My Droid Bionic Experiment

Manchild Prodigy

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First, some backstory. After reading all the comments about the Bionic, I couldn't help but buy it. Don't know if I'll keep it or not, but I've got 14 days to play around. I'll be updating this thread periodically, so this is basically a drawn out review. I'll start it off with some initial impressions.

SPEED

No doubt about it, this bad boy is fast. The hardware is top notch and the device flies. The same applies to Verizon's 4G network. I can routinely get about 18 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up in my apartment with 2-3 bars. I can't argue with that. Speed will not be an issue with this phone.

SCREEN

Ah yes, the elephant in the room. Opinions are definitely mixed. As far as my opinion, I find the screen rather annoying. The pixelation is pretty noticeable to me, and that's not good because I'm a huge perfectionist. Making it worse is the fact that I have 2 other devices (Samsung Focus and Galaxy Tab 10.1) that only help to draw attention to the problem. If anything makes me return it, it'll be the screen.

BATTERY

Way too early to tell. I've had the phone for an hour and a half and it wasn't fully charged to start. Furthermore, my initial use of the device won't reflect my typical usage since I'll be setting the device up to my liking.

CAMERA

No clue. Haven't taken any pictures or videos. More to come on that.

That's all I've got for now. Like I said, I'll be updating this and hopefully I can be as unbiased as possible.

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Manchild Prodigy

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Update:

Looks like the app downloads and syncing with Google Music annihilated what little battery charge I had. Have it on the charger now.

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shooter76

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At least you are making your opinions based on an extended period of review. As far as i'm concerned, i don't care about opinions from someone who has had the phone for hours. And the battery isn't fully charged when you brought it home.
 

Manchild Prodigy

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I figure a 14-day review should be sufficient to cover all the bases. I'm trying to go into this with as few expectations as possible and shelter myself from other people's opinions. I may keep it when all is said and done, or I may not. We'll see how it goes. It probably won't be done charging before I go to sleep, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to do some real testing. It will be a good test though, as I have to work tomorrow and I'll get to test 4G at work. I'll also be checking my various fantasy football teams as well, so I'll really get a good test of the battery under moderate usage.

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Manchild Prodigy

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Update:

Just took the Bionic off the charger. Battery is 100% as of 9:58 PM. No WiFi, Performance Mode enabled (most battery intensive, as data syncs all the time). Right now all I've got going is Gmail. Haven't set up Facebook or Twitter yet. This should be a good test of the battery.

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Manchild Prodigy

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Update:

BATTERY

Left the phone with 100% charge last night, no battery saving modes enabled, WiFi disabled, 4G enabled. After 6 hours overnight on my desk, I found it with 80% charge left. I don't have a comparison at the moment to my Focus, which is 3G only, but I suppose this isn't too bad considering the Bionic is a 4G device and given that I don't have what I would consider excellent reception at my apartment (usually 2 bars, fluctuates between 2 and 3 a lot). I also don't have any push notifications at the moment other than Gmail. I'd imagine this will only get worse once I add more stuff, but it at least gives me some kind of a baseline.

SPEED/SIGNAL:

Ran Speedtest from my office. Managed 26.6 Mbps down and 5.7 Mbps up, which is absolutely fantastic. And that was with 2 bars. Verizon's LTE network is the real deal. It's just a shame that it completely devastates the battery life, but unfortunately there isn't much you can do about it at this point, short of using an extended battery and adding additional weight and bulk to the phone.

GENERAL USAGE NOTES:

I find myself fiddling with the Bionic far less than I ever did/do with the Focus. And the reason for that can be summed up in two simple words: notification LED. I forgot how much I missed having one. I constantly check the Focus because unless I hear it, I'll never know if I have an email, text, etc. With the Bionic, all I have to do is look for the blinking LED. I find the LED to be more than adequate. It isn't the brightest, but it doesn't really need to be for me. I don't expect to be able to see it from across a room.

More to come...
 
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Manchild Prodigy

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Update:

BATTERY

I've had the phone off of the charger for 20 hours and 14 minutes running LTE exclusively. Battery is at 40%. I really haven't used it much today. No calls or text messages. No pictures or videos. Basically just downloaded a few apps, checked my fantasy football teams a few times, made 1 post to Google+ and have getting my emails (Gmail) pushed to the phone. I realize that 4G devices are not kind to batteries and I certainly wasn't expecting a miracle with Bionic. But even so, I think the battery life so far has been underwhelming. If I'd been texting or making calls periodically throughout the day I probably wouldn't give it a second thought. But I've used the phone for a total of about 5 minutes and it pretty much sat untouched the rest of the day. To have lost that much charge with that light of usage seems pretty crappy to me, 4G or not. Even my original Droid, which had horrible battery life, could last longer than that. If the Bionic is this bad I can't imagine what the Thunderbolt is like, nor do I want to.

And this is all with very little going on in the background. On my Focus, not only am I using Gmail, but also Facebook, Twitter and I also sync it with my work email, not to mention the phone calls and texting. Like I said, I had pretty low expectations to start. But I certainly wasn't expecting this. I'm almost fearful to really hammer the device.

More to follow...

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fdisker

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>> I've had the phone off of the charger for 20 hours and 14 minutes running LTE exclusively. Battery is at 40%.

You won't do any better with Charge, Thunderbolt or Revolution. Get used to charging this phone at least once throughout the day if you're a moderate to heavy user. That, or buy an extended battery. Verizon 4G devices are not all day devices yet. That won't come until the LTE modem is integrated into the SoC.

I came from the Thunderbolt and picked up the Bionic Thursday morning. Battery life is better than the Thunderbolt but not by a lot.
 

mjforte

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>> I've had the phone off of the charger for 20 hours and 14 minutes running LTE exclusively. Battery is at 40%.

You won't do any better with Charge, Thunderbolt or Revolution. Get used to charging this phone at least once throughout the day if you're a moderate to heavy user. That, or buy an extended battery. Verizon 4G devices are not all day devices yet. That won't come until the LTE modem is integrated into the SoC.

I came from the Thunderbolt and picked up the Bionic Thursday morning. Battery life is better than the Thunderbolt but not by a lot.

I agree with the comparison to the Thunderbolt's battery. The Bionic's battery life is only marginally better. Granted, my Thunderbolt's battery was probably better than stock because I was running a custom ROM with undervolted kernels. I didn't have 4G yet when I first got my Thunderbolt and was running stock so I couldn't comment there. Fact of the matter is LTE is a huge battery drainer no matter what phone. Now I wish I had the 4G toggle switch in my notification bar like I did with CM7 on my Thunderbolt.
 

Manchild Prodigy

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Right now the battery is at 30%. I switched on the Nighttime battery mode, which from what I can gather stops syncing data after a certain period of inactivity between 10 PM and 5 AM. I'm figuring that without it the battery should be at 5-10% when I wake up (at 4 AM). I'm curious to see if this particular battery mode makes any difference.

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Manchild Prodigy

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Update:

Left the phone at 30% when I went to bed last night with Nighttime mode enabled, and woke up this morning to find the battery at 20%. Based on my previous observations, I figured the battery would be at no more than 10% with no battery saving modes enabled. So Nighttime mode (or whatever it's called) seems to help. Based on this, I figure I could probably leave the phone at 20%, maybe even 15% and it will make it through the night as long as the battery savings are enabled. In all honesty, I'm not all that concerned about whether or not I receive push notifications in "real-time" while I'm sleeping, so I'm likely going to keep the Nighttime mode enabled from here on out.

All-in-all, I'm still not really pleased with the battery life, but this makes me feel a little better about it.
 

p08757

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I think your battery life results, are good. I've only had mine for a few days, so I really can't tell for sure how things are gong to go but your results seem to be great IMO.

Yesterday, I got about 13 hours of normal use on LTE before I got the battery warning. To me this is exceptable.

Saturday, I used the extended battery, half on 3G and half on LTE. I used it to upload several photos, and 1 video to YouTube, and check football scores and Facebook. I figure I probably would have gotten about 20+ hours of normal to heavy use out of it.

I myself can live with that.

Best of all, in direct sun light I could actually use my phone and keep up with all of my football scores and Facebook.
 

shadowsjc

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Update:

BATTERY

I've had the phone off of the charger for 20 hours and 14 minutes running LTE exclusively. Battery is at 40%. I really haven't used it much today. No calls or text messages. No pictures or videos. Basically just downloaded a few apps, checked my fantasy football teams a few times, made 1 post to Google+ and have getting my emails (Gmail) pushed to the phone. I realize that 4G devices are not kind to batteries and I certainly wasn't expecting a miracle with Bionic. But even so, I think the battery life so far has been underwhelming. If I'd been texting or making calls periodically throughout the day I probably wouldn't give it a second thought. But I've used the phone for a total of about 5 minutes and it pretty much sat untouched the rest of the day. To have lost that much charge with that light of usage seems pretty crappy to me, 4G or not. Even my original Droid, which had horrible battery life, could last longer than that. If the Bionic is this bad I can't imagine what the Thunderbolt is like, nor do I want to.

And this is all with very little going on in the background. On my Focus, not only am I using Gmail, but also Facebook, Twitter and I also sync it with my work email, not to mention the phone calls and texting. Like I said, I had pretty low expectations to start. But I certainly wasn't expecting this. I'm almost fearful to really hammer the device.

More to follow...

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20 hrs on 4G seems to be "exceptional" based on what has been posted over the past week, regardless of whether you actually used it or not. personally i've been having trouble getting more than 10 hrs in the same scenario (phone just sitting there unused but on 4G)
 

Manchild Prodigy

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20 hrs on 4G seems to be "exceptional" based on what has been posted over the past week, regardless of whether you actually used it or not. personally i've been having trouble getting more than 10 hrs in the same scenario (phone just sitting there unused but on 4G)

Only 10 hours? Wow. How's your signal? I seem to get pretty good signal no matter where I'm at, and the phone doesn't seem to be getting overly warm as though it were constantly searching for signal. That could have a lot to do with the difference in battery life.
 

shadowsjc

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Only 10 hours? Wow. How's your signal? I seem to get pretty good signal no matter where I'm at, and the phone doesn't seem to be getting overly warm as though it were constantly searching for signal. That could have a lot to do with the difference in battery life.

well my latest iteration (posted on the battery life thread) gave me about 17 hrs, but that was with barely using the phone.

signal is usually poor when i'm in class, strong otherwise.
 

Manchild Prodigy

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Update:

Finally added Facebook into the mix. Didn't seem to affect that battery life too negatively. I wasn't really actively looking for any additional battery drain, but based on my casual observation it didn't hurt too much. I turned off the LTE and turned on 3G exclusively. I expect the battery life to be considerably better like this, and I get full reception with 3G just about everywhere I go. As nice as the LTE speed is, it really isn't very necessary for much of what I do. Other than getting notifications for Facebook, Gmail, etc. I don't really need that fast of a data connection. I don't often stream media from my phone, and if I get in a situation where I need to I can always flip the 4G on quick. Just for point of reference, I got about 24 hours or so on the most recent charge running exclusively in 4G. Still haven't made a phone call with it, though. But I don't make many calls anyway, so this isn't really unusual for me.

I have a love/hate relationship with the screen. I'm certainly not satisfied with the pixelation, but it doesn't bother me nearly as much as I thought I would. To be honest, if I decide to keep the Bionic in the end I can probably live with the screen. We'll see what happens.

More to follow...
 

Manchild Prodigy

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Update:

Took a couple of pictures. I can't say that I was impressed by the quality, but the lighting is pretty crappy so it's really hard to blame the Bionic. I also gave ZumoCast a try. I don't like it. I was somehow led to believe that ZC would do any media transcoding on the fly. This is not the case. The only formats that would work are formats supported by the stock Android video player. All-in-all I'm not impressed. I thought this would be one of the things that would ultimately lead me to keeping the Bionic. Now it's a non-factor.

More to follow...

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Manchild Prodigy

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Update:

Transcoding my video files to a format that ZumoCast supports is a huge pain. But at least I can stream video now. Also, running on WiFi/3G has, as expected, significantly increased the battery life.

More to follow...

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