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Small Batch of DROID Bionics Having Radio Issues, Replacement an Option?

As many are aware of after reading my 2-day mini-review of the DROID Bionic, I was not having the most enjoyable of experiences.  Out of the two devices that I had, one in particular was experiencing a number of issues that all seemed to stem from a consistent radio switching/turning off problem.  With the device constantly toggling between 4G to 3G to no signal at all, it was killing my battery in under 6 hours, was forcing me to hammer on Airplane mode to try and revive its signal, and overall, was making me dislike the phone more and more each day.

However, after reading through comments of that initial post and continuing to hear Tato running into none of my issues with his, I realized that this was not happening to the majority of you and that it for the most part, seemed to be a rare case.  It is still happening to a group of you though.  While it may not be incredibly widespread, we have heard from enough readers in the past two days to make a quick mention of it and also to remind you that you should seek a replacement phone.

Again, this issue does not appear to be happening in mass numbers and may not even be on Verizon’s radar, but we still wanted to point it out as we have heard from more than a handful of readers experiencing the issue – including ourselves.

*Note – Since swapping out the bad Bionic for a new one, I have not run into a single problem.

Cheers Tyler, Chris and everyone else!

  • Bill Jenkins

    Its funny how 1 week ago everyone on here were happy and saying they are going to buy the bionic the day it comes out because of how fast it is and that its the best phone. some even ordered it the day before it was released. And now one week later most people in here are complaining about different problems they are having with the bionic. lol. I guess I was wrong. Because I gave it a month before the problems will start. It wasn’t even 2 weeks.

  • Bill Jenkins

    Its funny how 1 week ago everyone on here were happy and saying they are going to buy the bionic the day it comes out because of how fast it is and that its the best phone. some even ordered it the day before it was released. And now one week later most people in here are complaining about different problems they are having with the bionic. lol. I guess I was wrong. Because I gave it a month before the problems will start. It wasn’t even 2 weeks.

  • Anonymous

    Soooo after all of this waiting…

    Should I buy a bionic or not…

    2 years commitment 

  • Doriroid

    I have had my Bionic since day 1. The only radio issues I have are here at home in a 3G only area. No problem switching between 4G and 3G when I’m out. No problem with 3G in other 3G only areas. VZW says it isn’t their tower. So what gives?

  • Anonymous

    I can actually deal with the connectivity issues because I have not suffered too much from that, a reset fixes that. What is killing me is the missing apps! I turn the DB on and will be missing atleast 2 apps every time. My data consumption has skyrocketed b/c I have had to DL apps over and over. I have icons on my screen that don’t work.
    Oh and anyone’s wallpaper go back to default when you start the phone? I can’t seem to keep any live wallpaper on start up. Plugged the phone into my laptop last night and got 5+ apps missing with the default wallpaper mocking me. This is all AFTER a hard reset by Verizon 3 days ago in store. I need to get back to that store for a new phone….

    • BionicFan

      the missing apps problem only happens if the app is installed on the SD card rather than the phone. Unline the original Droid, there is plenty of space on the Bionic phone for installing apps, so move your apps back to the phone and they will stop disappearing.

  • Stephen

    so i bought a new bionic off craigslist.  the guy got it just to sell it.  if my phone has problems will verizon still replace for me?  how does that work as the phone just came out and ive swapped my tbolt numerous times

  • ChrisEvo8

    i returned mine today because my battery issues and the camera was not as great as i expected. 

    • Bill Jenkins

      but wasn’t it the best phone? according to most people. lol

  • Bill Jenkins

    Bionic has been out for about 1 week and the problems have already started. lol

  • Anonymous

    i’m beginning to believe it has to do with the heat from the phone. it seems the sudden signal drop off starts to happen when the phone begins to run warm. perhaps it thinks the phone is overheating and shuts off the radio?

  • Mr Tater

    Now if only a replacement would fix that same issue with my Tbolt. Already on my third.

  • Groid

    I’m liking my Bionic better every day.  I don’t seem to have any radio problems, earbuds are crystal clear with no whine or static, and battery life has improved to awesome after several drain completely/recharge cycles.  I think the screen is great and have to look hard to see whatever it is that bugs some people so much.  If your phone isn’t up to snuff you should demand a replacement.

  • Anonymous

    This happens to my thunderbolt all the time. Should I be worried? Should I be looking at a replacement.

  • Had no such problems til yesterday then no 3G or 4G all day. Took the phone to Verizon and I don’t know what they did but it works just like when I first got it. If I have an issue again they will replace unit.

  • Keith Sumner

    With this happening to my droid and wife’s droid x, it makes me think VZW is throttling data….

  • Lmartbk

    I was having the same issues with my Bionic.  I just swapped it out yesterday for a new Bionic and this one seems better although I still get poor service in my house, while my Droid Charge was flying through web pages and downloads!  Part of me wishes I had kept my Droid Charge but I’m trying to keep an open mind.

  • good point. i know that was the first thing i tried

  • Anonymous

    May also want to try re-seating the SIM card. Kind of let it reboot….

  • i have been having this problem since day one. the radio toggles off and on.. sometimes airplane mode does not help, only a reboot works. i took it into verizon but they offered no help ..the rep said maybe calling tech support would help. I will be asking for a replacement after this. kellex, did you go in store for the replacement?

  • Keith Sumner

    You know what’s weird guys? This same exact problem has been happening to both my OG Droid, and my wife’s Droid X, and for both our phones it started happening at the SAME TIME, about 2 weeks ago.


  • Chad

    I’d say that it’s a safe bet that MotoBlur is the culprit.

    • Anonymous

      I’d say it is a safe bet you have no clue what you are talking about.

  • Legoturte92

    I have had the same problems as you all. I never knew that my phone would not only drop from 4G to no data, but mine went as far as no signal whatsoever which I thought would be practically impossible by now. After having the hassle of going back due to a bad screen I’m not going back again. Hopefully an update will fix it.

  • Anonymous

    we would know if we had this issue right?  i haven’t used my bionic much on anything but wifi (only a little 4g) as i work from home often and it’s only been a few days.  i’ve noticed some 3g/4g handoff issues that airplane mode has always fixed, but my data connection seems reliable, even if i can’t say i’ve ever seen full bars on the phone since i got it.  i’d be a little more worked up about this, right?

    • Anonymous

      i took a walk outside to assure myself and i eventually had to toggle airplane mode in order to bring up any data connection, like after 4 or 5 minutes of staring at it and walking around with no connection.  then boom, 3 bars of 4g after airplane mode, immediately.  i’m worried now, should i try to swap mine?

  • Mneighbo

    So many haters. Shouldn’t throw stones if you don’t own one. I haven’t had any problems with mine. I absolutely love this machine. It’s bad ass! It’s like my X on steroids. I would recommend anyone get this phone. 

    • 1onofakind

      I’m not a hater even though I don’t own one. There are some flaws with this phone just like every other phone (you can apply that to pretty much everything in life) and if those flaws aren’t a problem to you than by all means get it.

  • pcDroid

    Hey kellex – so how long does your battery last with this new, problem-free Bionic?

  • Cgmartin33

    It happened to mine yesterday with no options for jump starting data. Airplane mode toggling and every other hack I have read have had no effect. I can’t even get 3g by switching settings to cdma only. PS…this IS on their radar from what I have been reading on the forums. There are notes in their system about this issue. Going to VZW right now to switch it out…they know me pretty well over there 😉 Thanks for the info Kellen…now we can finally enjoy our new toys because honestly, that was my only issue. This problem aside…I love this fricken thing!

  • Anonymous

    I got my Bionic on day 1 and everything was ok, and after loading allot of apps, I got tired of all the ads in my apps, coming from the droid 1 and ChevyNo1’s 5.5GB ROM that did not have and issues with ads, I down loaded a AD blocker app with good ratings and all of the sudden I started having data drops and no data issues like Kellex is describing. I suspected it was the AD blocker because after blocking ADs to certain apps that app had issues loading correctly. Maybe the Bionic does not like AD blocker? All my issues went away after removing the AD blocker. 🙂 Phone works great now. 

  • Hi guys what does it mean when your 4GLTE single turns to white instead of blue? Thanks

    • Anonymous

      White means it’s not connected, blue means it is.

      • Thanks thats what i was thinking just wanted to make usre

      • ironcheff

        actually, second level support told me that white bars means you are not authenticate for data. this could be for several reasons. in my case, he said for some reason my account was confused btween my bionic and my old phone which was in use by my wife

        • Anonymous

          Interesting, I didn’t know that. Thanks….

        • Lmrojas

          That’s stupid cause im on a single line and I’ve only had data on my dx and I ALWAYS get the white bars when I loose connection

        • Madcow06

          I was under the impression that white meant data connection and blue bars meant connected with google servers. May have read some bad info though.

  • LionStone

    Good that you got yours replaced Kellex…nothing more annoying than someone giving a review of a new phone when its obvious the reviewer has a lemon. Which is what another blog did with the TB.

    And yea, that’s exactly what I did on the second day or so after getting my TB, when I knew it was whacked. I didn’t budge, the Rep was telling me, oh it was just the storm that passed thru…not buying it, give me a new one please! And they did. You’ll get a new one the first time, after that if you still have issues, you’ll get a refurbished. So, i agree, if you guys know your radio isn’t working, take it back ASAP and don’t budge! Tell em you want your phone working properly out of the box! Not waiting for some bs update…you waited long enough and are paying top dollar!

  • Noble Four

    So right now I’m in a 3G only area. But I have been experiencing what seems like data loss. The 3G icon turns white and no data works. Occasionally the icon will disappear as well. So I have to disconnect mobile network and then reconnect. Is this similar to what you guys are experiencing? My bigger concern though is what I think might be a malfunctioning screen. If I tap with a moderate amount of pressure, the screen dimples in the middle as if I am pressing the glass against the screen below. And in some light I can see a little circle in the glass. As if the phone had been crushed during shipment. I took it to the Verizon store and the guy said it is just because the glass is thin so I need to tap more lightly. But the display phone didn’t seem to be doing the same thing, and honestly, I don’t think I should have to worry about tapping extremely lightly to prevent weird screen issues. Has anyone else experienced either of those problems? Should I seek a replacement?

    • Illinipoke98

      Yes on #1, that is what I’m experiencing. 

      #2….yeah i would be returning that puppy.  That doesn’t sound right at all.

  • Steveo

    Happened to my first Incredible and is now regrettably happening to my current one.  Unfortunately, if you don’t catch it fast enough to return, you enter refurb hell and are likely to get a returned phone.  And why were those phones returned … bad radios …

  • Fvez1085

    Have issue with signal and also have cracked screen. That happen bc i drop it thank god i put insurance on it

  • Thanks for this Kellex! I have had signal issues like you can’t believe, but I am glad I am not the only one. 🙂

  • Edswa96

    Coincidentally I was having the same problem yesterday and today with my Bionic. Yesterday my handset went blank and nothing seems to work. I took the battery out and that seem to work. I also had problem downloading some applications and games from the Droid market. The LTE signals kept going on and off and I get messages saying ” cannot download application due to error “. I also had to use the wifi on each of the applications that I tried to download and to no avail. Today I took my Bionic to the nearest Verizon store and they did a hard reset on my handset. Everything seems to work now and I do hope it stays this way cause I love this phone.

  • Syanpticrecord

    Kellex are u having any issues with netflix audio…ie crackling in the background… sort of sounds like a feedback effect… I have a forum thread over@ mdw… I’m curious if its a radio issue or not

  • ironcheff

    I had these same radio problems. In and out of 4G to 3G, to nothing, to white bars. Verizon 2nd level tech support told me this an authentication problem. They reset some unique ID and claimed it would fix it to no avail. I ended up returning the phone to get something completely different. Like you, my battery was dying in about 6 hours not to mention not getting data connections way too often. 

    2nd level tech support on the phone said this was first they heard of (this was on Monday, 4 days after the release). The physical store said they same thing, and that I was the first ever to return the phone. haha

  • Illinipoke98

    Good to hear the new phone is not having the issues.  I didn’t know if it was a real problem or if the radio was just not as strong as my OG.  I have mine on 3g only and it still drops like crazy at the house and work.  Love the phone, but it has some small quirks.

  • Richww6969

    I had the same thing happen to me to day would not connect 3g 4g No G, G wiz, did a reboot and working fine, side note: I was doing heavy tasking  just before and I think it just was a hic-up!!! I love my Bionic it ROCKS.

  • Bryan schultze

    I called verizon because i was having radio issues and slow download speeds and they had me pull out my sim and they said they pushed an update to my phone and now it seems to be working a hundred times better

  • guest

    Im having trouble with the Verizon store wanting to see the issue. It doesn’t always do it and it can be as simple as three or four times since I’ve had it. Any suggestions? Also another thing… when I look at my battery consumption screen it shows cell stand-by 40% and phone idle at 25%…after 8.5 hours they are my top two battery drainers, im at 20% battery life left. and yes I went thru wireless setting and turned on CDMA only, as I don’t get 4g at all here. Could this be an issue?

    • Illinipoke98

      From what I have read all of the newer moto phones show standby and idle as higher battery drainers than anything else.  Very odd to me, but apparently normal.

    • Call 611 forget the stores.

  • Sonycdx630

    I took the bionic back. screen and battery life was terrible. bad phone!

    • Anonymous

      Mine lasts all day with 350 mb’s downloaded today on 4g. 

      • Db

        My TB does the same, the problem is. Everyone runs different widgets, apps, calls different and texts differnt. there is no steady usage to guage this off of. Some days its like a whole day of 4g and i get home at 6 with 60% battery left. some days its like WOW 20% crap.

  • Wyveryx

    This happened to me the other day. Had a person with a VZW phone in a building getting four bars of 3G, my 4G was at one or none, and I was having connecting issues so I switched off LTE to see if my reception would be better… Never got better, 3G acted the same way. The only way I get reception was to toggle Airplane mode.

    I wish there was a way to determine if it was a fluke or radio issue budding because this is one of the reasons I switched from my rebooting and loosing signal all the time X.

  • Anthony Alves

    I’m having the same problems as you. Heading to Verizon today to exchange. My older brother has a Bionic too, but his battery has been perfect!

  • Trainplane3

    I tried exchanging mine and they said it was being fixed and the new one would do the same thing. I love this phone but it isn’t running as it should be.

    • Anonymous

      Why not just say I want to return it outright and cancel contract? They most likely told you a BS story. Last thong these stores want to do is return phones…

  • Mine was having these issues too. Losing signal constantly while I was trying to re-download my apps from the market. It was taking forever to DL the apps, so I switche on the WiFi (I dont have 4G where I live). The WiFi made it much quicker, and oddly enough, the problem went away entirely, even turning off the WiFi, and now I never lose signal. weird

  • Rizzidy

    Typical Motorola build “quality.”

  • Eric Cruz

    I had nothing but signal problems luckily it did it while I was at the store they exchanged my bionic with a new one and new SIM and now sweet bliss data connectivity everywhere.

  • Dat Tran

    I’m running into this issue as well and at first, I thought it was a battery thing. I took it back to the store and they ran a so-called “battery test” in which you just call a number and leave it on for 30 minutes. Nothing abnormal happened. As a result, they wouldn’t replace the battery or the unit. They said that the “4G network drains a lot of battery.” and that it was “just the way it was.” 

    If I took it back in again, I’m afraid they won’t even try. Can I take it to another Verizon store to get it replaced?

    • Anonymous

      Go to a different store and try.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Dat, a lot of the sales staff at the Verizon stores really are not that well trained and some talk a lot of garbage.  Pick a local store that you can relate to someone on the staff preferably a sr person that works there most days. Try to make a friend, thats helped me out alot!!! and stop by the stor from time to time and play around with the devices.

      I found that once I connect with one or two sales people they will open up but outside of the store if your talking rooting and such.  That way they will trust you more, than the usual guy looking to bring back the device. I was told buy a sales rep that her managers are realy tight on them on cetain things like returning top end devices. They will try all avenues to keep you with that device unless it’s obivius it’s the phone. 

      Plus the stores have their own inventory and are seperate from the Corp. Verzion that you call up on the phone.

      I Hope this helps in future dealings with the VZW store 🙂

    • Jam120992

      if ur having radio issues, tell them 

    • Jac White

      Does it matter?  You are within 14 days and should be able to return with 0 reprocussions?

      • Anonymous

        Or he can tell them to shove it and cancel contract if it is new…

  • Calvin Williams

    I have to say…. I’ve had this problem with my Droid 1, 2 and Charge. It’s not as bad in major cities, but in places I should have full 3G service I’m stuck on 1x and use airplane mode to try to restart the radio. If that fails I have to reboot which almost always works. Kind of a pain but I don’t know what causes it. My mom and sisters Tbolt does the same thing sometimes….

    • BionicCommando3214

      I had a Charge that did the same thing. If I was travelling in a car, it would go to 4G then as we moved out of 4G coverage into 3G, it would lose all data, get hung up, then just sit in 1X mode. My wife’s Dinc2 would just stay solidly in 3G right next to my phone. Did 1 exchange, then just returned it and waited for Bionic. Seems to be a LTE issue.

  • it’s good it’s only a small batch. i love my Bionic. coming from an OG Droid, to a Fascinate to this. it’s everything i could want. came out just in time to use the new 4G LTE that came online yesterday in Rockford.

  • Anonymous

    And Bionic haters, let’s try to stay out of this one.  I know this is the bait you have been waiting for, but we are trying to help folks out. 😛

    • So can we revise the 2 day review to make it an A+ ? haha

      • Calvin Williams

        No. I give it a B at most.

      • Anonymous

        Only A+ I can give right now is to the Galaxy SII. 🙂

        • Anonymous

          What would you give the D3?

          That seems like a solid phone IMO. If it had 4G, id take it over anything else out there. 

      • Anonymous

        The only grade that matters is the one you give it.

    • Anonymous

      If you’re trying to keep the haters at bay, you might want to stay away from pics that so clearly show the pixelation in the PenTile display. Maybe use a stock photo of the device with the screen off.  😉

      • Calvin Williams


      • EC8CH

        First thing I noticed 😛

        • Mctypething

          u mad bro?

          • LionStone

            Gettin old…bro.

          • Mctypething2_Electric_Boogaloo

            u mad bro?

      • Anonymous

        Well there is no denying that the screen is garbage, I’ll be the first person to tell you that. 😛

        We are talking radio issues here.

        • Syanpticrecord

          Kellex are u having any issues with netflix audio…ie crackling in the background… sort of sounds like a feedback effect… I have a forum thread over@ mdw… I’m curious if its a radio issue or not

          • Oh man! I noticed that too! I thought it was just me. 

          • VisualFX

            I have not noticed any radio issues in the past month that I have had my Bionic nor have I noticed any issues whatsoever with netflix audio.

          • rera99

            I am having the same issue, does anybody have a fix? Is this related to the previously mentioned radio issue?

        • hkklife

          Kellex, just a quick question:  in your honest opinion, does the Bionic’s pentile screen seem ANY better than the Droid X2 and/or D3?  I briefly had my X2 side by side with a DB and thought my X2 looked whiter/brighter but the DB’s screen appeared to handle problematic colors (green etc) a tad better than the X2 and also seemed to have a tiny bit less ghosting.

          • tpags

            The x2 screen for every day use seems better. I have both, and side by side the x2 screen is brighter. BUT, when u look at pics on facebook or wherever the Bionic seems to show the pics much better. Like u said less ghosting. For me the screen is messing with my eyes. Wanted to so badly like and keep Bionic but i think im parting ways. SAD DAY!!

          • tpags

            Scrolling in browser, in the text screen and on home page u can def tell way more on Bionic. I can live with x2 cause i dont use phone for pics just everyday browsing and texting. Not trolliing or hating just being honest. Live motorola and their products but the screen is just a kick in the balls.

        • I may be hated on for this but I love the pentile screen. I can’t see any sort of fuzziness or pixel issues, the colors are fine, and it is really easy to see in the sun. 

          • Toddersv

            Same here!  Screen doesn’t bother me one bit.

          • VisualFX

            Same here I think unless you constantly have the phone within no more than 2 inches from your eyes then the screen really is not a problem. I LOVE my BIONIC…super fast 4G LTE (normally i average 20 Mbps download and 5-7 Mbps up with a max of 30 Mbps download and 10 Mbps up) I live in Houston, TX by the way. I love the super responsiveness of the screen and no lag (to me I dont see any Motoblur/Motorola overlay on this phone). My wife owns an EVO 4G and the Sense is horrendous and battery hog and the SGS1 has the Touchwiz and I hated that too. I used to be with T-Mobile and was one of the first with the very first Android (G1 and then G2 which were both pretty good especially the G2 which only had a single core processor clocked at 800 MHz but I compared it to some first gen dual core phones and the G2 underclocked and all responded much faster). The BIONIC gives me great results in how quickly I can switch screens, pull apps and surf. Only drawback is the dang camera…i HATE how long the camera takes to first even open up and even worse how long to take a pic…if I’m trying to quickly snap a pic then i may miss it by the time the Bionic’s camera focuses to capture the moment. Other than that everything else is GREAT!

          • Awfredricks

            I don’t mind it at all but you can’t dispute the fact that pixels are obnoxiously obvious.

          • I don’t think its that obvious, yeah I can see it if I get up close, but its not that bad to me. 

        • You’re holding it wrong 🙂

      • the screen looks a little blury to me

      • Rctp10

        U obviously are a hater and are jealous ur phone dont compare but hey i dont run my mooth on ur problem forums for whatever phone it may be u have. Im extremely happy with the display i think it looks fantastic while looking at high res photos. And not to mention i have 500 mb of free ram with 7 screens full of widgets and running go launcher, but ya u probly know our phones better so im sure everyone cares what u think. Sorry Kellex i had to do it

        • Anonymous

          1. People will take you a lot more seriously if you refrain from typing like a 10 year old.  U no wat I meen?

          2. I wasn’t hating.  I was pointing out an obvious flaw in the article’s photo and joking around with Kellex.

          3. Kellex agreed with me…your argument is invalid.

      • Doriroid

        That pic makes it look larger than a tablet!!! It’s going to look worse than it realy is!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Okay, so I do have this issue periodically.  Anyone want to share best way to get it replaced?