Samsung Droid Charge 4G Verizon Smartphone Review
We knew HTC’s Thunderbolt wouldn’t be the only 4G LTE smartphone available on Verizon Wireless’ network for long. Less than two months after the Thunderbolt made its debut, the Droid Charge by Samsung joined Verizon Wireless’ lineup of 4G LTE smartphones. This smartphone boasts of a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1GHz application processor, rear facing 8 megapixel camera, front facing 1.3 megapixel camera, and mobile hotspot functionality.
The Droid Charge definitely has an impressive list of features. Certainly for data heavy users, the fact that this phone is capable of 4G speeds will be the key spec that makes the Droid Charge stand out among other smartphones in the Verizon Wireless lineup. When you’re in one of Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE coverage areas, Verizon Wireless says you can expect download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps from the Droid Charge. Of course, when a 4G connection is unavailable, you’ll still get respectable data speeds on Verizon Wireless’ 3G network.
The Droid Charge runs on Android 2.2. It is currently available through Verizon Wireless for $299.99 with a two year contract and compatible data plan. Nationwide Talk plans for the phone begin at $39.99 per month. Unlimited 4G LTE data packages start at $29.99 per month. For a limited time, Verizon Wireless is offering the mobile hotspot feature for no additional charge.
The Droid Charge uses a typical candy bar form factor that seems to be quite popular among Android phones these days. One of the things that really sets the Droid Charge apart, however, is its large, 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus screen. The Super AMOLED Plus technology increases the number of sub pixels from eight to twelve for an increase of 50% and use a regular RBG matrix. As a result, the screen is designed to offer more clarity and be more visible under bright light such as direct sunlight.
Click to enlarge
When we first picked up the Droid Charge, we immediately noticed how thin and lightweight it was. In fact, the Droid Charge is more than an ounce lighter than Verizon Wireless’ other 4G LTE phone, the HTC Thunderbolt. Still, the Droid Charge isn’t the lightest phone we’ve tested. Here’s how the weight of the Droid Charge compares to a few other phones.
Although we’re seeing more high end phones ship with dual core 1GHz processors like NVIDIA’s Tegra 2, many phones are still utilizing single core 1GHz processors as well. The Droid Charge falls in the latter camp, coming with a single core 1GHz Hummingbird processor.
With the exception of the Nexus S, most of today’s Android powered phones are also shipping with Android 2.2 (Froyo). The Droid Charge also ships with Android 2.2. Considering Google’s new upgrade guidelines, we would expect that the Droid Charge and other popular phones should receive an update at some point in the future, though no update announcement has been made by Samsung.
The vast majority of the front of the Droid Charge is consumed by the 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus screen. Although the Droid Charge’s screen did collect some fingerprints, we felt this screen did a better job at avoiding fingerprints than other phones we’ve seen in the past. Fingerprints or not, the screen always remained responsive.
Click to enlarge
Underneath the screen, you’ll find four hardware buttons (Menu, Home, Back, and Search). You read that right are hardware buttons, not touch sensitive icons. When you press any of these buttons, you’ll hear a quiet click. The 1.3 megapixel front facing web cam is above the display on the left side.
On the left edge of the Droid Charge, there is a volume rocker and microUSB port. You’ll find the phone’s power button and miniHDMI port on the right edge. At the top of the Droid Charge, there is a standard headphone jack.
Click to enlarge
Taking a look at the back of the Droid Charge, you’ll see the rear facing 8 megapixel camera and LED flash. At the base of the phone near the speaker, there is a slight bulge.
Underneath the battery cover, you’ll find the microSD card slot, 4G LTE SIM card slot, and of course, the phone’s battery. Both the SIM slot as well as the microSD slot is accessible without removing the battery.
As we mentioned, Samsung ships the Droid Charge with Android 2.2 aka Froyo. The user interface is pretty standard, though Samsung has included a few unique features. For example, Samsung enabled a thumbnail view of all seven home screens. From this view, you can select any of the screens to be the primary home screen.
The Droid Charge ships with quite a few pre installed applications and links. There are three full pages of apps from the start. Of course, you’ll get your standard Google applications Google Search, Market, Navigation, etc. You’ll also get a few Verizon Wireless applications such as V CAST Media, VZ Navigator, and V CAST Apps. Beyond these, you’ll find icons such as Bitbop, Blockbuster, City ID, Desk Cradle, Media Hub, Lets Golf 2, and more in the application listing. Some of these applications are obviously more useful than others. The Samsung Media Hub is Samsung own content service. It offers a variety of films and TV programs for rent or purchase.
Click to enlarge
Since there are so many applications already installed on the Droid Charge, we wish there was a way to categorize or file the applicat tiffany and co ion icons within the application menu for easier access. Since this option is unavailable, we resorted to placing shortcuts to our favorite apps on one of the seven home screens most users will likely do anyway.
Click to enlarge
Samsung includes its own keyboard as well as the popular SWYPE keyboard
with the Droid Charge. The phone also has a Mobile Hotspot feature which
will let you share your 4G connection with up to 10 Wi Fi enable tiffany and co d
devices. You can also use tiffany and co Mobile Hotspot to share a 3G connection with
up to 5 devices. The Mobile Hotspot feature will be included with the
phone for a limited time at no additional charge.
Although the Droid Charge may not have the “latest and greatest” dual core processor, its single core 1GHz processor felt pretty zippy and responsive. Pinch and zoom controls were very fluid and smooth and the phone responded t tiffany and co o our requests without lag.
Although we always like it when manufacturers place the microSD slot in a place that can be accessed without removing the battery cover, it’s probably a minor issue for most users, especially since the Droid Charge ships with a 32GB card preinstalled.