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.
on September 8, 2011
I am not just an "average joe", I know a lot about cell phones, 4G, and battery usage. Please read the following review and decide if the Bionic is right for you. I highly recommend it, but you have to know its battery limitations.
This truly is the best 4G phone out to date. The main issues with 4G phones is battery life. With 10.8 hours of talk time, this far outshines the HTC Thunderbolt that only gets 6.3 hours of talk time. Caution!... Depending on where you live (i.e. the 4G signal that you get consistently), your battery life will vary greatly. When your phone switches back and forth from 4G to 3G, it drains the battery considerably. If you have weak 4G (most everyone), it will switch a lot. I owned the Thunderbolt and got slightly more than 6.3 hours of usage (with mild usage... not heavy). This is because, even though you aren't using your phone, it is switching 4G/3G and thus being used. What this means is that you never really go into standby mode, and so talk time will equal usage time. So you should expect to get about 11 hours of usage from the Bionic whether you are a heavy or light user (i.e. you may have to charge it during the day to get through an entire day), unless you live in a strong 4G area. As 4G gets more expansive, your battery life will get better. If you force your phone into 3G only, your battery life will be insanely long.
A note about JAcura's battery review... he is accurate, but I wanted to clarify it a little. He says that the 1735 is an extended battery, which is true for most phones but not a 4G phone because of the way that 4G uses the battery. He also says that after 3 hours of use, he was at 80%, which is accurate... and at 5 hours he will be at 60% and so on. Thus giving you about 11 hours. So if you unplug your phone at 7am, it will die at about 6pm without charging. And this is under normal use, not heavy use.
Aside from the battery, the Bionic is a great phone. Call quality is good, but not amazing. The dual core 1GHz processor and 1GB of DDR2 RAM make this phone very very fast. Coupled with 4G, and you have the fastest phone on the market. It is also the thinnest 4G phone, which I love. The 4.3inch screen is big, but not too big, and it's very sharp (similar to the Droid 3). Camera pictures are great, but a little on the cool (blueish) side. I has a lot of accessories to dock and turn it into a "netbook", but I think most people won't find it useful enough to spend their money on. The HDMI port is great, again for those few that use it. There are a lot of other great features, but most people will just enjoy them without really noticing them (I just stuck to the basics for this review).
Cons: I really wish it had dual LED for the camera flash, instead of single LED. I wish it had a better front camera instead of VGA (but in reality, very few people will skype with their phone because it only works well on 4G or wifi and only a handful of your friends will have a 4G phone). Battery life is better than other 4G phones, but it's still not good.
Conclusion: If you want 4G (and are willing to deal with shorter battery life), this is the phone to get. However, if you wait until October 6th, the HTC Vigor will be out which will have a dual core 1.5GHz processor, 2meg front camera, and Beats by Dr. Dre. But battery life on the Vigor is unknown and if it's worse than the Bionic, then it's not worth it.
on September 10, 2011
For the record, I have used many phones over the years. A lot of the devices focus too much on features and very little on functionality. I prefer phones that meet 3 basic criteria:
1: Can last at least 18 hours with regular data usage, including web, email, and Market.
2: Are physically attractive, feel good to the touch, and are not clunky to use.
3: Can make and receive calls when needed, which isn't often, but still.
The Droid Bionic meets objectives 1 and 3. It doesn't do so good with objective #2. But before I get to that, let me give you some background on the device.
The Droid Bionic is actually quite a bit tardy. It was scheduled to come out at least 3 months ago, but got delayed and nobody really understood why. Various leaks showed specs that admittedly were not impressive compared to others such as the Droid X2, but the Bionic has the singular distinction of being the first dual core 4G LTE smartphone on the market. Additionally, the base specs of the Bionic were stronger than most other dual core phones in the arena. It was speculated that Verizon temporarily passed on the Bionic so as not to cut into potential sales of the Apple iPhone 4, which it started carrying some months ago, but that's never been confirmed.
On the surface, the Droid Bionic does not look any more impressive than any of the other Motorola Droid phones. It bears a striking similarity to the others in general form factor, if not a little bit smaller, but it's the internals that make it stand out. Featuring a dual core 1GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 4GB of application storage, 8GB of internal memory, and an included 16GB SD card, this phone is packed to the gills with power. It seamlessly runs the 2.3 Android Gingerbread operating system. There is also a front-facing camera capable of decent shots in daylight, and a rear-facing camera that shoots at 8 megapixels with automatic focus and lighting adjustments. It also can shoot 720p video, and with the SD card, you'll be able to do quite a bit of shooting before you need to buy another card.
SCREEN AND BATTERY
The screen on the Bionic is large and fairly bright, but it isn't going to surpass that of the Droid Charge or any other AMOLED screen in terms of contrast. That's okay, because even at near maximum brightness, the included battery barely breaks a sweat under continuous use. Coming from the HTC Thunderbolt where one could easily run the battery down 10% in an hour, the Bionic barely shrugged at continuous 4G and WiFi data access, marrying both corporate and personal push email, web browsing, Amazon Cloud Player streaming, Market downloading, and YouTube video watching. It got to the point where I was purposely trying to get the battery to yell, to no avail. That's the way the phone battery should be - working FOR the user, not against it ala the Thunderbolt.
The newer Gingerbread features some power savings features that likely would help with the Thunderbolt if they ever release it for that device. There is a battery mode that works similar to the way Windows manages power profiles. You can even create your own custom profile, which has replaced the old data usage peak/off peak by applying it to the whole system. You can designate periods of time where your phone will work at peak processing power, and other times where your phone will not, which conserves battery when you're in different locations or situations. There's also a data saver mode, where you can force applications such as the browser and email to work in a limited capacity (but still do their job) while the saver is on. Combined with the screen auto brightness, it's really easy to manage power on the Bionic.
All that said, I want to tell you that data saver is NOT on, battery mode is on maximum performance, email is push and background data is enabled (I don't leave GPS on though for security reasons). I have streamed Amazon Cloud Player and YouTube, and I have navigated the Market extensively getting my apps back. It's been 1 hour since I charged the device and the battery is still at 100%. That's absolutely insane. Mathematically, that means the device will still have juice tomorrow even if I don't charge it. As it should be.
Caveat: Motorola's batteries count in increments of 10%, rather than 1%. So this statement effectively means that with heavy usage, and considering how battery hungry 4G and the screen can be, I was still well above 90% battery an hour later. This might seem to be overstating, but again, dual core + 4G + bright screen + wafer thin battery + push email + Market downloads + continuous usage? It's impressive no matter how you slice it.
SOUND AND AUDIO
Speaker quality was quite good, though I did notice at louder levels that there was some static distortion coming from the speaker grill itself. My guess is that the speaker membrane had a difficult time with certain lows; the speaker is definitely cleaner sounding than the Droid Charge, louder than the Thunderbolt, but not quite as rich. That's partially due to the SRS enhancements found in the Thunderbolt that lend themselves to more distinct bass; the Bionic absolutely spanks every other phone I've heard in general treble and clarity of audio. You'll hear instruments you didn't know were in your favorite songs. Mind, the Bionic does feature equalizer settings and presets, but they just can't hold a candle to SRS or even Beats Audio for true "punch". This may or may not be important to you, but I note it for reference.
CALL QUALITY (womp, womp, waaa...)
I could only find one true letdown on the Bionic: outbound call quality. Inbound was fine, because as I said before, the speaker is clear and crisp no matter what you're listening to, but the outbound was just not up to par for a device this expensive. Obviously the focus these days is on the data experience, but I had hoped that the Bionic would buck this trend. Sadly it did not: the microphone muffled my voice so badly that even I struggled to understand what I was saying when I heard it played back to me. This applied whether I was doing straight mouthpiece or speakerphone calling and I'm not sure why it was so bad. I can only guess that Motorola was attempting to do some noise cancellation and overdid it, or that the microphone itself is of poor quality. In this day and age of Bluetooth headsets that can make you sound like you're standing in front of a person talking, I found this rather inexcusable given the price point.
HDMI ON BOARD
The Bionic also features a mini HDMI port that can be used to mirror the phone's display to an HDMI-supporting device. I should point out that when I say "HDMI-supporting", I really mean HDCP supporting, because some devices will not accept the input correctly. Most newer TVs will not have an issue, but some receivers may flicker in and out as they struggle to maintain the HDCP handshake necessary to sustain an HDMI connection. This isn't a big deal for most people, but some may try to buy the dock or a mini HDMI cable thinking they're guaranteed to stream their Netflix out only to find it not working; that's not the device's fault, and you may need to do some retooling (read: buy newer versions of) your media equipment.
CAMERAS AND VIDEO
The quality of the camera is a mixed bag. The front facing camera is definitely superior to other "Not quite smartphones" like the Xperia Play, but it pales in comparison to others such as the iPhone 4. It'll do, if you're filming yourself outside or in a brightly lit room, but don't expect photo-realism out of the front. The rear camera is something totally different: sporting a rather high 8 megapixels, it can give you decent 4x6 prints if you want it too. Any larger and you'll notice quite a fair amount of noise to the picture; most of the noise is chromatic noise, which means you'll see a lot of what look like "dirty" color speckles when the photo is zoomed in. You can obviously do post-processing to clean this up, but again, I note it for reference.
Where the Bionic does well is with close-up color correction. Taking photos at a distance yields decent-looking photos, but the problem is that the color correction tends to be a bit much, losing the true intent of the shot. If I were shooting a lake surrounded by mountains during an overcast afternoon, I might expect that the water is a darker blue or even clear, since it's not reflecting a clear sky. The Bionic will attempt to "color" the water a little, destroying the moment somewhat. It's not a deal breaker, and obviously you can do manual corrections, but I do look for a little more intuition out of camera phones if I'm paying for them.
This doesn't apply to close-ups: in a close up, you want to capture the moment, but correction becomes even more critical, as there is likely some focal point to the shot and you want it as detailed as it can get. This is where the Bionic shines - fine details, where it can blur and layer backgrounds with the best of DSLRs. The image quality isn't going to outdo a $600 camera, obviously, but I was impressed with what I got out of the Bionic in close-up shooting.
As well as static photos, you can also do video recording at 720p, up to 1080p. I would put the quality of these videos somewhere between a FlipCam and the "kinda sorta HD camcorders" you buy for $80 at Best Buy. The thing to note is that the Bionic will obviously last longer, and comes with the capacity to manage all of the videos you shoot. Also, depending on what apps you use, you can send videos straight to your DropBox, email/MMS them to a friend, or send them straight to YouTube (this I wouldn't recommend, but you could, ala Zack Ryder).
BUILD QUALITY AND CHASSIS
General build quality was around a 7 out of 10. While it felt like a solid device - as do all Motorola Droid devices - I was really not impressed with the flimsy plastic back. The snaps on the bottom especially are just waiting to break with repeated removal to get access to the SD card (which fortunately is not located under the battery as with HTC devices). It didn't really make the device that much lighter, as according to my scale, it's the exact same weight as the Thunderbolt, whose plastic battery cover is a little less flimsy. I was also secretly wishing for a kickstand, but I know that would have cut into the $40-$100 docks that they like to sell these days. I had no complaints about the front of the device though, featuring a very attractive smoked chrome finish and the Corning Gorilla Glass on the screen. It's mind boggling that they went to such expense for the front, but not the back, of such an otherwise awesome device. Something else that still confuses me is just how thin the battery is: it's wafer thin, yet somehow has more mAh than other phones with batteries nearly twice the thickness. Are we nearing battery technology improvement at last?
I mentioned early on that the Bionic did actually fail in my second criteria. That's not a knock on the build quality, rather the design, for being mostly uninspired. There are some questionable decisions with regard to the shape of the device - it's not conducive to holding it in one hand at all. Normally, a phone feels better when its back is curved to match the natural curves of one's hand, but maybe I'm unique in that opinion. Also, when attempting to remove apps or widgets from any of the various home screens, placing the trash at the top seems a very odd design decision. I can see why it might make sense in some cases, but maybe having the trash in both the top and bottom of the window would have been more practical. I'm much more comfortable with a bottom-placed trash than a top one. Obviously I don't do much widget or app management, but just saying. Also, on a selfish note, I am getting slightly irritated with the tendency towards right-handed phone owners, speaking of the volume rocker. It's not just Motorola, all of them are guilty of this one, but I generally will just use the on-screen sound manager instead.
I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that people considering the Bionic are either (A) Thunderbolt converts or (B) Blackberry holdouts who want 4G but don't like any of the current crop of devices. The Thunderbolt converts are really going to have to think about the decision: the Bionic definitely has superior battery and is a fast, seamless experience, but the cost is nearly 3 times that of the Thunderbolt for the same 4G signal. One must ask themselves if the battery boost is really worth $200 more dollars AND a new contract that may remove the previous 5G/$30 package if you do a new agreement.
In the end, the Bionic is a solid contender for anyone considering a great device with great speeds. You'll want to be cognizant and aware of the potential for overcharging due to Verizon Wireless' new data plans and the caps, and the form factor and build quality may be a turn-off for some. Still, if you're itching for the best on the market, the Bionic is it...for now.
on March 10, 2012
Just love how fast and smooth this runs, I enjoyed my iphone 4s, but this is a better phone. The widgets and apps make it much more customizable than the iphone (for example, I love my swiftkey keyboard app; there is no way to use anything but the stock keyboard on the iphone). There are some apps that were better on the iphone, but the Droid has these and they are still useful. Glad I made the switch back to Android!
on September 19, 2011
Edited: Oct 8 update, after the original review.
I've had the option to upgrade for nearly a year. When I was doing my shopping, I started to realize after the Droid X2 came out that I had to have three items in a phone.
2. Front facing camera (for video calls).
3. Dual core processor.
I also realized I wanted a phone from Motorola. I had the original Droid for a long, long time and Motorola has really come through on delivering solid, nearly unbreakable phones. I've compared them to HTCs in the past, and frankly, there is no comparison.
I've seen the pros and cons compared in other reviews, and I think they have it covered. The screen is AWESOME, and Motorola-like durable. The phone is FAST. My old Droid had gotten VERY clugy. The lack of available RAM (I believe the original Droid shipped with 256MB) is totally dwarfed by what the Bionic has (1GB). Installing Netflix was a breeze. I literally had the new movie "Tangled" playing on my phone within five minutes. (I already had a login.)
Motorola added some really nice add-ons for this phone. Zumocast is one of the coolest things you'll ever see on a phone. ANYTHING you can play on your PC can play on your phone. That almost makes the phone worth NOT re-doing the ROM on it. Having said that, the ability to ROOT the phone is already out there on various websites. The "modding" community is hard at work, already.
Quickoffice - you might pay $10 for a comparable app on the Market (allows you to view Microsoft docs, etc). Oh, and Motoprint! Another very cool app that allows you to print (wirelessly, even) from your phone, and you could easily pay $5 or more for that type of application.
The camera is FAST. I was going a little crazy on my old Droid when I'd miss pictures due to it taking so long just to load the camera app. The video is gorgeous and the available space with the shipped phone (about 30GB) - wow.
One last thing - I have a kindle. And the kindle app looks great on this 4.3 inch screen.
Oct 8, 2011. I've been using the phone now since it launched (almost a month). I hate screen protectors, and I haven't been particularly careful with my phone, and I don't use a case. I usually throw it (like my original Droid) into my carrying bag or a pocket. NO scratches! Yep, gorilla glass comes through again. The phone is just a delight. The back of the phone isn't metal like the Orginal Droid, however, it's got an extremely pleasant texture to it. It just FEELS good to hold.
I've never seen this phone (as of yet) reboot on its own, or have a full-system crash. The dual core processor really flies. I've shown the phone to some friends, and invariably they are amazed by it. I have one friend who has the Galaxy S on Sprint, and he's about to change carriers to get this phone. Another friend has the original Droid still and can't print what he says about my phone!
Having said all that, my one "con" about this phone, is I have no idea why they moved the buttons around on the bottom. I'm very used to the "back" button being on the far left of Android phones, and for some reason, it's second from the right. That and the power button is on the top left of the phone, and I'm very used to it being on the top right.
Also, I had very much wanted to buy the Lapdock for this phone to see if it would double as a laptop for me. However, I've heard nothing but bad reviews about it, so I ended up buying a Toshiba tablet instead. I love my tablet, but I'm a bit disappointed that Motorola struck out again on its attempts at making a good lapdock. (The one for the Atrix, which isn't compatible with this phone, also was not a hit.) The $379 price tag is also a huge prohibiter.
One thing I learned about my Droid - wait a few months, like, say, the launch of the next "new thing" before going overboard on attachments for the device. I don't even have the desktop port, since they're hard to find at a discount. However, once the Google phone comes out in October/November, I fully expect the stands and lapdocks, et al, to be drastically reduced in price. I bought the desktop charger/port for my droid for about $12.50 though they originally retailed for $29.99.
on March 25, 2012
First I will start with the Droid Bionic 16GB. When I received the mobile at first I wasn't sure how I felt about the flimsy-er back cover and kind of hap-hazard installation area for the SIM card. But lets not make opinions without running the device, right? So after charging it fully and then powering it on first thing I notice is how quick it is, even for a 2.3 (we have a 3.0 (honeycomb) Toshiba Thrive tablet). After that I wanted to see the bloatware, which for the most part was not bad. There is a golf game that is pre-installed and the largest file, I think you can remove it but I haven't tried since it's kinda fun; when you are super board and want to play a i-don't-give-a-shite game.
Some info: after all the preinstalled stuff from Verizon including Blockbuster and all the apps I installed (Facebook, Netflix, Google +, Lookout Mobile Lite, a better clock(must have), a better alarm (again must have), some live wallpapers, and a few other smaller miscalleaneous apps there was a total of 11 almost 12 GB of the 16 GB internal SD memory left. As far as rank with other devices go, this is fairly typical to the point of being almost identical in space used to our 16 GB Thrive Tablet.
I mentioned in the last paragraph that the alarm and clock were must haves, and in my opinion they are. The default alarm only has one sound (an annoying digital watch-like beep)and no option to download more. The clock, well I just don't like the way it looks digital or analog. (Message me for what apps I like for both).
Now to compare: I bought for my wife an HTC Thunderbolt 8GB which comes installed (well technically you install it) with a 32 GB microSD (a 40-50$ value). The cameras are basically the same as far as I can tell with the photos but let me be honest my favorite camera we have is not our fancy 14mp but our 6mp 10 year old camera. So there is your qualifier. Moving on, the start-up on the Thunderbolt was much slower, most likely to the lightning storm movie that is played at start up (don't know if it can be disabled but my wife likes it so, ehh whatev's). There actually appears to be less bloatware on the Thunderbolt as only about 2GB of space was taken on the internal memory whereas on the Bionic it is closer to 4 (3.87 before my apps after its about 4.68) and the microSD is empty, in short much more space.
The best for last, battery!
On the Bionic I use the mobile hotspot for at least 3-4hrs per day as my home wifi, make calls, texts, social network, and photos also throughout the day which is 8:00 AM to about midnight and then leave the phone on overnight and it does not need to be charged until I wake up at 8:00 AM the next day. That is a full 24hr of medium to high use. I have also used the phone only for calls, texts, and the occasional e-mail and most of the day in standby under which the battery only dropped 15% over 24hrs. By far the best battery I have seen on a smart phone but our tablet runs for about 4-6 days before needing a charge and that use is much heavier. The Thunderbolt, not so good on battery, my wife uses it less than mine (mostly on standby) and the battery will be dead after about 36 hrs. From what I can tell if I ran my phone on airplane mode it would last the advertised length.
Finally in conclusion there are things I like about both phones; mine the speed (1ghz 1 GB dual core processor (4 times bigger than my first computer)), the battery, and the wider screen. On my wife's I like the HTC software (clock, alarm, more home windows, etc), the heavy weight, and the mobile hotspot signal is a little stronger.
I still prefer the Bionic however in only for dual core; Thunderbolt uses the single core Snapdragon, which is fine for most things but dual is better for programming and multitasking.
on September 11, 2011
Hello true believers. I was eligible for an upgrade about a year ago and couldn't bring myself to upgrade before a decent 4G device was on the market. My previous phone was a Blackberry 8330. The Motorola Droid Bionic is obviously in a different league. I am a Costco member, so I took advantage of their deal with all the accessories. I paid $279, $20 less than the Verizon Wireless retailers. Amazon's price is even better if you won't use all the accessories that Costco throws in for free. I was hesitant to be buy the phone before actual hands-on reviews but I took the Nestea plunge. I am a realist and I expected some bugs, but I have been on the Motorola Droid Bionic for the past 3 days and I can't find anything wrong with it. I have used friends' iPhone 4 and HTC Droid Incredible devices, so my frame of reference is not only a Blackberry. The 4G is incredibly fast with the dual core processor. I don't get 4G coverage at home, so I just connect through my WiFi. I do get 4G at work and won in every competition with other 3G devices. I convinced at least 3 co-workers to get the Motorola Droid Bionic. I highly recommend the Motorola Droid Bionic. Stay thirsty my friends.
on October 21, 2011
Even though I was eligible for an upgrade in June 2011, I waited patiently for this phone to be released in September. In fact, I waited 5 weeks after its release before I decided to purchase it in order to see if there were any major bugs or flaws in the hardware or software before committing to purchase the phone. I checked the Verizon customer reviews early in October and the phone had a 4.5 star rating with over 1100 reviews.
Based on that, I bought two Bionics (one for me and one for my wife) at Radio Shack on October 10, 2011 for $199 each. Right away, the phones exhibited a major problem staying connected to the Verizon network. I live and work in solid 4G areas. Yet these phones would constantly switch between 4G and 3G service, and then lose all connectivity to the network. They both would do this even while sitting motionless on a table or desk in a solid 4G area. The only way to re-establish connectivity was to pull the battery or toggle the airplane mode on and off. When the phone lost service, then internet and navigation were also lost. This became a major problem rendering both phones useless except for making phone calls.
I did a quick Google search on "Droid Bionic problems" and discovered that many other Droid users are experiencing the same dilema, which greatly reduces the usability of the phone. The rumor on the internet is that Verizon and Motorola will push out a software update in November 2011 that is supposed to address this loss of connectivity. However, I could find nothing from Verizon itself confirming that a problem existed and that some relief was coming.
Since I really liked the phone and wanted it to work, I called Verizon tech support on October 18 in the hope that they could get the phones to work. However, the tech specialist I spoke to denied knowledge of any problems related to the Bionic and told me that I was the first person she had ever spoken to complaining of this loss of connectivity. Her advice to me was to return the phone. On October 20, I returned the phones to Radio Shack for a full refund. While at the store, the store owner showed me on his computer that Radio Shack had just pulled the Bionic from its shelves and labelled it "unsellable."
Just some other observations -- the 8 megapixel rear camera is terrible. The pictures it takes are fuzzy. The 3.2 megapixel camera in my old Blackberry is way better than this camera. Also, one of the two Bionics we bought refused to wake up after sitting in the charging dock over night. The only way to get it to work was to do a battery pull. I learned from doing a little internet searching that this is also a frequently encountered problem. On several other occasions when turning on the phones after a charge in the Motorola dock, they showed a black screen with instructions for transferring data, instead of the normal start up screen. Turning the phones off and then on again fixed that problem temporarily, but contributed to my opinion that something isn't right with these phones.
Since I had little confidence that replacement phones would be better, I took the Verizon tech support advice and just returned the phones. I'll wait for a better product.
If you are considering this phone, please do yourself a favor and make sure that Verizon has fixed the problem before you lay down your money and make a commitment. Also, Google "Droid Bionic problems" and get smart before you buy. Don't trust the Verizon customer reviews -- it appears that most of those people write reviews too soon, before they get the full experience of ownership.
on December 15, 2011
Horrible. Can't hold a data connection. Locked bootloader. Updates months behind schedule. Camera is really slow to focus.
Worst part is that these are all known issues and they (Verizon) continue to sell this phone. In the 5 minutes it took me to write this review I watched the phone go from 4g to 3g to 1X to no data connection 3 times....and this happens all day. I have been trying to download 1 app for the past 3 hours with no success.
Motorola just sent out an OTA update last week and it has done nothing to improve the situation. If anything the battery now drains faster than ever. I strongly suggest that you do NOT buy this phone unless you want to be extremely frustrated. Verizon and motorola should be ashamed.
on January 3, 2012
********* UPDATE **************
I am still liking my phone and Verizon just pushed out an update to upgrade the android OS to Ice Cream Sandwich (4.04). The update for me has been great. It's almost like getting a new phone. There are roomers that it will be upgraded to Jelly Bean, I hope it's true. So far the upgrade to ICS has been flawless. It's faster, smoother, and has more features on it. So glad they did that. The Bionic's hardware is good enough to handle this new version too.
I ordered my bionic from Verizon and to save a few bucks I wound up ordering a certified used bionic. It was repackaged and looks brand new, not one flaw on it. There really is no sign of it being used.
Background for my review, I have been on the original Motorola Droid and just upgraded to this phone.
Issues I had the first day:
I had to hard-restart it a few times (pull the battery). I did a system update and then everything stared working better as far as the operating system goes.
Another issue I had, was it kept dropping 4G network connection and then only reconnecting with a reboot or messing with the network settings, such as turning airplane mode on and off or turning 4G on and off. It was unable to switch between networks 4g, 3g, and 1x. If I lost 4g it was unable to connect and would drop my data connection. Because of this issue I was going to take it back.
After reading about issues Verizon was having with their data networks that month, I decided to wait until another week before I took it back. After a release from Verizon came out saying they have fixed several data network issues, I've had little problems since that came out. It still drops connections but rarely does it drop the data totally. I think with 4G being so new and the new philosophy of pushing things out before they are tested and running.
In comparison to the droid, this is amazing. Very little choppiness. Apps run smooth and fast. The effects on the phone are nice.
Streaming video with a high resolution is nice on this phone, even without the HDMI output the phone's screen is very large and makes watching videos better too.
Awesome! Speeds are so fast. It takes about 2 seconds for a song to download from Amazon MP3. Streaming videos in high def is great too, never sitting waiting for the video buffer to fill up. You can pretty much do anything when you have a 4G connection. I've also had good luck with 4G, almost everywhere I go I wind up getting some sort of 4G connection.
I have not had that many issues with the battery that people say they have. I have my phone on playing music most of the day at work and still have plenty of battery for the night. The thing that drains the battery the most is the screen being on, surfing the web, and streaming video. I would still recommend having a charger, but that is no news to someone that uses a smart phone. The people saying that the phone dies after a few hours being idle is just crazy talk. If my phone is idle it will last for days.
Not bad, but nothing special, seems pretty standard for Motorola. In natural light and very bright white lighting (like in a department store) it takes nice pictures and video. The picture gets grainy in poor lighting and the flash will tend to wash out the picture. The pictures are better in the dark the closer you are, but it tends not to be able to focus if the room is not brightly lit during the night.
If you have specifics you would like to know please post a comment, I will try to respond quickly.