Pros It is faster than any phone I've ever had
Speakers are nice and loud
Battery life is pretty good
Verizon is a great service
Display is amazing! It's a LARGE 4.3 qHD display
Social media apps are AWESOME
Cons Some Verizon "bloatware" on it
Summary I'll start off by stating that I WAITED for this phone. I read its announcement at CES 2011 and waited for it. It took much much longer than I thought it would to be released, and when it finally was, I was there at a Verizon store that morning, but now that I've had it and used it for the better half of a month, I feel comfortable saying that this phone was definitely worth the wait. Before this phone, I've had all sorts of phones; iPhones, Androids, smartphones, dumbphones, Motorola, Sony, Samsung, LG, Nokia.... I can go on and on, but I bring this up just to say that I do have experience with many different handsets and OS's. But back to my Bionic.....
First, the physical aspect of the phone: It's thin and trim, but it has a good solid build to it. More plastic than some previous Droids, but it doesn't feel cheap in the least. It's got a good weight to it and feels snug and right in the hand. I've heard from a few people that the placement of the volume rocker and power button is awkward and takes some getting used to, but not for me. I'll admit that there were a few times in the beginning when setting this phone into its dock that I'd overreach and accidentally hit the power button, but only for the first few times. Another gripe about this phone I've heard was its screen. Some people say they see heavy pixelation in the screen; that because it's a Pentax screen, you can see the pixels and so on. I'll admit that even though this screen is not as crisp as the iPhone 4, it is still a gorgeous screen. I have perfect vision with no need for corrective lenses, and for me to see the pixelation, I have to have the screen at an uncomfortably close distance to my eyes. The colors are vibrant, the pictures are clear, and best of all, this screen is easy to see in natural sunlight.
The speed of this phone is out of this world. It is faster than any phone I've ever had. You can literally run program on top of program on top of program, and this bad boy DOES NOT bog down. I've got apps running in the background all the time while I'm surfing the internet and playing music, and this phone can take it with ease. The bigger screen really makes good use of some of the HD games in the marketplace. Reading my Kindle books on this is a breeze. Watching Netflix is a delight. I've never experienced any kind of lagging or choppiness.
The speakers are nice and loud. I love watching movies and listening to music on my Bionic. When I'm stuck in waiting rooms or bored and away from home, I watch a few of my favorite shows to kill the time.
I've added widgets to pretty much every page of my homescreen, and it did not bog my system down in the slightest. My boyfriend who is an absolute iPhone fanatic played with my phone last night and had a hard time getting used to the widgets. It's a completely different experience from iOS, I know. And it's not for everyone, but it's definitely for me.
Battery life is pretty good considering all the apps and 4G I have running all the time. I dock my Bionic every night and with moderate to heavy use, I can expect about a day's charge out of it. If you plan on being out all night, however, I do suggest you invest in a travel charger or extended battery. Me personally, I haven't needed one of those yet, but again, I'm able to charge mine every night.
The optional accessories are also a must with this phone. I bought both the standard and HD docking station as well as the car dock. The HD dock stays in my living room next to my 40" LCD and from that I can pipe through my Netflix or Webtop. The standard dock stays in my bedroom and makes for a good customizable alarm clock as well as stereo if you have a set of speakers to plug into the AUX input. When needed, my car dock serves as a perfect little GPS with all my contacts readily available as well as the awesome Google Navigation where you can just speak your address and get easy turn-by-turn directions.
This phone does have a few cons, albeit small ones, and not nearly serious enough for me to even begin to regret this purchase: The price is a tad steep. Considering the price of all the other available handsets on the market, this one was pretty steep, even for a new customer like me. The add-ons are also on the expensive side, and that makes it hard to consider purchase. Even though I love the docks I bought, I did not love the price I had to pay for them. I personally haven't noticed any of the reported bugs that have to come to light with this phone (knock on wood) so I can't speak to those.
Verizon is a great service. A little pricier than some, but coming from Sprint, T-Mobile, and most recently, AT&T, Verizon is the best for me. Their customer service seems friendlier, their coverage is superior, and they offer the best Android phones.
The Bionic isn't for everyone, though. It definitely takes some getting used to and is geared toward those who maybe like to tinker with their gadgets more or want a highly customizable experience. It's night and day from the iPhone, and most non-Droid phones, for that matter.
For me, this Bionic will be the last phone I buy for a while( but before you will buy this phone I suggest you have to check for best deal at https://sites.google.com/site/motoroladroidbionic4g ). I haven't been this satisfied with a cell phone in literally years. I've hopped from service to service, phone to phone, for years. But I'm quite confident that I won't be doing that with this one. There is just so much this phone has to offer. I haven't been able to stop playing with it yet.
Pros saying the processor is quick is a major understatement, 4g is faster than my home isp, battery life is amazing, screen looks quite good and auto brightness works very well
Cons built in task manager isn't the greatest, motoblur can get annoying, a lot of bloatware installed by big red
Summary This phone is excellent, and I'll highlight a few things for some of the reviewers who haven't really explored / found all the phone's options just yet.
RE: WiFi is unstable / have to reboot your phone
I thought this was a problem at first, but you have to take a look at the Settings > Battery & data manager > Battery mode. They use the idea of peak / off-peak hours to turn off the data connections to your phone, even if you are on WiFi. You need to set up the custom battery mode to have off peak hours to suit your needs AND tell it to keep your data "Always On" so that your WiFi doesn't cut out. The default setting is that WiFi / 4G will turn itself off after 15 minutes of inactivity. THIS IS NOT A FLAW PEOPLE, try exploring your phone a little more =)
RE: the screen is bad
i agree it isn't the best screen out there, but at full brightness, Netflix looks awesome over either 4G or WiFi, and pictures look great. The text is very crispy and easy to read too. I look at screens all day, everyday as a technology professional, and i've seen some bad screens / monitors. The Bionic's screen is nowhere near as bad as what people make it out to be.
Motorola's custom skin "MotoBlur" tries to centralize a bit too much. For those of you who use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, and YouTube to share a lot, then this centralization may be a nice feature. I found myself downloading Facebook for Android within the first day, because their built in version was difficult to navigate.
The task manager is set up differently, in that you see a full list of all programs, they have an interesting way of saying which ones get ended automatically, etc. Again, I found myself downloading Advanced Task killer on day one.
Other than those couple of things / having to dig through some of the custom menus, the actual device is great. What cell phone camera is perfect in all conditions, but in sunlight or a bright room the pictures come out more than good enough to post on Facebook or send to friends. Build quality feels very solid and I like the fact that there's HDMI output. Battery life is great given the screen size and processing power, and if you set up the Battery Settings just right, it will have great battery life.
All the "problems" I really see with it have to do with options in software that people are used to because of non-custom or other custom skins / roms that they've used. My suggestion to those is to do some diving into the menus, long key presses, options on different screens of programs, etc. to see what's really there. Also, I haven't been able to find a problem that I couldn't find a widget or a 3rd party piece of software as a remedy.
Long story short: if you are up for a new phone / upgrade from Verizon and you are fortunate enough to have an unlimited data plan from before they started having the tiered plans, I'd snag this phone. If you want to wait for the Droid Prime, it may be incrementally better but I can see Motorola being quick about updating their software for the Bionic to stay competitive if / when that happens.
Pros Verizon's amazing 4G network -- if you're in a place where you can get it. When on 4G, you can talk and surf at the same time - FINALLY! Dual-core CPU is BLAZINGLY fast - makes task-switching a breeze. Tons of built-in storage and RAM, so you won't have
Cons qHD display is not *quite* as nice as an AmoLED would've been -- but I'm not seeing the pixellation that some people have complained about. No physical slide-out keyboard like my original-generation Moto Droid. With Verizon's amazing 4G network, if you d
Summary I've had this phone for about 2 days now, and overall I'm extremely happy with my purchase. It is SO much faster than my original-generation Motorola Droid -- zips right through menus and switches tasks with no delay whatsoever.
The screen-quality is extremely good -- definitely wouldn't say it's the best available today, but it's far better than some people are saying in their reviews here. I'm not seeing the pixellation that a few others have complained about -- the display is quite clear and sharp. Would've been nice to get an AmoLED display instead of qHD -- but I'm very pleased with the display's quality and sharpness nonetheless.
The phone is advertised as having 16GB of built-in storage plus a 16GB SD-card -- however, you DO NOT have access to all 16GB of the built-in storage. Seems like the phone itself reserves 8GB for system-stuff and application storage, and you get to use the other 8GB for your own stuff (the phone calls this the "Media Area"). But you do have access to 100% of the available space on the pre-installed 16GB SD-card, and that SD-card can be upgraded to 32GB if you want, so you can have 40GB of user-controlled storage, which (let's be honest here) is a LOT of space for a smart-phone.
The main thing you'll notice about this phone at first, however, is its INCREDIBLE SPEED! This will be especially true if you've currently got a 3G single-core Android-based phone right now. This phone is, so far, the absolute best marriage of 4G technology and CPU technology -- the 4G can serve the data as fast as the CPU can take it, and the CPU never gets bogged down waiting for something in the background to finish, because it's got two cores -- one core can pretty much always be dedicated to running whatever app you have in the foreground, while the other one takes care of other system business (if there is any). And it's totally seamless, just like in a multi-core PC. It just plain works, and works very well.
I will warn you about one thing, though -- if you're not an existing Verizon Wireless customer with an existing unlimited data-plan, you're going to have to purchase one of Verizon's limited data-plans. The most common would be (I'm sure) the 2GB plan for $30 per month. Now, this phone is new to me, and I've been playing with it a LOT in the past two days -- but I've already used 1.4GB of data during that time (you can REALLY suck down the data with the Netflix-streaming app, which is available to download on the marketplace). Luckily, I upgraded from an original-generation Motorola Droid with an existing unlimited data-plan that I was allowed to keep. So I don't have to worry about the amount of data I use -- but you might, if you're not in the same situation I am. So that's not really a complaint about the phone itself, but a complaint about Verizon's new policies... It's something you DEFINITELY need to consider before buying this (or any other) Verizon 4G phone. That amazingly fast 4G network makes it amazingly EASY to download TONS of data, without even realizing it. (Luckily, one of the pieces of "bloatware" that Verizon pre-installs on the phone is a data-usage meter that you can put right on your home page -- I highly recommend keeping that visible at all times if you're not on the unlimited data-plan.)
Another complaint here, albeit an extremely minor one -- even with all this CPU power, scrolling through my contacts-list is still not *qute* as smooth as I was expecting. The iPhone definitely has every Android phone beaten in that department. The other animations (swiping from one home-screen to another, for example) is far smoother than I've yet seen on any other Android phone, and when you rotate the screen it's extremely smooth... It's just the contact's list (or any other very long list of stuff you'd need to scroll through) in which Android shows itself to be a slight underdog to Apple's iOS. But, this is, overall, a VERY minor thing and will not detract much (if at all) from your enjoyment of this phone.
I love the fact that there is a Motorola-designed-and-approved extended-life battery available, right from the beginning. They designed all the accessories to fit the phone, both with and without the extended-life battery -- very forward thinking, and something I wish they had done with my original Droid. Thanks, Motorola for listening to our previous complaints! I purchased the extended-life battery, the standard desktop-dock, the car-dock, and the car-charger. They all fit the phone perfectly, there's no "squeezing" the phone into the docks, like I had to with my original Droid when it had it's extended-life battery in there -- everything has been designed very well, and it shows. Very happy with everything about the accessories I purchased -- except for the price (wish they were a bit cheaper). I did NOT buy the "laptop dock" that turns the phone into a Netbook-like device, although I was sorely tempted... And still am... Might re-consider that next month, in which case I'll update this review...
Everything that you've come to expect from an Android phone -- Google Talk, gMail, Google Maps & Navigation, etc. -- are all included for free on this phone of course. Only difference is, it runs all that stuff FAR faster and smoother than you've ever seen on any other Android phone to date. Maps and Navigation, especially (if you're in an area with 4G coverage, of course) are so much smoother than before, it's almost like you bought a dedicated GPS device. If you like the Android OS's Google-based services, you're going to LOVE them on this phone. Very well done.
A few folks have complained about the MotoBlur intrerface -- but frankly, I don't find it to be all that bad. I ditched their built-in Facebook for the Facebook For Android app on the marketplace, and I'm totally happy now. Everything that MotoBlur does, if you don't like it, you can find a replacement for it on the marketplace, so the fact that this phone uses a subset of MotoBlur features really shouldn't affect your decision to purchase or not purchase this phone...
That's about all I can think of right now -- I'm absolutely happy with the purchase of this phone, it's an absolutely excellent replacement for my original Motorola Droid, and other than the few flaws I've mentioned herein, I think just about anyone (other than an iPhone Fanboi) would be extremely happy with this phone as well.
Pros Insane data speeds when in LTE coverage
Very thin and light
Dual Core processor + full gigabyte of RAM = consistently smooth, responsive UI
Some Moto apps included improvements (Finally, SELECT ALL in email app!!! Imagine getting and deleting 20
Cons Battery life is "iffy"; some Bionics go through a wireless network "shuffle" of 4G->3G->None->repeat that will destroy the battery quickly. Sometimes it simply loses the data connectivity after being plugged into a charger for a while; sometimes
Summary I strongly recommend anyone considering this phone get one in their hands. The screen can, depending on the person involved, be a deal-breaker. Assume you won't be using the camera much, certainly not indoors.
I'm very happy with my Bionic, although I probably would have gone with the upcoming Samsung Nexus on Verizon if it had been available.
re: something pulling data; I've had an original Droid for over two years, and averaged 600mb or so a month. The only time I came close to 2GB data in a month was when I left Pandora running overnight for a week. On the Bionic I'm hitting 2GB data each of the first two months. Not a huge worry as I'm still unlimited data, but bothersome nonetheless.
Typical amount of Verizon bloatware (monthly-fee VZNavigator? Srsly?)
Something not often discussed; the internal storage is split into two partitions, one for "applications" and one for "media storage". Since it also has a microSD card slot, that doesn't make a huge amount of sense to me. Uses the "media area" instead of the actual mSD card as optional "out of main memory" app installation area. Reportedly a bug fix is coming in November to address issues w/ apps installed to media storage erroring as "not installed on phone".
Power/Lock switch is in an odd location for me (top left). I keep trying to find it in the top right.
Finally, while I haven't tried it personally, Moto/Verizon have also apparently said that the fact that NitroDesk's Touchdown app (very nice Outlook/Exchange client) doesn't work on the Bionic is "as intended". In other words, they're doing something non-standard with the whole account and/or email subsystems that breaks a really good email/calendar/task app that I depend on for my Android tablet.
So yeah, I gave it 4/5 stars (excellent) even though my Cons is twice as many characters as the Pros. Only major cons though for me are the data disconnect, battery (I have a charger @ work so it's not even an actual major con in practice) and the camera. Everything else is workable, and the data speed, UI/app smoothness, and comfortable size and weight (I have large hands) more than make up for the cons for me.
Pros - 4G LTE
- Dual Core Processor
- 1080P Video Recording and Mirrored Image to TV via HDMI
- Bright Screen
- EVERYTHING ELSE
Cons - Possibility that the DROID Prime could come out next month with a 1.5 processor
Summary Couldn't be happier with this phone! Got it a day early since I know someone at Verizon. You better be there tomorrow to get this phone before they're all sold out! I absolutely love how smooth and fast it is with everything (compared to my OG Droid).