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Find out how this dual-
core superphone works for
You know the Motorola Droid Bionic
is a big deal when people ask you
whether they should buy it or wait for
the iPhone 5. That’s how much hype has preceded
this Android superphone, the first on Verizon’s
network to pack both 4G LTe data and a dual-core
processor. After a highly publicized delay, the Bionic
is ready for its review close-up.
The 4.3 -inch display on the Droid Bionic is pretty
much identical to the panel on the Photon 4G, and
that’s a positive. You get the same bright picture,
wide viewing angles, and crisp qhD resolution (960
x 540 pixels). When watching the Contagion trailer
on YouTube, we noticed some artifacts in darker
scenes, but the colors looked vibrant. That trailer also
came through loud and clear, thanks to a powerful
speaker right next to the 8-megapixel camera.
Motorola’s interface sometimes gets in the way.
To add an app shortcut to a home screen, you
long-press on an app, then decide whether you
want to add it to a folder or a home screen.
Positioning the shortcut is yet another
step, so one fluid action becomes
two cumbersome ones.
Though Motorola’s previous
dual-core phones were powered
by nvidia’s Tegra processor, the company
opted for a TI oMAP 4430 CPU for the
Bionic and paired it with 1GB of memory.
The device was definitely swift when
opening applications, and we noticed
zero lag when flicking between home
screens and multiple app screens.
When it comes to benchmark performance,
the Bionic holds its own. For instance, the hand-
set notched a 53.3 score in the multi-threaded
portion of the Linpack test, compared to 49.5 for
the nvidia Tegra-powered Photon 4G.
Thanks to the bundled ZumoCast app, we
could access documents, photos, music, and
videos from our PC right on the Droid Bionic.
All we needed to do was sign up for an account
online, download the PC software, and then sign
in on the phone. From there we could stream all
our stuff over the web.
Verizon’s 4G LTe network now covers about half
the country, and you can expect awesome speeds
from the Bionic. Using speedtest.net, we saw an
average of 11.6 Mbps downloads and 3.4 Mbps
uploads, with bursts on the downlink up to 20.1
Mbps. These numbers are similar to what the LG
Revolution and samsung Droid Charge turned in.
Anecdotally, the Bionic lasted about 8 hours
during moderate to heavy usage. engaging hotspot
mode, though, significantly impacts endurance.
We were down to 20-percent juice left after four
hours of intermittent use.
outdoors, the Bionic’s 8-MP camera took
reasonably detailed photos, including one of a
yellow sUV taxi from across a rainy street. Indoors,
we noticed a fair amount of graininess. The phone
wasn’t quick on the draw outside, either.
The Bionic’s optional Lapdock ($299) transforms
this Android phone into a mini 11.6 -inch laptop,
complete with additional battery (see p. 20). As with
the Atrix 4G on AT&T, connecting the phone to the
dock launches Motorola’s webtop interface, which
includes the full Firefox 4 browser. That means you
can access sites that would otherwise be off-limits
on the handset, such as hulu.
The problem is that the Lapdock’s keyboard is
too small. Plus, we noticed some latency when
typing in the webtop interface. The touchpad’s
accuracy also leaves something to be desired.
The Droid Bionic is definitely the
fastest 4G LTe phone yet, and it’s
our new top smartphone pick for
Verizon Wireless. The $299 price is
steep, but you get dual-core power
and blazing data speeds, plus a bevy
The Droid Bionic is a super-fast Android phone that combines
dual-core power with Verizon’s sizzling 4G LTE network.
(with two-year contract)
CPU: 1-Ghz dual-core Operating System:
Android 2.3 RAM/ROM: 1GB/16GB Display
Size/Resolution: 4.3 inches/960 x 540 GPS:
Yes Wireless: 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 +
eDR Camera: 8-MP Talk/Standby Time: 650
minutes/200 hours Ports: microUsB, micro
hDMI Size: 2.6 x 5 x 0.4 inches Weight:
Great 4G LTe performance
speedy dual-core processor
ZumoCast app for streaming
sharp and bright display
Adding app shortcuts to home screen a pain
of useful apps.
While we’re not keen on the Bionic’s Lapdock
accessory, the webtop app itself can come in handy
for those who want to turn this phone into a mini
computer using an external monitor. With the iPhone
5 and rumored samsung Droid Prime (running the new
Android Ice Cream sandwichos)waiting inthe wings,
the Bionic’s reign as king could be short-lived. But
right now Motorola’s powerhouse is your best bet.
— Mark spoonauer
Connecting the Droid Bionic’s
optional Lapdock ($299) launches
Motorola’s webtop interface, with
the full Firefox browser.
Laptop | November 2011
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