This morning the Samsung Droid Charge arrived on our doorstep, and we've got a few initial impressions and some photos to tide you over until the full review. Last we saw the Droid Charge was at CES, where it was previously named the rather unassuming "Samsung 4G LTE Device."

The Droid Charge is built around a 1 GHz Hummingbird Samsung S5PC110 SoC with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU and 512 MB of RAM just like the original Galaxy S. Cellular connectivity is provided by a Qualcomm MDM9600 for both CDMA2000-1x, EVDO, and LTE. The Charge comes with a preinstalled 32 GB microSD card and 2 GB of internal NAND. The whole thing is topped off with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED + display, which lacks the pentile subpixel grid and instead implements an RGB stripe. There's a front facing 1.3 MP camera, and rear facing 8 MP camera. Release date isn't quite nailed down for the Charge, but should be later this week. It's also running Android 2.2.1, not 2.3.x Gingerbread.

Physical impressions of the Charge are overall positive. It's nice to have physical android buttons, which are  responsive and clicky if a bit oddly shaped. Likewise I'm actually impressed by how crisp the button clicks for volume and power are. It sounds inane, but this does really make up a significant portion of in-hand feel. The Droid Charge also feels much thinner in the hand than the HTC Thunderbolt we reviewed. 

The back of the Droid Charge is unfortunately the same slippery glossy plastic that adorned a number of Galaxy S models and the Nexus S. In fact, the material appears very similar to the Nexus S. There's a lip at the bottom as well which definitely seems familiar. The slippery back material is gone in Samsung Galaxy S 2, which makes its continued presence here puzzling to me. There's a microUSB port on the left, microHDMI on the right. 

I'm going to have to take another trip up to Phoenix, AZ to test LTE, so I don't have any impressions about connectivity outside EVDO. The Charge unsurprisingly does not support simultaneous 1x voice and EVDO data (SVDO), but should support 1x voice and 4G LTE data (SVLTE). This is all built around the same MDM9600 we've talked about extensively in both LTE pieces. 

Probably the most notable new thing is the SAMOLED+ display, which again lacks a Pentile subpixel layout and instead implements an RGB stripe. Whites are still not entirely perfect at lower brightness settings, where they look somewhat yellow. At higher brightnesses, SAMOLED+ really shines.

 

 
Left: Samsung Galaxy S AMOLED display with Pentile, Right: SAMOLED+ with RGB stripe (photo taken at approximately the same magnification, color stripe is due to aliasing)

We've switched to using an XRite i1Pro spectroradiometer on loan from NEC for measuring any AMOLED device, and by the numbers the SAMOLED+ display on the Droid Charge is a little less radiant (258 nits vs 293 nits) than the AMOLED panel in the Galaxy S, but the white point is also better (8720K vs 9920K). 

We'll have a full review up in the coming days (as soon as I can head to Phoenix and back for LTE testing), but until then we've put together a gallery with some photos of the Charge from all angles. 

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  • synaesthetic - Sunday, May 8, 2011 - link

    I understand pentile subpixel arrays for AMOLED because the blue elements degrade so much faster than the red or green elements--by using less blue the display lasts longer (theoretically, anyway).

    For LCD though, pentile grid is just... mind-boggling. Why would you even bother other than to save a buck.
    Reply
  • Wwhat - Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - link

    I for one am not too interested in run-in-the-mill phone news on sites like anandtech, if it is going in depth about a new technology yes but if it's about your 'news' about what the latest phone some US carrier has I think you should either read it in their newsletter, or on sites like engadget.

    You might as well report on what deodorant you use when you go for 'articles' like this
    Reply
  • KaRRiLLioN - Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - link

    Dear Troll,

    All my deodorants and, in fact, toiletries, are Anand-Tech reviewed and approved.
    Reply
  • tayb - Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - link

    Really? This phone will launch without outdated hardware save the LTE radio and running an OS that was replaced 5+ months ago.

    Hooray for Android fragmentation where it is totally cool and acceptable to do such a thing.
    Reply
  • NCM - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - link

    The current state of the art in 4G handsets suggests that if you use 4G data much then you'l spend quite a bit of time with your phone on charge.

    The upside? Well, unless you actually live in one of the few areas with meaningful 4G coverage the occasion won't arise too often. I realize we have chickens and we have eggs, but it's hard to get excited about 4G at this point. Call me again in 2012.
    Reply
  • synaesthetic - Sunday, May 8, 2011 - link

    With all this dual-core, LTE stuff, what I'd like is someone to figure out how to match my Glacier's performance with a solid two or three days of battery life with HEAVY use.

    Guys? The tech's outpacing the batteries!
    Reply
  • ol1bit - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - link

    It sucks that the Galaxy II is already out in Europe, and Samsung pulls this turd out and says hey look at our brand new/old phone!

    Sure LTE is faster, but I'm not buying a phone that will be yesterdays tech in 3 months!

    sigh...
    Reply
  • Htc Evo 3d man - Sunday, May 8, 2011 - link

    Verizon is great for 2010 products all their devices are nothing more than that..With the rate their LTE network is going DRAINING THE LIFE AND BATTERY out of all their devices the upcoming bionic has NO SHOT TO IMPROVE THEIR NETWORK....SPRINT RULES...... Reply
  • Omid.M - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link

    Brian,

    Not sure if I posted this here, but please, if you can cover:

    1) GPS -- duh, we're talking Samsung here...
    2) LTE speed, power drain vs. Thunderbolt
    3) Call quality, speaker volume
    4) RFS vs EXT4 file system -- which is it?
    5) Rootability (can you comment on this at all?)

    Looking forward to the review!
    Reply
  • Omid.M - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link

    Brian,

    Not sure if I posted this here, but please, if you can cover:

    1) GPS -- duh, we're talking Samsung here...
    2) LTE speed, power drain vs. Thunderbolt
    3) Call quality, speaker volume
    4) RFS vs EXT4 file system -- which is it?
    5) Rootability (can you comment on this at all?)

    Looking forward to the review!
    Reply

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