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printed October 23, 2014
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Review: Motorola Droid Bionic

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The Droid Bionic has a 4.3-inch qHD display with 540 x 960 pixels. After spending a few days with the Bionic, I've noticed that the display looks a bit fuzzy from time-to-time, which can probably be blamed on the Pentile pixel layout used by Motorola in this display. Despite this minor issue, the display is more awesome than awful. I found it to be very bright, though colors were not as saturated as they might be. Outdoor usability is so-so, and depends a lot on the angle of the sun. The polished Gorilla Glass is less prone to smudging, and that helps with outdoor visibility a bit.

Signal

The Droid Bionic works on both Verizon's LTE 4G network and its CDMA 3G network. First, 4G. I tested the LTE radio out in New York City, and was able to reach some impressive speeds. I scored a peak download of 14.32Mbps, with an average of 9.89Mbps. On the upload, the Droid Bionic peaked at 4.67Mbps, and averaged 4.1Mbps. The Bionic easily found the LTE network, and remained connected firmly. I saw none of that waffling between 4G and 3G nonsense, as witnessed on other LTE phones.

As for 3G, the Bionic performs on par with other Verizon Wireless phones. It found the network and connected to it. The signal indicator ranged all over the map, but the Bionic never lost touch with the network entirely. I also never saw it dip down to 1X. The Bionic passed the NJ vault test (the local supermarket) with flying colors.

Sound

Voice calls via the Droid Bionic were very good. I found calls to be consistently free of static and noise, and the volume didn't dip or drop out completely. The earpiece can be set loud enough so that calls may be heard in most environments. At its highest levels I found it was prone to some distortion. Those with whom I spoke reported a clear sound from the Bionic on their end. Calls sounded just as good through the speakerphone, and volume through the speakerphone was acceptable. Ringers and alert tones were jarringly loud, and the vibrate alert was excellent.

Battery

The Droid Bionic ships with a 1735mAh battery. That's the largest of any LTE 4G phone in Verizon's lineup. The added capacity makes a difference for sure. With heavy use, I was able to just make it through an entire day of mixed 3G/4G use. The 4G radio can be turned off if you wish to conserve battery life. When under 3G coverage alone, the Bionic could power through about 24 hours, but not much beyond that. The Bionic should be charged every night, give or take. Verizon also offers an extended battery (2650mAh) for the Bionic, but I was not able to test it.

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