on November 18, 2011
Overall this is a good phone, the biggest issue I have is the battery life which I think has more to do with the bloatware then the battery itself. It's ridiculous the amount of pre-installed apps that I cannot delete including games that I have no interest in. An LED to let you know of missed calls, texts, etc would have been nice. The size of the phone is nice and the screen is beautiful. The 4G speed is noticeably faster, but so is the battery drain.
The bootup screen has terrible long noisy crashing/ breaking glass sounds and this wouldn't be so much of a problem if it didn't just reboot itself from time to time. Also on the topic of horrible sounds, twice through each battery cycle, the phone has a full volume BEEP BEEP to alert you of low battery. There is no way to turn this off, adjust the volume or the sound. This even occurs if the phones is in silent or vibrate modes. I like to let my battery drain all the way down before charging and this is really annoying. Especially when in a meeting at work or SLEEPING and the alert occurs. I'm going to root this phone if for no other reason than to get rid of this sound.
The speakerphone is not very good. Voices get fuzzy even at the lowest setting and turned all the way up, it's practically inaudible. I like to use this while I'm driving, but it is basically worthless because the audio quality is so poor.
The camera takes pretty nice pictures but what is up with not allowing you to use the camera when the battery is low. I don't care, that the battery is at 10%, I want to take a picture.
The battery is pretty bad. I know that it has a big screen and is a 4G phone, but even with the data antenna turned off and not using the screen at all, I often see huge chunks of my battery disappear even when I'm not using it and often with all antennas turned off. For example overnight with nothing running and no data antennas on, I usually lose 20% - 30% of my battery when I check it the next morning. I have tried every task killer and battery optimizer app out there and adjusted settings for optimal battery life with little change. Also, this thing charges pretty slow.
on November 7, 2011
This is my first phone with Verizon after coming from an iPhone 4 on ATT. I've been very happy with Verizon's network, but this phone is a piece of crap. For starters, Samsung/Verizon haven't released the update for this phone - it's still running Android 2.2.1 and they refuse to announce any estimated date for an update. That may not be a big deal to some users, but this phone was supposed to be the cream of the crop and it just isn't if they don't provide the update to current versions of the Android platform.
As most other owners will tell you, the battery sucks on this thing too. I've managed to tweak a bunch of settings and if I don't use it much it may last the day without a charge, but that's not very common. Starting my day at 9am with a full charge, my normal use kills the battery by about 7pm. That's maybe 15 calls, browsing, email, and that's about it. I don't even watch movies or listen to music on the thing.
Speaking of media, the screen is impressive but don't even think of using it at normal brightness unless you're near a charger because it'll run the battery down in no time. The music player isn't terribly impressive either. I also purchased a movie on my Charge but it won't let me play it over the micro HDMI output (says it violates copyrights) which to me, defeats the purpose. If I have a phone that has an HDMI output, and I have a TV with an HDMI input, and I pay $10 for a movie, I should be able to play that movie on my own TV.
Speaking generally, this phone is really, REALLY buggy and causes a lot of frustration. It randomly restarts (sometimes when it's been sitting untouched on my desk for hours), and it frequently freezes up when opening/closing apps. The camera is OK for still shots but if there's any movement whatsoever, you're just ending up with a blurry photo.
You're obviously free to purchase whatever phone you want, but I've given up and am selling my Samsung Charge, and I vow to never buy another Samsung phone. I wish I had done a little more research on Samsung's record of updating their products, but at least it's only 4 months old so I can still get a decent price for my used phone.
on September 27, 2011
I would say this phone is 100% solid for many reasons but it is not an exceptional or particularly memorable phone. I've used it for 3 months now and have a pretty good idea about what I can expect from it from now on. So I'll break it down to what I like and do not like.
+4G LTE capable.
You should know about this already. 4G LTE is the premiere wireless network. It's faster than my home internet and is worth the price of admission (limiting data plans or what have you). Really. If you have 3g and you "think" that's good enough, it's really not. It's the difference between streaming video or not. Go ahead and kid yourself and say that it's not that big of a deal. . .
You should know that every 4G LTE phone is not going to have a great battery life. As it stands now, the technology that powers these radios just eats battery life. This phone has decent battery life until you get in to heavy browsing. Expect to charge your phone daily.
The screen on this phone is terrific. It is bright and sharp and the colors really pop out. Samsung's Super AMOLED screen is one of the best out there, and is up there with Apple's Retina display. I don't think it's *as* great but the 4.3" screen is a nice bonus. I do not want to draw straight comparisons, but I would take the Super AMOLED with 4.3" over a 3.5" Retina display. Turn down the brightness to get the most out of your battery, because keeping it 100% bright is both excessive and a resource drain.
I think this phone has pretty exceptional build quality. I drop my phones and this one stands up to each drop. I do not like the physical buttons, however. It's something that can break in the future. I'm already starting to have slight difficulties with mine and I doubt they will keep up after years of use.
The hardware of the phone is lacking. I have about 250mbs of RAM to deal with after the phone is done hogging the bloatware it insists on running. If I run task manager, I have 5-10 programs I have no interest in *ever* running. If I shut them down, you can bet money on them popping up a minute later.
The processor is *ok* but it is not zippy. It's not sluggish either, it's just mediocre.
The style of the phone is sort of a turn off to me. It's relatively slender, I just down like the rounded top and bottom. The Motorolla Bionic is my ideal phone design. Perhaps a petty complaint.
The phone gets hot if I stream video with LTE. I can still handle the phone fine and it does not "overheat" (unless the screen is 100% bright) but I do not think this is a good recipe to have your phone last for 2 years. Just a heads up.
The bloatware on this phone really hinders the performance on this phone. It doesn't run as fast as it could because of all the trash that needs to run. This can be said for just about any phone I'm sure.
I'm sure you know about 4G LTE speeds, camera, gorilla glass screen, etc etc. so I won't harp on that much.
Yes, this phone is fast, yes, I'd settle for this phone over a Galaxy S2 or whatever spiffy phone that is still slugging with 3g.
Overall, I think this phone is pretty decent. It's not a 3 star phone, but it's not a 5 star phone either. It works and it works well, but it doesn't pop and it's not something you would brag about. It does it's job just well enough to get by and that's it. I don't think you will hate this phone but you won't love it either.
If you have any questions, just ask and I'd be happy to answer. I have no used iPhones or many other Android phones extensively, so keep that in mind.
on August 14, 2011
Let me start off by saying that I like the phone, its look, its large screen size with super amoled plus display, and so on. It is the LEAST flawed 4G LTE phone that Verizon currently has to offer.
* Better than the HTC Thunderbolt and the LG with battery life
* Awesome super amoled plus display
* Almost no random reboots compared to the HTC Thunderbolt
* MicroHDMI output works great
* Overall better than the other 4G LTE phones currently available from Verizon
* When 4G LTE connection is lost it usually never comes back without restarting the phone (airplane mode toggle trick usually doesn't work) - improvements seen with leaked Gingerbread 2.3.4
* When DATA all together (4G,3G,1X) is lost it will never come back on its own, a restart is required - improvements seen with leaked Gingerbread 2.3.4
* Sometimes the phone will stop charging when a notification is received such as an email or text message
* Using the flash on the camera immediately powers off the phone like a blackout without the shutdown process, just black screen completely off, a battery pull is required to turn it back on
* Sometimes you receive a 32gb Class 2 microSD card, sometimes you receive a 32gb Class 4 or 6 microSD card with it, luck of the draw I guess, poor quality control/marketing/packing/distribution/logistics I guess
* Bluetooth is buggy, Samsung uses their own bluetooth stack implementation and it doesn't play nice with all bluetooth devices out there, but what bluetooth does, but theirs is the bully on the playground
Some people speculate that the speed of the microSD card is why sometimes their phones shut off completely when attempting to take a picture. That's not true at all, it just takes longer to save the picture. The phone shuts down completely when using the camera flash. My thoughts on that are that the flash capacitors are drawing too much current, kind of when the lights in your car dim when you start it up.
-> Excerpt from my Samsung Droid Charge Dock review:
The volume controls on the dock are terrible. When pressing up or down on the volume it is not incremental. Pressing left (volume up) just once results in the volume rocketing to maximum. Pressing right (volume down) just once results in the volume rocketing to silent. I thought I was doing something wrong, how hard could it be to operate a volume control right? I called Samsung and they stated they have had reports of the issue and were working to correct them. The AC adapter that comes with it has less output (just 700ma) than the OEM Samsung AC USB Adapter (1000ma). First off, that is a 30% decrease in output which means that you will be charging the battery in your phone 30% slower than with the OEM Samsung AC USB Adapter that your phone came with, or at least the adapter that most of the Samsung phones came with. I have an Otterbox case and I was planning on being content with removing it to use the dock, but what a piece of junk. I returned my dock.
<- End Excerpt
The inconsistencies are extremely disturbing. Samsung's engineering is severely flawed. I could go on an on.
on August 12, 2011
I have the Droid Charge for 6 weeks now and I belive I can give my fair opinion on this divice, on the positive side overall I tink is a very good small " phone-computer" : EXCELLENT SCREEN DISPLAY, I could say is better than the Iphone, I have no issue with the keyboard (horizontal display is better and easy), camera is good (I took photos of documents with very good results, also I know that there are scanner app on the market), voice command acceptable, speaker ok., audiphone sound ok.. downloading excellent, no experience uploading.
Task manager app EXCELLENT enable to close all the apps that you might have open before allowing to save battery energy, I have no problem with the battery if as I said before, CLOSE THE APPS when you are no using the phone. I have power for a full day (10 hrs) receiving calls, web surfing, watching youtube videos with the same standard battery, when I stop using the phone I make sure I close all the open apps and save power, really no kidding. I never have to use an extra charger on my job if I learn how to use the phone.
Video camera I have no use, but watching the reviews in youtube I belive is acceptable.
Reason I bought this " computer-phone" are the options and freedom you have changing the battery, having a memory card, EXCELLENT DISPLAY, etc.
ON THE NEGATIVE side when I been on the web I've been disconected or frozen, I don't know if is the phone or the network, I notice an intermitent change between 3g and 4g on the display bar, this is something VERIZON HAS TO LOOK AT if the network technology is working properly. I have managed the problem turning off the phone then turned on and go back to normal.
As I said before this is an excellent divice regarless of the cheap outside design (plastic) and SAMSUNG COULD DO MUCH BETTER at this price, anyway I waiting for the release of the Galaxy S2 ( prefer LTE 4g same Europe disign) if FINALLY the corporations find the way to do it.
on November 19, 2011
This phone is all promise and no performance. The first few weeks were fine and i enjoyed the super fast LTE network speeds. Then things started to go awry. First the GPS lock seemed to take longer and longer until today (4 months later) if someone else has a smartphone we use theirs GPS as my Samsung Charge may or may not work, may or may not lock up, may or may not have a data connection.
The Samsung Charge has a myriad of online GPS lock complaints. The GPS functionality has degraded to the point I have to use a stand alone device in the car because the Samsung Charge GPS is more nonfunctional than functional. Plus I want to avoid the frustration of painfully coaxing usability from my device.
Then came the data connection drops. The icon indicates a 4G network connection but the connection has dropped. It used to reset with a reboot, but now it may take several reboots and reacquiring a data connection is not alway possible. Again time to use someone else's phone.
Then came the messaging problems. I sent a picture MMS at 7:20 AM one day and it took until after 5 PM for the message to be received. I send messages that are never received or received even days later. There are times yet again that I have to use another phone to send a message.
Now I have a locking up problem that requires battery removal to reset. I hate this phone. It is the worst developed half baked software running on a suspected defective platform (Samsung Charge) and the users of this phone have to deal with Samsung and Verizon sticking their collective heads in the sand when asked to comment on an update road map or even when asked about the problems. Verizon is very inconsistent with their responses to these problems and reek of avoiding the truthful reality. There are some interesting screen captures of Verizon being all over the place on the Gingerbread OTA and giving different answers to the same complaints. I think it odd that many of the the tech support representatives I speak with seem to have a Samsung Charge that works 100% as expected. Well just Google: "Samsung Charge sucks" and standby for the pages of comments and complaints.
My phone is basically unusable as a smart phone. I have delayed a warranty replacement as I have read of folks getting multiple replacement Charges and the problems persist across multiple devices. Where was this phone Beta tested? Because I feel like an Alpha tester. How this phone made RTM I will never know. It sure shakes any confidence I had in Samsung and Verizon as technology companies. They are all marketing and service sellers, the devices are a necessary evil for their profitability which seems to trump customer satisfaction.
After another unusable Samsung Charge episode while traveling I finally broke down and accepted Verizon's offer to replace the phone under warranty. I am not very confident that the data connection problems are easily resolvable. It appears that the Verizon LTE roll out has network wide data connection problems going back to the first 4g device and the data connection issues are common across all 4G LTE phones. Droid Bionic the latest to experience the all too familiar data drops.
This is what happens when marketers run technology companies. All glitz and fancy ads and the actual technology and customer satisfaction is secondary to "winning."
Run, don't walk away from the Samsung Charge and read up on the Verizon LTE issues before buying into their 4G hype.
on July 9, 2011
I joined the rush to get in on at least two years of unlimited LTE data and made the switch to Verizon by ordering a Charge for myself and an HTC DROID INCREDIBLE 2 Android Phone (Verizon Wireless) for my wife. We're both switching from an AT&T Iphone 3g and use the phone as our only personal phones. I've used a T-Mobile G2 with Google Android Phone (T-Mobile) as my work phone for the past 8 months or so.
Overview: The high end Android phone ecosystem moves very fast, and at this point the Charge has some minor shortcomings already pointed out in other reviews, namely it's lack of RAM and "dated" single core processor. This has not impacted me yet, and games like Plants vs. Zombies and Fieldrunners both play smoothly; every day phone UI navigation is as snappy as you could want. Additionally, the phone is still shipping with Android 2.2 which is a definite step back in terms of functionality and speed compared to 2.3, though some of these shortcomings are covered by Touchwiz, the UI layer Samsung puts on their phone (toggles in notification bar, etc).
Size: The charge is a big phone, make no mistake. That said, I was surprised to put my iPhone 3g and the incredible 2 next to it. It's bigger in most dimensions, but not noticeably so. I expected to need a belt holster (fashion faux-pax or not), and may still buy one, but it's certainly pocketable (at least with the relatively baggy khaki's I wear to work). It feels good in the hand, though it's a little bit slippery. I would prefer capacitive buttons, but the physical buttons are growing on me, and my phone seems well put together.
Display: The display is the reason to buy this phone. Absolutely stunning blacks and just a beautiful screen. Readable at nearly any angle and in bright, direct sunlight, it's by far the best display I've ever had on a phone. The display justifies the purchase to me completely.
Software: As mentioned above, to this date the phone is still running 2.2, which I find a little ridiculous for a flagship LTE phone, but enterprise software development is what it is. This is my first Touchwiz phone and I don't mind it, though Sense seems to have a better collection of default widgets. I switched to Go Launcher immediately. Verizon has positively stuffed this phone with bloatware. There is plenty of space available, but no way to remove all the vcast apps, verizon navigation, or other bundled junk. While I understand an alarming percentage of smartphone customers never load their own apps, there is a much better way to do this -- put stubs in so that on first launch the app is installed, and make those stubs removable/hideable.
Performance: I've only had the phone for a short while at this point, but it's snappy and responsive with only occasional lag after lots of app start/stops and navigation, mostly seen while first customizing the phone. Battery life seems acceptable and I'm sure I'll get through at least a long day (which includes some time without service in subway tunnels, during which I'm probably playing a graphically intense game, an hour or so playing podcasts or music, and an average number of data widgets running).
Network: I haven't traveled far yet, but I'm switching from AT&T (and use a T-Mobile HSPA+ phone for work). I live in the NYC area. So far the coverage is living up to it's reputation, lasting longer into subway platforms, stronger inside buildings, and quicker to acquire a signal when coming in from poor coverage. The 4G/LTE network is blazing fast and absolutely worth the premium verizon charges for their plans.
Misc: I had some trouble with the order and activation process. Amazon shipped very quickly and we were porting numbers. The phones could not be activated until the day after they were received because the port request had been held. I understand the reasoning, but it was a bit inconvenient. Unfortunately once I did get the phone activated I ran into my next problem -- everything worked flawlessly, except the _phone_. I can place and receive calls, but there is no audio for either party. Verizon support confirmed this was a hardware problem and sent me to the store; the store redid all the troubleshooting and reached the same conclusion, only to tell me because I'd purchased from Amazon I couldn't in fact get a replacement from them. Reasonable enough, but the phone support should have been able to tell me that. Amazon customer service was fast and efficient, overnighting a replacement phone.
Conclusion: Early: At this point having passed the unlimited data cut-off, I would strongly consider waiting on the Galaxy SII, which should have at least as good a display and slightly updated hardware and software. That said, if you need something today (as I did trying to beat the data limit clause) this phone is worth the discounted price Amazon is selling it for. I'm relatively confident I can live with it happily for two years, though if updates remain slow I may be rooting it to keep up on the software side.
I will update this review after living with the phone for a week or two.
on July 9, 2011
Please note this review has been heavily edited three times since its original posting.
The major flaws as I see them are:
1. The GPS is terrible on this phone,takes forever to lock and is always off by a good bit. Unreliable for driving.
2. TouchWiz 3.0 UI lags
3. There are far too many pre-installed apps
4. The 3G connectivity can get "stuck"
5. See edit notes: the Droid Charge will NOT be getting Android 2.3, so next update is a ways off and will be a jump to 2.4
I really don't know what the GPS's problem is. It all started sometime in October of 2011. The GPS, in my opinion, just doesn't work and the reports by almost every current Droid Charge owner is that GPS is completely unreliable on the phone. There are no words on a fix from Samsung. I am really hoping I can get Verizon to replace this phone with a new 4G phone.
TouchWiz 4.0, on other Samsung phones, is much snappier and I assume the Charge will see it when it gets Android 2.4 (see edit notes, due in Q4 2011). Alternately you can install a different launcher App from the market and get rid of TouchWiz 4.0.
For #3, the phone is simple enough to root and remove the unwanted apps (and simple enough to unroot back to stock)
#4 is a tough one. This phone does have problems with restoring connectivity whenever one of the data connections is shut off. This happens when:
a) you live on the border of a 4G area and constantly swap between 3G/4G
b) have an APP that turns the connections off (Juice Defender or other battery saving APPs being a main culprit)
c) do not have the phone set to "wake up" data connections upon data packets being sent
For A, this is something Verizon is aware of and working on. However, it is unknown if there is a fix. Switching to 3G only does seem to fix this (unless B or C are affecting you). Still I've had the phone seemingly lose data connection for no reason in 3G or 4G mode.
For B, there are no working battery-saving APPs that I am aware of that work well with the Droid Charge. Juice Defender will 100% make the phone not function as expected. Wouldn't be so bad if the battery didn't die so quickly with everything turned on.
For C, check under settings (don't have the phone on me to check exactly what it is called) to make sure to connect to mobile data whenever a data packet is sent.
Now that I'm past the bad points, there are some positives to this phone:
1. Its a 4G phone and 4G is amazingly fast in my area (Upstate SC)
2. Beautiful screen (it convinced me to buy this over the Thunderbolt)
3. 32 Gb storage (where else were they going to put all the bloatware?).
In conclusion, the Samsung Droid Charge is an acceptable 4G phone, but the buyer has to be aware of the possible data connectivity issues. Reading other reviews and doing A LOT of investigative work with my phone, I've all but eliminated the problem and realized in the long run had my phone been set up properly to begin with and had not had Juice Defender installed, I would not have had as many issues as I did.
My recommendations for anyone that does keep this phone:
1. If you live on the edge of a 4G area, turn off 4G. Constantly swapping from 3G to 4G will kill the battery and your patience.
2. Charge the phone to full every day
3. Consider rooting it and removing the bloatware
4. DO NOT install any battery saving Apps that turn off data
Edit 7/10/11: Through some research I found out the Droid Charge will NOT be getting Android 2.3. The next planned upgrade is straight to 2.4, which means any fix for the TouchWiz UI is unlikely. The 2.4 update probably won't be around until late Q4 2011. This is another strike against this phone. I've updated the review to reflect this.
Edit 7/12/11: I have resolved most of my worst issues and have moved this from a 1-star to a 4-star review as I like the phone and an unfortunate string of missteps lead me to hate it in the first place. Missteps that should have been avoided.
Edit 12/1/11: Back down to 2 stars. There are still data connectivity issues with this phone in 4G or 3G. It just stops working randomly even when the signal strength is excellent. Also the GPS, at some point, just stopped workind and from the notes of other Droid Charge owners, its a problem with the Droid Charge, not just my phone. GPS is completely unreliable.
on December 16, 2011
I got this phone black friday weekend this year (2011) Ive had blackberry curve pearl and Motorola Droid (the first one) and my fiance has samsung fascinate. The Droid Charge blows them all away! The screen is gorgeous it processes well, and the battery life is good especially for the screen size. The antenna is better than any other phone Ive had too. The phone feels sturdy and solid in my hand. Overall I am in love with this phone.
A few days after I got it there was an update and it is now running on 2.3 gingerbread which is an added bonus. I didn't care for droids or android after the first droid I had but this has completely changed how I feel. It has 4g which isn't available in my area yet but should be in a yr so I feel like I got a somewhat future proof phone(I'm stuck with it now for two yrs!)
There are some good apps that make getting your itunes synced up easy now which was one of my main concerns going for another non apple phone. The 32gb card that comes with the phone is really a nice touch and I have been able to pack ALL of my music and pics off of my computer and I still have 14gb left!
I highly recommend this phone. I know everyone can find things to complain about on any device but if youre looking for a nice device that runs smooth, has a beautiful screen, adequate battery life, and storage for all of your media this is definately worth a look for you- especially considering the price. (I paid $99 at wal-mart and instantly got a $100 wal-mart gift card so basically I paid tax $5 on phone thats it!) Oh and btw the 8 mp camera takes amazing pics too. I couldn't be happier with my phone.
on July 4, 2011
The phone is not bad. The Verizon data service where I live in a relatively large coastal NC city is unreliable and inadequate. That therefore makes this Verizon phone subpar. A $45. per month no contract Straight Talk phone had better data service than this phone.
Do not use much data- around two GB per month typically. Yet, the claimed 3G data connection is constantly slow, frequently intermittent or completely unavailable at times. Have five or four bar tower reception. That makes this device unreliable. It looks like I will need to carry another no contract phone in order to insure reliable data service which is what I must have when I need it for what I do.
The phone communication is reliable and works fine all the time. It has fair voice quality per Consumer Reports. Can deal with the weak voice quality but not the way data is unreliable or unavailable from the network for protracted periods.
Verizon apparently does not have the infastructure needed to meet the demand for data service for its paying customers in this area. Yet, it regularly pays large cash dividends to its shareholders. Those are twisted priorities there. Will likely change providers when my two year contract is up. Straight Talk had better and cheaper service than what I have now.
July 6, 2012: Have to restart the phone frequently sometimes. Whith a battery removal restart now and then. Otherwise the phone works pretty good when Verizon is not throttling its data service. They clain to have 4G service here now. It is still the same old subpar data service as before. If I used a lot of data, could understand it but I don't.