On May 14th 2011, Samsung released a new android based 4G LTE capable smartphone called ‘Droid Charge’ for Verizon Wireless. The phone sports a big 4.3” Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen is easily the one of the slimmest 4G LTE capable phones in the market. But is it really worth your money? Let us have a peek!
The Droid Charge has slightly unconventional design. On the front side, the phone has a 4.3” Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen which can display 16M colors and has a resolution of 800×480 pixels. Above the screen on the left side is a 1.3 MP camera for making video calls. The top right side has a proximity sensor which turns off the display to enhance battery life when the phone is held close to the ear while on call. In between the front camera and the proximity sensor is the earpiece. The bottom edge of the phone has a tapering design with four buttons – Menu, Home, Back/Cancel and Search.
The back side of the phone is made of black plastic and has an 8 MP camera with LED flash at the top and two apertures for the speaker at the bottom. The bottom juts out slightly like a chin.
The right side of the phone has a mini HDMI out port and a power button. The left side of the phone has a microUSB port and a volume rocker. The phone is very slim and measures 14 mm at its thickest point and 12 mm at its thinnest point. The phone has a length of 5.11” and width of 2.66”. In spite of being thin, it feels like a big phone due to the big 4.3” screen. Even though it is made up of plastic, it feels rugged in your hand. The phone is light weight at just 5.04 oz (143 gm).
The phone is powered by a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 single core Samsung Hummingbird processor. We found this a bit odd given that Samsung has released the Galaxy SII phone with a dual core processor. The GPU is powered by PowerVR SGX 540 chip.
The single core processor doesn’t feel slow in any way. The phone has 512 MB RAM, 2 GB internal memory and comes with a preinstalled 32 GB microSD card. Samsung TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.2 feels snappy and there is no slowing down even while playing games, watching video or while pinching to zoom the images.
The sound quality from the ear piece is crisp and clear. If you switch to speaker, you’ll find that the sound is loud and clear, which is good. Sound quality while listening to music or radio is excellent.
The Super AMOLED Plus screen stands out while playing games and watching video. The photos taken from the phone are brilliant, even in not so brightly lit conditions and the color reproduction is superb. The autofocus feature really works well. The tap-to-focus feature also works well while shooting video clips from the 8 MP camera.
Speedtest.net results on Verizon’s 4G LTE network show that the download speed varies between 6 Mbps to about 18 Mbps and the upload speed varies between 4 Mbps to about 6 Mbps. The phone also has 802.11 b/g/n standard Wi-Fi and can act as a mobile hotspot for your Wi-Fi capable devices.
The phone is powered by a 1600 mAh battery which easily lasts a whole day with typical usage. This is great considering the size of the phone’s display.
Price and verdict:
The phone is available at Verizon’s site for $569.99 with a month to month service or for $299.99 with a 2-year contract. The 4G plan for this phone comes at $29.99 per month with unlimited data allowance.
For the price, Droid Charge does feel a bit overpriced considering lack of dual core processor and metal body. However, the phone doesn’t disappoint with its performance and 4G speeds. Besides battery life is great for phone with a 4.3” display. So the lack of dual core processor and metal body are not necessarily a deal breaker.