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Motorola Droid Bionic (Verizon Wireless) Review

The Motorola Droid Bionic is Verizon Wireless's most powerful Smartphone, with a dual-core processor, 4G LTE, and a 4.3-inch, 960-by-540 screen.
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The Motorola Droid Bionic is the most powerful Android phone. If you're looking for lightning-fast Internet access, top-notch apps, and unique features, this is your phone. Yeah, sure, something better will always be coming around the corner. But for now, nothing quite matches the dual-core, LTE power of the Droid Bionic and it transforms into a laptop or a desktop PC.

Physical Features and Voice CallingHandsome and well built, the Motorola Droid Bionic is big at 2.6 by 5 by 0.4 inches (HWD) and 5.6 ounces. It's solid, and not too thick, with a glossy Gorilla Glass front and a soft-touch back. Like other phones with 4.3-inch screens, it's a pocket-buster, but no more so than Verizon's competing HTC Thunderbolt.
Specifications
Service Provider - Verizon Wireless
Operating System - Android OS
Screen Size - 4.3 inches
Screen Details - 960-by-540 Pentile TFT LCD screen
Camera - Yes
Network - GSM, CDMA
Bands - 850, 1900, 700
High-Speed Data - EVDO Rev A, LTE
Processor Speed - 1 GHz
The 960-by-540 4.3-inch, PenTile LCD screen is a bit of a downer. The pixel arrangement makes colored lines look cleverly unclear. The Samsung Droid Charge's 800-by-480 Super AMOLED Plus screen looks sharper and brighter, with more-saturated colors and blacker blacks. This shouldn't be a deal-breaker, though; when using the Droid Bionic, the clarity only worried me when I deliberately thinking about it.
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The Motorola Droid Bionic is a CDMA EVDO phone with LTE. It isn't a world phone, but it does work in a few dozen countries such as South Korea, China, and India where CDMA networks exist. The Bionic is a better voice phone than it puts on, because it dramatically under-reports its reaction. At signal levels where the Droid Charge showed three bars, the Bionic showed two or one. When the Charge showed one bar, the Bionic showed none. That's with the same signal, mind you—it's just the display bars are calibrated differently.
 
The earpiece is of average volume and shows some distortion of loud sounds; there's a nice amount of side-tone. Noise cancellation on outgoing calls is excellent, with almost no background noise coming through on the other end. The speakerphone is extremely loud if tinny; transmissions on the other side are also loud, but muddy. The handset had no problem connecting to several different Bluetooth headsets, and I could easily trigger voice dialing from Bluetooth. The phone had better luck recognizing numbers than names when voice dialing, though. 
The Droid Bionic has better battery life than previous LTE phones like the HTC Thunderbolt, just because it has a large 1735mAh battery. I got 3 hours of continuous LTE streaming on the Bionic compared with 2.5 hours from the Thunderbolt's 1400 mAh battery. I'd expect about 12-14 hours of solid use, once again about 15 percent better than the Thunderbolt. These phones are not power-sippers. Battery life can get much better if you drop to 3G using a free app to switch off LTE, though. I was able to squeeze an impressive 10 hours, 35 minutes of talk time on 3G, one of the best results we've ever seen on a CDMA phone.
InternetLTE makes Web page load speeds, and other Internet-based applications, much faster than 3G. Verizon already covers 160 million Americans with LTE, and its announcing new cities every month. In my tests, Web pages loaded more than twice as fast with LTE turned on. Streaming videos from Netflix movies buffered much more quickly, and YouTube videos played in high quality mode much more easily.
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You can use the Bionic as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices, and I was able to achieve excellent speeds of between 7-15Mbps down and 2-3Mbps up. You can multitask phone calls over 3G and data access over 4G, but I was very disappointed to see that, unlike on the HTC Thunderbolt, you can't run simultaneous voice and data over 3G. That makes the Droid Bionic less compelling than the Thunderbolt for 3G-only users.
The flip side of LTE's delightful ease is that it becomes way too easy to bust through Verizon's capped data plans. In just three days of testing with 30 minutes of Netflix, three hours of audio streaming, one email account, some app downloads and some Web browsing, I ripped through 600MB. Unless you're willing to trade LTE for Wi-Fi much of the time, you should look into Verizon's 5GB, $50 data plan instead of its standard $30, 2GB bucket.
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