The Motorola Droid Bionic from Verizon Wireless is one of the most powerful Android devices to be released in 2011. The phone is loaded with feature upon feature and touts a powerful battery to back it up. Though the Android experience would be even better without the Motorola UI modifications, it still holds up as a fast device. Hands-on video after the break!
The Droid Bionic is running Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) right out of the box with some Motorola UI modifications that are less than desirable but cause little hampering on experience. We finally get to see an Android smartphone on Verizon that has both a dual-core processor and is 4G LTE enabled. In the past it has either been 4G LTE (no dual-core) or dual-core processor (no 4G LTE) in the selection of Android powered smartphone on Verizon Wireless and that has been disappointing to many tech enthusiasts. Of course 3G and Wi-Fi (b.g/n) can be used in addition to the 4G capabilities, but we fear there will be to much limitation on the minds of new customers as Verizon Wireless now has tiered data plans and also throttles all data users, even those on unlimited plans. How can someone take true advantage of the data content that want while on 4G knowing these limitations?
Adobe Flash Player 10 is on board, and version 11 is available for update right through the Android Market. The Bionic is DLNA equipped allowing users to share content on device wirelessly with other DLNA enabled devices. The phone operates on the bands of CDMA 900, CDMA 1900, and LTE B13 700.
The device shape and build has similarities to both the exterior designs of the Motorola Droid X2 and Droid Pro 3 smartphones melded into one device. It starts out with a 4.3-inch qHD 960×540 resolution display. The Bionic is a touch slate device with a scratch resistant Corning Gorilla Glass screen. The Bionic weighs 5.5 ounces and its dimensions are 66.9 x 127.5 x 10.99 mm (HxWxD).
There is a Micro-USB port for syncing/charging and a Micro-HDMI port for mirroring those up to 1080p HD (30 fps) video you can record on the rear-facing 8-Megapixel camera with auto-focus LED flash on the Bionic. There is also a front-facing VGA camera for video calling usage and for those self portrait shot takers. There is a 3.5 mm headset jack for those not using bluetooth enabled headphones for music. Internally the Bionic is powered by a TI OMAP 1GHz Dual-core processor with 16GB of on board memory and a 16GB pre-installed Micro-SD card that gives us a 32GB grand total. Besides the usual aGPS(assisted), eCompass, and sGPS (simultaneous GPS), we also have GLONASS GPS radio embedded in this device. GLONASS is a navigation technology that was first primarily used by the Russian government and has been used as a compliment to the United States Global Positioning System (GPS).
Now your probably wondering what is powering all these features in the Droid Bionic. Well that just happens to be a 1735mAh Li Ion battery, one the most powerful batteries we have seen with a U.S. released smartphone right out of the box. Motorola clocks the talk time at up 650 mins., with a standby time of up to 200 hours. Thought I do want to point out that, even though were happy to see such a large capacity battery, we were disappointed in the performance it had when really pushed to the limit. In addition to the proximity, ambient light, and eCompass sensors on the Bionic there is also a sensor for battery temperature as well.
There are a few accessories that can be purchased in addition to the phone and they include a HD Station ($99), Standard Dock ($40), Vehicle Navigation Dock ($40), Lapdock that is a Laptop designed dock that has a 11.5-inch display with 1,366 x 768 resolution and internal 10 hour battery ($300), Webtop Adapter ($30), and a swappable battery cover that enable wireless charging of the Droid Bionic ($50).
Verizon Wireless offer the Motorola Droid Bionic in Black for the on contract price of $299.99 and $589.99 sans contract for those who do not want to be locked in to any commitments. The contract price, in our opinion, is a bit to pricey when you compare the costs of similar devices on Sprint and when you also compare the upcoming entry level iPhone 4S that record 1080p HD video and also has a Dual-core processor. Yes the Bionic is feature filled and packs plenty of punches, but it also has features and hardware that have been around separately on other devices for several months for the most part. The Bionic may be the first Verizon Wireless smartphone to finally bring all those features – 4G LTE, 1080p recording, Dual-Core processor, 4.3 qHD screen, and front-facing camera- together in one solid Android phone, but all these features are nearing their life cycle ending. By that we mean it will be very soon when the next generation of smartphones have even better features.
If you are still toting around an old Motorola Droid 1, 2, or HTC Droid Eris and are in need for a powerful Android phone right now, then this may be the right device for you now. We would recommend waiting for the price to drop a bit more. But for those users who have device with 1GHz processors and had their device running Android Froyo right out of the box, then we would recommend waiting until the next wave of smartphones as the Bionic will get old relatively quick.