Motorola DROID BIONIC vs HTC ThunderBolt vs Samsung Droid Charge vs LG Revolution

The big news from Verizon Wireless earlier this year at CES 2011 was their new 4G LTE Android smartphones that were on display. The first one that was released was the 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.

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.



1. DROIDX0430

Posts: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 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: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 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

bucky, 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: Jun 15, 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: 44; Member since: Sep 05, 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: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I would say the best phone on Verizon. Not any carrier. The GS2 is nice...

2. bionic bests out irrelevant ph unregistered

A GS2.

4. doubler86

Posts: 320; Member since: Jan 26, 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: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 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: 520; Member since: Aug 02, 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: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 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: May 10, 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: 520; Member since: Aug 02, 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: May 10, 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: 288; Member since: Sep 14, 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

The Prime? 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: Oct 04, 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: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 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: 459; Member since: Oct 13, 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: Aug 15, 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: Jun 13, 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: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 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: Aug 15, 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.

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