Conclusion and Final Thoughts

I have to admit that I like the Charge a lot. It’s thinner and lighter weight than the other 4G LTE handsets, and SAMOLED+ is both super contrasty and remedies my number one concern with AMOLED and SAMOLED by giving PenTile the axe. The phone has a lot going for it, and is an all around excellent performer both in throughput tests and application performance, minus the obtuse inclusion of RFS which brings it down in filesystem-centric benchmarks. I carried the thing around long enough to definitely get to know it well, and overall I came out impressed with Samsung’s 4G LTE handset, even if it really is a rebooted Galaxy S with a few Galaxy S 2 features and new basebands. To be honest, the Charge has gotten me incredibly excited for Samsung Galaxy S 2, which we’re going to finally review very soon. 

Positive things about the Charge said and done, the handset’s positioning by Verizon leaves me totally and completely confused. My confusion is namely over why Verizon picked the Charge as its premiere ‘Droid’ level 4G LTE handset over the Thunderbolt. The HTC Thunderbolt offers 256 MB more RAM, 2 GB more internal NAND, the best cellular architecture of the three with SVDO support, and on average better battery life with the stock battery (were we to normalize out the Charge’s 0.73 Whr battery size advantage, the TB is a fair margin more efficient). 

The main leg up the Charge has is Samsung’s much thinner and lighter build profile, Hummingbird SoC, and SAMOLED+, all of which earns the phone a $299 on-contract price. That’s a whole $50 premium over the already higher than normal $249 Thunderbolt and Revolution. I’m sure there’s some political reason for the whole thing, but it still is confusing. The pricing structure just seems wrong - the Thunderbolt and Charge seem like obvious front runners, followed by the LG Revolution for shoppers that want an LTE handset but don’t want to pay way more than the usual $199 contract price. 

Zoomed way out, the optimal cross section of features still is LTE alongside a dual core SoC. Right now web browsing is more CPU bound than network bound, and having another core will help balance things out so the smartphone browsing experience is finally almost indistinguishable from the desktop. 

My last parting thought concerns LTE data use. See this screenshot: 

8.712 GB of unlimited. That gave me a bit of pause as well, considering that this entire month I’ve done no tethering thanks to the Charge hotspot being disabled. Every bit of that data was used on the handset. LTE is stupid fast, and I’ve found that I now eat correspondingly more bandwidth doing things like remote desktop, watching my five network cameras, making artists on Google Music available offline in the airport, watching long flash videos, and of course running endless speedtests. Unlimited Verizon 4G LTE data ends with the introduction of tiered data plans on July 7, after which point using this much data will get much more expensive than $30/month. 

Anand and I both have a bit of a backlog, and have a bunch more devices to get through this week. I have an odd Sensation that the next one will be exciting...

Battery Life: About Par for LTE
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  • crydee - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Samsung never updates.. I still have the Galaxy first Android on AT&T and still no working GPS. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    I saw the picture and thought this was a review of the new iphone! Oh my! Now I can see why apple is so angry!

    GFY JOBS!
    Reply
  • spctm - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Not sure why it is so but I am running Cyanogenmod 7.1 nightly on a nexus one and I get these scores.

    SunSpider: 3354.2
    BrowserMark: 54697
    Linpack: 36.7 (Free Version)

    Sunspider and Browsermark are way faster on cm-7.1, which is quite surprising as it is running Android 2.3.4 base. But Linpack is more along the lines with what Brian got. Not sure if the free version's ad streaming would have some impact on floating point operations of Linpack.

    Just thought I would post this observations and see if others have similar results.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Looks to be a good phone, though I wonder if it'll be better than the Charge. Reply
  • Omid.M - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    "I have an odd Sensation that the next one will be exciting..."

    Hah!

    Can't wait for the Galaxy S 2 review. Hope it lives up to AT expectations.

    @moids
    Reply
  • name99 - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    "
    My only complaint is that every once in a while, the LTE data session sometimes stalls briefly – sometimes for a a few seconds, other times for a few minutes. When that happens, you’ll see the uplink green arrow blink, but no orange downlink arrow. Rebooting the device fixes things.
    "

    Jesus Christ.
    THIS is precisely why Apple has nothing to fear, as long as competitor vendors ship crap like this --- and reviewer web sites are so blinded by Apple hatred that they give them a pass. I mean, WTF --- a phone that you, randomly and frequently, have to reboot, and the reviewer thinks this is just par for the course?
    This is 2011, not 1982. Forcing a reboot to fix random problems should be a strange and unusual situation, not a daily occurrence!
    Reply
  • ThomasA - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Long time VZW customer, since GTE. This may change. The future should be interesting with the '4G' push, and now, the 'new' Verizon tiered data plans looming. Having a '4G' device will require either a big wallet or detailed restraint.

    I suggest using a cheap flip-phone for chit-chat and another device on hotspots (laptop, netbook, iPod touch) for web needs. Unless you enjoy transfusing the telecoms.
    Reply
  • sitharien - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    You are both correct, I was way mistaken. I look forward to Anand's review. I am holding off on any upgrade of my EVO 4G until I get a better picture of the Android battery landscape. Reply
  • BGK - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    So what's the verdict on Charge vs Thunderbolt. If battery life is about the same, that leaves the screen as the Charge's major advantage.

    Also, do you think some of discrepancies in battery life in the reviews had to do with the reviews of the thunderbolt being done on older versions that may have been less efficient?
    Reply
  • tdenton1138 - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    Visit XDA or Android Central forums. You can read up about both phone for people who use them every day... I love my Charge (every phone does seem to have its quirks) and don't imagine I'll bother upgrading for quite some time. Great screen, no lag (voodoo lagfix is needed here - why does Samsung use RFS filesystem when EXT4 is so much better?), acceptable battery, hackable. Until someone can demonstrate a real need for dual+ core on a phone (now tablets perhaps...?), I'm happily sitting out of the upgrade race for a while. Reply

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