Motorola DROID BIONIC Review
We’ve heard the good old saying that timing makes all of the difference with things, but in the case of the Motorola DROID BIONIC, its journey has transcended most others namely due to the constant uncertainty surrounding it. Come to think about it, we managed to grasp the handset way back in January during CES 2011 – and now it has taken nearly 8 months to materialize in the flesh. On top of that, it’s now the fourth 4G LTE smartphone with Big Red, which might not seem as profound as if it were launched much sooner, but it’s able to differentiate itself for being the first 4G LTE smartphone to pack a dual-core processor.
Already, the stigma attached to Verizon’s 4G LTE smartphones is that they’re chunky, unwieldy, and pack vociferous appetites for battery life. Well folks, it seems that Motorola has been doing some tweaking and tinkering during the long journey as the Motorola DROID BIONIC attempts to shed those associations seeing that it’s the thinnest and lightest of the bunch – while offering the highest capacity battery as well. Possessing a combination of impressive advanced functionality and wicked hardware under the hood, there’s no kidding that the handset is future proof. But at $299.99, it’s still one pricey investment that will make some people reconsider – let’s see if it’s worth it!
Motorola DROID BIONIC
Getting Started Guide
Product Safety & Warranty Information
Having received a significant redesign from the one we first saw at CES, the Motorola DROID BIONIC is still a nice looking phone – and that’s all we can say about the device. It’s not great nor overly compelling like the original Motorola DROID X, but rather, it stands out amongst the 4G LTE pack for its lightweight (5.6 oz) feel and attempt to be streamlined at (0.43” thick) its thinnest point. However, as much as Motorola wants to tout its thinner design, it actually bulges towards the top where the camera’s sensors are placed – much like what we see on the DROID X. Nevertheless, it feels solid all-around thanks to its tough plastic exterior, beveled contours, soft touch rear cover, and metallic looking paint job.
The Motorola DROID BIONIC has a lightweight feel and is less than half an inch thick at its thinnest point"
By now, it might not have the same effect as before, but that doesn’t stop the DROID BIONIC’s 4.3” qHD (540 x 960) display with Gorilla Glass to be one of its standouts. Again, it’s not something new to the table since we’ve seen it done by the DROID X2. Obviously, we’re mesmerized by its brilliant and detailed output, which is further supplemented by its radiant color production. However, it suffers from the same poor viewing angle issue plaguing the DROID 3. Specifically, tilting the phone just a bit away from a straight 90-degree angle results in colors fading tremendously.
Sitting beneath the display are the usual cast of capacitive Android buttons that are less prone to accidental pressing since they’re positioned far enough from the edge of the handset. Meanwhile, a front-facing VGA camera sits directly above the display, which makes good use of Google Talk’s video chat feature since it’s an Android 2.3.4 device.
Unfortunately, we’re not fans of the handset’s volume rocker and dedicated power button since they’re narrow and difficult to make out with our finger. Even worse, the straight edge that the power button is sitting on makes it even more frustratingly difficult to activate the button.
In addition to its microUSB port and 3.5mm headset jack, the microHDMI port of the DROID BIONIC offers deep Webtop integration with some of Motorola’s optional accessories for the handset. Still, connecting it to an HD television will get you the usual mirrored experience that we find ever so useful.
Besides all of the brandings plastered on its back, we find its speakerphone notch, directional microphones, and 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash. Removing the all soft touch back cover, we are greeted to its beefy 1,735 mAh battery, which is the largest one to grace an LTE smartphone thus far. Moreover, we find the 4G LTE SIM card and microSD card slots tucked on top of one another.
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
1. PeterIfromsweden (Posts: 1230; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)
This got to be one of the ugliest phones i've ever seen.
2. nuadar (unregistered)
yeah true...its really ugly looking device
94. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
oh you didn't hear? it was rooted as of like a week ago. no bloat if you don't want it. xD
135. Mark_Washington (Posts: 8; Member since: 05 Sep 2011)
A long time smart phone buyer (anyone remember the Samsung i730?), I am still waiting for the perfect phone. I upgraded from the HTC Incredible but I also have an AT&T iPhone 4 (employer-provided), so I have the best of both worlds. The phone is upstairs on the charger as I write this, but here are my impressions after a day of use:
- handset feels lightweight and wide compared to my other phones. It seems to be of good quality, but not as solid as the iPhone. I tend to prefer metal phones and don't mind the added weight, so I'm probably in the minority here. Nice soft-touch back makes the grip feel solid.
- Very responsive, smooth interface. Few lags even when jumping between applications while downloading and updating marketplace apps. No cons here.
- Screen is a mixed bag. I can see it in the daylight which is better than any smart phone that I've used. The downside is that it has a very digital feel to it - almost like you're viewing it through a window screen, if you can picture that. It's not natural looking like the iPhone 4 and it isn't even as nice as my HTC Incredible, but it didn't bother me after the initial impression wore off. This will definitely be an issue for some people, so make sure you try before you buy.
- ZumoCast is AWESOME! I don't know if I *need* the ability to open files on my phone that are residing on my Windows laptop, but it sure was fun to play an mp4 on my phone that I didn't have to transfer first. Audio and video weren't a perfect match, but they were close enough. I have more trouble trying to do the same thing with my iPad and iTunes (using this same laptop), so this is nothing short of amazing in my opinion.
- Photo quality is not good - no better than my nearly 2 year old HTC Incredible. I wasn't expecting a high-end, point-and-shoot quality camera, but this was still a disappointment. The iPhone camera is significantly better. Video is pretty decent, though. I haven't transferred one to a PC yet, but on the phone it looks great. I'll take good quality videos over pictures in this instance, but I wish I didn't have to.
That about sums it up. The Bionic is a good quality phone, a definite step up from the HTC Incredible, and it does a great job of running my favorite mobile OS. I suspect there will be better phones on the market in the next couple of months (rumor of a Verizon Nexus phone), but if you are in the market now, you want an Android phone, and you are a Verizon customer, then I think this is your best bet.
And lastly, if you will buy this Droid Bionic I suggest for best buy at -->www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASI
158. cr8tive007 (Posts: 53; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
all that time writing and three thumbs up.... if your looking for a job on phone arena, I wouldn't hold your breath.
8. thtank (unregistered)
I've used this phone. It does look kind of odd in pictures. but when I used it myself it was the opposite. Very nice phone actually. there are definitely more ugly phones out there though
18. Derick (unregistered)
I have this phone. It is far from ugly.
43. KMS0694 (Posts: 3; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)
I've seen and held it at the Verizon store. IT's actually a very slick phone it feels really nice and aside from the thing at the bottom looks very nice. Does look weird in pictures though I'll agree with thtank on that.
45. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
I agree Motorola makes very ugly phones. This one is just the norm for them.
74. zuno gyakusatsu (Posts: 257; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)
fits right in with the rest of the android lineup.
126. jogutier (Posts: 324; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)
This would come from someone that owns a style-less phone. O' look the dimensions change by a fraction of a centimeter. Let me go buy the iPhone 4 1/2
149. jherz6 (Posts: 215; Member since: 23 May 2008)
Go ahead if you want to waste your money on a phone that hasnt changed with the time.
130. jroc74 (Posts: 5171; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
Aaww...look at the 3 Stooges....always good for a laugh.
Which one is Curly?
86. networkdood (Posts: 6298; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
YOUZE need to clean up your ENGLISH...lol....wow, Steve Jobs must pay this clown to bash any ANDROID phone.....
117. PeterIfromsweden (Posts: 1230; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)
It is ugly, but being rude is not nice Miz. Here is a advise. You can talk about the iphone being better than Android, but don't be rude about it. That way people will like you better.
80. Sniggly (Posts: 7177; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
What was that about you never coming onto Android articles and talking smack, because you're not interested in them...?
115. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
I'm not saying anything bad about android and I'm not talking smack. I think Motorola makes ugly looking phones. I think HTC and Samsung makes good looking android phones.
119. Sniggly (Posts: 7177; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
You talked plenty of smack about me on the other pages though. You're a lying sack of s**t.
120. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
I tell the truth about you which is that you're a pompous hypocrite and an androne.
122. Sniggly (Posts: 7177; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
You tell people your opinion of me, even though I routinely smack you down with facts. You've been caught red handed as a liar, Taco. You're not worming your way out of this.
150. jherz6 (Posts: 215; Member since: 23 May 2008)
The may make nice looking phones , however HTC is notorius for having poor battery life especially the thunderbolt, and the samsungs extended batteries which with a 4g phone is an absolute must are as big as bricks. Which to me ruins the look of the phone. So what good is a nice looking phone that you need to spend so much time charging, and or cant buy a case for because its so darn thick.
132. Commentator (Posts: 2467; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
No idea why you have so many thumbs down, you're just voicing your opinion. I also believe Motorola makes unattractive phones, no offense to anyone who thinks otherwise. I personally think the original Palm Pre, the Nexus One and the iPhone 5 are the three most attractive phone models to this day.
165. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)
IPHONE 5? DO U KNOW WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT? THIS PHONE IN MY OPINION IS NOT UGLY AT ALL. IT LOOKS LIKE A POWER HOUSE. ITS ALL THE BEST PHONE THERE IS TO DATE. DONT KNOW WHAY PA TRIED GIVING IT A BAD REP. I MEAN PUTTING THAT IT LOOKS UGLY AND LATE LAUNCH AS CONS IS RIDICULOUS. THERE ARE ALSO NO PROBLEMS WITH THE VIEWING ANGLES. THIS SITE IS BOGUS. ALL THE PICTURES OF THE BIONIC ON THIS REVIEW LOOK NOTHING LIKE THE PHONE.
76. GH (unregistered)
Certainly it's not the most appealing phone out there but isn't ugly. It looks tough, it was thought for guys.
91. Mark_Washington (Posts: 8; Member since: 05 Sep 2011)
Well to start it off i went to verizon the morning of phone release about 10 min. before they opened and to my surprise there was only one other car waiting. They unlocked the doors and i was the first in followed by only 2 other people. Got the phone and ran home to charge and play with my new investment. My first impression was a nice solid built phone with nothing special on the outside but little did i know the wow inside.
The phone is FAST! Pulls up apps quick and of course 4g LTE is no joke. Very very fast. The screen resolution doesnt look any different than the past droids and the camera only has a single light for flash but honestly i don't care. All i want is a solid well built phone and thats exactly what i have. A true winner in quality and reliability. One thing that sux is the "bloat ware" on this thing. Way too much without the option to erase is stupid.
You'll have to root it and that voids the warranty. I do though like a few apps that come with it. Like the Motoprint is awesome. Does a great job of syncing with my wireless printer. Havent printed yet but looks like it will be good. Also like the files app, Task app(which helps me keep up with all my daily running around), Video surf(which i really like. just point it at the tv and it uploads, recognizes the show. you can pick a picture from the clip and post a comment about it on twitter or facebook. I like it), slacker radio(just like pandora), voice command and zumocast. Since we're on apps PDAnet and fildo i recommend.
Google fildo and download from the internet. All in all a great under rated long over due phone that im glad i have. Im sure that in the coming months there will be pretty flashy phones with one or two main selling points but will be crap in the overall picture. I think its solid and will last through til my next contract. Almost forgot to comment on battery life. It is great. After i charged it i played with it all day and was only at 60% when i went to bed.
Thats awesome compared to the HTC turdbolt and the Samsung discharge. Heck its almost better than any smartphone that i've ever had. Oh and i love how it conjoins all the social network sites into one messaging center. Very smooth merger. Just buy it!
P.S. I bought this Droid Bionic at amazon it's best deal for now, then if you will buy this smartphone I suggest at:www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASI
103. networkdood (Posts: 6298; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
You can root and unroot your phone and still do a warranty on it....
104. networkdood (Posts: 6298; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
I just read your P.S. section - it makes me think you are lying when I read the phrase 'I bought this Droid Bionic at Amazon....."
159. cr8tive007 (Posts: 53; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
didn't you already write a similar report just the other day... I wish I had your spare time...
140. BillyO (unregistered)
Do you know what happens when you make a pretty phone.
Apple sues you.
3. bionic (unregistered)
Who cares if its ugly. As long as the phone can perform well and have a powerfully battery,then that's all it matters.
28. roldefol (Posts: 3080; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
You mean the dual-core one that doesn't exist yet?
38. CostcoHotDogs (unregistered)
with low standards... sure
59. biophone (Posts: 1894; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)
There is zero lag on my iphone and it can perform every task i want it to. There cant be an improvment over that. Specs will only get you so far software is way more important.
123. c.hack (Posts: 519; Member since: 09 Dec 2009)
There is zero lag because the iphone does not do true multitask. Task swapping is slooow because it always has to restart each app. A feature-poor phone like the iphone or a BB Curve will always appear fast - and sow will a Razr.
5. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)
This is a Droid X2 with the software of the Droid 3 and the features and battery of the Atrix 4G. It's funny how everyone's been waiting for this one yet totally ignoring the Photon 4G with a superior screen, superior processor and better looks. If it weren't for LTE I'd get the Photon. It's not a bad phone but it ain't exactly revolutionary either. It is still the best on Verizon so if your on verizon there's no reason not to pick it up. If your on Sprint get the Photon or EVO 3D, if you're on AT&T get the Thrill 4G. You could all of course wait for the GalaxySll. I've used it and its screen totally makes up for all its shortcomings, even Touchwiz. So there you have it, the Bionic, its a great phone, nothing revolutionary but still a great all-rounder. Used one today and it was very snappy with few downsides.
46. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
the Droid Bionic is in every way superior to the Photon. what makes you say it's not? if you look at it that way the Thunderbolt is an EVO 4G with the software of a Desire HD, didn't make it any less popular. i think you guys are so disappointed that after all this time of waiting this phone didn't come and deliver you all to Heaven like you wanted it to but in reality a lot of phones have delays like the Bionic had but we hardly ever know about them. the only thing that went wrong here is that we were teased with the phone and it's capabilities back at CES but this phone is different than the inferior (although arguably better looking) Etna version that was at CES in nearly every way. it's a new phone and if this phone was just rumored like 3-4 months ago you'd all be more excited about it because the excitement about it wouldn't have lingered on your tongues for so long and eventually wear off. this is the most powerful phone in the nation until the Galaxy S II comes out but it's the only one for like a month or maybe longer that will be and even they still won't have LTE so what? is that really just not good enough or are your feelings just all hurt?
60. biophone (Posts: 1894; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)
Amazing post your are so right. The gs2 doesnt have lte and the bionic proccessor is still plenty fast. Plus motoblur>touchwiz.
133. Commentator (Posts: 2467; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Superior in every way to the Photon?
*Cough* KICKSTAND *Cough*... =)
136. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
a kickstand? that's for cheap, lazy people, just get a damn dock for the phone and that'll be that besides i noticed on most people's review units that the chrome on it is easily scratched. cheap, chrome accents = BAD!
137. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)
I'm sorry but it appears that your beloved Quadrant and Smartbench 2011 disagree that the Bionic is more powerful than the Photon 4G. They have slightly different UI's and both are solidly built. After using both I just think the Photon looks better and its screen is a little more vivid with slightly better viewing angles
143. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
what are you talking about? after doing three tests like you're supposed to in sequence i get 2800 Quadrant scores on my Bionic. the UI is better on the Bionic, the Bionic is a sturdier phone and they both have the exact same screen smart one.
68. Atrix 4g (unregistered)
Hmm The Atrix has a way better battery life, in fact this phone should have had a battery life just like the Atrix 4g ( i have one and the battery life is beyond any other phone out there) even better, noting that its an LTe phone which likes to suck on battery like a sugary treat. Its true its not revolutionary, that it might not be a mountain slide better than the atrix or photon since it has been delayed for so long, but its a beast none the less.
95. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
LTE is a good 2 to 3 times faster than HSPA+ on AT&T so it does kill the Atrix pretty gruesomely but luckily for AT&T they really got on the ball with their LTE network making that their second "4G" network. that's quite commendable.
6. dblue45 (Posts: 77; Member since: 26 Aug 2009)
This review oozes off biased scents! So many cons and you gave it a 9 PA? You have gotta be kidding me!
19. Derick (unregistered)
The phone is a 9. This is a solid phone. If it gets an update to ice cream sandwich even better.
47. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
it'll be one of the first ones being that it has the OMAP4 processor that ICS comes out of the gate supporting.
9. lemenade (Posts: 31; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
I am waiting for the nexus prime before i make that claim.
25. gtrxman (unregistered)
How can you say the GSII is the best phone of 2011? Reviewers like it because of the nice screen and fast processor. But it still has the God awful Samsung Touch Wiz crap. So what if it has a 1.2ghz processor. The only thing that's worth is bragging rights on Quadrant scores. Put two similar phones together with equal RAM, one a 1 ghz and one at 1.2 ghz and you'd be hard pressed to notice any difference. GS II fails at the most basic of functions - it doesn't have a notification LED! Why can't a smartphone tell me when I've missed a call, text or email?
27. AKm007 (Posts: 108; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)
The simplest thing you could do about that is push the lock button. The Galaxy SII might not seem too valuable now, but once software comes to utilize its potential, other dual cores will be left in the dust
129. gtrxman (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)
So I should constantly press a button on my phone to check for em, calls, texts.....
39. CostcoHotDogs (unregistered)
umm sprints version has it... anything else
128. gtrxman (Posts: 122; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)
Noted that Sprint has it, but all the rest don't and why must I go to a second tier carrier (not knocking Sprint, but they simply do not have the coverage of VZW or ATT) just to get an LED?