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Motorola DROID Bionic Review – Verizon

This weekend, after more than a week with the DROID Bionic, I felt it was finally time to put my thoughts on the device together in one of our standard reviews.  Since most of you know the story of the Bionic, there is no need to rehash all of those bad times, so instead, I will just jump right into this.  This device was supposed to be game changing.  Is it?  In some ways it most certainly is.  But is it game changing enough for you to buy it now instead of waiting the month to see what may be the beginning of an era of smartphones that we never dreamed would come.  Let’s find out.  

The Good:

  • Call Quality:  I don’t find myself highlighting call quality all that often during these reviews, but in the case of this phone, it had to be mentioned.  Motorola sure does know how to make a call sound spectacular.  If you were looking for a phone that essentially tops them all for making calls, this would be it.
  • Speed/Power:  With its dual-core 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, this phone flies.  While it runs essentially the same version of Blur as the DROID3, it definitely does not suffer from those same slowness issues that over time plagued that phone.  From day 1 to now this phone has been fast.  It processes multiple apps at a time, jumps between them, and rarely (if ever) finds itself bogged down.
  • Design:  Some are fans of the Moto hump, some aren’t.  I’m one of the fans.  It’s different that anything anyone else is doing and I like that about it.  Other than the hump though, I’m a fan of the black and metallic exterior, the smooth lines, light grey speaker highlights and big ol’ soft keys.  Another well designed phone, right here.

  • Hardware:  I’ll just list it all out and you tell me what phone on the market matches up to it.  1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4G LTE, 4.3″ qHD screen, 8MP camera that shoots 1080p video, front camera for video chatting, HDMI mirroring, 16GB of internal storage, and a pre-installed 16GB SD card. Can’t think of another device that matches those specs?  That’s because there isn’t one.  There are no other dual-core phones with 4G LTE connectivity.
  • Screen (at times):  This is one of those sections that I’m coughing while writing as someone who in the past has absolutely trashed on Motorola’s qHD PenTile Matrix screen choices.  So what are my “at times” thoughts on them now?  I’ll just say this – the brightness is unmatched.  If you use a blue background, it looks fabulous.  And as long as I try and avoid looking at greens or straight lines with black in them, I can live with it.  It’s definitely not perfect and I would prefer a Super AMOLED Plus, but I can at least admit that the screen has grown on me over the last couple of weeks.
  • 4G LTE:  I had been using an unlocked Samsung Galaxy SII for 2-3 months because I found the HTC Thunderbolt to be one of the buggiest messes of a phone in I don’t even know how long.  So while I love my SGS2 still to this day, I most definitely missed having 4G LTE.  With this phone bringing me specs similar to the SGS2 but with LTE tacked on, I have found myself back in a very happy place.
  • HDMI:  This has become a standard with most high-end phones these days, but having an HDMI port that allows for full mirroring to an HD screen is pretty fun.  Gaming, watching home videos, or showing slideshows of the pictures you just snapped, are tasks that are all easily completed with the Bionic.
  • Front Camera and Google Talk:  I really wish Motorola had tossed in a 2MP front camera like Samsung did with the Galaxy SII, but that’s just not the case.  The VGA (0.3MP) shooter won’t be used any time for taking stills, however, it works just fine while video chatting on Google Talk.  Speaking of Google Talk with Video – it’s such a fantastic app.  I can’t wait for every front-camera’d phone to get it.
  • Battery Life (sort of):  When compared to other 4G LTE phones from Verizon, the Bionic is king.  While it may not be world beating when compared to non-4G LTE phones, it’s at least showing us that this technology is headed in the right direction.  I saw anywhere from 8-10 hours of normal use on the standard battery and 14-16 on the extended big dog.  I should point out that standard use for me is checking emails, Twitter, Google Reader, and potentially browsing through some favorite internet spots. If you start gaming, watching video, or doing other intensive processes, you’ll get far less than those numbers I just gave you.  Don’t forget to take a look at our battery hands-on which included both the extended and inductive (wireless) cover.
  • Accessories:  The accessory options for the DROID Bionic are really unmatched by any other phone at this time.  The webtop experience – which is sort of shaky at this point – is something that has a ton of potential.  And with 4 different options for you to experience it at a variety of price points, I’d say that Motorola is on the right track.
  • Root:  The phone was rooted before it even became available to the public and that makes all of us happy.  It also has a bootstrap app that can put a custom recovery on it.  And CM7 is getting closer to being released.

The Not-so-Good:

  • Screen (a lot of the time):  I know that I just got done semi-praising the screen on this phone, but that doesn’t mean I’m in love.  After coming from the incredibly vibrant screen on the Galaxy SII, it has been a struggle to get myself to a point where I can almost accept the one on the Bionic.  It has moments of brilliance, but for the most part, the grainy mess that appears far too often is unacceptable in today’s mobile landscape.  It’s time to switch it up Moto.
  • Camera:  We had heard all sorts of rumors about the Bionic’s new shooter and how it was so much better than anything Motorola had used before.  Well folks, it definitely did not live up to that hype.  While it may not bring us that nasty blue tint like the DROID3 did, it has enough other downfalls to make even a novice photog frustrated.  It takes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long to focus on anything.  Doesn’t even know what to do in dimly lit areas.  And even struggles at times to create non-blurry shots in pristine lighting conditions.  Here are some of the best photos I was able to take:


  • Headphone Jack:  What’s with the obnoxious hissing noise?  Moto, Verizon, anyone – please fix this immediately.
  • Bootloader:  It’s locked.  Only a miracle would get it unlocked.  Still no word on when Motorola is going to start unlocking bootloaders either, but rumors would suggest that this phone could be one of the first. We are getting close to 2012 and were told that we would start to see this happen some time in the “end of 2011”, so stay tuned.
  • Battery Life:  Back on battery life for a second.  We are aware that this phone bests the other LTE offerings in battery life, but still want to point out that this phone struggles to get through a day with even semi-moderate use.  I know that cell phones these days have multiple tasks going on and we rely on them more and more, however, the fact that none of them (including this one) can get you through even 24 hours is saddening.  We can do dual-core and quad-core this and that, but we can’t make battery tech that lasts longer?  Time to refocus some efforts into some other areas, I’d say.
  • Blur:  Skins, oh skins.  This version of Blur has improved greatly over past releases, yet it still drives me nuts.  In order to make this thing acceptable, I had to turn off those ridiculous 3D transitions and animations and then put in GO Launcher EX and Widget Locker immediately.  I do like some of the polish that this build has, but it still has a long ways to go before I’ll even think about not doing my own customizing.  The dock bar is nice, the shiny gloss over widgets is fun, and the paginated app drawer is cool.  It’s still too much though.
  • Lock Switch:  We actually ran a poll over whether or not people preferred to have a top left or right lock switch and the majority of you share my thoughts.  The left switch on this phone is in the wrong damn spot.  As someone that uses my phone mostly in my right hand, that top left button is almost impossible to hit.  This may seem like a minor thing to be complaining about, but when you are constantly locking and unlocking your phone, this can be quite the nuisance.
  • Signal Issues (not widespread?):  There are known signal/hand-off issues with this phone that have plagued a number of you.  It doesn’t appear to be widespread, but we have heard from enough readers now that we made a separate post about it.  According to our sources, Verizon has an update in the works to hopefully address it.
  • Phone Thickness:  I love the styling of this phone, but would love for it to be thinner.  After using the Galaxy SII for so long, it has taken me a bit to get used to a phone this big again.  It’s thinner than the other LTE offerings from Verizon, yet still isn’t thin enough.




To see how it compares to the Galaxy SII and DROIDX, check out this post.

Hands-on and Unboxing:

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Video Sample (1080p):

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The Verdict:

I’ll try to make this quick, although I don’t know if that is possible when it comes to this phone.  I will say this though – I’m liking the DROID Bionic more and more each day that I use it.  The 4G LTE connectivity is something that every smartphone user on this planet should experience.  Even in the 2-bar area that I happen to live, it’s still almost faster than my home WiFi connection.  The specs are beefy enough that you should be able to use this phone for a long, long time.  In a world that is filled with 2-year contracts, I can’t imagine that this would not still be cruising along nicely at the end of one.  There is a vocal group of Android enthusiasts out there that would have you believe that this phone is garbage – they are 100% wrong.  This is actually a really excellent phone.  It is hands-down Verizon’s best at the moment.

But will it be able to compete with a couple of devices that could be here within the next month and a half, the Vigor and Galaxy Nexus?  Who knows.  Just remember, that when those come out, we will be asking if they can compete with the Motorola Dinaras and Galaxy S3s of the world.  And then after those, we’ll be asking about the rumored devices to come after them.  We are in this time period where mobile technology is evolving at such an incredible pace that many of you are nervous to pull the trigger; afraid that you will be locked in for 2 years on a device that turns out to be a dud.  The DROID Bionic does not appear to be a dud.

DROID Bionic Specs | Other Bionic Coverage

  • Anonymous

    I am still interested in this phone, obviously for docking purposes, But…..my concern and question is the sound.  Although I don’t use the ear piece alot, I don’t want that to be a problem.  My OG is great, I just want a faster / upto date smartphone.  I don’t think the screen is an issue for me, so besides earpiece and screen, what one or two other MAJOR issues should hold me back?  In advance, thank you for your input.

  • PMoney

    I’m still trying to figure out whether I’m returning my Bionic or not. I have one more week to decide (and won’t pay a restocking fee because I bought it at Costco). I looked at Facebook side by side with my iPod Touch, and the Bionic screen is severely lacking (I know we all knew that). Pictures are brighter and crisper on the iPod (I’ve never had an iPhone, as I really love the Google Navigation on Droids). I wonder if I should wait for the newest Samsung, as they seem to have better screens. But my old HTC Droid Eris was driving me nuts, so I wanted to get the best phone I could get as soon as I could. I don’t want to fuel the Bionic hate, but I’m truly ignorant here–do you suggest I wait for the new Samsung?

  • So… do regular micro-USB chargers work on the Bionic or does it really use a special one like the guy at Radioshack told me???

  • Anonymous

    I really, REALLY wanted this phone to work out for me. I had read the concerns about the screen and thought “well, it at least has to be as good as my OG Droid, right?”  Wrong.  The graininess was far too noticeable and I simply couldn’t justify shelling out $250 for a screen that looked worse than a phone I bought off contract 20 months ago for $200.  The camera is the one other component that I have been dying to see a viable upgrade, and unfortunately Moto still(!) hasn’t figured that one out.  I love my OG Droid as it has served me well and was willing to give my loyalty to Moto once again, but this phone just didn’t convince me it was a proper successor even with all the other component upgrades.  *Sigh*, here’s to hoping the Vigor or Nexus don’t have the same issues and a good build quality.

  • Dannythefish1989

    I have the bionic but really want the new htc phone. Would it be worth the wait to return my bionic and wait for the vigor? I mean is it gonna get pushed back 9 months like the bionic did? HELP!!!!!

  • QQMore

    Just played with one in the store yesterday.  Obviously much faster than my D1 clocked at 1ghz.  Not a fan of that screen though.  Was the first time I really took a look at the pentile screens.  It was also my first 4G experience.  Wow I’m definitely looking forward to that.  Think I’m holding out for the Vigor and Nexus to get released and will probably end up with one of those to be honest.  If those don’t turn out to be good though, Bionic probably will end up being my next phone then.  Upgrade eligible in October but waiting on the Vigor and Nexus to hit before the final decision.

  • Mikemcse

    This is a great phone. I was reluctant to pull the trigger but as mentioned before why wait until the next best thing? There will always be something better coming out. The call quality is awesome and I have gotten decent battery life with the standard battery. The screen takes some getting used to but it works great in the sun and its very bright. Yeah it has a bunch of bloatware loaded on it and it has some flaws but overall I am very happy with it. The phone is very fast and works well as a phone.     

  • equake

    Honest review with a mixed bag of goodness vs notso goodness.  Pentile screens is definitely an iffy subject matter as seeing the tiling effect at the Verizon store it does getting used to.  But rumor has it that the screen is very useable in direct sunlite which most screens can’y touch so this could be a good fir for those outdoors use.  The only compromise I see is the battery which was rumored to be 1900+ mAh which could have put this phone over the top.  The Atrix I thought had this big battery, I wonder why the Bionic was short changed.

  • Jeff

    I still don’t understand the whole lock switch debate, I use my phone primarily in my right hand and the top left is in the perfect position to hit with my right index finger.

    • Anonymous

      I think he means he holds it in his left hand and uses his right fingers to navigate, maybe.

    • Anonymous

      if you are right handed the power  left position it is better

  • Roxstarrz

    Why are all you haters even on here? If you don’t like the phone, than don’t buy it… Who are you guys to say the screen is crap or that it’s a slow phone. Last time I checked, I was buying a phone, not a computer. Why do you want the phone to be overclocked? Won’t that drain the battery that much faster? Seriously, if you want a different phone, than just wait for that shit and shut your filthy mouths already…

    • TeflonBilly

      You mad bro?

      • Anonymous

        bro you mad lol

    • Anonymous

      why overclock when the phone comes super fast already. People are stupid

  • I am glad I am not the only person with that annoying hissing noise.

  • Anonymous

    oww kellex that is a nice review 🙂 you are always honest.

  • Pennywise

    10h 34m 0s on battery which is reporting exactly 60% remaining.  4GLTE is on and connected (though haven’t done much surfing today, mostly just txting and short phone calls)

  • Sporttster

    Just saw a commercial on the Samsung Galaxy S2 available on all the other carriers right now. Man,I am SO incredibly tempted to ditch Verizon and their late to the party crap and go get one on either T-Mobile or Sprint! 4g, dual core processor, Super Amoled plus screen, known the world round as the best of the best available. I gotta go check this out tommorrow for sure!!!!!!

    • Pennywise

      Check it out and let us know what you think. IMO, the Bionic is a significantly better device than the SII.

    • Anonymous

      is it really worth having a nice fast phone on a MUCH slower network? Those other networks cant touch Verizons 4G.

      • Anonymous

        nobody cant touch verizon period. We have the best devices as well

    • Anonymous

      Yeah…Not sure. Low pixel density, low resolution, slower data connections, cheap plastic builds…I dunno. I’ve played with the overseas gsm gsII but it just feels cheap overall. Very fast performance, but cheap feeling. Like a Japanese sports car in a way.

  • Sporttster

    I cannot and will not get over the screen. This is the main interface to this phone and with it being so grainy, there’s no way I want anything to do with that for the next two or more years. Not with better phones coming….so I have to wait….not compromising

    • Pennywise

      Sounds like a good decision!  Just checked the screen on my Bionic again, yup, still looks great!

    • Cliwat

      What ya’ll talking about..screen looks fine…i dont use a loupe when i play games, or read facebook.

  • Justin

    I’m apparently one of the few who say this phone is meh.
    I got my bionic on day 1 and had the og since day 1. Tons of stuff I like and don’t like with this bionic, nothing makes me really “wow” over it. It is cool, but nothing special to me.

    • Pennywise

      Weird… I guess I’m not sure what you’re looking for a phone to do.

      (20+Mbps UP/DOWN @50-70ms and this phone moves through multitasking like warm butter)

  • Droidrican

    I played with this phone in Verizon and I love it. I want but not payng $799 for it with out contract. Is there a way I can get this phone with out spending so much without contract? I have the Droid X Verizon. I know, i know, I’m old school lol. I’ve had this phone for about less then a year. So im not even at the half way point of my contract and they wont give me a new one to get the Bionic. Sooooo what the helll do I do? Any ideas, advice, etc

    • Anonymous

      if you go to a Verizon ‘corporate’ store as long as your the primary line on the account they might offer you something off. the regular ‘authorize retailer’ wont do jack. you can also add a line for 9.99 a month. i did that only because they got 20% off my bill a month because my wife works for the Bank of America. so we save like $30 a month. and now i have 3 lines rotating for upgrades at various times. LOL.
      but if you thing about it, paying the $10 a month for the line for 2 years is only 240. and lets say you get the 100 off and pay 199. thats 200 upfront and 240 over 2 years. better than 800 upfront. you save half too.

    • Anonymous

      wait brother wait lol. Verizon like to play kids games sometimes

  • Not sure if you have seen this
    Along with the announcement that they are going to be running android devices on the x86 architecture i’m not really concerned for battery power (so long as these chips make there way onto android phones). I’m sure ever one knows and agrees lithium ion batteries suck. The kids over at MIT have proved this multiple times.

  • Anonymous

    “You never get anywhere in life, if you’re always waiting for the next best thing.”

    I agree BUT..I can wait for a phone with battery 4G battery life. I can wait for a phone with 4G Radios that aren’t so big. I can wait for a phone that has a better display and a better camera. With technology’s rapid pace advancement, I will not be waiting that longer.

    • Anonymous

      Stuff you’re asking for… A year or two. But then it’s time for LTE-Advanced and other changes.

  • Ry4meck

    question: I understand that 4g lte is more draining on a phone battery then 3g. With that being said however how are these reviews being done? Is it with background data on for constant syncing? I own a DX, keep background data off (as I prefer to update my facebook, twitter, email myself) and with moderate usage (heavy texting, 30-45mins talk time, facebook/twitter/email multiple times a day, and light gaming such as angry birds/words with friends) average between 36-38 hours on a single charge. I’d really like a 4g phone but if they are only averaging 8-10 hours I’ll have to pass for now and keep on going with the X.

  • Bionic

    Good review.  However I have not seen many issues with my camera.  But yanno what?  If a picture is important to me……….im not using my damn phone to take it.  Duh

  • Anonymous

    I love my Bionic but there are some things I dislike about it. And I’m glad I’m not the only one with a hissing headphone jack… FIX IT!!! SOMEONE!!! NOW!!! 

    Here’s the short list of things I’m not the biggest fan of (I promise my writing makes it look like more issues than I actually have):The camera can take great pictures in the right conditions, but those conditions are few and far between. Motorola definitely went to the school of more megapixels = gooder. That’s right, I said gooder. The screen animations take too long and if you turn them off you lose the CRT screen-off animation. I still don’t like the sideways app drawer but there are ways around that. The standard battery gets me 12 to 14 hours pretty much without fail unless I’m watching video after video – not great but about what my OG Droid was getting near the end. The setting Motorola came up with to detect whether or not the thing is in your pocket is OK in theory, but in practice it doesn’t really work. It works in the sense that it will lock the screen in your pocket, but it will lock the screen when it’s not in your pocket as well – like when you use Google Voice for your voicemail and try to actually listen to your messages. And, finally, I do notice the ‘pentileness’ at times. However, I probably wouldn’t think anything of it had I not spent the last few months reading you people piss and moan about pentile screens. I don’t really care. My eyesight isn’t perfect and unless I’m holding it up next to a different screen for a reference it’s not really that bad.Now for the things I like…
    For one, the thing is FAST. Not just snappy like other heavy hitters like the SGSII, but fast all around thanks to LTE. 1GHz dual core may not be the fastest processor with the highest clock speed, but it’s no slouch – and I have yet to make it hiccup. I can stream flash content over LTE with ZERO problems. No lag, no stuttering, just butter. The spec freaks out there will hold off for something “better” but this thing won’t be on its deathbed in 2 years when my contract is up like my OG was. I’m willing to bet it won’t come close to matching anything that comes out 18 months from now, but it probably won’t struggle to run new apps at that time, either. Size is relative. The phone is not small, but it’s thinner and lighter than the OG Droid many Bionic owners are coming from. The width and height help it feel thinner than it actually is. It’s not thin, but it’s no Thunderbolt, either. It feels solid in my hand. There’s more but I’m hungry and you’re probably tired of reading this crap. I like my Bionic.

  • Anonymous

    Bottom line is that if you are currently using a GS2 or a TBolt or an EVO, then the Bionic isn’t going to be THAT big of a deal, because the jump in technology isn’t all that noticeable.  But what you need to understand is that a lot of us are OG Droid users, who got our first and only Android handsets back in November of ’09!

    I’ve been holding onto my upgrade since March.  It feels good to have a frustration-free phone now.  And this Blur is not as bad as the ugly monster that everyone keeps crying about.  Probably is the fact that the processor and RAM allow it to function like it’s “supposed to”.

    And if I don’t like it 6 months from now, I’m sure VZW will let me upgrade by next September 😉

  • Anonymous

    Good review Kellex. My thoughts are similar and you have confirmed most of them, if this gets a BOGO and/or price drop by Christmas, I don’t care of Ice Cream, Lasagna, or Chinese rice comes out, I’m pulling the trigger! Time to retire my OG!!!!

    • Bionic

      Bionic will likely get Android 4.0 update anyway.

      • Anonymous

        completely agree

  • En28so

    I haven’t played with this phone yet, but the call quality seems to be excellent according to most reviews, so to me I think motorola makes the phones with the best signals and call quality. I know my original droid and now my DROIDX have had perfect signals all the time.

    • Anonymous

      When i first bought my droid x i felt in love with the sound and speaker quality of that puppy. It was the best device 2010 destroying evo 4g

  • Mr.joe

    “There is a vocal group of Android enthusiasts out there that would have you believe that this phone is garbage – they are 100% wrong.”
    My eyes watered up while reading this.  It’s so beautiful.  Next to that puppy.  OMG I <3 boxer dogs so much.  If that is Kellex's dog.  I think I may have respect for him.

  • Anonymous

    I took a picture of my keyboard and you can see the dust in between the keys clear as day. That’s a great picture.

  • Anonymous

    Nice review kellex, you’re right about the camera it does take a bit longer to focus depending on the distance of what you are trying to photograph but the pictures are true to life and very sharp. The thickness i got to say is a  individual preference. Myself I love the width of the phone, it’s bit thinner than the D1 yet thicker than the SGS2 which for me is perfect. Even with the hard protective cover it’s still enough to hold on too. The battery lasts ok, I’m a very heavy user and love to watch movies and stream video, so I can get thu a day but just barely. I carry a portable battery charger and it gives me the extra charge i need. http://www.cellphoneshop.net/microusbackup.html and this gets me by. I’ve not heard the hiss noise you talk about in the ear phones. The LTE is a MUST for any phone without it it’s almost useless. This thing can multi-task like crazy, I actually had about 6 things running at once and called myself from my office and it never skipped a beat, it took it all and kept right on going. The Pentile screen can be better and is probably the least thing I like about the phone but if it saves battery then I can lie with it. If the battery dies the screen goes black and it does not do anyone any good then  🙂  All in all I love this phone. 

  • Please stop unboxing and just get to the phone thanks

  • J Dub

    I need next gen specs WITH an unlocked bootloader. That’s the only way you’ll ever be able to get by for 2 years. Also waiting for the first ICS device helps too.

  • Guest

    Unless the Nexus Prime is just absolutely amazing… I’m just gonna wait until the price goes down on the Bionic. Sounds like a keeper to me. Either I buy a phone within the next few months, or just keep waiting and waiting because I’m scared something better will come out. Something better will always come out. Just have to decide… Hmmm…

  • Anonymous

    I really wanted to counter your “name something better” throwdown with the Galaxy S II LTE for Rogers but thats only announced not on the market (which is still more than pretty much any other phone we’ve been talking about lately). Enjoyed the review but I think you should start adding Vellamo benchmarks to these. From what I can gather its the “best” benchmark out there.

  • Kellex, glad to see you’re not too big a man to admit you can be swayed!  I got a Bionic on launch day  (my OG had had enough) & I love it!  I was worried about the screen & after I went in a played with it, I couldn’t tell the difference!  So, if people are wondering about the screen, don’t take ANYBODY’s word for it.  Go play with a Bionic at Verizon & decide for yourself!!!

    • In Kellex’s defense, i think he’s coming from a Samsung so he’s used a great screen. I came from a OG Droid to a Bionic and I love the screen.

      • He uses 20 different phones regularly so he will see differences us prolly not so much…trolls like to troll tho

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, it’s not exactly a fair comparison.  Samsung’s AMOLED+ screen is the best display money can buy, nothing else comes close.

        • Anonymous

          I like the super lcd on the thunderbolt and droind incredible 2 the best.

      • Anonymous

        It is about choice i love moto devices but i feel the best natural and best display are the htc super lcd. I have to take pentile second and amoled 3. Now if there is a way i can lower the saturation of the sammy it will be number 1. I hate those colorful colors, it is just to much

    • Anonymous

      people make a big deal out of nothing

  • D2enigma

    New technology is good.  Better devices are awesome.  But what about the support for the devices that they released and sold?  I just hope that they focus more on the one that they have SOLD already before moving on to the new best thing (again will be full of bugs).  Feels like customers are paying hundreds of dollars just to play the role as QA.

  • LionStone

    Well, like I mentioned in the battery review post, (which really was just a gallery of the different batteries and not really usage/life)…with what the TB has, when it came out, it did damn fine as the first 4G phone on VZW. The link (battery test review by Anandtech) someone posted narrowed in on what I suspected initially, that the Bionic wasn’t going to be all that much better on 4G, despite ppl saying the dual cores were going to help it use less.

    It did show that for web browsing, the TB did poor but the Bionic was only ‘slightly’ better with its bigger battery. Yet for using the Hotspot, the TB did a little better! For me, the screen and camera is better and a definite deal breaker. 4G speeds are similar, although I’ve learned that will vary depending on location. My last two tests were 11.85 down, 4.55 up and 12.56 down, 4.79 up. SFO area. I jumped on the extended batt just because it was 50% off, I got 24 hrs in mostly 4G but in 3G too.

    Anyway, not trying to bash the Bionic, just comparing with what I have. And I know some people are on their phones constantly so the battery life on these 4G phones will just not do it for them, but for me the TB is still solid…and is still the sexiest phone on VZW! Hehe, just had to add that….

    • Your nutz the thunderbolt was a horrible phone anyway you put it

      • LionStone

        lol!  maybe yours was, but mine isn’t! Let me guess, you bought the Bionic?

        • Anonymous

          I upgraded from the bolt to the DB. I can honestly say the only things I miss on the bolt is the faster camera shutter, the speaker, and the kickstand. Especially the kickstand. The bionic speaker gets muffled easily cause of the design.

          But battery life. Well, seeing that it’s mostly personal habits that determine battery life on Androids, it’s much more relevant to compare the same person’s usage in terms of percentage. And for me, it’s mor than double on the DB if on standard battery. I got the extended for both the bolt and DB, but standard for me on the TB is 4-5 hours max. On the DB, I’m getting 10-14 hours so far each day on the standard. Same usage habits, so whatever your battery life on the tb is, you can expect more than double that on the DB.

          The extended I’ve only used once just to charge and drain it, but that one time it lasted me 25 hours. 6 of those hours I was asleep of course. But how often does anybody not sleep…

          As for LTE speeds, basically the same, though I did post a 33.33Mbps down during that first week on my tb when basically nobody was on the network. DB so far I’m getting 20+Mbps down average in my area. (NYC) highest so far was a 23.43 down @ 77ms latency.

          EDIT: as for the screen, I liked the S.LCD on the bolt, but the fuzzy graphics of a lot of apps and icons due to low resolution and pixel density was driving me nuts. (I’ve had FWVGA screens prior to the WVGA on the bolt, so it was hard to take. What is strange is that the same resolution on a Super AMOLED – on my Nexus S – didn’t bother me.)

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  • Loving my Bionic.  Thanks for the review.

    • Anonymous

      The bionic is getting nice reviews not only on droidlife but phandroid, androidcentral, phonedog and engadget 🙂 I love my puppy

  • GREAT REVIEW…And thanks for shareing with all of us.

  • Anonymous

    Great review!  While I’m not sure what I’ll get at the end of October, when my contract renews…the Bionic is still at the top of my list.

    Nice work…as always!

  • MattInPDX

    I picked up a Bionic last Thursday and am happy with it so far. I went from an OG Droid which I absolutely loved to this 4G beast.

    While it doesn’t have the best screen, it is acceptable, better than I thought it would be and the LTE seals the deal. Running a speed test I get 34Mb down and 15Mb up, that’s just ridiculous.

    Yes, haters are gonna hate, but 99% of them don’t even own a Bionic, they only hate based off of what they read. 

    If you are even thinking about getting a Bionic, do yourself a favor, go to a Verizon and check one out. But if you buy one, do it before October 15th at Radio Shack because they are doing $100 off Verizon smart phones which means it’s $199 instead of $299.

    • Anonymous

      that’s because they are dirty sheeps.

  • Sp4rxx

    Why keep comparing it to ‘future’ phones?  If not the Bionic, when the Galaxy Nexus comes out the argument will be if it can compete with phones after it?  You can’t justify the ‘beefiness’ of a phone in comparison to phones that come out in the future – the hardware will be different and newer.  I like that you placed some view vs a current phone on the market, but only on one phone.
    I am still in the running for the Bionic and it will be a TREMENDOUS upgrade from the OG.  The review still showed exactly what I was thinking (based on this site’s reviews, other articles and friends’ experiences) and agree that it will be an amazing phone.

    My point is to please stop asking whether or not a current phone will compare to future phones or not – in most regards, no it won’t.  That type of statement is not needed in a review.  If everyone used that as a reason to buy or not buy a phone, NO ONE would ever own a phone as they are waiting for the latest and greatest thing.  Technology is moving way too fast for one to keep waiting for the newest thing.

    • Anonymous

      great response 🙂

  • Craigg

    I really appreciate this review but based on this article I can’t see paying Verizon $600 for a phone that is locked down, full of bloatware, with sub par battery life, camera, screen, and no global roaming. In my opinion that doesn’t describe a flagship phone. A few weeks back I bought an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S2 for $550. As soon as I got it I popped an AT&T sim in the phone and began using it. I was immediately impressed to the point that it’s now my top choice for a phone. The Galaxy S2 just does everything right and I don’t have to jump through hoops with rooting it, trying to unlock radios, unlock the sim card, and removing all that bloat. The only advantage Verizon offers is a slightly better network and that really depends on one’s location. In my home area there is no LTE yet AT&T has HSPA+ with the enhanced back haul making them about twice as fast as VZW. At this point I will continue using the Samsung Galaxy S2 on a month to month agreement with AT&T and I will never sign a contract with any carrier. It’s just not worth it. I doubt that I will buy another Verizon phone unless they come out with a true unlocked Google phone or something similar.

    • You can root and debloat

    • Anonymous

      Not exactly a fair comparison.  AT&T and the international GS2 are GSM based and thus fully unlocked/debloated.  You won’t find any other phone like that on any carrier unless you pay full price and get an international phone which only really work on AT&T.  You must be on their 2 GB data plan, I’m enjoying unlimited on Verizon and sorry but LTE is far faster than AT&T’s HSPA+ which sees an average of about 4 mbps, maybe 7 max.  I’m seeing 16 mbps or greater on my Bionic, average.  The lowest I’ve got was over 11 mbps and that was with 1 bar of signal.  It’s easy enough to root and debloat.

      How much are you paying for that month to month? Plus the $550 for your GS2. I payed $200 for the Bionic and am paying $66 a month on a family plan.

      • Anonymous

        Did you do it like that to pay cheaper? Or there is another family member using the other line? I am paying 115 monthly with just one line 450 minutes and they kept the 5 numbers you can call from other carriers.

        • Anonymous

          No, I’m actually on the same plan as my family, prices are much cheaper that way.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks are you enjoying your bionic? I liked the chance about the atrix2 display. I can live with pentile but i like the lcd of the droid x better. What about you?

          • Anonymous

            Same, wish it wasn’t pentile but can live with it. I love my Bionic but I think I’m going to have to exchange it because it seems to have a power drain problem.

  • Anonymous

    I still don’t know how yall are getting so little time out of the battery,  I hop on netflix throughout the day, play a game or 2 and  waste time on my phone for an hour each day during my commute to work (on a train so safely) during the day i constantly check emails and text messages, usually have about 15 minutes of phone calls, and about an hour of goofing off at work,  I still have yet to see less than 25 hours of battery life with the extended battery

    • Anonymous

      Are you using 4G at all?  I only have the standard battery but it dies quickly.  If I stream a radio station using Tune In Radio it destroys my battery in about two hours or less, at least on 4G.  I’ve only been getting about 4 or 5 hours of constant use out of it, 15-20 hours max mostly sitting idle, even with 4G disabled.  So far I’m at 26 minutes off the charger and it’s already at 87 percent using Tune In on 3G.  I mean I know that app kills battery life (it did on my Droid as well which had pretty good battery life) but this seems a bit ridiculous.  I’m wondering if I have a bad battery or device but I’m not having any signal issues.

      I think I’m going to get the extended battery and see how my luck goes.

      • Anonymous

        I never turn 4g off

        right now I am sitting on 40% charge with 14 hours of up time

      • Anonymous

        you could also change your bionic for another one 🙂

    • Anonymous

      they put the brightness at 80 % lol

  • Fair review

  • Thecommish

    I had problems with the toggle between 3 and 4 G since I bought it last week. ITried to exchange the Bionic for another because of the problem with the radio. They wouldn’t exchange it no matter who I talked to. They told me to turn 4G off. Why would I. I live in an area with coverage. Thats why I bought the phone. Why should I downgrade it just to get through a day withou having to charge it. I was still within my return window, so I did. I returned it!!  Verizon doesn’t want to take an exchamge on a defective device but had no problem accepting the return. I told them I liked the Bionic,which I really did. But my battery drained 70% in a 7 hour day with aboslutely no messing around with. I just let it sit there. I turned it on twice to see where the % was. Why do they think thats OK just because its 4G.

    • Anonymous

      Verizon are a bunch of egotistical megalomaniacs who don’t care about your problems once you pay them and sign your contract.  To be fair AT&T is the same, as are most carriers it seems.

  • Susan Ploutz

    Completely new to this.  updating my Motorola Droid (slide out – which I never ever use) can’t decided between the Thunderbolt or Bionic (B is $50 more overall). Mostly used as business phone but If I want to stream vids at all can anyone tell me if one better than other?  I’m thinking Bionic worth the extra $50 but seems there’s some tech. video difference from specs that I can’t figure out if I need?  Help?  Anyone??

    • Legoturte92

      Bionic all the way. I’ve used both and the Bionic blew the tbolt out of the water.

    • Sk102704

      Definitely Bionic!!

    • Anonymous

      I have both (upgraded from the bolt to the bionic), so you can ask anything about the two. Everything else aside, the extra 232mbs of RAM in the bionic definitely helps pushes video out a lot smoother, regardless of the source.

      And in general, the bionic is one generation newer than the bolt. Much better.

  • Anonymous

    You forgot to mention that the phone uninstalls your apps when ever it feels like, if they are placed on the sd card.

    • MattInPDX

      That happen to you too? I thought I was crazy. I installed an app, used it then a couple of hours later I tried to use it again and it told me it wasn’t installed.

    • Anonymous

      It may be due to the way Moto structured the file system.  They set the internal memory as /sdcard and the actual sdcard is /sdcard-ext.   
      I haven’t tried this but under settings > storage there is a sub category called Windows Media Sync along with an option called storage location where you can choose between the internal storage or the external sdcard.  It’s set as internal by default, changing this might fix the problem.

      • Anonymous

        I was informed that it is a bug in gingerbread, and that it started on the d3. I was also informed to just leave the apps on the phone. Because they say the sd card is for music and pictures.

        I switched it to sd storage day one. Maybe they will fix this bug.

      • Anonymous

        if you have a lot of apps into your sd card will you device get slow? What about in the internal store? any thoughts

  • The horrendous hissing sound from the audiojack is definitely a painful negative.

    • Pennywise

      Exchange your phone.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing,I just got a $827.89 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HTV for only $251.92, they are both coming tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prîces at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use GrаbPenny.сom

  • Tferrell7368

    Im really dig’n my Bionic. We’re due for 4G with in a month so I should really like it then. I put some thought into waiting for the Prime. It should be awesome but how much is battery life gonna improve in a month or two? Bionic has one of, if not the biggest standard battery out there, and as much as I love this phone battery life is a slight issue. That being said, these upcoming 1.2 and 1.5 gig dual core are gonna pull that much more juice. Maybe bigger isn’t always better in this case until they put a little more thought into a battery. Maybe Moto thought of that, maybe not, who knows. You can pack as many cores into a phone that you want, until you come up with a battery to properly power it what good is it? I’m excited for the future. If you take into account that smart phones have only really been around for a few years, look at who far we’ve come. I don’t even think we’ve scratched the surface ….

    ….anywho. I like the phone. Sure it will have a short tenure as king, but I’m okay with that. Besides I have another update available in March 😉