Samsung Droid Charge Review - Droid Goes LTEby Brian Klug on June 22, 2011 7:47 AM EST
- Posted in
- Droid Charge
The left side of the Charge is home to the microUSB port and volume buttons, which are adorned with a small chrome ridge. The volume buttons on the Charge are precise and clicky, no complaints there. Having the USB port located here remains something of a point of contention for many people, though I’m starting to warm up to it.
The right side packs the Charge’s HDMI port which is underneath an attached plastic cover. Get a thumb inside there and the cover pries off and swivels around exposing the HDMI type-D port. Just north of that is the power button, which like the volume buttons is the right balance between clicky and resistive enough to not lend itself to errant presses, and is easily locatable thanks to its raised shape. I’m impressed with all the buttons on the Charge - a small thing that definitely makes a difference for actual in-hand impressions in the long run.
Up at the very top of the Charge is an offset headphone jack, microphone for noise cancellation in calls, and a "Digital by Qualcomm" sticker. As we'll discuss later however, there's no Qualcomm parts inside, but if you license CDMA2000 you still need this sticker on the handset.
Where the Charge falls apart in the physical department is the back cover. This is something we’ve harped endlessly on about with the Galaxy S series, with the Fascinate, with the Nexus S, and in essentially the entire new Samsung Android lineup other than the Charge, it’s fixed. On the Galaxy S 2, the back is now textured instead of one featureless slick plastic face like it is with the original Galaxy S and now the Charge.
As a result, the Charge picks up scratches on the back disappointingly quickly, just like its predecessors. The plastic that Samsung used for this generation seems especially prone to picking up what are called “sleeks” - fine scratches that are only visible from light incident at an angle.
It’s just frustrating because otherwise the Charge has an excellently balanced in-hand feel thanks to its ergonomic lip on the back, and overall impressive build construction. Though the entire exterior of the Charge is plastic, the internal frame is metal, and that rigidity certainly shows through.
|Apple iPhone 4||HTC Thunderbolt||LG Revolution||Samsung Droid Charge|
|Height||115.2 mm (4.5")||122 mm (4.8")||129.8 mm (5.11")||129.9 mm (5.11")|
|Width||58.6 mm (2.31")||67 mm (2.63")||66.9 mm (2.63")||67.5 mm (2.65")|
|Depth||9.3 mm ( 0.37")||13.2 mm (0.52")||13.6 mm (0.54")||11.90-14.96 mm (0.47"-0.59")|
|Weight||137 g (4.8 oz)||183.3 g (6.46 oz)||172 g (6.08 oz)||143 g (5.04 oz)|
|CPU||Apple A4 @ ~800MHz||1 GHz MSM8655 45nm Snapdragon||1 GHz MSM8655 45nm Snapdragon||1 GHz Hummingbird S5PC110|
|GPU||PowerVR SGX 535||Adreno 205||Adreno 205||PowerVR SGX 540|
|RAM||512MB LPDDR1 (?)||768 MB LPDDR2||512 MB LPDDR2||512 MB LPDDR2|
|NAND||16GB or 32GB integrated||4 GB NAND with 32 GB microSD Class 4 preinstalled||4GB NAND with 16 GB microSD preinstalled||2 GB NAND + 32 GB microSD preinstalled|
|Camera||5MP with LED Flash + Front Facing Camera||8 MP with autofocus and dual LED flash, 720p30 video recording, 1.3 MP front facing||5 MP with AF and LED flash, 720P video capture, 1.3 MP front facing||8 MP with AF and LED flash, 720p30 video capture, 1.3 MP front facing|
|Screen||3.5" 640 x 960 LED backlit LCD||4.3” 800 x 480 LCD-TFT||4.3" 800 x 480 LCD-TFT||4.3" 800 x 480 SAMOLED+|
|Battery||Integrated 5.254Whr||Removable 5.18 Whr||Removable 5.6 Whr||Removable 5.92 Whr|
Probably the most poignant comparison for the Charge however isn’t Galaxy S, it’s the HTC Thunderbolt and LG Revolution. Compared to the Thunderbolt, the Charge is a fair amount taller - nearly 8 mm in fact. However, the Charge is 1.3mm thinner and around 30 grams lighter. The LG Revolution has roughly the same outline as the Charge and is 0.4 mm thicker than the Thunderbolt. Thickness and overall mass are prime considerations for smartphone shoppers, and I think in this category the Charge’s thinner overall profile makes it more attractive than the other phones purely from a physical perspective.
Update: My thickness numbers in the table for the Charge were previously incorrect, and have been corrected now. Thanks everyone.
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tdenton1138 - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - linkEdit:
strike: both phone for people
insert: both phones from people
NAblue - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - linki don't like hard keys anymore
worldbfree4me - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - linkI'm happy to see that the NEXUS line particularly the NEXUS S can hang with the latest and greatest, while running a non-skinned OS and a single core chip. That formula seems to be the winner IMO. I only wish that future phones from any manufacturer would began life like the new Samsung Galaxy Tab, no skin from the factory, but add-on skins available via the market or the individual manufactures web store. This would enable Goog to keep the latest OS on more handsets from beginning and give end users even more options without having to root or hack the phone risking BSOD or worse voiding the factory warranty. Having said that, NEXUS 3G will certainly be a beast if NEXUS S is the ground floor! Thanks for another superb analysis ANANDTECH!!
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jamdev12 - Friday, June 24, 2011 - linkHi Brian,
Thanks again for the great article. I've had an OG Droid since it came out November 2009 and lately, I've been looking for a phone to go to. I want to get into the unlimited plan which I've had since I bought that device and don't want to loose the privilege, even though I don't use 3G that often. I was seriously thinking of getting the Charge because of some of the reviews I had read on other sites, but was eagerly waiting on your recommendation. I now come to the conclusion that buying this phone is not in my best interest. I would love some 4G love, but the fact that battery life is outrageously in comparison to the LG and HTC LTE phones, I will have to see what the Bionic will bring. Like you stated in the previous article about the LG, battery life will likely not increased until the LTE radio is embedded in the phone CPU, which Qualcomm is working on right now. I guess I will try to grandfather my plan and see if Verizon will let me replace my phone when the Galaxy II S comes to the states.
Thanks again for the great article. I love Anantech for the indepth coverage you guys provide to all products. Informed consumers is what we need.
360fish - Saturday, June 25, 2011 - linkall existing unlimited data plan customers are grandfathered in until ... further notice. I have this info from a leaked verizon document but ... sorry too lazy to find link right now. July 7 is the deadline to get grandfathered in, as I recall.
Belard - Saturday, June 25, 2011 - linkOverall, the new data plans are a rip-off and hurt the abilities of these new phones.
$25 for 10GB a month should be the min. One one company will drop to 2G when you hit the limit (rather than send you a $2000~4000 bill).
But when the caps are so low at 2~5GB, whats the point of having a 4G high performance internet phone when you can make out your data plan in 1-3 weeks?
They are promoting video and music downloads, streaming - that'll kill you. And google maps / GPS... that'll eat data as well.
Belard - Saturday, June 25, 2011 - linkIt really shouldn't be this hard.
- Thin doesn't always mean better. Strike a balance.
- Light-weight, if its feather-weight or poorly made, it may break easily.
- SIZE, sure its nice that phones come in various sizes... but as they get bigger, they become harder to get out of our POCKETS.
I have a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate (at&t)... the screen is great, the metal back looks nice.
But its design is flawed like all Galaxy S phones.
A) - Power button on the side, hard to feel (only on Captive)
B) - speaker on back = BAD BAD, I prop my phone a bit to hear the weak alarm.
C) - TOP and BOTTOM look exactly the same... HELLO? The Charge is better because YOU know instantly which side is up.
D) - my previous SONY phone, which I used for 2+ years still looks as new as my Captive (6 months old)... the whole bottom isn't flat and is not cheap plastic.
E) - REAL BUTTONS!! I like the charge already. Having a REAL HOME button is nice. Its location is STUPID as its the most use button on the phone but its NOT on the edge, nope... its in the middle? Should be: HOME / BACK / Menu / Search (Search can go away thou)
F - if using physical buttons, make the search a SHUTTER button when phone is in camera mode.
The Android interface FROYO fixed most of the GPS issues, but is somewhat DUMBER than 2.1.
- They removed NON-REPEAT function from the Alarm? STUPID!
- The Alarm profiles move around!! WTF?!
Heres a REALLY STUPID ONE...
The PHONE LOGS are defaulted to ALL, including MESSAGING?! The 2.1 had ALL or Phone Only... in 2.2 Froyo, they added some more, but TOOK OFF PHONE ONLY?! What idiot did this? Who the hell wants to SEE their TEXTING LOGS with their PHONE LOGS?! So I have to use SHOW only MISSED or SHOW ONLY incoming, etc... not just ALL phones. Again, STUPID.
Home button issues... Using an Ipad has shown how a HOME button is supposed to work. With my Android phone with its hard to find power button, I'm constantly turning the phone ON again, even in a phone call so I can see the screen. A Physical home button should always bring back the screen (if blank) rather than the power button. I hate getting a TEXT notification, and I could be in the middle of a swipe to unlock the phone to go to the text, and the PHONE shuts off.... gotta press the power, do the swipe all over again.
I like the flexibility I get from Android - but the User Experience is still crap . Having a WindowsPhone7 style launcher makes the phone much more usable.
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prakashpk - Sunday, July 31, 2011 - linkThe article says that the phone has 512 MB RAM and 2 GB internal storage. However, my phone's task manger displays only 328 MB RAM and about 1.17 GB internal storage. Are there different versions of the phone?
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