Here are the standout features of the Droid Charge:
- Android 2.2.1 w. Samsung TouchWiz 3.0
- 4g LTE data (translates to 5-12 mbps download & 2-5 mbps upload)
- 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus screen
- 8mp camera with 720p HD video recording
- 1.3mp front camera
- 1GHz Hummingbird processor
- 512mb RAM
- 2gb onboard memory - 32gb microSD card pre-installed
- Swype enabled keyboard
- Mobile hotspot capability
- Talk & use 4g data at the same time
The Droid Charge is priced slightly higher than your average smartphone (and higher than the Thunderbolt's $249.99 price tag) - it's available now from Verizon for $299.99 with a 2 year contract.
The Droid branding with it's red eye are peaking through a cover on the box
Inside you'll find the 4G SIM card in a little paper wallet, the USB cable/charger, and the quick start guide
You almost expect Samsung phones to be the best looking of the bunch, and the Charge is no exception. The gunmetal bezel and rounded corners add character to the phone. The hard buttons go along with the curved bottom.
The faux textured back looks good, but may be a little slippery compared to others with a rubberized back. The hump on the lower back feels good while holding the phone vertical (especially when typing).
The phone is lighter than most phones its size. This is no doubt because the phone is mostly plastic. It weighs in at 5.04oz. Comparatively the HTC Thunderbolt is 6.23oz.
The Droid Charge is a tiny bit thicker and shorter than the Motorola Droid X. Here's some more comparison shots of other 4G LTE phones coming soon to Verizon.
Here is the Droid Charge next to the Droid X
Under the snap-on back cover you'll find the 4g LTE card and 32gb microSD card. I'm really glad Samsung made it possible to remove the SD card without removing the battery.
The volume buttons, and the charger port is on the left. On the right you'll find the HDMI port and power button. The top of the phone features a 3.5mm headphone.
Missing is a dedicated camera button, but it seems this is becoming more common. Also missing is a notification LED to tell you if you've gotten a message or the battery needs to be charged.
The Droid Charge's 480x800 screen is just a tiny bit smaller than the Droid X's 480x854 and the same size as the HTC Thunderbolt. So in other words, it's pretty large. Unlike the others, the screen is a crystal clear Super AMOLED plus. You'll immediately see the difference next to other phones.
There is one thing that bothers me about the screen though. It's contrast ratio and saturation just seem turned up too much to me. Yes, it looks great in some cases, but in other things just look overdone.
Take a look at these two pictures. The green looks too green and the purple looks, well, blue.
Update: Under display settings I turned off the auto-brightness. This actually made things seem even more saturated.
By default Samsung chose to turn off the screen in 30 seconds on none use. I'm sure the reason for this is to not waste an smidgen of battery power.
Thanks to dual touch and the size of the screen, the keyboard is as easy to type on as the Thunderbolt. The haptic feedback is nice. The addition of Swype is also nice.
The Charge is running Android 2.2 (Froyo) with TouchWiz 3.0 over top. I assume it doesn't have 2.3 (Gingerbread) yet because TouchWiz also has to be updated when a new version of Android is released.
What you get with the TouchWiz 3.0:
- 7 home screens
- Samsung widgets
- Custom live wallpapers
- Horizontal scrollable app screen (looks a lot like iOS)
- Updated texting and e-mail interface
- Phone, Contacts, Messaging, and Home buttons on every application page
- Screen capture by holding down back and pressing home button
There are some applications installed on the Droid Charge worth noting. AllShare will allow you to download your computer's shared content on the phone, and play content from the phone on your computer or another device (samsung tv's support it) via bluetooth.
Because of the addition of AllShare, DLNA connectivity is absent from the phone.
You also get Slacker Radio, Tune Wiki, Amazon Kindle, Let's Golf 2, Pinball HD, Riptide GP, and Rhapsody.
The Droid Charge also includes mobile hotspot free for an introductory period.
Samsung included what I first thought was Rock Band, but turned out to be a link to download Rock Band, which then instructs you to enable installations from unknown sources. Then it instructs you to download the large application via Wi-Fi. Even after getting the game installed, which requires around 3 minutes of keeping the screen awake, you still only have the one song Rock Band demo.
Missing is a way to remove the large amount of pre-installed games and other software you do not want.
Four of the seven home screens, excluding the main home screen (the first and seventh are blank)
Browsing & Data
When I first reviewed the HTC Thunderbolt I was really impressed with the 4g data speeds. The Droid Charge is no exception. Data download speeds are fantastic!
Keep in mind that results may vary depending on your area. I've actually seen reports of much higher download speeds.
Performance & Battery
The Droid Charge's 1Ghz Hummingbird processor performs well, but the phone is not the fastest out there right now. Compared to other phones it does not have a lot of memory, only 328mb. The Thunderbolt boasts 768mb. What does this mean? It means some memory intensive applications may be a bit slow. Luckily Android has some very good built-in memory management.
Regardless of being the fastest or not, it's more than capable of running processor intensive applications without any problems. The fast processor also helps with the smoothness of the TouchWiz interface.
The battery is very large coming in at 1600mAh with a rated talk time of 11 hours and standby time of 280 hours. The battery is much better than the Thunderbolt's. I was able to use the phone heavily all day on a single charge. You definitely will not be disappointed by the battery life on the Charge. Samsung really paid attention to the battery and how it's used.
The Droid Charge's 8mp camera is excellent. I prefer the camera on the Thunderbolt however. It seems to take better pictures.
Here are a couple sample shots:
In low light:
Shooting modes include single shot, beauty, smile shot, continuous, panorama, add me (allows you to kind of put someone in a different background), action shot, and cartoon (combines colors to make things look cartoonish)
Settings include an auto timer, resolution setting, white balance, effects (negative, black & white, sepia), ISO, metering, anti-shake, auto contrast, blink detection, and adjustments for contrast, saturation, and sharpness. You can also change the exposure (which is a simple way of saying that you can stop up and down).
All these settings are not available on the front facing camera, which is easily switched to via an icon in the upper left.
The video quality (720p hd) is also very good! The video camera is accessed by simply hitting an icon in the upper right. Missing is any type of anti-shake feature.
Under the gallery you can easily scroll through your photos taken with the phone as well as Picasa.
The Samsung Droid Charge is an excellent phone. If it were not for the high price tag, I believe it would be even better. Does it look better than the HTC Thunderbolt? Yes, I think it does. Does it have many of the same features? Yes. Does it have better battery life, and a better screen? Also yes. Is it worth the extra $50? Probably.
Here are some reasons you should get this phone now:
- You don't care about the price and want the latest and greatest
- You want a practical phone that is well rounded in all areas
- You don't have a wi-fi connection a lot and could use 4g data
- You like the styling of the phone
- You really want a super bright screen
- You need 4g and a HDMI port
Why get something else?
- The phone is too expensive - you can get a Droid X for less money
- You're have a wi-fi connection and don't need 4g
- You want a phone that's a little more durable and doesn't have an all plastic body
- You don't have 4g in your area yet
- You rather wait for one of the other 4g phones coming out this year
Go to the Samsung Forum to ask questions about the Droid Charge
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