Software and Performance

The Bionic comes with Motorola’s new Motoblur, just like I saw on the Droid 3. You can go pull the specific version from build.prop:

Blur_Version.5.5.886.XT875.Verizon.en.US

It includes a custom lock screen which gets some different styling and a slide left-right unlock scheme. The theme also includes an CRT off animation, which seems to be an approximation of the off animation from Android 2.3. The Bionic as we reviewed it was running Android 2.3.4, which is new but not absolute bleeding edge.

 

All the usual Motoblur accoutrements are here, including a black on grey theme for settings and menus, and blue elsewhere for the shade and highlighting colors.

 

The home screens get the same kind of 3D composition I saw on the Droid 3, and feel pretty smooth panning back and forth. The only thing I’ve noticed this time is that it looks like the color depth here on the background seems to be 16 bit (RGB 565). I bet this is due to some GPU composition going on which makes things nice and speedy.

Pretty much the same applies to the launcher, where you get a paginated 4x5 grid of icons that can be sorted alphabetically or grouped. The Bionic does come with an assortment of preloaded stuff that’s entirely par for Verizon. Some things can be removed without root, other things can’t. I feel like we’re getting closer to the point where users are given the ability to uninstall stuff without root, but it still isn’t here yet.

Going over the storage situation on the Droid 3 is also important. By default, you get 16 GB of internal NAND, and a 16 GB class 4 microSD card. Things look like this using df:

Filesystem             Size   Used   Free   Blksize
/dev                   465M   388K   465M   4096
/mnt/asec              465M     0K   465M   4096
/mnt/obb               465M     0K   465M   4096
/system                477M   332M   144M   1024
/data                    3G   501M     3G   4096
/cache                 708M    18M   689M   4096
/osh                     1G   650M   661M   2048
/pds                     3M     1M     2M   1024
/preinstall            302M   187M   115M   1024
/mnt/sdcard-ext         14G    11M    14G   32768
/mnt/sdcard-ext         14G    11M    14G   32768
/mnt/sdcard              8G   227M     7G   8192
/mnt/sdcard              8G   227M     7G   8192

I’m not going to go over all of the OMAP 4430 details again since we’ve already gone in depth with the Motorola Droid 3, so I’d encourage curious minds to check that out for more detail. The short of it is that the Droid Bionic has a 1.0 GHz OMAP4430 SoC which consists of two ARM Cortex A9s with the MPE (ARM’s NEON SIMD unit), alongside PowerVR SGX 540 graphics at 304 MHz and a dual channel LPDDR2 memory interface. The Bionic has 1 GB of LPDDR2 over the Droid 3’s 512 MB of LPDDR2, but this is primarily to accommodate the increased demands from the laptop dock.

First up are the web based tests. Interestingly enough the Bionic posts an impressive result for SunSpider 0.9, I ran this test a few times as always and this wasn’t an errata. I also updated the SGS2 results with a run from the newest firmware I see on Kies, XXKI1, which is 2.3.4.

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9

Browsermark curiously is a bit lower compared to the Droid 3 however, which is surprising since the two should be close considering the same SoC and version of Android. The results are reasonably close, however.

Rightware BrowserMark

I didn’t record the Vellamo ocean flinger result from the Droid 3, however the Bionic comes in just above the Galaxy S 4G. Motorola isn’t using a backing store, rather something of a re-skinned stock Android browser, and thus scrolling performance isn’t as fluid as other devices.

Browser Scrolling Performance - Vellamo

Flash is a bit interesting - there was an update for Flash 10.3 on Android pushed out a while back that enabled NEON codepaths for OMAP4 based phones. I didn’t have the Droid 3 at the time, but the Bionic now shows an improvement and is much closer to the cap for most of the test.

Flash Performance

The rest of the tests are essentially the same as what we posted in the Droid Bionic preview piece, and reflect what we’ve seen before from OMAP4430.

Linpack - Single-threaded

Linpack - Multi-threaded

GLBenchmark 2.0 - Egypt

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Egypt - Offscreen

GLBenchmark 2.0 - PRO

GLBenchmark 2.1 - Pro - Offscreen

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Taiji

RightWare Basemark ES 2.0 V1 - Hoverjet

The results are unsurprising and completely in line with where they should be. The Bionic isn’t the absolute fastest of the dual core smartphones we’ve seen before, but it’s the first with LTE alongside it. The other question is how fast pages load on LTE compared to EVDO, I shot some video in our video review which really communicates things nicely.

Camera - Still and Video Conclusion and Final Thoughts
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  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    That's true, though the loading is done on a timed basis, and not in a continual-load mode. EG, each device loads a page every 12 seconds, then pauses (to emulate someone reading the page), instead of simply loading through a set of pages as fast as the connection will permit.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Hmm... those issues went away on my Thunderbolt when updated to the latest radio, and the same when updating to the official Gingerbread release. Battery life has also increased substantially while in stand-by and quite a bit in moderate usage. It's possible that an update could fix the issues for the Bionic as well. Granted, the next generation of LTE chips are the ones to wait for.

    Did you try toggling the Data connectivity settings? There were times I've seen that the phone disconnects from using network data connection and the two solutions would be to toggle that setting or going into and then exiting Airplane Mode. I haven't had the need to do this on my phone however, even when it was brand new.
    Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    It seems Motorola does well when it comes to reception and talk time, though the audio was quite good on my original Droid. Could it be they started cheapening the parts used in later models? Reply
  • wpwoodjr - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the exhaustive review Brian! I'm disappointed though not to see CDMA-only battery life tests for data. Many Bionic users don't use LTE most of the time because it is a big battery drain. I measured in my testing here that CDMA uses 1.6 times less battery than LTE:
    https://supportforums.motorola.com/message/478222#...
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Wow, awesome testing! I can definitely run in "CDMA Only" mode and see how long it lasts on EVDO with the standard battery and update the graph when that's done, I just didn't think many people would be interested (since it's again just MDM6600).

    -Brian
    Reply
  • MGSsancho - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Thanks! Would you happen to be maintaining a list of phones that are a little more mod friendly or do we just take our business to HTC with their official tool and Samsung? Reply
  • ol1bit - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Since my contract isn't eligible till 11/4, so I'm waiting to see what the prime will bring. I loved the Charge's and Galaxy S II's Screen!

    I also hope that the sound and camera are good. I use my Droid one for Sound and camera all the time.

    The Bionic will drop in price, but a humming in music is a deal killer for me on a $300 phone!

    I always look forward to your phone reviews,. Keep up the good work!

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • lefenzy - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I don't see why you don't include the droid incredible 2 on your charts. you reviewed it months ago. It is a good high-end phone. it is single core, but it's performance is still decent. it has a great design and good battery life. certainly it's a worthy non-LTE alternative. Reply
  • carte247 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Nice job on the review, Brian. I broke down and bought this phone a little while ago, and it's blowing me away how much faster Verizon LTE is than T-Mobile HSPA+. In a low-signal LTE area, I get about 1.5x my fastest HSPA+ speed and half the ping. I'm sure the Nexus Prime is going to be better, but I'm really happy with this phone so far. Reply
  • 05UFCaptain - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    Brian,
    Great job with this article. In typical Anandtech fashion, your review is extremely in-depth and comprehensive, covering seemingly every nuance of the Bionic. When it comes to video reviews of smartphones, I feel it's far more important to showcase the device and display it in action. So, keep up the good work on both video and full review fronts. As for the SSID of you AP, you're not secretly one of those Anon hacktivists are you, lol? Thanks again for the thorough review.
    Nick
    Reply

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