a bit more and bought this phone from Verizon themselves I might be able to get resolution. As it is, I guess I'm stuck with a "premium" phone that never fully worked and will continue to slowly die for the next two years and a cell plan that I can't really take advantage of.
on July 2, 2011
I'd had this phone for three days now after debating between this phone and the HTC Droid Incredible 2. The reason I decided to get the Samsung was the 32GB card, a slightly larger screen (.3 inches really), and the 4G. The HTC also had global capabilities, but I found that to be superfluous. Previously I had a LG enV Touch, a durable phone, but only a phone. I could not reach the internet easily or do anything with the phone. So having something as new and as pretty as the Samsung Droid Charge is amazing for me. So for all the people that have had an android phone before and I say something that has been on them all and is pretty obvious I apologize, I'm not used to androids yet.
The first day I had the phone I ran the battery down by 2 after turning it on at 8. I had to restart the phone multiple times and call the Amazon customer service for the device to activate it. So that ran the battery down quickly. I also downloaded multiple apps, which were downloaded quickly, faster than my friend's iPhone 4 with Verizon. So if I hadn't been using it as a toy for the first day then it would've last longer. It charged until 6 and then I played with it for the rest of the day, but was unable to completely wear the battery down. I can note though that on the puzzle screen it will tell you when to plug the device in.
The second day I had the phone the newness of it worn off by then, mostly, so I wasn't playing around with it as much. The phone battery finally died around 9 after I took it off the charger at 11. A convenient thing I noticed is that in the phone information under settings is that it will tell you what is eating up the battery and how much battery is left percentage wise, which I found very useful. When I called someone and asked about the call quality they told me that it sounded the same as my old phone, so I don't known it that's good or not really but I am happy with it.
The third day, today, I had some problems with it freezing on me for a bit but I took the battery out and restarted it and the phone worked just fine after it. I have no clue what caused it but its fine now. The battery is still going fine right now after being unplugged at 11, and I've used it minimally today.
Overall: I like the phone. The 4G is great, and you can change it from LTE to CDMA, which I'm pretty sure means 3G if you want to. It might make the battery last longer. For all those that knock the battery, stop treating the phone like its a toy and you'll be fine. The thing is a phone, not a laptop computer or something else like it. Everything I downloaded from online is soon on my phone, it took a second to download facebook. I'm happy with that. The camera is fun to mess with but it does not have a vertical mode, it can only be done horizontally, Which is not a big deal at all. Just something I noticed. It came with a bunch of junk already on the phone that I know I won't use but I'm pretty sure its some Samsung/Verizon thing for all of it to be on the phone. Swype is fun to use and makes texting someone that much faster. In general this is a nice phone and I like it.
on September 15, 2011
When Amazon set the Droid Charge to one penny, I jumped on the deal. And I think people still should, even though there are now three 4G alternatives in the market...
So the main issues for this phone I encountered in the first few days. First, the stock antenna for this phone may suck depending on your service area. I had a weird issue where my phone would go mute randomly in the middle of a call and I would have to restart the phone for anyone to hear me. When you search the internets, this issue is partly Verizon's fault, so it's not inherent to the phone hardware. Another issue: the battery drains if you're in an area with weak signal, which is typical of many smartphones.
After a few days of carefully following instructions, I now have an awesome phone. It gets on average 29 hours of battery (minimum: 12 hours on heavy use --> GPS + 4G; maximum: 2 days on light use!) and I don't have call issues.
But some tweaking is required. For people who are interested in 4G phone for 1 penny with long battery life:
1) Go to [...]
2) Root your phone and put a custom kernel on it.
3) Put a Gingerbread ROM on it (Gummy Charged) and update to the newest antenna firmware.
4) Calibrate your battery.
5) For even better battery life, install Green Power Manager app.
Also, for people that may find all of this tweaking intimidating, all that's really being done is a phone software update that Samsung is currently rolling out right now. So in about a month, an OTA update will give you the improved battery life and antenna that I currently have. I still recommend a power manager app that turns on/off your data so that you improve battery life and ration your data (this advice is for all Verizon data users).
But in the end of the day, the developer involvement in this phone has truly utilized it's hardware capabilities, and with this phone's specs and current price, I'm looking forward to what will be done to make this phone faster and more beautiful.