Droid Bionic review | Wifi Walker, J B Chaparal Properties

Droid Bionic review

It’s been pronounced that deficiency creates a heart grow fonder, so it was with unequivocally peaceful and fervent hands this week that we perceived a Droid Bionic, Motorola’s latest high-octane, robot-themed attack in Verizon Wireless subscribers. The phone was first announced during CES in a commencement of 2011 and we got to see it in a flesh usually an hour later… nonetheless afterwards a story took a spin for a tragic. The Bionic was attacked, killed and afterwards reborn with all new internals.

Phoenix-like, a thing is now permitted for squeeze on Verizon Wireless, $300 for a presumably top-shelf device that packs both LTE connectivity and a dual-core processor. That creates it a initial for Verizon, and it also happens to be a thinnest LTE handset nonetheless to cranky that carrier’s airwaves. Oh, and it has a biggest battery yet, too. Was it was value a wait, then? Maybe.


Users of a Droid X or Droid X2 will feel right during home here. Those phones and this one unequivocally share some pattern DNA and a identical layout. On a lower-left is a micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports, indispensable to energy many of a far-reaching array of accessories for this thing. On a upper-right lies a unique volume rocker (no camera symbol here), while a energy and headphone pier can be found adult top. Finally, an 8 megapixel camera sits around a behind — make-up a same series of pixels as a predecessors, nonetheless now means to conduct 1080p video recording.

So it’s familiar, then, nonetheless different. One large disproportion is a deletion of a earthy buttons subsequent a display, that we always favourite nonetheless found a tiny too firm. The bigger change is a girth. The Droid Bionic is, during a thickest, 13.3mm (just a parasite over half an inch) and it usually tapers down a bit to 11.3mm (.45-inch). The X2 is reduction than 10mm during a thickest, and of march it goes approach down from there. So, while this is Verizon’s thinnest LTE phone, it’s distant from wafer-like. But, during 159 grams (5.5 ounces) it is during slightest not extremely heavier than a X2.

Indeed, in a palm it feels plain nonetheless not heavy, discriminating nonetheless not dull. It’s unequivocally traipsing along a glorious stylistic line that divides worldly and boring, nonetheless we’d contend it’s disposition some-more toward a former than a latter. The usually pieces of brightwork are a chrome volume rocker and energy button, while a subtly discriminating steel ring wraps a shade and stretches out a bit subsequent it. That shade itself is Gorilla Glass, as you’d pattern these days, and it has an engaging beveled corner to it that means a extents of a aspect are unequivocally subtly recessed subsequent a corner of a phone’s body. This serves as an glorious collection resource for slot lint.

Up front is what looks to be a same 4.3-inch qHD arrangement that wowed us on a X2, and it’s still considerable here. Very impressive. It doesn’t utterly offer a eye-popping superfluity of Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus displays, nonetheless that’s not to contend it’s lacking in contrast, liughtness or, indeed, resolution. Viewing angles are as tighten to 180 degrees as we need, and eventually this is a shade that has a pixel count and a pattern peculiarity to mountain adult with a best of them.

Situated above a arrangement is a front-facing VGA webcam and an LED standing indicator, so we can be certain that if we have an unread email this phone will be blinking during you.

It’s all powered by a 1GHz processor, that again sounds like a Droid X2 nonetheless this one is rather different. It’s a TI OMAP chip, still dual-core nonetheless a bit of a depart from a some-more common Tegra 2 chips. As to because Moto done a change in builder here compared to a many other phones (including a recently expelled Photon 4G) we’re not sure, and Motorola reps didn’t have a plain answer for us, nonetheless it does do a business, and a 1,700mAh battery promises decent longevity. More on that in a moment.

There’s 16GB of sum storage built into a phone, about half of that is indifferent for apps and other complement needs. The phone also comes with a 16GB microSD card, nonetheless of march we can strike that adult to 32GB if we so choose. Taking formatting and all else into comment you’ll have about 23GB of dull space prepared to accept your song and videos and whatever else we wish to request here, with about 4GB for apps.

Naturally this is an LTE device, so we have both that and CDMA on tap. Globe trotters will find dual-band GSM (900 and 1,800MHz) along with 2,100MHz UMTS support, and all that is protracted by Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11b/g/n WiFi. We found a Bionic to have good nonetheless not good vigilance reception, nonetheless calls were finished shrill and clear, and a speakerphone on a behind is some-more than shrill adequate for some ad-hoc discussion calls — or for stepping divided from a phone when we find yourself on unfixed hold.

Performance and battery life

The Bionic creates room for a 1,700mAh dungeon underneath a skinny scale of a behind cover, a largest battery nonetheless on an LTE device — and yes, there’s an extended dungeon entrance too. In speculation this will yield larger longevity than a tide stand of 4G inclination on Verizon’s network, nonetheless given it’s reduction than a 10 percent strike over a Droid Charge and usually about 15 percent bigger than that in a Thunderbolt, don’t go awaiting miracles.

We found a phone to be some-more than adequate for a day of light to assuage use — e-mail, web surfing, a like. Mix in a lot of navigation or media streaming, however, and you’ll expected be patting your pockets looking for that second battery. And, if you’re looking to use this phone as a wireless modem for your laptop, we won’t wish to wandering distant from an outlet. We went from a full battery to totally passed in reduction than 3 hours of wireless tethering. The phone fared good on a customary battery outline exam (a looping video with a shade sealed during 50 percent brightness), clocking in during usually underneath 6 and a half hours but, as ever with smartphone batteries, your mileage might vary.

When it comes to opening we weren’t unhappy by a responsiveness of this phone. The TI OMAP processor, using during 1GHz, is some-more than adequate to bucket apps quickly, describe webpages snappily and altogether broach an knowledge that won’t try your patience. Synthetic benchmarks behind that up, with a phone delivering a plain 2,150 on Quadrant, 50.5 MFLOPS on Linpack multi-thread (41.6 on single), 27.7fps on Nenamark 1, 46.7 on a second and churning by a SunSpider JavaScript exam in a unequivocally critical 3,926ms. These scores are all unequivocally tighten to a new Photon 4G, and positively won’t defect right now, nonetheless we figure a latest stand of American Galaxy SII models — not to discuss a arriving 1.5GHz inclination — will leave them both in a dust.


The Droid Bionic is using a (lightly) customized chronicle of Android Gingerbread (2.3.4) that includes a latest Google Talk with video chat. Unsurprisingly, there’s also a preference of reduction engaging apps pre-installed here, things like Blockbuster and Let’s Golf 2. We did have success uninstalling some of these, nonetheless for a others we will during slightest be means to censor them interjection to one of Motorola’s Android customizations — concentration groups. Just emanate a organisation of a apps that we do wish to see and set a phone to arrangement that set by default. Out of sight, out of mind.

It’s positively not all crapware. QuickOffice is a acquire further to a batch build, and IT forms will positively suffer a Citrix Receiver. MOTOPRINT is an app that will let we imitation directly to concordant printers on your inner network, or to those some-more demure or non-networked ones by a square of program that can be commissioned on a desktop. That program is unfortunately PC-only, nonetheless ZumoCast is permitted for OS X as well. This is an app that lets we tide media directly from your mechanism to your phone, doing all a transcoding and other disaster internally.

The problem with this app (and with a Netflix app, that is compatible) is Verizon’s comparatively new tiered information plans. You can, of course, get permitted during home on WiFi and not worry about any surprises on your check during a finish of a month, nonetheless that rather defeats a purpose of carrying an LTE device in a initial place. That’s not a problem with this device alone, and it’ll usually spin some-more of a regard as Verizon adds some-more LTE devices, nonetheless we’re contemptible to contend that bandwidth stress is now fasten battery stress to make us even reduction gentle in removing a many out of a phones.

Verizon does solemnly embody a information use widget that updates in some-more or reduction real-time, so if you’re streamer over your extent you’ll during slightest know before we strike a precipice. But, we’ve found this widget depends information used while tethered as well, that is a clear problem given you’ll have dual apart pools of information to keep filled.

The Android customizations here aren’t limited to widgets, though, with Android being skinned likewise to how it was on a X2. We generally favourite a customizations there, and we do here as well. The predictive keyboard is pretty accurate and, interjection to a healthy shade size, is permitted for even generously-sized thumbs. The 5 home screens are, naturally, totally customizable and, with a double-tap of a home button, we can wizz out to see them all during once.

The tradition close shade gives we easy entrance to tongue-tied your phone, and has a macho Droid demeanour we’ve come to pattern and, generally, endure on these devices. You’ll also be treated to a typically red and swirly bootup animation should we start this thing cold — that takes 50 seconds, by a way. In nap mode a phone will still use a bit of battery life, nonetheless starts adult in a many some-more teneable dual seconds.

Again, altogether we never felt like a phone was struggling underneath a program here, always behaving responsively to a touch. We didn’t confront any repeatable bugs, either, that is always a regard on a new handset.


This seems to be a same 8 megapixel section that we saw on a X2 and a X before it, and it looks to broach a same formula here. Pictures are a bit underexposed during times, lacking contrast. The autofocus lens does do good work on close-up macro shots, nonetheless we did find focusing to be delayed in some situations. This resulted in a few seconds value of shiver loiter in some cases, that done capturing images of a desirous dog models rather challenging.

Video recording has been bumped adult to 1080p and a ensuing peculiarity alleviation is noticeable, nonetheless we did see some concentration sport in a ensuing footage, utterly when filming closer subjects. Still, it’ll some-more than sufficient for recording your dual best friends holding turns chasing any other around a yard.


As with a Atrix, Motorola unequivocally pulled out a stops for Bionic accessories, so ready for fervent salesmen and saleswomen who will be doing their best to up-sell you. Which add-ons are value your time? Read on to find out, nonetheless it’s critical to note that roughly all of these will usually work with a Droid Bionic. Despite a engorgement of Moto inclination that offer a same micro-USB and micro-HDMI placement. So don’t demeanour during any of these as an investment that we can presumably use with your subsequent Moto handset — they’ll be archaic right along with your Bionic in a integrate of years.

Lapdock – $300

Little here has altered given a Atrix on this, and while it is good to see this tiny zombie laptop stability on, it’s unsatisfactory to see a doing hasn’t altered a lick given before. You’re still looking during a sleek, slim pattern housing an 11.5-inch, 1,366 x 768 fortitude arrangement and a sizeable inner battery that will broach between 8 and 10 hours of life, even recharging your phone while it’s plugged in. Those things are usually fine, nonetheless sadly a keyboard is still unnecessarily tiny and cramped, a trackpad is large nonetheless nonchalant (and doesn’t support gesticulate scrolling), a left and right rodent buttons honestly feel damaged and — many troublingly — opening is simply not good.

Pop a phone in and you’re greeted with a Webtop sourroundings after a few seconds, that is again little-changed from before. You’re presented with a windowed perspective of what’s on a phone, that we can use a keyboard and rodent to clumsily correlate with — even promulgation content messages and a like if we wish. But, if we wanted to usually use your phone you’d be distant improved off usually pulling it out of a dock. The genuine indicate of this is to get to a few other apps that are permitted on there, with Firefox being a usually one that’s honestly worthwhile.

We’re articulate Firefox 4 (a small dual major versions behind a standing quo) with Flash 10 support, and opening here is usually slightly worse than a $199 netbook doing a damndest to get by with an aged Atom processor. Chances are that netbook would have a improved keyboard, too. We love, adore a thought of plugging a phone into something and carrying it be a smarts of a operation, and hopefully Google brings Android and Chrome OS together into some arrange of pleasing partnership down a road, nonetheless as it stands this is simply not value a income — even with a $100 bonus Verizon is charity should we opt for a tethering plan.

HD Station – $100

This is a many extensive of a several non-laptop docks that are available, and naturally a many expensive. For $100 we get a device with HDMI pass-through and 3 USB ports, and a 3.5mm outlay for analog speakers, too. You can configure a Bionic to cocktail into webtop mode as shortly as we wharf in here, and with an outmost HDMI guard and a USB (or Bluetooth) keyboard and mouse, we can use this to spin your phone into a tiny desktop replacement. Assuming we spend some-more than $5 on that keyboard and rodent you’ll find a altogether knowledge to be preferable to a Lapdock, nonetheless you’ll still have to understanding with that muted performance.

The enclosed remote control does meant we can control your phone from opposite a room, that could make this a constrained choice if you’re looking for a media player. But, a cost here is usually a bit dear.

Standard Dock – $40

This man loses a HDMI outlay and a contingent of USB ports compared to a HD Station, nonetheless keeps a audio output. This is is a good choice if you’re looking to assign your phone overnight and use it as an alarm time or media player. Without a remote you’ll need to stay within reach, nonetheless for a $60 assets we can substantially conduct to get adult off a cot if we need to change playlists.

Vehicle Navigation Dock – $40

The Vehicle Navigation Dock is a imagination name for a sincerely customary windshield or lurch mountain for your phone, including a micro-USB pass-through so that we won’t have to manually block in that wire each time we wharf your phone. However, while it does embody an audio patch cable, a wharf itself does not embody a 3.5mm audio out, definition you’ll have to jam that in a headphone jack on your phone each time we wharf a thing. Still, we’d contend this one is value a money.

Webtop Adapter – $30

This is a tiny matchbox-sized thing that has micro-USB and micro-HDMI inputs on one side and micro-USB and micro-HDMI outputs on a other. World’s slightest effective pier expander? Not quite. Plug this man in and you’ll flog a phone into Webtop mode, providing video out to an HDMI monitor. The phone itself is incited into a large scrollpad, with a soothing keyboard permitted as well. Or, we can bond Bluetooth peripherals if you’re looking for something a bit some-more manageable. We positively would.


The Droid Bionic is accurately what we wanted a Droid X2 to be: that phone and Gingerbread and LTE. So, happy day, right? Well, not quite. The X2 forsaken over 3 months ago, and while that seems like usually yesterday, given how quick things are relocating these days that’s positively ages ago in a universe of a smartphone. Since afterwards we’ve been teased by a GSII and, with a Note, seen a glance of usually how quick a subsequent era of phones is going to be.

The Bionic is a good choice for right now, a best multiple of wireless and device speed that we’ve nonetheless seen on Verizon. For that reason alone it’s a intelligent squeeze — utterly if you’ve been unresolved on to that OG Droid for months and months watchful for a phone like this to come along. But we should know that this isn’t a world-conquering device, a kind of thing that will leave we walking high and unapproachable for months and months to come. If you’re fine with that, afterwards buy with confidence.

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