The Samsung Droid Charge is here and with it brings the second 4G LTE smartphone that Verizon Wireless has released on their network. There are some pros and cons with this device as there are with most smartphones and I will be sure to point them out to you in the review of this device. The Droid Charge is now available for $249.99 (with 2YR New Contract), but I have seen it for lower through different retailers online. Enough with that, review time, let’s get into it…
The Droid Charge, as I mentioned, is a Verizon Wireless device operating on both 4G LTE and 3G networks. The Droid Charge was initially halted from release for over a week due to some network issues that Verizon Wireless was having with their 4G network. Frankly, the network was down and I am sure Verizon did not want to release a device on a down 4G network which would essentially leave the phone acting as a “paperweight.” So the network was restored and all was right in the world and then several days later the Samsung Droid Charge was allowed to be sold at all retailers of the device. But there was still a problem with either Verizon’s 4G LTE network or the 4G LTE devices themselves as hundreds of people in forums complained of 4G data disconnects on their devices. Some HTC Thunderbolt users claimed they had same issues but there were more users with Droid Charges bringing the issue to light. I experienced this many times with my review unit, especially when I turned on the hotspot feature. In a matter of days there was a software update which I believe was released to fix this issue and other small improvements. However, I still continued to have the same issue of data signal dropping while outside in the best 4G LTE coverage Verizon could have. The problem was not only with 4G as it occurred with the 3G network as well. When the 4G network would drop you would expect the device to kick back to the slower 3G data connection. That did not happen as it would drop off all data and not allow me to conduct data services until I either rebooted my device, which did not always help, or turned airplane mode on and then off again to have it reconnect to Verizon towers. This was an issue that plagued my demo Droid Charge since release and it was not caused by any third-party apps from the Android Market Store as had happened to others. The consistency of this issue seemed to die down and disappear in the past few days so Verizon seems to have resolved this issue. only begun to no longer happen for the past few days. While the Droid Charge is currently running Froyo Android 2.2 we have been told that it will be upgradeable to Gingerbread Android 2.3, but given that we are dealing with Samsung here, that may be in an unforeseeable future.
The Droid Charge has a very welcome weight to it at 5.04 Ounces with a general nice aesthetic look. Most of the device has a very plastic feel to it as many Samsung smartphones have felt for the past year. That can be a good thing since the device is so light and not as heavy feeling as devices such as the HTC Thunderbolt or LG Revolution. Unfortunately the back of the Charge has a glossy plastic battery cover which does not hold up on its own when it comes to wear and tear. As soon as you put this phone without a case in your pocket or on a hard table it scuff’s as if you have dropped it on the ground, so be ready if you do not buy a case or full body shield because it will scuff on the back and corners very easily.
The Charge has a 4.3 inch 480×800 Super AMOLED Plus Capacitive display that just jumps out at you with its vivid color and brilliant detail. The screen on the Charge was so amazing that it seemed to even look larger after I lined it up next to other 4.3 inch Android Smartphones. On the front of the device there is also a 1.3 Megapixel front-facing camera to allow you to take advantage of video calling applications. On the rear there is a 8-Megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash along 720p HD video recording to boot. The excellent Super AMOLED Plus display makes the pictures and video look even better on this device. There is an included hot-swappable 16GB Micro-SD card and just over 1GB of internal phone storage space. The Charge features not only 3G/4G radios but we also have WIFI(802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth 3.0 support on this device and there is also an extra microphone for noise-cancellation. The exterior ports include Micro-USB for charging/syncing, a Micro-HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headset jack.
I am happy to say that Samsung is one of the few companies that are going with a battery over 1500mAh. The Charge has a 1600 mAh that Samsung says will give you up to nearly 5 hours of talk-time but I have clocked about 7 hours in my personal usage. In addition to all that, the brain of the Charge is powered by a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Processor which is fast in its own right but we are again hit with another single core processor device, unfortunately, in the growing world of dual core devices. Single core processors is so last year!
Overall the Samsung Droid Charge is a good light weight smartphone with a great display but it is still a bit pricey at the contract price of $249.99 especially given the cost of data and contract commitment. Leave your comments below and check out my video unboxing and review of the Samsung Droid Charge below!