The Good The Motorola Droid Bionic has a nice slim and sleek design, with a 4.3-inch qHD display and the double whammy of a dual-core processor and Verizon 4G LTE support. Multimedia features are plentiful and business users will be pleased with its enterprise abilities like the Webtop application and solid security.
The Bad The Motorola Droid Bionic comes with a Motorola user interface, which may not be for everyone. It’s also quite expensive, and Webtop accessories aren’t cheap.
The Bottom Line Motorola Droid Bionic is everything you want from a high-end smartphone – it’s sleek, fast and powerful, with features that appeal to both consumers and business users – if you’re willing to pay a heavy price.
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Motorola Droid Bionic
We’ve been waiting for the Motorola Droid Bionic for so long that it’s been occupied with almost mythical dimensions. We first heard about the superphone at CES 2011, where Motorola came out with a cavalcade of powerful Android devices, which included the Motorola Atrix 4G, the Motorola Xoom and, of course, the Motorola Droid Bionic. With its dual-core processor, Verizon LTE speed, HD video recording, an HDMI port and a lush 4.3-inch QHD display, Droid Bionic is a pioneer.
However, since its announcement, many other dual-core phones have come out the day before, such as T-Mobile G2x and Motorola itself Droid X2 . The HTC ThunderBolt also defeated Droid Bionic for a blow as Verizon’s first 4G LTE phone. Droid Bionic began to lose its luster, while consumers were even more eager for this phone. Even here at CNET, we started to ask if we would ever see A droid that was delayed after a delay .
In nine months, Motorola is finally ready to give birth. And we must admit; it was worth the wait. Droid Bionic, which Verizon will have in stores in September, is very different from what we saw in January. The hardware is slimmer, more sophisticated and certainly more polished. Indeed, Verizon claims that the Droid Bionic is its slimmest 4G LTE device yet. In addition, although there are many dual-core smartphones and Verizon 4G LTE phones on the market, Droid Bionic is the first. And we’re glad that Motorola cleverly supplied Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread phones instead of just Android 2.2.
While we have seen its features previously on other phones such as Atrix and the Motorola Photon 4G , we are still amazed by its multimedia capabilities, enterprise-friendly applications and the powerful Webtop application, which helps turn it from a phone to a laptop with accessories such as a laptop dock. We were reluctant to take this twisted tube, but in the end, we are very pleased with its power, speed and style.
The cost of the phone is why we hesitate in recommending it. Droid Bionic is worth $ 299.99 after a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless. If you want a laptop dock accessory, it’s still $ 299.99, though Verizon will lower $ 100 from that price if you have a data plan of $ 50 or more a month. The HD Station Dock is about $ 99.99, and the tiny web version adapter is the cheapest option at $ 29.99.
Admittedly, the final Bionic design was a huge surprise to us. The I saw Droid Bionic at CES 2011 was wide, bulky and thick. Indeed, the original January prototype was probably more similar to the Photon 4G. Measuring 5 inches long by 2.63 inches wide by 0.43 inches, the actual Droid Bionic is not exactly a tiny phone either, but of course it is a lot slimmer. As mentioned earlier, Verizon claims to be the slimmest LTE phone in its lineup.
The Droid Bionic is the thinnest 4G LTE device yet.
Not only is it thinner, the final iteration of Droid Bionic is also much more attractive. The glass on the display goes from edge to edge with a slight curve on the sides, resulting in a smooth and smooth look. The metal body and low chin add to the polished look of the phone. Soft back with tapered edges. Fans of the Droid series will recognize the familiar Droid hit at the top, which adds more volume but not much. Really, we really like this because it provides a bit more grip while holding the phone. The Droid Bionic weighs 5.6 ounces, which, in our opinion, is decent considering its size.
The 4.3-inch qHD display on Droid Bionic is similar to the one we saw on Droid 3. It’s crisp, clear and colorful. We liked the bright graphics and the crisp 960×540 pixel resolution. It doesn’t have as many pixel strokes as the Super AMOLED display, but we still liked it. Droid Bionic uses Corning Gorilla glass, which has a two-layer anti-reflection coating. Although it looked a bit washed out in the bright sunlight, we could still see what was on the screen.
What really struck us was how smooth and fast the navigation was. Thanks to the 1GHz dual core Droid Bionic processor, screens and pages just flew by as we scrolled and expanded. We were a little surprised that Motorola chose a TI processor instead of something from Nvidia, but we still thought it was fast. It certainly felt faster than phones with just a single-core processor. Some apps, such as the camera and browser, took a little longer, but it didn’t make a huge difference. Multitasking was also easy and fast.
The user interface on Droid Bionic is very similar to Droid 3. Both have a smaller version of Motoblur – you get social network widgets and a connected gallery without the necessary login and setup. The main menu is the same, with side navigation instead of vertical default. You can read more about Android 2.3 Droid Bionic in ours Droid 3 Review .
Below the screen are four Android shortcuts for menu, home, back and search features. On the right is a volume swing, while the Micro-USB port and the Micro-HDMI port sit on the left of the spine. Above is a 3.5mm headphone jack and screen lock / power key. There is a front VGA camera in front of the display. At the back there is a camera with one LED flash. This is a departure from the original Droid Bionic observed at CES 2011, which had a dual xenon flash.
Verizon Wireless supplies Motorola Droid Bionic with AC adapter, USB cable and reference material. As mentioned earlier, you can purchase several different accessories to use the Webtop Droid Bionic: laptop dock, HD station, or Webtop adapter. The laptop dock is the most complete package since it combines a screen and keyboard, as well as a pair of USB ports. The HD Station lets you charge the handset and it also has several USB and Bluetooth ports so you can use the mouse and keyboard, but you need to provide them yourself. The Webtop adapter can only be used with the mouse and the Bluetooth keyboard. With an HD station and a Webtop adapter, you need to provide your own display. Other accessories include a car dock and a regular charging dock. All of these accessories are for Droid Bionic only and cannot be used with other phones.
Obviously, the most compelling reason for getting Droid Bionic is that it combines two high-speed technologies in one phone: dual-core processor plus 4G LTE Verizon 4G LTE. As we mentioned earlier, navigation certainly felt much more nimble than single-core phones. 1GB of phone memory also boosted performance.
But the 4G LTE’s speed boost was evident through a web browser. Motorola has enabled a browser with HTML 5 support and full Adobe Flash support. In most phones, this can cause pages to load slowly on heavy websites, but this is not the case with Droid Bionic. We downloaded the full CNET.com page in just 7 seconds, plus all Flash and Java ads. We were actually able to play Flash videos directly in the browser, with absolutely zero buffering time. We also managed to scroll through web pages and scroll through different tabs without any lag or hesitation. In short, the marriage between a dual core processor and 4G LTE is really good.
Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. You can also use Droid Bionic as a mobile hotspot for up to five devices with mobile broadband enabled. Other features include speakerphone, speed dial, voice commands, conference calls, Skype Mobile, as well as text and multimedia messages.
Droid Bionic takes great photos.
The Droid Bionic has an 8-megapixel camera with one LED flash. Admittedly, we are a little disappointed that this is not the dual LED flash or dual xenon flash we saw at CES. We are also not comfortable with the slight lag of the shutter – if we moved a little, the image would look blurred to the touch. Still, the results have amazed us. The picture quality was pretty good. The images looked clear and the colors were accurate.
Droid Bionic is also the first 4G LTE phone to feature 1080p video recording capabilities, resulting in crystal-clear video that can be played on large HDTVs. This becomes even easier because Droid Bionic has HDMI mirroring, so you can watch the contents of your phone on your TV. Your phone also has DLNA support so you can stream content to DLNA-compatible devices. At this time, we are still reviewing the video quality and will update this review with this information as soon as we have it. The smartphone has 16GB of internal storage and comes with a 16GB microSD card, although it is capable of receiving 32GB cards.
As we mentioned, Droid Bionic comes with Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, which means it has the benefits of being a great multi-touch virtual keyboard. If you want to use Swype, it also comes with this. Of course, you still get access to all of Google’s mobile services, such as Gmail, Google Maps Navigation, YouTube, Google Talk, Books, Places, Latitude, and Google Voice Search. Droid Bionic is also compatible with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, so you can synchronize your corporate email, tasks and calendars.
Other software and applications pre-loaded with Droid Bionic include Quickoffice Suite, Amazon Kindle for Android, Slacker, Blockbuster and VideoSurf. Motorola has also added its own ZumoCast app, which allows you to remotely access your documents and media files if you have a companion app on your Mac or PC. Motorola also pre-installed Motoprint for printing via Wi-Fi enabled printers. Because Droid Bionic is a Verizon phone, it has many different Verizon applications, such as V Cast Music, Video, Tones, Media Manager, and VZ Navigator. Some, but not all, pre-loaded programs can be uninstalled.
One of the most powerful features of the phone is the Webtop application, which is similar to that of the Atrix 4G. Just plug in the Droid Bionic in one of the three accessories mentioned above (laptop dock, HD station or Webtop adapter) and you can access the Webtop platform. The interface is similar to a networked netbook and it has several web applications such as Firefox. To learn more about the Webtop platform, please read our review of the Atrix 4G. You can also use the Webtop platform to create and edit office documents, which is a great feature for business users.
Indeed, Motorola claims that Droid Bionic is “business-ready” with features such as changeable and scrollable email, calendar synchronization, and advanced security policies that allow both device and encryption to be encrypted. It has the ability to remotely erase the device and the SD card.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; LTE B13 700) Motorola Droid Bionic in San Francisco with Verizon Wireless. The call quality was decent, but it had some drawbacks. In the end, we felt the sound quality of the calls, with good volume and natural sounds. We heard very little background noise.
Motorola Droid Bionic call quality sampleListen now:
The quality is a bit more mixed on the other hand. Although the subscribers could certainly hear us loud and clear, there was a slight distortion that did not allow the call to sound perfect. Subscribers also heard a random crackle, and the voice quality was a bit robotic. Loudspeaker calls were in order, although subscribers said the echo effect was more pronounced.
As we mentioned earlier, the speed of 4G LTE was very impressive. We will have to come back with more thorough tests, but initial testing showed very fast page loading and fast loading.
The Motorola Droid Bionic comes with a 1730mAH lithium-ion battery that promises 10.8 hours of talk time and 10.4 days of standby time.
Admittedly, we didn’t like the Motorola Droid Bionic. After so many months of waiting, we were ready to be disappointed. After all, when Droid Bionic was first announced, dual-core phones were rare and 4G LTE phones were absent, and the market has changed significantly since then. And yet, we found a lot to love about Droid Bionic. Its new sleek hardware is really attractive, and a mile better than the original edition we saw at CES in January. Its feature set is also enjoyable, with great multimedia capabilities and enterprise-friendly features. Productivity is where this phone shines through fast navigation and lightning viewing. We also like its Webtop app, though we don’t like the fact that you have to spend a lot on the right accessories. Droid Bionic itself costs about $ 299.99 after a two-year service agreement with Verizon Wireless, which is already quite expensive.