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  • Jamezrp - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Still going through the full review now...obviously quite a bit to get to. But I did want to say that Anand's first video review with the Apple Cinema Display was intriguing, and I enjoyed watching it. But this one, Brian...it just lacks the humanity. Seeing someone on the screen actually made me interested in watching, even with a complete lack of movement. Not sure if anyone else agrees, but if you guys are going to do video, I'd like to see faces talking intelligently, like you most certainly can. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I've been doing videos in this format for a while now to show off the phone and keep it cropped nicely, but going forwards we're trying to find a way to merge the two styles.

    Doing something like what Anand usually does will require telepresence of some kind, however, but it's indeed a format we are working on.

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

    Being able to see a talking face shouldn't matter much for phone reviews. People want to see the actual phone up close and in detail.

    It's not like we're watching the news or a talk show. The current format is simple and effective at its job. While I wouldn't mind more personality in the video, I definitely wouldn't trade it for any bit of the view or the detail of the actual phone that is being reviewed.

    Much thanks for the video and the review, by the way.
    Reply
  • Johnnn3433 - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    Is 4G LTE Speed Faster Than 4G or Even Faster Than 3G?
    www.fourgltephones.com
    Reply
  • Jamezrp - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    No worries, I totally get what you mean. I've stayed away from the camera for years...and every time I think of picking it up and putting myself on the screen, I stop myself for way too many reasons. I just think that you guys are clearly articulate enough to express exactly what need be said in a video, perhaps without even showing much of the product itself.

    Then again, it may depend on the product in question. I guess that still needs to be tested.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    Bad idea. Sure it's nice to see a face, maybe you want to use PIP by lockergnome does, but the review is about the device. You want to see how the device looks, how it interacts, it's something visual. You can get away with doing that for something like an SSD, CPU, or RAM, but if you're doing a video about a device that takes visual input or gives visual output, you better include it in the video. Reply
  • Jamezrp - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I've had the Bionic myself for a bit now, testing it...the biggest problem I've had (besides battery life) are the occasional software hiccups, which I didn't see you didn't seem to have Brian, or at least didn't mention. The worst is when I lose my cell data connection, the Bionic won't start up that connection again, period. I need to put it in sleep mode and wake it up, or reboot it entirely. Not even airplane mode switching fixes that.

    Other quirks include the awful shortcut-adding method, no settings in the drop-down menu, and a few more which escape me because it's late. On my model it even reads only 8GB of onboard memory, plus the 16GB card. The more I investigate, the more I think my model may be slightly defective...

    Have you experienced any of these software problems?

    I'll also add that I've had nearly identical benchmark scores. But I don't have the laptop dock...any plans on adding a section for that?
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I honestly haven't experienced any of those issues at all - I've lost cellular data and had it come back no problems many times. Handover remains a problem for many of the LTE handsets however, where you'll either get stuck on EVDO until you reboot.

    Does airplane mode fix it at all? Sometimes these things really only can be remedied by a hardware swap, unfortunately.

    No plans to add a section related to the laptop dock since Motorola didn't sample us one. However I'm told this is exactly the same as the Atrix, you can check out Anand's experience with that in his review though: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4165/the-motorola-at...

    -Brian
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    You may have a lemon, because I don't have any of those issues. Reply
  • Hubb1e - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Mine has been flawless as well. Sounds like a lemon. The extended battery turns this into a great phone for power users and doesn't add that much bulk. I'm very happy with mine. Reply
  • Jamezrp - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Hmm, that's not good. I'll have to get in touch with Verizon about that. Switching to airplane mode doesn't fix it, only rebooting or going in and out of sleep mode does.

    I have read some reviews that have claimed similar issues though. I'll keep my eyes open and report back in.
    Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I'd get it replaced, I'm seeing the same issues and I'm having mine replaced. Reply
  • toomany - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    I had this phone for 3 weeks and ended up returning it. It was great for about a week and half then the problems began.

    Let me start by acknowledging that I may have had a lemon.

    The very first trouble I had was when the phone did not get any data connection or send texts without any indication one day. The status bar up top showed the 4G icon so it took me until the afternoon to realize this. A reboot fixed this issue. Since then, on at least 2-3 occasions, the touch-screen would not respond or not turn on. I've had to pull the battery out twice. Then let me talk about the back button which annoyed me on several occasions, it just takes you back to whatever was on the screen before. For example, if I'm on the browser, then switch over to maps for a sec to find directions or a store, then switch back over to the browser, hitting the back button should go to the previous page. No, it'll take you back to your map (and there is no back on the orig browser). You'll eventually run into situations where this causes you to restart an app and lose progress.

    Lemon or not, I'm not taking any chances when I can be stuck with it for the next 2 years. Also, DON'T BUY VERIZON AT RADIOSHACK!!! THEY GET HORRIBLE TRAINING, TAKES FOREVER, SCREWS YOU, THEN TRIES TO TELL YOU IT'S YOUR FAULT.
    Reply
  • corymcnutt - Saturday, October 15, 2011 - link

    "Other quirks include the awful shortcut-adding method, no settings in the drop-down menu, and a few more which escape me because it's late. On my model it even reads only 8GB of onboard memory, plus the 16GB card. The more I investigate, the more I think my model may be slightly defective..."

    "Awful shortcut adding method?" This is my first Android (coming from BB) and I think it is easy to get shortcuts/apps/widgets to where you want them. Your memory is correct...that has been discussed at length...the on-board memory still gives you PLENTY of room for apps and the 16GB card will store all of you pictures, music etc..
    Reply
  • sandtrap94 - Saturday, October 15, 2011 - link

    I've had the exact same issues with my phone. I lose the data connection on occasion and only restarting the phone seems to work. Per the company it is not unheard of but it shouldn't happen frequently. If it does they want to know about it. Reply
  • lemmo - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the review. You say you're still working with Francois to build out your audio testing suite. Will you be doing a review that compares the audio quality between smartphones? I can't find this info anywhere.

    It's a shame that audio quality is a let-down for this phone, and the Galaxy S2. I'm waiting for the reviews of the new iPhone and Nexus Prime just to see if their audio quality is better...
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Yeah we're absolutely still working on a standardized testing methodology for sound - the thing to standardize here is the audio card (which we both have the same of - ASUS), a Y cable plus load headsets (testing unloaded isn't really meaningful), and the software.

    Unfortunately the Bionic is already so bad that really tests would just tell you all of that again. Listening to the Bionic and then to my Nexus S with voodoo sound - the difference is shocking.

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Sea Shadow - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    It's late and I'm about to retire for the evening, but I thought I would take the time to log in and say thank you for a thorough review.

    For me Anandtech is one of the last bastions of lengthy reviews as more and more sites slip into lots of pictures and glossing over the gritty details. I enjoyed the review and especially so the details about battery chemistry and the RGBW displays.

    Only thing you may want to double check is the listed order of the phones on display at CES. I understand one is left to right and the other is right to left, but the paragraph in the article seems to have the LG revolution and Samsung Charge flipped. Other than that, spot on job and thank you for a great read.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    OOps, very good catch! Should be fixed momentarily! Thanks!

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

    Does it have a locked bootloader like the Droid 2? If so it is a deal breaker for me. Other than that, all I personally look for in a review is the screen (all attributes,) Picture quality, time it takes from button depress to ability to actually take a picture, and battery life. Keep up the good reviews Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Yeah the bootloader situation is the same as the 3, meaning that there is a vulnerability. I see people have CWM on the device as well, but expect an update coming soon that will patch these: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=1...

    -Brian
    Reply
  • Mitch89 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Wow those 4G LTE web browsing times are pretty abysmal. I could easily do 2hrs of web browsing while commuting of a day, not to mention listening to music at the same time. Neither my iPhone 4 or Galaxy S II suck their batteries dry like that. Kinda makes sense Apple left out 4G LTE if that's what happens. Reply
  • steven75 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Yeah, you know it's bad when you get an LTE phone to do some serious laptop tethering away from home and the CHARGER can't keep up with the battery drain!

    I'll wait for generation 2, thankyouverymuch.
    Reply
  • TrackSmart - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    The inability to charge the phone while using LTE is pretty serious flaw. I wonder if this has to do with the thermals of the phone.

    Maybe a quicker charge rate would result in too much heat? Brian recorded some pretty high temperatures while in use...
    Reply
  • EJ257 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    This is pretty sad. The ES400 I have would get hot too while charging+tethered and browsing with the laptop but at least it won't have negative battery drain. Granted the ES400 doesn't have LTE but with AT&T's network you won't notice a difference anyway. Reply
  • xype - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    "if there’s anything I’ve learned in the smartphone space, it’s that it is usually better to be first, than better,"

    I think there’s a company that disagrees with that. The one that released their first smartphone in 2007.

    Being first only worked if you are actually better. But hey, being first worked wonders for all the Android Tablets and being 3rd (4th? 5th?) totally killed Windows Mobile 7, so who am I to argue?
    Reply
  • xype - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Addendum: The Android Tablets being first relative to the other Android Tablets that were released at a later date. Reply
  • FlyBri - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I know that these new Motorola qHD screens are a "better" version of PenTile, but to me it still looks pretty bad. I went into the Verizon store to see a Bionic myself, and I was quite disappointed with the screen. For me, I just can't use PenTile...period. If you go into Navigation for instance, the PenTile matrix is glaringly obvious on the blue location arrow. I know my Droid X has a lower res screen, but it's still way better in my opinion.

    I'm holding off for the phones that have 720p screens, which are coming out any minute now.
    Reply
  • Mitch89 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    PenTile is a total fail, it just looks awful. I considered picking up an Atrix, but that screen is just dreadful IMO for any kind of reading. I'm not sure why I even considered it after owning an HTC Desire for a few months (same problem, but WVGA).

    I MUCH prefer the WVGA display on my GSII to a qHD display with PenTile. There is just no comparison, one looks awesome, the other looks crap.
    Reply
  • FATCamaro - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Yeah. Saw a GS2 in canada over the weekend and it was a gorgeous screen. Reply
  • jonup - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    It's actually leads to factual mistatement.
    On page 2 bellow the browsing battary life graph "2.236" should be "3.236".
    Take care!
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Very good catch, fixed! Thanks!

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

    "There’s a grille to the side of this which serves no real purpose that I can tell other than decoration."
    - If I do recall, that's for the speakerphone.

    "I went ahead and measured with a DMM just to make sure, though you can simply just look at the battery information page in ##4636## and see the same voltage at fully charged."
    - You're thinking of *#*#4636#*#*
    Reply
  • Someguyperson - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Forget the speaker comment. You didn't mention the obviously placed speakerphone and I thought you were talking about that.

    I do believe you can lock a handset into a specific mode of operation through the *#*#4636#*#* operation if you want pure LTE testing though. It's under the "Phone information" menu at the bottom. In my experience, you can even try to lock the handset into modes it doesn't have.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I'm actually referring to another menu in the case of the Bionic. Using the *#*#4636#*#* menu here doesn't work if the RIL isn't setup properly, as is what seems to be the case here. (EG the only options are the defaults, GSM/CDMA Auto (PRL) is selected by default, and there are no references to LTE at all).

    There's another menu inside ##PROGRAM (then enter SPC 000000), Test mode, keep going next page until you arrive at a page with many drop down options, select Network mode: "LTE only" like so:

    http://imgur.com/a/C8noI

    Unfortunately, if you do that, you lose 1x voice, so be careful.

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

    Thanks for the review. I couldn't wait for the Bionic (due to delays), but I'm really happy with my Droid 3 and glad that these are very similar. No loss for me there!

    I'm bummed about the audio issues though. Music is just not loud weather using the headphones or the speaker. The original Droid was so much louder.
    Reply
  • rscoot - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    http://images.anandtech.com/doci/4910/Bionic-About...

    This picture shows the number for the handset, you might want to edit that out!
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Well, at least for the demo phone that will be sent back, haha ;)

    Thanks for pointing that out though.

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

    One thing that's been on my mind in regard to LTE power draw is whether or not there's a parallel that can be made to CPUs. Similar to how they say a faster CPU that draws slightly more power will finish a task faster, is it possible to state that a LTE-equipped phone will finish loading web content significantly faster (not hard task compared to Verizon's EVDO), and it can return to a low-powered state? I know on my normal 3G (GSM) connection, if I'm watching a video on YouTube, it's going to be sitting there continuously loading for at least a minute, and the battery life definitely takes a hit for constantly accessing the modem. Reply
  • rrhartjr - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    You know.. I don't think I've ever seen anyone make this point.. and I think it's pretty prescient.

    The converse is that since it loads faster.. you'll just consume more, faster..

    How many times have you given up waiting on something over EVDO and going to do something else. With LTE, the end of waiting!
    Reply
  • steven75 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Except for the waiting for your battery to charge, as proven in the tests above. Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Not all of us have that issue with LTE. Granted the battery life isn't something worth writing home about but it's sufficient, especially after receiving Gingerbread on my Thunderbolt. On my original Droid and my brother's iPhone 4 there were times when the system would be pegging the EVDO constantly when loading some web pages thus putting more strain on the battery. Reply
  • kepler - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I would be interesting to see how much data is consumed during the tests. If the LTE phone is consuming 4x the data, but lasting half the time, that is arguably 2x increase in possible productivity. Reply
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I'm assuming that there isn't much difference between the data. LTE modems simply seem to be power hungry, so running a constant stream of data will show pretty high battery use.

    This knowledge is good for some users, because for people that like to stream things like Pandora, they may consider turning off LTE (LTE isn't really required for streaming music). But what came to my mind while reading the article is that **constant data use tests** don't necessarily mimic the actions that all users take.

    It'd be interesting if we could see power characteristics related to a single action. For example, how many YouTube videos could I load throughout a single charge of the battery? If the LTE-equipped phones can load 200 vs. 50 on EVDO (completely made-up numbers) simply because LTE provides significantly faster speeds, then that shows a rather large multimedia advantage.

    Even without such a test, I think it's pretty easy to see that while LTE is pretty amazing to see in a phone... there's a lot of micro-managing that you may have to consider doing to see the sort of battery life that we've come to expect out of a phone.
    Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    One thing that I would like to point out (and I think it's specific to Blur and worth mentioning) is the ability to dismiss individual notifications instead of having to open each individual notification or clearing all of them. I love that feature on the Bionic.

    I have seen some data connectivity issues with it where I will randomly lose all data and be unable to recover it until I reboot the phone (airplane mode doesn't fix it). This can happen at any point in the day or night, and I'm having my phone exchanged.
    Reply
  • anandtech pirate - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    nah, that's okay. we don't wanna see your face.... :-p

    almost all phone reviews only show the phone which is what people are watching to see.
    Reply
  • LordConrad - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    My Thunderbolt is rooted and running Andriod 2.3.4, courtesy of Das BAMF 3.0 RC4.9 rom.
    I've overclocked it from 1.0GHz to 1.2GHz

    A few benchmark results:

    Sunspider = 3092ms
    GUImark 2 (fullscreen) = 48.32
    LinPack (single-thread) = 44.831
    GLbench 2.1 Egypt = 18.2

    I'll stay with this until Qualcomm Krait gets here. Besides, I would much rather have a TFT screen at WVGA than a Pentile screen at qHD.
    Reply
  • Omega215D - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Let's see what the Samsung Prime and the HTC Vigor have in store for us now that they are using HD screens.

    I have the OTA Gingerbread on my Thunderbolt. I get similar results without rooting or overclock. Battery life is longer as well. I just have to avoid downloading useless apps from the market though (thanks to a certain APK).
    Reply
  • LordConrad - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I'm looking forward to the HTC Vigor also. I don't care for Samsung devices, the screens are nice but they feel cheap and are not as easy to root as newer HTC phones. The Thunderbolt was annoying to root and I'm not doing that again.

    I forgot to mention that I got the 3200mah extended battery from Seidio Online shortly after buying the phone. Also, the main purpose of rooting was to enable programs such as WiFi Tether. I refuse to pay an extra $30 for tethering since I never exceed my phone's 2GB data plan (tethering is only occasional).
    Reply
  • jeepdinger - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    I would be curious to see the number of times each page loads when the battery test is run. It was stated that several pages load continuously during the test. The new LTE speeds versus the slower 3G speeds should manage the same or more page loads for the same or less battery life. If this were true then there is a definite advantage to the LTE speeds even though the battery life seems less when the pages are continuously loaded. Is this something that could be added to the graphic, maybe as 2 bars per phone listed. Thanks. Reply
  • 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
  • wpwoodjr - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    That would be really cool, thanks! Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - link

    1) It would be nice to see the SpeedTest in CDMA/3G EVO (since you did the browser side-by-sides)

    2) It would be nice if you added a counter in addition to saying done

    3) Is that a placemat in the background? I think I have the same set from Target :)
    Reply
  • crankerchick - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    Thanks for the thorough review. It's wonderful to have more in-depth looks at device performance and comparisons to the competition.

    While I don't think the Bionic is the next phone for me, it's good to see where things have progressed to. With the impending release of the HTC device (Rezound?) and Samsung with ICS (Nexus Prime/Galaxy Nexus??), I'm placing my bets on one of those for me. Who knows, maybe even an iPhone 4S is in my future. Motorola continues to disappoint the tech crowd with their locked bootloaders, but otherwise have pretty impressive device offerings, the Bionic no exception.
    Reply
  • LTE Fever - Sunday, November 20, 2011 - link

    The HTC Rezound is giving me very bad trouble with the hotspot and staying connected to LTE.

    On my Bionic however I was able to hit 52 down and 14 up in Birmingham, AL which would bring it over the UE Cat 2 specs

    http://www.speedtest.net/android/94284031.png
    Reply

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