Motorola DROID Bionic and HD Station Dock Review | Wifi Walker, J B Chaparal Properties

Motorola DROID Bionic and HD Station Dock Review


Way, proceed behind in early Jan during CES 2011, Motorola’s counter mostly stole a uncover by featuring 3 massively sparkling new products. While a DROID Bionic, a absolute Android smartphone headed for Verizon (hence a “DROID” moniker), was one of those products, it was mostly overshadowed by a Atrix (an Android smartphone for ATT that featured an innovative wharf system) and a XOOM Android tablet. Since then, both a Atrix and a XOOM came out to churned reviews and so-so sales, nonetheless a word from Moto was that a Bionic was stealing retooled before a full launch.

So now, after scarcely 9 months of waiting, a DROID Bionic is finally available. It facilities a dual-core, 1 GHz OMAP CPU from Texas Instruments, 16GB of inner storage (for apps, photos, music, files, etc.), a 4G LTE radio (on Verizon’s blisteringly quick network), and a high-res 4.3″ screen. Full specs are permitted during Motorola’s website.

At 2.6″ far-reaching by 5″ high by .43″ thick, a Bionic is a big, estimable phone with Motorola’s now-familiar pattern aesthetic: edges and chrome. It has graphic angles on all sides that make it a tiny reduction hand-friendly than, say, some of Samsung’s devices. The Bionic’s edges and chrome accents make it a unequivocally manly device, something Motorola has entirely embraced with a whole DROID line.

On top, we have a energy symbol and a headset jack. On a front of a device is a display, front-facing camera, and required audio openings. On a left edge, a dual ports — micro-USB and micro-HDMI — are in a informed mark for use with Motorola’s preference of docks. While other manufacturers seem to be relocating to MHL ports, that adds HDMI outlay to what is radically a microUSB port, Motorola is opting for wharf compatibility. I’m not certain there’s a poignant advantage to possibly approach. Personally, though, I’m not a fan of charging ports being placed on a reduce half of a sides on any phone, as it creates it a plea to reason when plugged in.

On a right corner is a rather tiny volume rocker, and there’s zero on a bottom edge.

The behind of a Bionic is surprisingly busy. In further to several logos, there are stereo orator grills, with a tip one combining partial of a rather vast camera peep module. Also, there are what seem to be dual additional mics, for stereo audio recording when capturing video, nonetheless also for dual-input sound termination during phone calls. Cool.

Removing a behind cover reveals a wafer-thin 1735 mAh battery, a microSDHC container (a 16GB label is included), and a 4G LTE SIM slot, that is permitted usually after stealing both a battery and a microSDHC card.

As a package, a Bionic is a attractive device that should interest to anyone who is routinely captivated to a DROID line. It feels unequivocally plain with minimal plasticy-ness.


The device feels each bit as poignant in use as you’d design a phone rocking a 1.2GHz dual-core processor should. With one exception, there’s positively no detectable loiter or perplexity in normal use.

The usually time when we felt a Bionic could use a bit some-more horsepower was when we was regulating it in Webtop mode…more on that below.


The 4.3″ LCD looks good to me, with glorious pixel firmness and good tone and contrast. Sure, it’s not scarcely as splendid or contrasty as Samsung’s SuperAMOLED+ displays, nonetheless it seems in line with other top-shelf LCD screens (e.g., those on HTCs high-end phones). Off-angle observation formula in usually minimal liughtness drop-off and no tone shift. On a multi-touch test, it supports during slightest 10 coexisting contacts; after that, we ran out of fingers.

Some reviews have complained about a “pentile” arrangement record used in a Bionic’s shade (Google it if you’re curious). Personally, we don’t see a issue, so we consider it’s not something many people are going to notice, let alone find discouraging adequate to cruise returning a phone over.


The user interface (UI) covering Motorola offers on a Android phones used to be called Motoblur, nonetheless afterwards they pronounced they weren’t job it that anymore, nonetheless unsuccessful to contend what it’s now called. So, I’ll only call it Motoblur, and it’s descending behind a UI overlays of a dual categorical competitors. Both HTC’s Sense 3.0 and Samsung’s TouchWiz offer some-more customizability and an altogether richer knowledge than Motoblur does. For example, Motoblur offers only 5 home screens since HTC Sense has 7. Samsung TouchWiz is a many flexible, vouchsafing a user confirm how many home screens he wants, from 1 to 7. Also, both Sense and TouchWiz embody tone icons in a Settings menu, since Motoblur is monochromatic. It’s not a outrageous deal, nonetheless unsatisfactory in comparison.

Motorola includes 33 opposite widgets as partial of Motoblur, some-more than TouchWiz and with adequate accumulation to expected tempt a new user to start exploring widgets. But, compared to a cultured interest of some of HTC’s widgets (e.g., weather), many of Motorola’s demeanour a tiny uninspired. Motoblur does have a integrate of facilities conjunction Sense nor TouchWiz offer (e.g., a app launcher rotates in landscape view), nonetheless inconsistencies mostly criticise many of these advantages (e.g., a home screens do NOT stagger to landscape). One prominence is a “Recent Apps” launcher (reached by long-pressing a Home button), that shows a full page of app icons — distant some-more than possibly Sense (8 apps) or TouchWiz (6 apps). Perhaps a many useful singular underline that Motoblur has is a ability to transparent particular notifications…something that Palm’s webOS had and is unequivocally accessible if we wish to use your notifications as a arrange of on-phone to-do list.

Other customary apps are fine. Mail, browser, etc. are all flattering organic but, like many OEM apps, generally not best in class.


For pity a Bionic’s impossibly quick Verizon LTE 4G information connection, it offers both Wi-Fi Hotspot capability and USB tethering. The Hotspot duty wasn’t certified on my examination unit, so we can’t contend how good that works. However, a tethering worked fine. Sometimes it took a while — adult to a notation — for my laptop to get trustworthy to a LTE network once tethering was enabled. But, once attached, it confirmed a arguable tie until we untethered a phone. Handily, a enclosed My Data Usage widget provides your sum information consumed right on a home shade (it also drops we into a useful My Verizon Mobile app, that provides all kinds of comment sum and controls).


The categorical (rear) camera is OK. It will make endurable 8MP images, nonetheless positively not as impressively as that a cameras on a iPhone 4S or a Samsung Galaxy S II. Photo effects embody black white, negative, sepia, solarize (a uncanny tone remapping), and red-, green-, and blue-tinting (think gratifying monochrome). Several “scene” modes to select from. In further to a default “single shot” mode, it also offers an auto-panorama mode and a multi-shot mode, a latter of that takes 6 rapid-fire photos over a camber of about a second (I found this formidable to time rightly as a phone didn’t seem to wish to start holding a cinema right when we tapped a shiver button).

While full-featured, a camera did have a irritations. Perhaps many aggravating was that a camera was laggy during times…it could be nonchalant for a moment, that is frustrating, generally for a phone with this many tender horsepower. Also, we have to puncture into a menu to change peep mode; 3 taps is too many if we need to do it quickly. Finally, a digital wizz duty “zooms” solemnly and does not yield immediate feedback, so we have to theory where a slider should be, wait for a wizz to pierce there, and afterwards theory again if we wanted a framing to be wider or narrower.

Sample photos

Click a thumbnails to see a full-size, strange pictures.


Video recording is likewise full-featured, charity a outrageous accumulation of options. Video can be accessible in 1080p, 720p, 720×480, VGA, CIF (352×288), and QVGA. Video effects embody a same options as still photos above. The phone even offers opposite presets for capturing sound around a “audio scenes” option: everyday, outdoors, concert, narrative, and subject. And, of course, we can spin a LED on to irradiate circuitously subjects (for when we wish to film that reconstitute of “The Blair Witch Project”). Video peculiarity is equivocal acceptable; we would demur to use this for any video that we unequivocally caring about. Particularly irritating is a tiny modulation a picture does when it refocuses each few seconds. Weird.

Here’s a representation video shave taken in my behind yard. Please note that a rustling sound is caused by a bottom we had a phone on rubbing opposite a table. Also note that a video is in mural mode, nonetheless that, distinct HTC’s camcorder app, the Motorola video recorder app isn’t intelligent adequate to encode course into a video file, so players don’t know to stagger it correctly.

Switching between front and behind cameras as good as between still and video modes are simply finished around dual tiny toggles nearby a on-screen shiver button. It would’ve been good to have a earthy shiver symbol on a Bionic, nonetheless it’s expected not a deal-breaker for many people.


The HD Station wharf is for hooking a Bionic adult to a incomparable display. It can run a slideshow, counterpart a screen, or run in Webtop mode, where it behaves some-more like a normal PC.

Physically, HD Station looks like a normal landscape charging dock, nonetheless is lousy with ports on a rear. There, it has 3 USB ports (e.g., for keyboard, mouse, and a peep drive), a micro-HDMI jack, a energy socket, and a headphone audio jack. It also comes with a rather slick-looking remote control. Also enclosed is a wall-wart energy adapter with an extra-long cord (nice, Moto!). But not enclosed is a micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable, so you’ll need to collect one of those adult on your own.

Mirror Mode does accurately what it sounds like: mirrors a device’s arrangement out around a micro-HDMI pier to any HDMI-equipped guard or television. This is ideal if we wish to uncover other people media files or presentations, or for games where we don’t need to see where your fingers are on a shade (e.g., pushing games).

The Webtop App turns a Bionic into something same to a desktop computer, if we block a rodent and keyboard into a HD Station’s USB ports. A lot was created about this when a initial Webtop-capable phone — a Atrix — came out, and we unequivocally do consider it could be a vast understanding if Motorola works out some of a stipulations and bugs. Overall, it works flattering well, nonetheless with dual limitations. First, it’s flattering slow…slow to bucket webpages, delayed to respond to movements of vast amounts of shade essence (e.g., boring windows), and delayed to respond to rodent clicks. That final one was generally aggravating when perplexing to play a enclosed demo of Let’s Golf 2…I kept blank a ideal pitch mark since it lagged in induction my rodent clicks. The other reduction is, apparently, memory. On some-more than one occasion, perplexing to bucket a script-intensive webpage (e.g., Google+) resulted in a Webtop app angry of low memory and afterwards automatically shutting a browser (Firefox). Needless to say, in a top-drawer Android phone targeting business professionals, memory shouldn’t be an issue.

That all said, we unequivocally do consider a whole Webtop judgment has a lot going for it. If Motorola can urge performance and reliability, both of that competence only be stipulations of today’s hardware, afterwards advancing competence take on a hugely expanded purpose in a smartphone space.


So far, battery life has been unequivocally good. I’ve not incited 4G off and have simply left a whole day of moderate/typical use. But, if you’re unequivocally good during removal batteries, there are extended batteries available.


The Motorola DROID Bionic is one heck of a absolute phone, nonetheless not though a compromises. The arrangement is splendidly high-res, nonetheless lacking in superfluity and contrast. The phone is poignant and manageable when used in phone mode, nonetheless can be laggy when docked in Webtop mode. The cameras are functional, nonetheless not superlative. Motoblur isn’t unequivocally exciting, nonetheless it doesn’t seem to taxation a processor much. The LTE radio offers crazy-fast downloads where Verizon’s 4G network is available, nonetheless a battery can be taxed if used heavily.

Arguably, this is a best 4G phone using Android on Verizon’s 4G network. Sure, a DROID Reveal competence be a bit sexier, nonetheless it’s not permitted yet. Ultimately, a DROID Bionic is a absolute phone that is expected to be beguiling to use for utterly some time. Whether or not it will be upgraded to run Ice Cream Sandwich is still adult in a air, nonetheless among Android phones now available, a Bionic has to be nearby a tip of a list for consideration. In that sense, it should assistance any new owners equivocate a unavoidable buyer’s distress for longer than usual.

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