Smartphone users are a perfectionist lot. Give them a latest chronicle of Android, large displays and 4G LTE connectivity, and they ask for a dual-core processor as well. Until now it’s been too many to ask of Verizon, yet all that altered with a attainment of a much-anticipated DROID BIONIC by Motorola this week. Announced behind during CES in Jan and afterwards variously updated and behind since, Verizon promises that this is a fastest 4G phone around. Is this finally a LTE Android to prove speed-freaks? Check out a full SlashGear examination after a cut.
Motorola hasn’t strayed too distant with a pattern of a DROID BIONIC, with a squared-off and manly cultured that conjunction quite disappoints or delights. With all a association has squeezed inside, a 66.9 x 127.5 x 10.99 mm, 158g framework is substantially understandable, yet it’s inescapably corpulent all a same. At slightest it’s creak-free and a plastics – along with a Gorilla Glass fascia – feel high quality.
That callous potion covers both a BIONIC’s 4.3-inch qHD 960 x 540 LCD TFT arrangement and a quarrel of touch-sensitive buttons for menu, home, behind and search. Although LCD has for many been superseded by a several AMOLED technologies, we can’t unequivocally impugn Motorola’s choice of row here. Colors are splendid and observation angles broad, and a capacitive hold is responsive.
Ports embody microUSB and micro HDMI, along with a 3.5mm headset jack, while wireless connectivity includes LTE, EVDO Rev.A, WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. There’s also GPS/AGPS and a common operation of sensors: digital compass, accelerometer, vicinity and ambient light. Unfortunately Motorola apparently couldn’t find a approach to supplement a GSM/HSPA radio, that means this isn’t one of Verizon’s World Phones. Step outward a welcome of CDMA coverage and you’ll have no GSM to tumble behind on when travelling.
On a behind is an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and an LED flash, able of 1080p Full HD video recording. A VGA camera for video calls lives above a display, subsequent to an LED standing indicator for flagging adult missed calls and new messages. Under a battery doorway is a 1,735 mAh container along with a microSD label container (with a 16GB label preloaded) to enlarge a 16GB of inner storage.
It’s a dual-core 1GHz processor that singles a BIONIC out among other LTE handsets, with Motorola branch to a aged favorite Texas Instruments and a OMAP4430. In a BIONIC it’s interconnected with 1GB of RAM.
DROID BIONIC hands-on video
Motorola hasn’t left Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread alone, and there are several customizations and preloaded apps cluttering adult a DROID BIONIC. The days of a all-invasive MOTOBLUR are thankfully past, and instead we get a preference of resizable widgets and a non-stock onscreen keyboard identical to prior Motorola Android phones we’ve reviewed.
Unfortunately, roughly half of a 16GB of inner memory is taken adult with preloaded software, many of that can’t be deleted. As good as all a common Android apps – like Gmail, Google Maps and Navigation – Motorola adds Citrix GoToMeeting and Quickoffice, VCast Music, Verizon Media Manager and Verizon Back Up Assistant, Blockbuster, MOTOPRINT, Let’s Golf 2, Netflix, ZumoCast and others. Certainly we can know that some apps will be of use to some owners, yet it’s doubtful everybody will wish all and we wish Motorola had offering them as discretionary downloads rather than creation them mandatory.
Of them all, it’s ZumoCast that Motorola is many gratified with. The company’s possess remote record entrance app, once you’ve commissioned a customer on your PC or Mac we can entrance documents, photos, song and video remotely on your BIONIC. It works, yet is apparently really many network-dependent; if we have a reduction than ideal tie afterwards video is a initial to suffer, dropping frames and generally apropos unwatchable.
Nonetheless, in ubiquitous use a BIONIC felt quick and slick, with conjunction loiter nor check in loading and relocating between apps, accessing webpages and personification media.
If a BIONIC’s processor offers speed, a smartphone’s 8-megapixel camera offers frustration. We had pretty high hopes, formed on prior Motorola handsets, yet woefully indolent autofocus meant we missed some-more print opportunities than we captured. Focus close can literally take seconds to fix, and even when we waited a finish outcome was infrequently becloud all a same. Motorola tells us it’s looking into camera performance, and we’re anticipating this is something a firmware refurbish can address.
DROID BIONIC Sample 720p recording
Video recording, thankfully, is extremely better. The BIONIC can record Full HD clips during 30fps, and a idle auto-focus creates reduction of a disproportion many of a time. Fast concentration switches are out, yet generally footage is frail and really watchable. Unfortunately we don’t even get an HDMI wire in a box.
The BIONIC handles voice calls good – a deficiency of World Phone support already remarkable – even when a vigilance indicator competence lead we to design otherwise. You can make 3G voice calls while concurrently regulating a 4G tie for data, yet not 3G data. Audio is transparent and loud, and those we called had no problems conference us. There’s Bluetooth for headsets, including stereo headsets regulating a A2DP profile.
As with other new Android phones, we can use a BIONIC’s 3G/4G tie to get your laptop, iPod hold or other tool online, by branch it into a mobile hotspot. Up to 5 WiFi-enabled clients can be connected during any one time, yet you’ll need to compensate Verizon additional for a privilege.
Just like with other 4G inclination we’ve tested, if we have LTE coverage a BIONIC simply flies. We saw rise download speeds of over 13Mbps and upload speeds of 3Mbps, faster than many people get with their home broadband connection. At that arrange of spin – and with a kind of use it encourages – Verizon’s information packages start to demeanour short-sighted. 2GB is $30 a month yet we could simply bake by that in brief sequence with some video streaming; a conduit also offers 5GB for $50 or 10GB for $80, with any serve gigabyte costing $10.
The downside to all this speed and opening is battery life. Motorola has given a BIONIC with a 1,735 mAh battery, yet we were still held brief good before a day was through. With minimal use including a few phone calls and some IM, and when in a 4G area, we squeezed usually over 6 hours and 45 mins out of a phone. In contrast, a 3G-only GSM Galaxy S II still had roughly half a battery life left during a same indicate in a day, even yet we’d indeed used a Samsung more. Turn on a BIONIC’s mobile hotspot app, and things go downhill even some-more quickly. Motorola offers an extended battery for a phone, yet we scapegoat character for additional longevity.
Lapdock: ($299.97) Just as with a strange Laptop Dock for a Motorola ATRIX, a DROID BIONIC’s Lapdock promises to spin your smartphone into a cover replacement. Unfortunately, if we had a aged Laptop Dock, we can’t use it with a BIONIC, that is a frustrating preference on Motorola’s part. Your income gets we an 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 display, battery earnest 8hrs of runtime, a full keyboard and a trackpad, yet not multitouch gesticulate support unlike, say, a MacBook Air.
Slot a BIONIC into a brook behind a shade and Motorola’s Webtop app automatically boots, permitting we to entrance Firefox 4 as good as perspective a Android phone’s arrangement – and any apps on it – in a window. Performance is positively faster than we gifted with a ATRIX, that was painfully slow, yet still not a compare for a unchanging notebook. Some amiable request modifying and maybe a add-on or dual in a browser is fine, yet anything some-more and a whole thing grinds disappointingly.
Webtop Adapter: ($29.99) If a Lapdock is too abounding for your blood, a Webtop Adapter offers another approach into Motorola’s Webtop app. Pass-through microUSB and micro HDMI ports concede we to offshoot adult an outmost display, and we can span Bluetooth peripherals if a on-screen keyboard gets too limiting. Of course, you’ll face a same issues with opening as with a Lapdock.
HD Station: ($99.99) Although a HD Station does concede Webtop use – and has 3 USB ports that let we block in connected peripherals – it creates some-more clarity as a multimedia dock. A 3.5mm audio out pier and HDMI outlay make it elementary to keep speakers and a arrangement henceforth attached, yet we’re undone during Motorola’s preference to use micro HDMI rather than a full-sized socket. An infrared remote lets we navigate a phone’s menus as good as control media playback.
Standard Dock: ($39.99) Identical from a front as a HD Station, spin a Standard Dock around and you’ll find a cheaper cost means no HDMI or USB connectivity. Instead it’s usually energy and a 3.5mm audio output, and Motorola doesn’t embody a remote either.
Standard Dock vs HD Station
Vehicle Navigation Dock: ($39.99) Google Maps Navigation has transposed dedicated PND units for many, and a central Motorola Vehicle Navigation Dock creates for a candid approach to mountain and assign your BIONIC in a car. It’s a common multiple of a suction crater and tractable cradle, with a pass-through microUSB pier for easy charging. Unlike some other cradles we’ve seen, however, there’s no outmost GPS receiver for improved results, and no orator complement to amplify superintendence prompts.
Make no mistake, there’s copiousness to like about a DROID BIONIC. The multiple of a dual-core processor and LTE adds adult to a phone that’s quick in both opening and information access, while a plain arrangement and HDMI connectivity meant it’s a good choice for multimedia playback. On a flip side, however, common battery life and underwhelming stills opening from a camera take off some of a shine.
Pricing, too, is on a costly side. Verizon is seeking $299.99 for a BIONIC itself, yet other vendors have sub-$200 deals; possibly way, you’re looking during a two-year agreement including a $50+ per month information package if we wish to make a many of LTE. Throw in a integrate of a central accessories and a sum cost of tenure climbs fast, while Motorola’s preference not to make a strange Laptop Dock concordant with this new phone leaves us questionable either docks and gadgets for a BIONIC will work with any destiny device.
Meanwhile, there are faster phones on a horizon. Samsung’s freshly-announced Galaxy S II variants for a US marketplace guarantee faster processors, while Verizon expected has it’s possess uninformed superphones usually around a dilemma too. Nonetheless, if we wish a strongest multiple of LTE, dual-core and arrangement today, a DROID BIONIC by Motorola is your usually option. Just don’t design perfection.
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