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

Introduction and Design

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.

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