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Samsung Droid Charge Review

Samsung Droid Charge

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We also appreciate the usefulness of the integrated Calendar, since it pulls events from your Google, Facebook and corporate Outlook/Exchange accounts. Views are separated by day, week, or month (the default tab), or you can view a list of your recent and future appointments, holidays, and birthdays. Reminders are easily set, and you can choose if the phone is to mark the event only on the handset, or sync it to the cloud with Google Calendar as well. Pushing events work quickly, so adding that party to Google Calendar or Facebook saves it to the phone instantaneously as well.

The Calendar of the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
The Calendar of the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
The Calendar of the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
The Calendar of the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review


The alarm function can be found under the Clock icon in the apps menu, and also includes a world clock, stopwatch and timer for all those hard boiled eggs in the morning. It's nice that you can control every aspect of its sounding, and even snooze duration and repetition. One of the phone's apps is a Desk Cradle, and it can be used as a regular alarm clock tucked neatly on your nightstand, but can also be used to access the gallery, daily briefing, and music player. There is the so-called Smart Alarm, which rings up with soothing nature sounds before the main alarm is sounded. Night owls like us are certainly appreciative of any options to wake up in a prolonged and gentle manner. One small bug we noticed while using the Desk Cradle app is that it shows our AccuWeather temperature as 32 degrees on the screen, even though when going into the daily briefing it was correctly shown at 75 degrees.

The Alarm - Samsung Droid Charge Review
AccuWeather - Samsung Droid Charge Review
Samsung Droid Charge Review

The Alarm

AccuWeather

 


The Samsung Droid Charge supports every messaging standard you could want, including SMS, MMS and Email, and also comes pre-loaded with Verizon’s Mobile IM app for connecting you to your AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo! buddy lists. GMail is of course a stand-alone app that replicates the web-based experience. Other Email accounts, including POP3, IMAP and Exchange are handled by the standard Email app. Since the Droid Charge does not have a physical QWERTY keyboard, it comes with Swype preloaded, but has the standard Android keyboard loaded as default on-screen keyboard. For those of you unfamiliar with it Swype, you simply run your finger from key to key without lifting your finger until you’re done with the word. It definitely takes some getting used to, but was remarkably accurate even when we made some mistakes. You can easily change between using the standard Android keyboard and the Swype keyboard by going into the settings menu. Since the 4.3” display on the Samsung Droid Charge is the same size as the one on the HTC ThunderBolt, both provide enough room to type, as the on-screen keys are large and not cramped together.

The on-screen keyboard of the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
The on-screen keyboard of the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review

E-mail - Samsung Droid Charge Review
Samsung Droid Charge Review
Samsung Droid Charge Review

E-mail

  


Internet and Connectivity:

Since we’ve been using the HTC ThunderBolt for a few weeks now, we’ve become accustomed as to what speeds to expect from Verizon’s 4G LTE 700MHz data network, so we were naturally interested in seeing if the Samsung Droid Charge would have similar speeds.

When loading the PhoneArena.com web site, the ThunderBolt only took about 22 seconds to fully load (including all Flash content and ads), but the Droid Charge took a bit longer at about 30 seconds, while the Motorola DROID X was the slowest 45 seconds using Verizon’s EVDO Rev A network. One thing that we noticed was that the Droid Charge has difficulty handling web pages that contain a lot of Flash content, such as our own web site, as it will almost lock-up the web browser, where you can’t even scroll the page or zoom in. The only work-around is to go into the browser setting and change the Plug-ins from “Always on” to either “On Demand” or “Off”. This will allow web pages to load quicker and will also make them much easier to scroll without the browser locking up. Hopefully this issue will be fixed, as most other Android phones do not suffer from this problem.

Surfing the web with the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
Surfing the web with the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
Surfing the web with the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
Surfing the web with the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
Surfing the web with the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review
Surfing the web with the Samsung Droid Charge - Samsung Droid Charge Review


We were able download the Angry Birds Lite app at 11.44MB from the Android Market on the Droid Charge, which took 20 seconds, while the ThunderBolt only took 18 seconds, and the DROID X took a whopping 2 minutes 40 seconds.

When it comes to the SpeedTest.net app, the newest version is 2.0.3 and appears to be inaccurate with the Droid Charge and ThunderBolt, as it shows download speeds between 0.5 and 1 Mbps. Because of this, we removed it and tried the older 1.7.4 version (which also lacks the ads) and were able to get a download speed of 8.56 Mbps and an upload speed of 4.46 Mbps on the Droid Charge, though we have seen the downloads hit as high as 12 Mbps. These speeds are also about the same that we’ve seen while using the ThunderBolt.

The 4G Mobile HotSpot app allows you to connect up to 10 devices to the Droid Charge via Wi-Fi, which in turn uses the phone’s 4G connection for data. We tested this with the DROID X connected to the Droid Charge, and were able to get 8 Mbps download and 3 Mbps uploads using the SpeedTest.net app.

SpeedTest.net app - Samsung Droid Charge Review
Mobile HotSpot app - Samsung Droid Charge Review

SpeedTest.net app

Mobile HotSpot app



All of these speeds are fine and dandy, but both the Samsung Droid Charge and HTC ThunderBolt appear that they do not hold onto the 4G signal very well. When we have used other Verizon 4G devices, such as the Samsung HotSpot, Novatel MiFi, and Novatel USB Modem, those have all stayed locked onto 4G in our area and never went down to 3G. But when we use the HTC ThunderBolt in the same area (Ft Lauderdale to Boca Raton FL) it will cycle through 4G, 3G, and 1x for no reason. We talked about this in this article, as other people have reported the same issue, and we also described how to put the ThunderBolt in LTE only mode, which will significantly cut-down on it going to 3G or 1x – though it still happens some. With the Samsung Droid Charge, the problem is slightly different. If we are outside, it will stay on 4G most of the time, but as soon as we are indoors (such as a house, restaurant, or even a car) it will drop down to 3G within a minute, and will occasionally cycle between 4G and 3G back-and-forth. We have noticed that when we are inside and see that the Droid Charge is using 3G, we can toggle the Airplane mode, which will then kick the phone back to 4G for a while, but it will still drop to 3G sooner or later. This is truly unfortunate, as neither phone seems to be completely reliable in maintaining a constant 4G connection. We are unsure if this is a Verizon issue, or is a problem with the phone’s software or hardware/antenna, but we can only hope that it is resolved – as it happened before and after the Verizon 4G data outage that occurred on 4/28/11.

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PhoneArena rating:
8.5Excellent
Display4.3 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi) Super AMOLED Plus
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Samsung Exynos 3, Single core, 1000 MHz, ARM Cortex-A8 processor
Size5.11 x 2.66 x 0.46 inches
(130 x 68 x 12 mm)
5.04 oz  (143 g)
Battery1600 mAh, 11 hours talk time

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