Motorola DROID BIONIC vs HTC ThunderBolt vs Samsung Droid Charge vs LG Revolution
HTC ThunderBolt in March, followed by the Samsung Droid Charge and the LG Revolution. Now the circle is complete, as the highly anticipated Motorola DROID BIONIC has hit the stores. All four of these smartphones have similarities, but in this four-way comparison we’re also going to take a look at their differences, as well as and point out things that we like and don’t like about them.
These four smartphones share a similar “candy bar” form factor, but each one looks and feels a bit different. Coming in at 5.04 oz, the Samsung Droid Charge is the lightest of the bunch, but we didn’t care for its slippery plastic body, which makes the phone feel cheap and that it could slip from your hand at any moment. Though we do appreciate the larger power and volume buttons on the side. It is also the only one that uses real push-buttons below the display, which can prevent accidental presses.
The Motorola DROID BIONIC is slightly heavier at 5.60 oz, but is the thinnest at only 0.40” thick near the bottom, though it does become slightly thicker at the top due to the camera hump. We like its overall solid construction and the glossy gray frame that encompasses the beveled-edge glass on the front, as well as the soft-touch coating on the back. When holding the device, it feels sturdy in the hand and fits quite nice.
The LG Revolution comes in at 6.06 oz, but is also the tallest out of the four. Because of this, the device feels like a brick in our hand and has almost no style to it, which we don’t care for.
Meanwhile, the HTC ThunderBolt is the heaviest at 6.23 oz and thickest at 0.56”, which did weigh-down our hand when talking on the phone for a while, or when using the web browser for an extended period of time, but it also felt quite solid and sturdy. We did like the two-tone gray color combination that is used and the kickstand on the back.
One of the most important features of any smartphone is its display, as you will be continually viewing it while using different apps, browsing the web, or taking pictures. All four of these smartphones have a 4.3” display, which is pretty much the standard size, but it would have been nice if at least one had a larger screen.
The one on the Samsung Droid Charge stands out, as it is the only Super AMOLED Plus display in the group, but still has a WVGA resolution of 480x800 pixels. The HTC ThunderBolt and LG Revolution have a standard TFT display, also capable of WVGA resolution, while the Motorola DROID BIONIC has a PenTile Matrix TFT Display, which means there are white sub-pixels with the RGB ones, and has a qHD resolution of 540x960.
Even though all these technical specifications sound interesting, the real key is how they perform in a variety of lighting conditions. We used several test images on the displays with the brightness turned all the way up, and found the results interesting.
When viewing indoors or in a dark environment, the Samsung Droid Charge produced the most saturated colors and had the highest contrast levels, but this over-saturation can cause images to “jump” out at you – though some may prefer this – but it also has a tendency for whites to have a blue hue to them. Despite this, the display on the Droid Charge did have the best viewing angles, where you could look at it from all four sides without any major shift in color or brightness. The HTC ThunderBolt and Motorola DROID BIONIC also did a good job for inside viewing of images and web text, but you have to look at the display mostly head-on, as any off-axis viewing will cause a loss of color and contrast. We also noticed that the PenTile display on the DROID BIONIC can occasionally create a “screen door” effect, though it seems to be most prevalent when primary colors are shown – such as blue text on a green background – or when watching videos. The LG Revolution produced average colors, but images and text didn’t look sharp and clear as the other phones.
Motorola DROID BIONIC (top left), HTC ThunderBolt (top right), LG Revolution, (bottom left), Samsung Droid Charge (bottom right)
We then took the phones outside in direct sunlight, and the display on the DROID BIONIC was the brightest and easiest to view (as long as it was head-on), followed closely by the Samsung Droid Charge with its wider viewing angles. Meanwhile, the displays on the HTC ThunderBolt and LG Revolution were not easily visible and appeared dark.
Left to right - Motorola DROID BIONIC, HTC ThunderBolt, LG Revolution, Samsung Droid Charge
Motorola DROID BIONIC (top left), LG Revolution (top right), HTC ThunderBolt (bottom left), Samsung Droid Charge (bottom right)
1. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)
The COLD facts! But I'm not surprised at the results. The Bionic is the BEST phone out to date on any carrier BY FAR---Lightweight, qhd display with Gorilla glass, LTE, Dual core, 32gb internal/external storage, 1gb ram, 1735 mah battery--what else can you ask for...
3. bucky (Posts: 1100; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
Luls. This phone doesn't come close to the sgs2. Its on par maybe, with sensation which id still take over the bionic.
9. ducky (unregistered)
I'd like to see the load times for an SGS2. While the processor is faster it can't compare to Verizon LTE network. I get between 17Mbps - 20mbps download. I'm sorry but the SGS2 is not in the same league. If you live in an LTE area you would be a fool not to take advantage of the technology. If SGS2 came out on verizon LTE network then it would be a different tale.
27. iankellogg (Posts: 155; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)
My father has a droid charge and we get roughly 14mbps on our area on LTE. My Girlfriend has an Incredible S on bell in canada and she can easily get 10mbps+ It may not be faster but i much rather have a great phone with pretty good internet than a brick. That being said hopefully by the time vigor and prime come out they will have improved on the 3 hour battery life.
46. @kellogg (unregistered)
well if you're gonna compare phones that are available in Canada you might as well jump over the pond and refer to phones overseas that kill most of the phones we have now. You can't compare apples to oranges. Oh crap, I hope I don't get sued now for using the term apple in my rant.
62. RageQuit (Posts: 41; Member since: 05 Sep 2011)
Whats the point of even 5Mbps when the phones right now aren't fast enough for that to really matter besides downloading large files. I highly doubt you would be downloading too many large files for it to even matter, besides its not like you could with the data caps on VZW.
29. jroc74 (Posts: 3459; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
I would say the best phone on Verizon. Not any carrier. The GS2 is nice...
2. bionic bests out irrelevant ph (unregistered)
4. doubler86 (Posts: 293; Member since: 26 Jan 2011)
The Charge should come in second. The Charge has a better screen, longer battery life, and better call quality is more important than the UI preference and backing preference.
73. juicy (unregistered)
The Charge battery life is horrible if you receive notifications and are on it regularly. My Charge barely lasts 4hrs without needing to charge. Everything else is outstanding, but disappointed with battery life. My VZW store manager is outstanding and is going to work with me on some alternative options if not switch out to the a different phone.
5. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)
Y all are all talking about the GS2 and it's not even available yet.. always putting the cart before the horse....GS2 want even have a notification LED as ALL of Sammy's products.....will be made out of that cheap plastic---Droid Charge to include the whole Galaxy S series--Fascinate--already discontinued on VW--in which they opt not to even sell the GS2..
31. darth8ball (Posts: 519; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)
I think they are scrapping the release of their GS2 model as a temporary fix to the Apple v, Sammy lawsuits.
6. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)
Sorry--even after 6 Thunderbolts---The Charge still does not come in second to me....2nd place is right for the Thunderbolt--after numerous OTA and Gingerbread on the horizon--its justified in 2nd place--3rd place is the right fitting for the Charge out of 4...
23. afasfsafas (unregistered)
the Charge is going to receive GB soon. We received the final GB leak(EP1W) a week or two ago which means the official OTA is(at most) a month or so away.
7. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
i'm not surprised the Thunderbolt could hold it's own against the Bionic in the Browser test despite being so out-classed in terms of power, the HTC browser still performs better than the stock browser the Bionic uses however i am surprised the Revolution was coaxed out of a 2100 Quadrant score, not bad, not bad at all, however that's still just one core.
32. darth8ball (Posts: 519; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)
It was my understanding that the Bionic uses a Firefox browser not the stock browser, am I mistaken?
34. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
you CAN download the Firefox browser from the market but it comes out of the box stock.
8. B (unregistered)
Great review! Comparing the four top phones on VZW, one of which being 6 months old and still comes in second?! I love my tbolt, would obviously like a Bionic since it's dual core and all that, but glad it can still compare to the bionic in more ways than one. Charge is in it's rightful place of third... always drops calls when I call it.
10. Alantef (Posts: 278; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)
i work for verizon and i have to say that all these phones are awesome (aside from the LG) and the charge feels really cheap without having an otterbox or something over it but the Bionic is the true king of them for the next month or so til the Prime comes out (cant wait to hold the dummy model lol)
71. Mike (unregistered)
No card slot?
Only 800x300 display?
Only 3.7 Screen?
Only 720p Video?
Gah, sounds like a major downgrade from the bionic.
It looks like it does have a radio though, for people who dont know how to stream.
76. drewdroid74 (Posts: 3; Member since: 04 Oct 2011)
Mike - you must not be apprised of the Prime specs, or thinking of another phone?
The "Droid Prime" or "Samsung Prime" or "Nexus Prime" is expected to have a 1280×720 HD resolution and 4.6-inch display size, 32o dpi. It also has a 8mp camera and and a 2/3 mp front facing camera. Toss in the 1.5 dual core processor, and Ice Cream Sandwich and there is no phone on the planet that has the same specs.
11. t bolt (unregistered)
Would like to.see another battle between the bionic and the t bolt when it gets gingerbread
12. DROIDX0430 (Posts: 409; Member since: 24 Nov 2010)
The Thunderbolt can get Icecream and still want beat the Bionic--hence 1gb ram versus 768 mb of ram, 1 ghz single core, versus 1ghz dual core....
13. bossmt_2 (Posts: 401; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)
Not shocked at the results. But this is like the xbox 360 coming out before the PS3. Right now it's tops, but in a few months It will likely fall behind the Droid Prime. and maybe the other devices coming out.
I haven't gotten the device yet just cause of the Prime and others being about 2 months out, rather hold out right now.
14. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)
I enjoyed the review. You guys cover pretty much everything about the phones. The only other thing I would suggest is testing their gps and hdmi capabilities.
I've sold cell phones for 4 years now, and have always told everyone that Moto is not about pictures, music, and video. They're about having a top quality phone. Meaning excellent call quality, signal strength for calls and internet.
If you want pic, music and videos get an Iphone or a My Touch.
24. djpashka (Posts: 9; Member since: 13 Jun 2011)
If Moto is not about the pictures, music, and video, then why is it that they are the only ones that have 1080p video recording?
33. jroc74 (Posts: 3459; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
What he's saying is that not on of their strong points. Never has been. It has been for HTC and Samsung tho dating back to the old Win Mo days.
One of the pros for Motorola phones is signal strength.
52. Commentator (Posts: 1874; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Because it's the only one with a dual-core processor?
15. bob (unregistered)
Yeah and the Miami heat looked like champs on paper too but we know what happened.I tried out the bionic at my local verizon store and unless verizon doesn't care to sell it the demo was horrible my tb is loaded with apps and running widgets and it blew it away i. was there to upgrade to the bionic.FORGET IT!!!
16. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)
wow. you actually based the bionic quality on a over used, under charged, overly apped, totally screwed demo? hahahaha
No offense bud but all the demos on VZW suck in comparison to one out of the box. If you were serious about getting it you should have asked them to open one out of the box turned it on and then start using it. A demo will not do justice to any phone unless its the first day its was put on display.
Or if you know what your doing and do a hard rest on the demo to clear it off of all the junk people left while they were playing with it. Then theres still batterie level. If it bearly has any juice it wont work very well either. Still the best option is to get one out of the box.
17. snowgator (Posts: 3015; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Did anyone truly not know how this was going to come out? Of course the Bionic was going to post speeds and response times the other three couldn't compete with. (Stock versions out of the box.) Kinda has an extra core in the old processor. Takes the suspense out of that.
I was betting on the Charge taking second, though. I am very surprised the T-Bolt still is held in that high regard. The irony is that Verizon is dumping them both for new devices after the short time they have been on the market. But, the last place LG is still going to be sold. Go figure.
22. bubba78 (Posts: 52; Member since: 23 May 2011)
The Revolution is being replaced also. http://www.phonearena.com/phon
18. super mario games (unregistered)
It's funny, the way that Motorola keeps awkwardly scraping away at the future of computing. The Atrix was a phone with a dual-core processor-like your laptop!—that also turned into a laptop. The Droid Bionic is the next step—a dual-core transforming thing of a phone, but it pulls down real internet from the sky.
19. free games (unregistered)
The comparison is inevitable and it is going to come more frequently when it is launched in the market in the US. Samsung Galaxy S2 4G LTE versus Motorola Droid Bionic competition is natural and we are going to witness a very intense fight when South Korean tech giant’s smart phone is introduced in the market in the days to come.
20. Y8 Games (unregistered)
Samsung’s Galaxy S2 has been selling like hotcake in market outside the US. There were reports that Samsung rolled out a 4G LTE version for its Galaxy S 2 in South Korea, the home of Samsung. The advanced version of Galaxy S 2 called Celox reportedly carries more enhanced technical specifications, but somewhat heavier and thicker than Galaxy S 2. Though akin to Galaxy S 2 in design aspects, Celox has a larger 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display instead of Galaxy S 2’s 4.3-inch display. The 4G LTE devices runs on a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm APQ8060 processor, and sports 16GB built-in memory and an 8-megapixel camera.
21. cnwwyo (Posts: 123; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Does anybody know if the 4g can be manually turned of if u arent in a 4g area?
43. Paden (Posts: 262; Member since: 07 Jul 2011)
It'll automatically connect to 3G, so there's no point in turning off the 4G.
51. cnwwyo (Posts: 123; Member since: 26 May 2011)
if the phone is gonna constantly search for a 4g sugnal there is
25. djpashka (Posts: 9; Member since: 13 Jun 2011)
If you like it or not... it's the fact...Motorola DROID BIONIC fastest phone in the world.
28. iankellogg (Posts: 155; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)
well not in the world...... and only the US for like 2 weeks...
30. jroc74 (Posts: 3459; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
I am a fan of Motorola...but its clear some dont wanna give Samsung and the GS2 props....lol
I try to give credit where credit is due. And Samsung deserves alot of credit for the GS2.
53. Commentator (Posts: 1874; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Fastest in downloads, not necessarily performance.
26. Battleraiser (unregistered)
I'll cast my vote for the Nexus Prime :3 Thank you, and goodnight :D
39. Hex (unregistered)
I was thinking on exchanging my samsung charge for the motorola bionic so i went to a verizon store to play with it and compare it to my charge. One thing that was very noticeable is the screen, I played the VERIZON'S NFL mobile videos synchronized in my charge and the bionic and although the picture in the bionic was more vivid or bright (don't know if the charge has a brightness setting or if i have to change it from the save battery mode) and the colors more natural (faces looked red in my charge) but the picture in the bionic was so pixelated you could not tell the faces, the field grass also was so pixelated in the bionic that was annoying, it looked sooo much better in my samsung charge, no pixelation, faces where very distinctive overall a much much better picture, (I tried 2 different bionics) i don't know if there is a setting to increase the resolution in the bionic, but the charge wins this battle easily. the verizon salesperson told me that she was going to try to get a hold of the motorola rep and ask about it... Very disappointing :-( i wish verizon would have carried the galaxy SII
40. RuBiK (unregistered)
I'm leaning toward the Thunderbolt actually. I qualify for discounted upgrade pricing right now. And I really want the Bionic - especially after this fine review. However, even after discounts, I'd be out of pocket to the tune of $200. But I can get a certified used Tbolt from Verizon for about $70 - and it's a solid second place. I'm thinking - save the money for now and then go big when the next gen dual cores are released. I've been using a Windows phone for 2 years now and hate it - so even 2nd place will be a huge leap for me.
41. RAIDERWILL (Posts: 22; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)
Excellent Review.. But, I would not trade my Rom'ed, Rooted, Custom Kerneled, Overclocked to 1300 mhz Droid Charge running Go Launcher EX & SuperAmoled+ Screen with Unlimited 4G internet for anything but the Samsung Galaxy SII on Verizon of course... And @ 1300 mhz and having HDMI Out already on my Droid Charge I still would have to think about it.. Most likely, Next Year's 1600 to 1800 mhz Verizon 4G phones running Ice Cream Sandwich Software will be my next upgrade to really see anything faster than I am running now.. Running EXT4 file system in place of the Stock RFS and at 1300 mhz my page / app transistions are just as fast as an G2S2 with this Custom Kernel.. :-)
42. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
hey RAIDERWILL, i have a Droid Charge rooted, converted & overclocked to 1.5GHz w/ GO Launcher EX over it as well but it'll freeze up sometimes and it's not getting scores as high in Quadrant as i think it should (1600-1900) is there anything i've done wrong here? i used the Voodoo Charge kernel to change it over.
79. RAIDERWILL (Posts: 22; Member since: 07 Aug 2011)
Hey Thump... The Freeze is because you ar Overclocked too High.. I got that at 1400 mhz so I lowered it to 1300 mhz and now I am 100% stable.. Just take it down a notch :-)
44. verizonguy123 (unregistered)
If I had to choose, I would easily pick the bionic. After that it gets a little gray. I work for verizon and 2 of my coworkers have the Thunderbolt. They absolutely hate it. They recieve text messages 30 minutes after they are sent and the phones turn off automatically (after installing a few updates, this doesn't happen too often anymore). I have to wait another month before I am able to purchase a bionic, but the order I would go in is Bionic, Charge, Thunderbolt, Revolution.
47. bionic88 (unregistered)
i have a bionic. i live in minnesota my last two speed test have both pulled an impressive 26.49mbps download and a 25.64 mbps.
sorrry no other phone will come close to that.
48. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
you're lucky. LTE congestion is at a minimal where you live at the moment.
55. LionStone (Posts: 405; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)
i have a thunderbolt. i live in sf and i have pulled downs at 25 too :) no sweat..
49. cheeseycheeser (Posts: 239; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)
Not surprised, exactly the results I would have guessed. The Bionic has the best specs, and usual Motorola robust antenna/hardware. The Thunderbolt is usual of HTC, amazing well built phone, well rounded phone, but not anything that jumps out of the crowd. The Charge is extremely popular, but over-priced, and underpowered, with outdated software/hardware, but amazing screen! And the Revolution isn't nescisarily a bad phone, but it has a crappy ass UI, and isn't up to par with the others.
50. Thump3rDX17 (Posts: 2160; Member since: 10 May 2010)
the only thing that makes me really sour about the Revolution is that it's been Binged. xP
67. RodThaBod (Posts: 4; Member since: 24 Oct 2010)
When all is said and done , the bottom line is are you happy with your phone? I got the Bionic the first day it came out and I am 100% satisfied with it. So many people get on here and complain about small things with these phones. Well , maybe those people should go to work for these company's or start a new company that makes cell phones since they know so much.
70. MpowerSkills (Posts: 32; Member since: 19 Feb 2011)
I got the Revolution and am really disappointed. It is my first smartphone. I'm had such a bad time I was thinking of switching to the iPhone, but its hard to tell if my phone sucks because of LG or because of android.
68. MjG (unregistered)
I loaded this site in 13 seconds first run on my att infuse. I've never gotten more than 4 mbs down and 1 mbs up. I'm stock with a leaked gingerbread for infuse. Full flash was enabled too.
69. MpowerSkills (Posts: 32; Member since: 19 Feb 2011)
I totally agree. I got talked into the Revolution over the Thunderbolt back when it came out and boy do I regret it. It is total garbage.
72. truckinguy (unregistered)
What I would like to know is why we don't have the better technology than over seas. We are the #1better world powers. We should always have better than those characters.