Conclusion & Final Thoughts

The Bionic is the first smartphone we’ve seen to date that combines 4G LTE connectivity with a dual core SoC, ending a surprisingly long period where those two were mutually exclusive. The result is what’s currently the best cross section of features on paper, and a shockingly speedy experience.

The Bionic’s stock battery life isn’t far behind the other LTE smartphones, but it’s also not any better than them. That kind of performance is very indicative of where we should expect things to sit until 28nm LTE basebands and SoCs start arriving on the scene in 2012. If you don’t have access to a microUSB charger for at least a few hours during the day, the standard battery might be too much of a stretch. If you’re in that situation, the extended battery is an absolute necessity.

Though this Bionic isn’t the phone we were shown at CES, the result of being kicked back to the drawing board is overall pretty positive. The problem is that the incurred delay puts the Bionic right up against another phone with a dual core OMAP 4460, LTE, and a new build of Android. It would be a disservice to readers to not at least make mention of the Nexus Prime somewhere in this review, but my thoughts are still to wait and see what that device has to offer. I wouldn’t expect battery life to differ all that much however, given the same combination of features.

I sound like a broken record, but the Bionic really is a combination of the Droid 3’s software load and SoC, the Droid X2’s display and form factor, and a Motorola 4G LTE baseband. It’s a combination that finally breaks the mutual exclusivity that dual core and 4G LTE have had since Verizon’s 4G LTE launch. The Bionic that we saw and played with at CES never really saw the light of day, and yet I feel like this “Targa” turned Bionic does the promise of being the first dual core smartphone with 4G LTE justice. Even though the Nexus Prime is looming eerily on the horizon as of this writing, if there’s anything I’ve learned in the smartphone space, it’s that it is usually better to be first, than better, and you have to hand it to the Bionic for being first to dual core with LTE.

Performance - OMAP 4430
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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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