But can this $299.99 handset live up to the hype? Can it knock out other contenders in Verizon’s 4G lineup (a growing pool)? And can you pull the trigger on this phone when challengers like the next iPhone are just around the corner?
If you’ve seen earlier Motorola phones like the Droid X, you’ll have a pretty good sense of what the Bionic looks and feels like.
It has a big 4.3-inch display and the same unusually sloped build with which Motorola seems to be in serious “like.” Like other 4G phones on Verizon’s network, the Bionic is somewhat thicker than its standard 3G counterparts. But as big a device as it is, it doesn’t feel quite as chunky as entries such as the Samsung Droid Charge — and the build quality certainly seems more solid.
Compared with many of the devices on the market, the Bionic stands out in both look and feel, as well as solidness of construction. It just comes off as a nice, expensive phone — even comparing favorably when matched up with the iPhone 4. While it is a bit heavier than many other Android phones, it never feels bulky.
The Droid Bionic confirms my belief that few in the game are making higher quality hardware than Motorola right now. Maybe that’s why Google just bought the company?
Another thing worth noting about the Bionic is its excellent sound quality. Motorola always seems to have an edge over the competition in this department, and this device is no different. The earpiece sounds fantastic, while speakerphone calls were crystal clear.
The Bionic has an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a lower-resolution front-facing camera. It’s the first phone to come preloaded with Google Talk video chat, which allows you to take and make video calls using Google’s native instant messaging service. It’s a nice feature, although it was sometimes buggy in use.
On the video front, the Bionic is one of the few phones on the market that can shoot full 1080p video. In my testing, the results were certainly passable — and if you absolutely must have full HD video from your phone, the Bionic will seem a very attractive choice. Just be sure you have some extra memory cards handy when you’re out and about.
Most Verizon 4G devices take a major hit on battery life, and it’s clear that the juice on this phone succumbs to the drain of the carrier’s LTE service. In the time I used the device, I found the Bionic’s stamina to be less than spectacular in comparison with most average 3G phones, and nearly passable when held up next to its 4G competitors. I nabbed around 11 hours of use with the device doing a moderate amount of downloading and browsing, with the occasional phone call.