Samsung Droid Charge ReviewSamsung Droid Charge 8.5
It seems that most high-end phones are now coming with an 8MP camera (or larger), and the Samsung Droid Charge is no exception, as it also employs auto focus and a single LED flash. The camera menu is pretty similar between other Samsung phones, giving you options for changing the resolution, scene modes, timers, white balance, effects, ISO, and light metering…among others. When we reviewed the Samsung Fascinate last year, we weren’t impressed with its 5MP camera, as outside images looked hazy and out of focus, but the Samsung Continuum’s 5MP did a much better job. The 8MP camera on the Droid Charge does even better, as images are noticeably sharper and colors are more accurate, though it still suffers from losing detail in bright areas – which have a tendency of being completely washed-out. When taking pictures indoors, we noticed that they were somewhat blurry (almost out of focus), even though when we took them the center focus-square on the screen turned green. The single LED flash does help some in low-light, but still isn’t as bright as we would like. There is also a 1.3MP camera on the front for taking self portraits, but the quality is pretty low, and reminds us of cameras from years ago.
For capturing videos, the Samsung Droid Charge can record up to 1280x720p resolution at 30 frames per second. When played back on a PC, the video was smooth, but we noticed that the color was lacking and the image was soft and not in-focus. We recorded a second video, and it too looked the same way. Because of this, we can’t see using it to record any videos of high importance.
Even though the Samsung Droid Charge is lacking in its video recording quality, it makes up for it in being able to playback pretty much every file you can throw at it. The tabs on the top of the music player allow sifting through your collection by artist, album and playlists, or display all at once. The landscape mode brings along some nice eye candy, like CD cover flow or an alphabetical wheel, to pick your music from. Sharing the song via email or Bluetooth is done from the context menu while playing. The current song keeps going in the background when the screen is locked, and you can even pull down the notification area to display the controls - not a bad idea, but we wish there was also a desktop widget. Aside from showing the album cover while playing a selection, we like how there's an option to enable a visualization to run above it. We're happy to say that music quality from its rear speaker was more than vibrant with some serious power to make every tone extremely audible to the ear, as there is a nice selection of equalizer settings and effects to choose from. If you prefer to keep your tunes to yourself, you'll be surprised to hear the level of quality when using a pair of ear buds along with a 5.1 channel sound effect, which makes everything sound more full bodied and natural.
One of the main features of the Droid Charge is the Super AMOLED Plus display, and it truly does a wonderful job showing ripped-videos or even ones streams from YouTube. We tested the video player with files of various resolutions and bitrates, encoded with H.264, MPEG-4, XviD and DivX, and all of them were able to play without a problem.
All of your multimedia files get organized in the Gallery, which offers some nice 3D effects, batch view by date/time, and grid view. It automatically indexes the pictures and videos stored on the memory card and on the phone, which cuts down on thumbnail load times. Images can be rotated and cropped right in the gallery, uploaded to Picasa and Facebook, or sent via email, MMS or Bluetooth. The Samsung AllShare function is also here, if you happen to have a home Wi-Fi connection and a DLNA capable TV to watch the pictures or videos from the phone. Videos can also be uploaded straight from the gallery to YouTube. Also, with the included HDMI port, you can connect the phone directly to your HDTV, and view pictures and videos directly on the big screen.
For streaming video over the 4G network, there is Bitbop, which can play pre-recorded clips and full TV episodes. We tested a couple, and after about 10 seconds of buffering, the video will start to play. You can also jump to other parts of the video, but it has to re-buffer each time. At first we had it set to the highest setting of 9MB/min, but noticed that the video wasn’t playing smoothly and there were some audio-sync issues. We lowered it down to 5MB/min, which did improve the smoothness of the video, though there was still some audio-sync problems, so we’re not sure if that has to do with the way the videos were encoded, or with the data connection. You also have the option of subscribing to VCast Video, Blockbuster, and Samsung’s Media Hub, all of which have their own fees involved. Thankfully there is a YouTube app, which works quite well over the 4G network and doesn’t require a subscription fee.
For GPS guided driving directions you have a choice of using Google Maps, which is free, or VZ Navigator, which is $10 per month. Both provide you with turn-by-turn directions and audio prompts, though their layout is slightly different. Our choice between the two is Google Maps, as it doesn’t have a monthly fee, but this is our personal preference. We’ve used it in the South FL area, and with the 4G connection it is accurate and shows satellite images without having to wait for them to load (unlike with EVDO on the DROID X).
There is also a demo version of Lets Golf 2 and Rock Band included on the Droid Charge, though you have to upgrade to the full version of Rock Band for $10 to have access to the MultiPlayer mode. Both games work as expected and look really nice on the Super AMOLED Plus screen.
For viewing your Microsoft Office files, there is the ThinkFree Office app, which can view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and even Adobe PDF files.
We are glad to see a 32GB memory card included, as this allows ample room for saving picture, videos, music, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Unfortunately, the Droid Charge only comes with 1.17GB of internal memory, of which 1.10 GB is available for installing downloaded apps. We would prefer to have at least 2GB of internal space for app storage.
1. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Good review. You recognized the phone's mistakes while having some fair criticisms.
Can't wait to see how Motorola's swing at LTE turns out. In the meantime, it sounds like the Charge is a good choice for LTE users.
19. FightForTheLost (Posts: 20; Member since: 25 May 2010)
The Bionic is (or was, last I checked) having issues due to overheating and harshly low battery life. But, I believe it is/was still outperforming the Charge. Hopefully they don't have the issue of 4G switching to 3G indoors, because that would really be a purchase-killer in my book (not that I don't use WiFi inside my house anyways...but on those occasions where I'm indoors and not near WiFi, I'd like top data speeds lol).
41. phandroid (unregistered)
the Bionic is dual core and the charge is only single core.
2. theo14461 (unregistered)
Browser locking up when trying to load heavy flash content?? Pictures out of focus?? Low quadrant scores?? Why then such a high rating?? Seems like it should only get an 8, at best.
3. Kjayhawk (Posts: 293; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)
Yeah I'm a bit confused here I thought the Droid Charge defiantly wasn't as good as the thunderbolt... Personally I think the LG 2x was a 9 phone and the charge phone was an 8.
I guess the fact that it is a strong battery life and call quality for LTE must be a bigger deal than i thought.
5. effdee1121 (Posts: 14; Member since: 05 Mar 2010)
I don't get how this got a 9? and the G2x got an 8.5?? doesn't make any sense. specs are pretty good but not as current as can be and overpriced !
6. Jay (unregistered)
I'm disappointed as well. The benchmarks I'm not worried about, its that file system not playing well with others again, and smartbench gives a more accurate score than Quadrant.
However the lagging on the homescreen is a problem, I'm just hoping you guys were talking about lagging on the homescreens while they were covered with widgets.
If only the screen and the a/v capabilities work without an asterisk, then I most certainly won't be paying $300 for it...
37. unfotunately (unregistered)
Lag happens out of the box, may be due to the ridiculous amount of apps pre-installed, but home screen still slow when mostly empty...
8. Rami (unregistered)
Wowowow 328 mb ram?!?!?! Wtf. It should have at least 512 if not more. I've seen 512 everywhere else. Are you sure that you didn't type that wrong? Try using system panel to see if there is around 300 mb free that means its 512 ram. If its not then thunderbolt for me
9. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Phones need 1GB RAM, not less than half of that. Looks interesting, though...
10. qwertyu (unregistered)
wow, the score of my dhd is much higher
11. Hellow (unregistered)
What's up with the inconsistencies lately? The actual scores do no mirror what is being said in the reviews. Must be the 4g hype.
12. mgobear (unregistered)
328mb of ram??? i thought it was supposed to be 512!
14. cheetah2k (Posts: 1582; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
Interesting... the score has dropped from 9 to 8.5....... close but it should be an 8 guys
15. serioussam (unregistered)
Seriously Phone Arena.
My Tbolt is crap, I am having the 3rd device becaue the first 2 were defected and this Charge isn't even as good in most aspects. It's a larger/bulkier, slower, more expensive device.
Should be 7 MAX! You are hurting your own credibility guys. How can anyone trust you when you come up with random scores like this?
Btw, the Tbolt score was too high too. (should be 7.5)
You are here to help US and do REAL reviews not to kiss the manufacturers' ass.
If you want the latter one you will lose your audience soon....
Think Top Gear, don't be a wuss.
16. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
It's definitely not bulkier. It's just taller. The speed is around the same or perhaps better on this device. I doubt your Thunderbolt is crap. However, if it is, I will gladly take it.
20. serioussam (unregistered)
Riiiight... it's taller, it's wider, it's larger at the bottom... I wouldn't call that exactly slimmer.. :))
Did you even read the review??
You: "the speed is better on this device"
P.A: "but is still MUCH lower than the ThunderBolt"
Sure you can have my crappy tbolt dear begger, just buy me a working 4G with the same or better specs.
This is my 3rd and while a few things are better on thsi 3rd one the call quality is still total crap. The speaker is muffled too..
23. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
"The speed is around the same or perhaps better on this device" does not translate into "the speed is better on this device". The difference is so blatant and only takes a second to read. You're welcome.
25. serioussam (unregistered)
Riiiiight... "or perhaps better on this device"
Hahaha nice try.... Stop here, you're digging it deeper :) It's OK to mess it up from the ecstasy you got from looking at this fat ass phone. None will judge you but coming back and try to act it out.....c'mon.... you are better than that. Peace.
29. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
The pervasive hostility on the internet...
31. CRICKETownz (Posts: 980; Member since: 24 Oct 2009)
3 T-bolts? These phones haven't even been out that long & everyone I know with it swears by it. Maybe its not the phone...maybe its the user. I've never had 3 of any phone...but most consumers are too childish to admit that their own habits may be messing up their phones...its always the manufacturers fault. Most people are quick claim that a phone has issues but in reality 9 times out of 10 the issue is they are causing them. No matter what phone you put these people in it is only going to be a matter of time before they are coming in complaining and wanting another phone. it tends to be a combination of too high expectations for a electronic device & pure carelessness. But hey, you paid x amount of dollars for it so you are never wrong right?
21. phonefan4 (Posts: 13; Member since: 03 May 2011)
I think the thunderbolt was rushed to the market just so htc could say "Hey look everyone we are the first 4g on verizon" instead of making a solid handset.
22. somebody (unregistered)
how can I bypass the activiating screen?
24. Jammers (Posts: 6; Member since: 05 May 2011)
WHAT a joke. This sounded like a pretty great phone, but for two fairly glaring gaps, 328MB of ram, and PHYSICAL keys. WTH? I was even thinking of bypassing the rediculously low memory but if I wanted physical keys, I'd go back and buy my old Royal typewriter! Funny thing Samsung in particular seems to do, they make a great phone with ALLLLLMOST everything you want, and then they gimp it. I'm half surprised this doesn't have Froyo on it.
The cell phone manufacturers need to wake up and smell the coffee, people are more aware who are buying these phones, and they need to start catering to what the actual consumers want. Android consumers aren't your blind Apple customers who'll think your giving them divinity when your feeding them something else.
|Display||4.3 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi) Super AMOLED Plus|
Samsung Exynos 3, Single core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
|Size||5.11 x 2.66 x 0.46 inches|
(130 x 68 x 12 mm)
5.04 oz (143 g)
|Battery||1600 mAh, 11 hours talk time|