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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  • 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

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