08
May
IMGA0002
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Make no mistake, the DROID Charge is a cool phone. It looks cool. Its boot screen looks cool. Hell, even the camera has been carefully crafted to look like some sort of crazy piece of future-tech.

In the past week, I've had three separate people ask me what phone it was (something that I never experienced with my Nexus One or the HTC Inspire), and then proceed in some way to compliment its appearance or the vividness of its display. Unfortunately, this just goes to show that the Charge is a classic case of "don't judge a book by its cover." Why?

Where to begin? 3G connection issues, a plasticky build, slow display wake, a buggy and sluggish UI overlay, tons of sponsored bloatware, and an outdated version of Android (FYI: Froyo will be turning 1 year old pretty soon). Taken together, these flaws should make any reasonable person think twice about taking a 2-year plunge with the $300 Charge.

What Verizon and Samsung have done is built a phone (out of plastic) with the aesthetic qualities of a fine Italian sports car, and then proceeded to stuff an old, angry 800-pound bloatware/software overlay gorilla in the trunk, and weld it shut. The result? It's unpredictable, annoying, slows the phone down, and there's not much you can do about it - except try and ignore it. Which, I might add, is nearly impossible.

Don't get me wrong, the Charge is certainly usable - but I don't understand why anyone would want to use it over, say, the HTC Thunderbolt (aside from, perhaps, battery life or the display). The Thunderbolt is cheaper. It's made from better materials. You might actually like HTC's Sense UI overlay. And it comes from a manufacturer that has generally been good about providing timely updates to the Android OS. The Charge, well, it... doesn't.

At A Glance

The Charge's spec sheet isn't going to turn a lot of heads - the LTE radio and big Super AMOLED Plus display are definitely the major selling points here:

  • 4.3" WVGA SAMOLED Plus (800x480)
  • 1GHz Hummingbird processor
  • Android 2.2 Froyo with TouchWiz 3.0 overlay
  • 512MB RAM / 512MB ROM
  • 2GB Internal Storage (about 1.2GB usable)
  • 32GB Micro SDHC card included
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • 8MP rear camera w/ LED flash
  • 1.3MP front camera w/ secondary microphone
  • 1600mAh battery
  • HDMI-out

Now, if you don't feel like reading the full review (can't blame you on that one), here's the quick positive/negative rundown on the Charge:

The Good:

  • The 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus display is extremely bright and vivid, and performs exceptionally well in sunlight compared to other display techs.
  • Verizon's 4G LTE is fast. I experienced anywhere from 10-20Mbps down in a variety of locations, with consistent sub-100ms pings.
  • Battery life: it doesn't suck (I'm looking at you, Thunderbolt). Expect a full day's use without worry.
  • It is one good-looking phone. The Charge wasn't just designed, it was styled - like a stealth fighter by Gucci.
  • It comes with a big fat 32GB Micro SDHC card.

The Not So Good:

  • TouchWiz 3.0 is slow, buggy, and in no way improves the user experience. With TouchWiz 4.0 coming on the Galaxy S II (and being exceptionally fast), one can hope the Charge will get the bump to TW4 when it receives Android 2.3.
  • If you live in a 3G-only coverage area, the Charge has a tendency to drop your data connection for no apparent reason - and you have to reboot to re-acquire it. I almost threw it out the window several times because of this problem.
  • Waking the display to the lock screen takes well over a second. This sounds like a very trivial thing, but trust me, it will annoy you.
  • The amount of Verizon bloatware is truly staggering (there are 17 Verizon-installed applications - many of which simply send you to preview videos or download pages). Please Verizon, start making some of this stuff removable.
  • The display and battery cover/frame will get scratched to hell (easily) if you don't use a skin.
  • $300. Really?

In A Sentence: The Samsung DROID Charge is a bit like a Fascinate on steroids - it has a bigger, better display and a 4G LTE radio - yet still manages to shoot itself in the foot with buggy software and an astronomical price tag.

You Should Buy It If: The Thunderbolt's abysmal battery life and LG's relative newcomer-status (the Revolution will be coming in a little under a week) have you on the fence about a Verizon 4G device, but you still need/want a 4G phone right now. And price isn't much of an object for you.

If you're craving yet more details about how the DROID Charge stacks up, read on for the full review (we'll start with the good stuff)!

4G LTE

Fast, fast, fast. There's no other way to describe Verizon's 4G LTE network (well, I guess you could say it's splendiferous - because it is).

SC20110506-123533

Verizon advertises a range of 8-13Mbps down for its LTE network. With present network load conditions, this estimate is pretty conservative. 10Mbps was the lowest speed I achieved while on 4G, and the Charge topped 19Mbps in ideal signal conditions. But that's not all LTE is good for, no no. Say goodbye to latency, folks: Verizon's 4G consistently clocked in at 60-90ms in ping tests, which is staggeringly quick for a mobile data network (by comparison, AT&T's 3G, at best, pings around 175ms, and often gets up to 300ms higher).

Say what you will about Verizon's 4G speeds being artificially inflated by the low number of 4G subscribers on the network - even if those performance figures were halved, Verizon would still be eating the competition for breakfast. It seems safe to say at this point that everyone else will be playing catch-up with Big Red's network once again.

SAMOLED Plus - Because More Letters Is Better

Crassness aside, the Charge's display is truly awesome. The DROID Charge is the first Samsung device that will debut in the US with this, the latest iteration of Samsung's AMOLED display technology, and it doesn't disappoint. When I spent a little time with the upcoming Galaxy S II handset at CTIA, which also sports an SAMOLED Plus screen, I couldn't believe the contrast and brightness it was capable of. The Charge is no different.

IMGA0008

The display performs exceptionally well in sunlight - I never managed to get to a point where I was unable to make out what was going on on the screen, and I live in sunny Los Angeles, CA. If anything, this makes me consider the Galaxy S II even more for my next phone purchase, and it's definitely the Charge's saving grace, along with its 4G radio.

Viewing angles, contrast, brightness, and color reproduction are all fantastic - there's no getting around that. The only drawback to the Charge's display (visually) is the resolution, which like most Android phones is WVGA (800x480). The point is a minor one, but with qHD displays pushing the resolution standard up to 960x540 on most flagship phones this summer, it seems worth noting that the Charge and Galaxy S II will probably be the last high-end WVGA handsets we'll see.

IMGA0031 IMGA0032

There is one more thing about the Charge's display - it does not seem to have Corning Gorilla Glass. My review unit has battle scars already - and I have no idea how I scratched it. This is a serious concern if you don't use screen protectors. And if you do use them, the Charge's capacitive-touch display already takes considerable pressure to recognize touch actions (more than I'm used to, for sure).

Battery Life

After using the Charge for a little over a week now, I can say I'm neither impressed nor disappointed by the Charge's battery life. It's good - not great, but it sure blows the competition (*cough* Thunderbolt *cough*) out of the water in this arena. In 3G-only mode, you can expect a full day's use without much worry, unless you're watching a lot of videos or constantly playing games. If that's the case, the Charge and its eye-meltingly bright display are more than happy to eat through your battery like no one's business.

If you live on the edge of a 4G coverage area, switching between 3G and 4G relatively often will probably have a similar battery-devouring effect - fortunately, you can force the Charge into CDMA-only mode through the settings menu.

Interestingly, the Charge is set by default to reduce the brightness of the screen when lots of white pixels are displayed (eg, during web browsing) in order to save battery life. This seems like a very sensible feature, and I don't know why other manufacturers haven't picked up on the idea.

The Charge, then, clearly succeeds in an arena where its HTC competitor has (arguably quite badly) failed.

Build Quality

Here's where things start to go downhill. The DROID Charge, like all of Samsung's phones, it seems, is made out of plastique. Sure, it keeps the phone's weight down, but I don't see any other advantage to Samsung's choice of materials aside from, maybe, minor savings on manufacturing costs.

IMGA0010 IMGA0026

I can already feel the phone's power button getting arthritic from my constant poking (it sort of "sticks" after a while), and this only lends itself to the oft-reached conclusion that metal alloy-framed phones are just better. Here's a list of other small considerations regarding the Charge's fit and finish:

  • The battery cover feels cheap and flimsy, gets scratched up easily, and picks up tons of finger-smudges
  • Plugging into the headphone jack requires way too much force
  • The volume up button sits parallel to the power button, often resulting in accidental presses of both
  • HDMI port cover feels like you're going to break it every time you snap it open

In summary: don't expect a phone built any better than a Galaxy S - because the Charge isn't. And if you do decide to get it: buy a skin. Seriously.

IMGA0024

Software

TouchWiz blows. Sorry, Samsung - I can't think of a single reason anyone would want this polished turd of an overlay. It adds nothing to the user experience, unless you really want your Android phone's UI to look just similar enough to an iPhone to raise the eyebrows of Apple's lawyers.

IMGA0028

TouchWiz 3.0 has many exciting features - like hardware accelerated menus! And two lock-screen styles. Are you excited yet?

Samsung's many TouchWiz widgets are great for one thing, and one only: slowing down your phone. Homescreen scrolling, out of the box, is embarrassingly slow - and it's all because of these nightmarish widgets. Samsung's apps, like MediaHub, are equally unimpressive in their performance.

One other fun aspect of Samsung's software is the hilariously long time it takes to wake the Charge's display. I counted over a full second. This leads to constant second-guessing and double-taps when you hit the power button, resulting in what we in the business call "nerdrage."

Also, bloatware. 17 Verizon-installed apps. I'd list them, but frankly who cares what they are? You can't take them off, and half of them aren't even apps - they're just shortcuts to preview videos or VCAST download links (relatedly, the VCAST app store is the single worst piece of software ever spawned by humanity).

VZW Navigator was my favorite - upon launching, the app needed to download a bunch of data for its maps and what not. Alright, fair enough. Then (yes, after downloading all the map data), it asked for an update from the Market (which did not automatically show up when you hit the "My Apps" list). Then, after launching the updated version, it had to download all of the map data again. This whole process took 2-3 minutes, enough for the average user to give up, never touch VZW Navigator again, and just use Google Navigation. Word to the wise, Verizon: when people use navigation apps, they typically need directions right now. Also, VZW Navigator really wants you to know that if you're connected to Wi-Fi, it'll load Google maps-sourced 3D buildings in major cities, and populates your notification bar with an icon indicating it's waiting for Wi-Fi for that purpose, even when VZW Navigator has been exited. Presumably the last part of that annoyance is a bug.

Finally, the Charge still runs Android 2.2 - and unlike the Thunderbolt, or even the standard Galaxy S, we have no idea if or when Gingerbread (Android 2.3) is coming. How much better could this phone have been if Samsung worked to get it running G-bread out of the box? I'm going to guess "a lot."

3G Nightmares

I live in an area that does not have Verizon 4G LTE coverage. Still, I have very strong Verizon 3G coverage (-75dbM on average), and get 3G speeds about as quick as CDMA can provide (1.5Mbps down).

The Charge doesn't like 3G. In fact, it dislikes it so much that it randomly decides to drop its 3G data connection, and refuses to take it back. Please note, I'm not saying it's going into 1x (2G) mode - it loses all data connectivity whatsoever. I tried everything to fix it. I switched it to CDMA-only mode in the settings. I tried using the phone's data connection toggle. I tried switching it into Airplane mode and then back out of it. I wiped the phone. Nothing worked - I still have to reboot the Charge about 2-4 times per day to get my data connection back. There's no rhyme or reason to the dropping, either, it is seemingly completely random.

This is such a huge (probably radio firmware) glitch that I cannot understand how Samsung or Verizon didn't notice it during testing. It was probably my single biggest gripe about the phone, and it still frustrates me to no end.

Notably, this did not seem to happen when I was in 4G coverage areas.

Phone Things

I've made several calls on the Charge, and I have the same complaint I've read in two other reviews: you cannot hear the other person easily because of the Charge's super-narrow speaker bar. It has to be lined up with your ear just right to make it really work properly. Also, people on the other end generally had difficulty hearing me as well. I didn't drop any of my calls, of course, thanks to Verizon. But as a phone, the Charge is pretty mediocre, possibly even below average.

Camera

The DROID Charge's 8MP rear-facing camera has been lauded by most reviewers, and my feelings are pretty much the same, so I'll let the images do the talking. These photos are unaltered except for resizing. Video was taken in 720p mode.

2011-05-06 14.04.43

 2011-05-06 14.04.25 2011-05-06 13.50.01

Conclusion

The DROID Charge has a few things going for it; namely, a great screen, a great network, and a pretty good rear-facing camera. Unfortunately, the Charge also has a lot of things working against it - TouchWiz, an old version of Android, buggy software, bloatware, connectivity issues, plastic, and most importantly: an absolutely absurd $300 price tag. For $100, I'd say the Charge was a decent phone. But at a flagship price, it gets judged like a flagship device, and that's a standard the Charge, frankly, doesn't live up to.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • JayMonster

    I said it before this turd came out, and i will say it again... VZW has ruined the Droid branding by adding this joke of an iPhone wanna be to the lineup.

    17 apps from VZW? Now that is plain embarrassing. With that kind of bloat i would expect it to subsidize rhe price more.

    $300 for this? Sammy and VZW should both hang their heads in shame.

    I just wish I could say I was surprised.

    • ozzie

      i believe that anybody that is putting this phone down make sure they are working in a 4lte area because this is THE best phone on the market suck it up

  • Ryan

    the bottom line is that there is no 4G LTE phone out right now that is worth the price premium. You are either stuck with a sluggish UI or a phone that will need at least 2 spare batteries in your pocket for a full day's use. I'll be watching to see how the Charge performs after rooting and getting the Touchwiz display off of it, but after seeing it in videos I think I will already skip based on the price. For the $300, 2 year contract, I expect all of the above: 4G LTE, good battery life, snappy user interface, solid build quality, and preferably a kickstand.

    • sgtguthrie

      My tb lasts longer than my d1 did... Can you say "exaggeration"?

      • Ryan

        Sorry, but nearly all I've had to go off of for this is reviews that say while using 4G without an extended battery say the phone will last 3 hours. And I'm not talking about how long the phone lasts sitting idle in your pocket. They all say you get fine battery life switching back to 3G (why bother with a 4G phone then?). If something has changed or the customer reviews (on the Verizon wireless website) have been exaggerations, which is entirely plausible, my bad. But this review even says the Thunderbolt's battery sucks, so I don't think I've exaggerated.

      • Ryan

        I just read your post further down about how you rooted your phone to improve battery life. Obviously I was talking about the stock version (and I assume most reviews talk about stock versions and not what the phone is like after a task that a solid 60-70%+ of Smartphone owners are incapable of doing). But that's great, you modify your phone to improve performance and battery life and say I exaggerate when I am obviously talking about stock. So how long was it lasting while using 4G before you rooted it?

        • sgtguthrie

          Look guy, it didn't come rooted and I always wait a while before rooting to make sure I have no warranty issues. It was still an exaggeration, as that even with stock everything I could still make it thru the day with moderate use. Where ppl have battery problems is when using task killers and syncing everything possible ie: stocks, news, weather, twitter, facebook, etc. I'm not saying you can't sync stuff, but everything imaginable is a bad idea obviously. The biggest thing when it comes to battery on the tb is that the percentages are quite inaccurate. The first 30% or so does quick but then it slows down and hangs at some spots. People see 60% and think they need to plug in. Stop looking at percentage and let it run and you'll be amazed at how long it lasts.

        • Alan

          And by rooting your phone you just lost your warranty. And with the Thunderthud, you'll need it.

  • Double

    We all know you guys are samsung haters... Don't have to make that clear at every change you have.

    Apparently, users want touchwiz, since the galaxy S is the best selling android phone. The launcher sucks for the most part, but other than that, it really improves upon android.

    • David Ruddock

      I don't think anyone here is a Samsung "hater." I think the Galaxy S II is a fantastic phone. The original Galaxy S, though, was not one of my favorites, personally.

      If you want to compare the Charge to other Samsung phones currently available, fine: it's better. But compared to its competitors in the smartphone market as a whole? It's pretty bad.

    • Michael

      TouchWiz sucks. It can't be uninstalled, so there's no choice. Saying people want TouchWiz is like saying people want shitty Scientific Atlanta DVRs -- it's just what comes with the cable service. It doesn't make it good or desirable.

  • JayMonster

    Based on on this ans the Thunderbolt, I am glad that Motorola held nack the Bionic... maybe (just maybe) they can get it right.

  • Chris

    This is a an absolutely fantastic review. So honest in a world full of crap to keep the big players happy. One of the reasons I keep coming to Android Police for my android news.

    Many thanks!

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Agreed - David's the man when it comes to reviews.

    • Howie

      Yes THANK YOU for this. Finally a real review. I've had one for 3 days now and everything David says about the phone constantly dropping its 3G signal is true. The bloatware, TouchWiz, and general bugginess of this phone after a few days of use is NOT worth it's current price of $299!! Heck it's not worth $199. Verizon and Samsung should recall this phone. If you like beta products (read: Motorola Xoom) this phone is for you. Verizon's LTE phones are in beta.

  • Gordon

    wow nice pad on the beach!!!!!!

    • David Ruddock

      I know right? Definitely not my pad - just was driving around and thought it was a good candidate for a camera test.

  • pax

    Where is this beach?

    • David Ruddock

      Malibu, CA / USA (Los Angeles County)

      • http://samsunggalaxys2blog.com/ Bebe

        i love this beach, many many yellow chrysanthemum

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Speaking of 3G issues, my Thunderbolt test unit from VZW has exactly the same issues - sometimes it goes to 1x, sometimes data disappears altogether and does not come back until a reboot. And don't even get me started on the 4G/3G switchover bugs.

  • http://www.grdlock.net GrdLock

    #1: A phone having Corning Gorilla Glass doesn't mean it's scratch proof. The Thunderbolt has Gorilla Glass, and mine got 3 small scratches on it the first week I had it, and I don't even know what they came from (read: there was no significant impact to the phone that would have scratched it).

    #2: The reason Samsung phones reduce screen brightness when displaying white pixels is because they use an AMOLED screen. Despite popular opinion, on an LCD screen, white pixels actually LESS energy than black pixels do. If you don't believe me, google it. Or hookup a wattage meter to your monitor and try it for yourself. It's a very minuscule difference either way, but black pixels use MORE energy on an LCD screen. This is because the diffuser requires power to block out the white light that's already being given off from the backlight, in order to create black.

  • kodiak211

    Why can't we get more vanilla Android devices out in the market???..... I don't understand why the manufacturers continue to bring out crap UI overlays over Android. Or service providers loading sh*ty apps taking up precious internal space.

    • kodiak211

      U know it would be nice not to have to root your device to get a better experience.

  • Justin

    Thats pretty sad in this day and age of smartphones for a UI to be slow and laggy. Even with the bloat on my Thunderbolt it was the snappiest Android I have used. And btw I do gef a full day battery life with a lot of useage so that leads me to belive based on what you said the charge has no better battery life than the thunderbolt

    • DroidHater

      Exactly how are you doing that?

      • sgtguthrie

        Root, undervolted kernel, leaked radio, and custom rom... It lasts forever with greater performance!

  • jigbits

    i hear the bootloader is factory unlocked so i'm amusing we will be seeing custom roms which would eliminate the touch wiz problem right? so if it was running just a stock android rom it would be worth getting? i'm on the fence about these LTE devices, they all seem like garbage :/

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      It's possible, as long as they figure out LTE support.

    • Howie

      I would agree that this would be a decent phone with a stock android custom rom, however - I don't have faith we will see stable custom roms anytime soon with a Verizon LTE device.

      • sgtguthrie

        Maybe for the charge, but you can't lump thunderbolt in with that. There are some awesome custom roms already! I.E. Das BAMF, Liquid Thundersense, The perfect storm, virus rom, lightning rom, and cm7 in an alpha form (with lte now). THUNDERBOLT has drawn a large development community. I don't see the charge doing the same.

        As for whoever said lte is like beta testing... Not so much! One day, and you could still switch to 3g and wifi.

  • Raptor007

    I would prefer the SG2 variant on Verizon for the extra power, storage and RAM, but who knows when or if it will arrive.

    Still if the dev community gets behind the charge, gets a better ROM/Kernel on it then I would be more likely to get it. Without dev support like the TB has the phone will suffer.

    There are other 4G phones coming, LG Revolution and of course the oft delayed and possibly never coming Bionic.

    Still the DX2 with qHD display, 768MB RAM, big internal storage and Tegra2 Dual Core looks as good even with 3G.

    If you can't get a day out of the battery what good is it!

    • Alan

      The Samsung Galaxy S II is already being sold in Europe
      Verizon's anticipated launch date September, ready for this, 2012!
      Why sell an exceptional 4G phone while you have a massive inventory of 3G phones. Instead, sell a single inferior product with an even less than acceptable product, the Charge on its way.
      Great way to maintain a brand's image. Well done Verizon.

      • Rian

        where are you getting this info on the S2 release date in 2012? I haven't seen anything to that effect...

        Sammy is having an event on may 24th and im hoping that will give us actually news of some kind...

  • elizabeth cherry

    I have a metro pcs samsung indulge 4G LTE phone with the same anoying slow and buggy software and most days I would like to throw it out.The battery only last 2 hours ,you can not put part of the app on the SD card,and you can not even update the apps you have.Metro and Samsung I have called both,but no one wants to do anything about it and I paid over $518 with equipment including 2 back up batteries,stereo bluetooth,and an 8gb SD card,someone please help - EVC

  • ricktheprick

    Why is this review the only one I can find that is so negative? One has to take this review, and its sarcastic negativity, with a huge grain of salt, given that there are many other reviews out there that are mostly positive.

    This reviewer has some sort of axe to grind. A little more objectivity would have been nice, instead of all the nasty (clever? NOT) remarks.

    • derk p

      you must have never owned a samsung. They are COMPLETE GARBAGE. ALL OF THEM. WHY SAMMY MAKES CRAP IS BEYOND ME.

    • Alan

      The only thing wrong with this review is your reply. Buy a Charge or the Thunderthud, and then we'll see where you grind your axe.

      • ricktheprick

        Already tried the Thunderbolt. Returned it after a couple of days - heavy, crap display in sunlight, horrible battery life. I'm using Fascinate now and have no complaints except for sunlight usage. I need to see my phone in the sunlight. So, maybe I will try the Charge, just to spite you.

    • David Ruddock

      Here's the deal:

      At Android Police, we try to spend a lot of time with the phones we review. We try to use them as replacement for our current daily drivers; subjecting them to rigorous e-mailing, social networking, browsing, tethering, calling, and generally everything else we can do in order to see how the phone works on a day-to-day basis - like a consumer would.

      Many other gadget sites simply *don't* do this - they get the phone, play with it for a day, and spend the next 2-3 days taking pictures of it and writing what looks like an in-depth review when, in fact, they're just making judgments on initial, limited impressions. And the story is no different with the Charge.

      I've read the other reviews - trust me. I was hesitant to publish this in light of the positive spin many of them had, at first. But I noticed two things about those other reviews:

      1. It was clear that many (not all) reviewers had not spent all that much time actually using the Charge as they would their primary phone. This was evident, to me, because they often overlooked some major flaws with the phone.

      2. Many reviewers simply thought the phone was good because it was *better* than a Galaxy S phone. Which I agree - it is better than a Galaxy S. But a Galaxy S, in my opinion, is now slightly outdated and has always been a device with huge compromises made on software and build quality.

      If a phone gets a flagship price, it gets reviewed like a flagship device (as I said in the review.) That means I'm comparing it to ALL of its competitors, whether they have 1, 2, or 3 and a quarter cores - whether they run Android or iOS. Compared to its stiffest competition, there's no doubt in my mind: the Charge sucks.

      • ricktheprick

        How is it "clear" to you how much time the other reviewers spent with the device? Were you there?

        How do you know what the other reviewers "simply thought"?

        • JayMonster

          What part of that didn't you understand? It was "clear" based on the flaws that he found that were overlooked by others.

          Obviously that is opinion... Because it is entirely possible that they were idiots and never would have found the flaws anyway, but he gives them the benefit of the doubt.

          It is very common by the way for reviewers to get phones for 2 weeks and then have to return the review unit. A busy shop can get backed up with multiple devices, and thus their reviews become shorter because they have less actual time to USE the phone and instead rely on a few benchmark tests to give them the "tale of the tape" and write their review.

  • Alan Rinfret

    The Charge exemplifies the current Verizon. Over the past few years, Verizon's pay more and get less has become the company's mantra. New every two plan, gone. 30 day return policy with no re-stocking fee, gone. 30 day return policy with a re-stocking fee after 15 days, gone. A 14 day return policy with a $35 re-stocking fee from day one, here. A tiered data package that will cost the heavy data user more, on its way. One 4G phone, the Thunderbolt that claims 8 gigs of phone memory but really has 2.48 and has problems in 3G areas, being sold now with an even more flawed 4G phone, the Samsung Charge on it's way. Grossly inconsistent customer service with and incredible lack of knowledge, with us now. Lack of knowledge or, perhaps, the planned way to sell as many of its massive 3G inventory, that results in being told any current Droid phone can be retrofitted to become a 4G phone, simply a lie. The brilliant decision to launch 4G as a data product through the selling of a 4G air card instead of phones. The lack of any decent 4G phones as the 4G LTE network rapidly expands; already expanded from 38 to 47 markets with only one, less than worthy phone and a second, even more flawed 4G phone on its way. Want more reasons to say goodbye to Verizon?

    • Paul son

      Yes. Please do tell. AT&T? Don't think so. Sprint? Maybe if it worked more than 80% of the time. T-Mo? Maybe if it worked more than 70% of the time. Metro? In their eyes 4G = 3G, if it works at all.

      so, yes, more reasons please, and to go where, please?

      • Alan

        Read the latest Consumer Reports. See where Vetizon's favorable numbers have begun to drop and Sprint's are on the rise. See another trend here.
        Sprint works as well as Verizon where I live and in all the areas I travel to.
        Keep backing a slowly sinking ship and enjoy your Charge.
        Oh, and why does the Spint Evo work while Verizon's version, the Thunderbolt, after 4 launch delays, remains problem laden?
        There's a few more.

        • sgtguthrie

          @Alan. "problem laden?" My thunderbolt is anything but! And the thunderbolt can't even be compared with an evo, except screen size and brand... Check the specs!

        • JayMonster

          Sprint's numbers are on the rise for 3 reasons.

          1. They have nowhere to go but up.

          2. Most disgruntled people gave up and left, explaining their high churn rate.

          3. The few left have become Sprint evangelizers (such as yourself).

          As far as Sprint working as well as Verizon... well in many cases that is because you are ON Verizon's network.

          Have you noticed Sprint's map lately? Coverage is SHRINKING. See this thread for more on the ever shrinking "Now Network"

          http://community.sprint.com/baw/thread/66975?start=15&tstart=0

          Sinking Ship? Exactly which company grew and which one shed customers. I know, I know, Sprint added 308K customers last qtr... first time in 5 years. Meanwhile VZW added 3 times as many customers last quarter and regularly adds subscribers.

          I admire your enthusiasm for Sprint, I really do... but you got to be more realistic. VZW is more expensive for a reason... they CAN be.

      • Alan

        And for another; how about Verizon's steadily rising prices versus Sprint and Alltel. And please don't tell me that Verizon owns Alltel. First it's not the case in many markets. That's why Alltel stores still exist. And why aren't Verizon and Alltel prices the same.

        • JayMonster

          The only places that still have Alltel Stores are places that haven't transitioned yet. at&t (more than VZW) has been slow on this front. But eventually the stores will all be transitioned away.

          And for what it is worth, my VZW costs have remained about the same since 2006.

          Higher than Sprint? For Sure. But I have had both services (at the same time, thanks to work account), and there was no comparison. Now I understand that varies from location to location, but clearly when people leave in droves as many have done from Sprint over the past 5 years, they are not measuring up.

        • Andre

          I worked for Alltel and Verizon bought MOST of Alltel. Not all of Alltel could be bought....

        • JayMonster

          That is what I said... VZW, as part of the agreement of the buyout, had to sell certain parts off to get the deal past the FTC.

          Those pieces were bought by at&t

  • Raptor007

    While I continue to decide what phone Verizon can offer that isn't total crap I continue to read more reviews and weigh my decisions carefully.

    I checked out BGR today and found their review http://www.bgr.com/2011/05/09/samsung-droid-charge-review/ of the Droid Charge and you should note the reviewer used it as his DAILY PHONE for a week in NYC and Florida while at the BlackBerry Conference.

    We are never going to have phones that are perfect, the mfg's and carriers are in business to rake us over the coals for coin, they want to sell something new and force us to pay, pay and pay more. AT&T is not a good choice for all, T-Mo is terrible where I am and Sprint could be a contender, but no WiMax 4G at all.

    My bosses new HTC Inspire has H+ on the top, I tested the speeds, something like 553k up and 475k down, gee those were great speeds.

    I would get this phone IF developers get this phone and remove the TouchWiz, move from nfs to Ext4 and generally put a stock Froyo or GB ROM on it.

    • David Ruddock

      I just read the BGR review, and yeah, the guy clearly did spend some time with it. But again, the review still leaves out some of the phone's annoying flaws, and generally doesn't set fourth much of an opinion on it (other than the fact that the reviewer liked it better than the Thunderbolt), if I'm honest.

      But that's like comparing a Ford Mustang to a Chevrolet Camaro - if those were the only two choices in the world, that'd be a fine overall assessment to make. But they aren't. Setting the bar to the closest competitor is one of a few things you should do in reviewing a consumer product. Comparing it to the entire marketplace is something that is easy, and fatal, to forget.

      You think the average iPhone or Crackberry (or even WP7) user would pick up the Charge and be very impressed? Probably not. It's big fish in a small pond-syndrome, and the pond is Verizon 4G Android phones - a two-fish (soon to be 3) battle. Sure, it's important to make that comparison, but I'd argue it's far more important to judge a phone by all of its competitors, not just the ones it happens to share the same niche-within-a-niche with.

  • ricktheprick

    So, basically, the guy at BGR wrote an inferior review to yours because he did not find certain things annoying and you did? Maybe you are an anti-TW fanatic and saw things that aren't there, or you reviewed a lemon, or you just can't understand why Samsung released this phone instead of the S2. Or maybe your review simply sucks, not the phone.

    • JayMonster

      Did you actually read either interview, or are you just living up to your name just for the hell of it?

      Many of the same flaws were listed, though BGR was a bit kinder in how he stated them.

      The one main difference was here he calls out Samsung for a cheap feeling case, whereas BGR found it "sleek."

      Believe it or not, different reviewers come to different conclusions. You as a consumer must find somebody who sees things the way you do, and go with that person for advise. This really is much ado about nothing... but I suspect you already know that.

  • ricktheprick

    I have read ALL of the reviews, and All of the reviews point out pros & cons. What I'm saying is that one reviewer sees a minor flaw & mentions it, while this reviewer gets so annoyed at the same flaw that he wants to throw the thing out of the window. Then proceeds to migrate the review into a vitriolic and sarcastic rant.

    This reviewer is far from objective. There is a bias here based on who-knows-what, and if you can't see it you're blind.

    • JayMonster

      I see what you are saying. I would certainly not use this review as an example of how a review should be professionally written.

      But just as you seemed to get annoyed and got very sarcastic in your comments about the review (previously), I can understand the passion behind the review, and I think you are confusing the two. I don't think it is bias in so much as it is just that this particular phone is more irritating to him than it was to the other reviewers (and yes, again, it was less than "professional" in nature, but I though more "heartfelt" than most professionally written reviews tend to be).

      In the Engadget review, they were happy to give up 4G, when "they didn't need blistering speeds" but others may not see that acceptable that you have to make those sort of tradeoffs just to get acceptable battery life. Which one is wrong? Is he being "too hard" on Samsung, or is Engadget being "too easy" on what is poor battery life if you are to use the phone in 4G? It really comes down to what you want or expect, isn't it? Depending on what you think of the device, you can "argue" that either side is "biased"

      In my office, they made me give up my DroidX for a couple of weeks and work with a Samsung Continuum because one of our higher ups was thinking at the time that the little screeen was the "future" and wanted to see if I could make use of it in one of our apps. Perhaps, it is because I felt that same bitterness towards that phone by the time I was done, I sort of understand where the whole "want to throw it out a window" sort of feeling comes from.

      But, I understand there are those that do like Samsung products (though I will never understand why personally), and it goes back to what I said earlier about finding a reviewer (or reviewers) that tend to rate products the same way you do and to lean more on their opinions when looking for reviews.

  • ricktheprick

    You hit on my point. You and I can be as sarcastic as we want - we are a couple of nobodies leaving comments.

    A professional reviewer should perform on a much higher level.

    As for as Samsung good/bad? That was never my issue. The crappy review was my issue.

  • Alex Shackman

    newbie question -- has anyone had luck getting Tango or any other video chatting apps to work properly on the Charge? i ran into trouble connecting with my wife's Incredible 2 using Tango -- all is well EXCEPT for audio from the Charge to the Incredible. we futzed with the usual solutions (toggling mute on/off, switching to wifi, etc.) to no avail and had similar luck w/ related apps. suggestions?

  • dxiang1

    I disagree with most of this post, but I appreciate the write-up nonetheless. If you put just a little effort into working at this phone, it is a great phone.

    For starters, you should root the phone, freeze the bloat apps, and at least replace TouchWiz with LauncherPro or any other Launcher app of your choice.

    Just doing those few things makes my Charge run exceptionally well. UI is never sluggish, and the overall Android feel is great.

    Furthermore, the screen is great and the 4G coverage should be good if you're living in the right place!

    Don't be an idiot with battery life. Turn off things you don't need when you're not using them. Keep a charger in your car.

    I fully recommend this phone. I'm loving it.

    Thanks

    • Burciago Marcela

      Im a first timer with this phone....what's the touchwiz for?

  • Thruster6666

    i just got this phone a yesterday and I love it the screen is great, as a well as the camera... got it at costco they have a $120 dollar off coupon starting June 9th. So I will be getting a $120 dollar rebate off of $299.00.. not bad in my book. btw 4g speeds are AMAZING

  • Raland

    I don't know, coming to the Charge from a Droid 2, (with an original Droid prior) I have to say my Charge is currently a much better phone. My DII deteriorated over time to the point where I was smashing it into my desk more than talking or texting on it.
    After a week of use (3G only area) my only complaints are that the phone is a little slippery with it's smooth plastic exterior and there doesn't seem to be a visual notification of missed events, at least not a consistant one. So I'm getting a cover and looking into the notification issue. Bottom line, my D and DII are going into a skeet launcher while the Charge is going into my pocket so I can load my 12 guage and yell "PULL".

  • Keith

    I have had this phone now for about two months and I do like it for the most part. I was an AT&T customer and had the Samsung Captivate. The Captivate was a terrible phone until I rooted it and installed Serendipity on it with the Suckerpunch kernel. The phone then was amazing. I switched to the Charge because I personally like Samsung phones (at least I did my Captivate). However with the Charge I feel the need to also "hack" it too as I feel Samsung again didn't do a good enough job with the UI overlay. It is slow and buggy and at times drives me insane. I know this phone is capable of performing better as it has the same processer as the Captivate (which I was able to get to run stable overclocked at 1.35ghz). So I guess my question is this, does anyone know of any stable ROMs for the charge yet?

  • Marty

    My first cellphone was an LG. Someone sent me a text on it 8 months ago & I responded. That was my first ever text. I didn't have internet access and used the library computer for those needs. A month and a half ago, I bought a Droid Charge on the recommendation of a very competent rep at Best Buy. I'd never sent nor received an email BC (before charge). I love this phone. The display is breathtaking. It has opened a world to me I was unaware of. I didn't know there were "phone geeks" out there. Much to my chagrin from this site, I learned I may not have made the best choice. When I'm ready to upgrade, I'll know where to go for the unvarnished truth. Until then, I'll try to forget what I read here and fall back in love with my droid charge, blissfully ignorant of its shortcomings. Glad you geeks are out there. M

    • zeromein

      You work for Samsung.

  • lori

    I just got my charge a month ago and it has horrible internet issues. I live in a city with full 4gand 3 g coverage and it never works. In two years i will get my blackberry back! I was on the phone with verizon today for over an hour and it didnt help and they even made me erase everything to start over! I can only connect to my home wifi. And if i have to downlad another app to do simple crap i will scream. Droid charge? Worse investment i ever made.

  • Meg

    I just got the Skyrocket (which is kind of like a brother to the Charge being that they are the first Samsung launch devices for different American carriers) and its having some connectivity issues but this is mostly for areas outside of LTE. In a LTE saturated area its blazingly fast. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the random rebooting I've noticed when I open too many apps. There really should be no excuse for this since its running on a much more beefed spec than the Charge was.

  • David H.

    I wish I had read this review before buying my Charge. It is a constant source of aggravation. Sometimes, it take up to ten seconds just to get it to start dialing a number. The UI seems to have gotten slower from when I first got it three months ago. This phone has been a major disappointment and I would warn everyone to NOT buy a Charge. My phone is pure crap.

  • tfly212

    I have had my Charge since August after many years as a blackberry user. I haven't had many of the issues noted above and have been pretty pleased with the phone. Agreed that the battery life isn't that great, but between the big bright screen and 4G access, I am not sure what we should be expecting. I picked up a spare battery for those days where I will be 15 hours or more away from a charger. I rooted it in November (very easy to do) and then flashed the debloated, deodexed 2.3.6 version of gingerbread...part of me thinks its silly you have to root these phones, but on the other hand, that is what is awesome about Android. You can pretty much do anything you want on these things. I am running a stripped down version of gingerbread - no bloatware, etc, my camera shutter is now the power button (thanks to a custom camera APK) and I have the ice cream sandwich theme. If you can get the charge on the cheap, I think it is a great handset to work with...rooting and romming takes a little research but totally worth it.

  • SharkByte

    This is without a doubt the buggiest most unreliable phone ever..my texts get stuck in outbox for no reason..the battery life is abominable 4 hours of texting tops..takes forever to charge..hence the name I guess since it spends more time on the charger then in my hand. It reboots for no reason and resends out old texts when it does..this has caused no end of annoyance...Ready to throw it out the window.

Quantcast