Jan 06 AT 1:48 PM Sean Riley 40 Comments

Droid Bionic first impressions

Let the Motorola dual-core goodness flow! While AT&T got the initial love with the impressive Motorola Atrix, it didn’t take long for Verizon to get in on the action with the Tegra 2 powered Droid Bionic.

We got a chance to go hands-on with the Bionic following the Motorola press conference and came away reasonably impressed. The Bionic offers a 4.3″ screen like the Droid X, but the resolution has been pushed to qHD (960 x 540). The homescreen can’t really take advantage of the added screen real estate the resolution bump offers, however, it does result in a crisper look to the icons and text, and will certainly be a noticeable upgrade for some of the newer 3D games, such as Dungeon Defenders.

As a Verizon customer, I was slightly disappointed to see that Motorola only put 512 MB of RAM in the Bionic as compared to the full GB that the AT&T Atrix is rocking, but I didn’t notice an appreciable speed difference between the two in my initial look.

Physically the Droid Bionic breaks from the look that was popularized by the previous high-end Motorola Droid devices, as gone are the squared-off edges in favor of rounded corners, closer to the Samsung Galaxy S devices. Thankfully they stuck with the same button configuration as was used for the Droid X, so no need to relearn anything there.

The Bionic offers the same 8MP rear camera as the Droid X and adds a front facing camera to get your video chat on. The Bionic has lost the physical camera button which may be a disappointment to some shutterbugs, but the response time when using the on screen shutter was far better than what I have experienced when using the button on my Droid X.

The Bionic will be launching with Android 2.2 in Q2 and of course will offer Verizon’s 4G LTE network, which Motorola was touting as 10x faster than 3G.

If you have any questions about the Bionic, hit us up as we’ll have more opportunities to handle it over the next few days.

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Sean has been with Android and Me for over 8 years and covering mobile for the last 9. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • http://Website mikeyDroid

    AHHH.. The disappointment! Of course this thing would smoke my rooted droid – but I refuse to settle for 512mb of ram. How did AT&T manage the beefed up phone this time!?

    I’m getting very itchy and hope I don’t have to settle for this.. which isn’t even coming out till Q2!?..

    I may have to leave the droid family if another company presents something more suited to my never-pleased standards :)

    I do like the screen resolution though!

    • manhattan

      on motorolas site they are advertising this phone with 1 gb of ram i am confused now check it out … http://www.motorola.com

      • Padraig

        on the spec sheet for their site it’s saying 512MB

    • http://Website Daniel

      512 MB is plenty for a smartphone. Seriously, just check your phone right now for free memory. My Desire (which admittedly has 576 MB, 64 MB more than most others) still has 117 MB free right now. In practical use, even after lots of app-switching I *never* had to see a page reloading after switching back to the Browser, for example.

      The real reason the Atrix has/needs 1 GB of RAM is that Webtop app.

      • http://Website Nate

        All android phones typically have about 100 MB of ram free at all times, this is because the core system auto kills background apps to keep it that way. So if you had 1 GB of ram you would be able to keep more apps open while still having around 100 MB free.

        • http://Website Dave

          Does running more ram have any effect on battery life? I have a feeling those dual cores will be doing most of the heavy lifting. Not really interested in Blur at all though. Bummer. What happened to Droids with stock Android?

      • http://Website mikeyDroid

        I do look at my phones memory, constantly. Sadly I only have an original Droid. It runs anywhere from 30-80 free on a normal basis. I’ve used a task killer, and I’ve let Android do the work – Either way, there’s not much free and I know it could use a lot more.

        Games are getting larger, apps – larger, EVERYTHING is getting bigger (and better)… If you think 512 is plenty now, I can guarantee you it won’t be soon.. and I’ll be ready for that with my 1gb..

        If the technology is there, and out – Why aren’t they using it? I want a true flagship – simple.

        If I’m wrong – so be it, but at the moment I’m not convinced 512 is enough.

        • http://Website Daniel

          As you said, the original Droid only has 256 MB. That’s significantly less than 512 MB, so you can’t compare.

          Apps are getting larger, but they’re almost always constrained by the max Dalvik heap size. Which means, they won’t be able to take advantage of more memory at all until larger heap sizes are officially supported (which I don’t think will happen any time soon). Games can more easily circumvent that (since they use the NDK more often than apps), but considering the need to still support devices with as little as 256 MB RAM in total and what is possible with current technology (PS3 games have to cope with less than 256 MB, for instance), a handheld game needing more than 512 MB is more of a sign of incompetence than anything.

          In the end, the only real gain with more memory is keeping more apps in memory, which is a double-edged sword (more badly written apps to drain your battery).

        • http://Website nory826

          Do you also have an atrix?

      • Jason

        How many MB of RAM did the original Droid have? I have one currently and after a year of updates I finally got sick of the long pauses between application exit and redraw of my desktop icons and did a factory reset. It did improve the pauses but not totally eliminate them. I’d suspect the dual core processor will help in a lot of ways but if the memory causes pauses I’d be a grumbly upgrader. May have to wait for other dual-core, LTE offerings on VZW.

  • http://www.lordofgame.com PixelSlave

    512MB RAM is a bit disappointed — especially when you consider that it won’t be launched until Q2. Also, a dual-core CPU with 512MB RAM?

  • http://Website The One

    Can you ask these things? Will the Droid Bionic get Gingerbread? And if so, in what time frame?

    Also, what accessories will be available for it?


    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      I’ll see what I can do on that; they weren’t forthcoming with that information at the demo and I imagine it is in part due to its release timeframe as they will probably have to consider leapfrogging to Honeycomb by then.

      • http://Website mikeyDroid

        Kick em’ in the balls on their 512mb decision for me! ;)

  • http://Website Padraig

    Kinda disappointing. I haven’t upgraded my phone in over a year because I’m waiting to get a high end phone from Verizon and when I saw this I got pretty excited. But the half a gig of ram is a bit of a downer. Thanks for the always giving us the latest news Androidandme team!

  • http://Website Mark

    Man, iPhone fanboys must be weeping right now. All these awesome devices and updates. Oh, well, that’s what you get with a smartphone that takes 4 years to implement copy and paste and thinks “folders” is the next, big thing.

  • http://Website anthony

    Well here’s another super phone that Verizon won’t let get out its own way. The phone has killer specs but is being released with froyo
    In what q2 what a joke.
    The N1/NS by q2 will probably be on Honeycomb leaving all these super phones picking numbers to see who gets updated first.
    The nexus name is the prize my friends all others will play second fiddle. The more I see coming out the happier I am that Google has my back. I don’t care what the carriers do we answer to a higher authority. The question will be how much crap the put on the phone that changes vanilla to strawberry.

    • http://Website Derek

      Honeycomb really isnt designed for phones. Its really designed for tablets. I dont think you’ll see too many phones getting Honeycomb.

      Of course thats just my opinion.

  • http://Website AA

    512mb in Q2, that’s not even good enough for now. how are they expecting us to wait that long for it when 512 is just standard now? i can’t believe i waited this long only to be disappointed. last year the X came out only a short time after the incredible, i bet this year HTC is gonna flip that. once the Bionic comes out, a month later HTC will blow it out of the water! if i’m going to wait for Q2 i’m def not waiting for only 512mb. also, verizon is cool w/ 512mb as a flagship phone?! i better see some performance tests on this puppy that are ridiculous otherwise i’m not even giving the Bionic another look.

  • http://Website Splendor

    Sorry, if I’ve missed it, but does it have the same huge battery as the Atrix?

  • http://Website Simon

    Would this be global capable or just US only, in spite of it having a LTE sim card?

    • http://www.lament.us lament

      Verizon doesn’t use SIM cards.. does this phone use one?

      • sANDLOtsMALLz

        When 4g lte drops for mobile devices there will be sim cards in order to access the 4g

      • sANDLOtsMALLz

        When 4g lte drops for mobile devices there will be sim cards in order to access the 4g, at least that’s what I was told

      • Jason

        Verizon “world phones” have a SIM Slot. That gives an owner the option to purchase a SIM when they travel and have a GSM phone while outside of the US.

  • http://Website Balthazar B

    GSM/HSPA bands for use in Europe? If not , screw VzW, and I’ll go back to AT&T for the Atrix (which supports Euro roaming in addition to its other attractions).

  • http://Website alandal

    I have not seen a single word from all the fan fair about the actual LTE network capability of this phone. In Moto’s own ad, they call it “4G-speed” ….

    Verizon has eHRPD network with limited LTE spot coverage.

    Anyone has a spec sheet?

  • http://Website kei6193

    i thought that it could record 1080p not just playback it too :(

    • http://Website Daniel

      What for, really? I’m yet to see a phone that can record a decent 720p video. 1080p would add absolutely nothing if you don’t have a decent camera.

  • http://Website Simman

    Is this phone stock android?

    • sANDLOtsMALLz

      doubt it..

  • http://Website lovo

    I have a question will Motorola release accessories like they did for the Droid x a car mount and desktop one? Or will only the atrix get that treatment?

  • http://Website raymund

    So they did away with the three mics that the x had? And is the video recording improved since it has more processing power? Seems they actually downgraded the video capabilities of they kept the camera but took off all the mics that made it sound great

  • http://Website lostmynutstomewife

    I just don’t get how could verizon drop the ball??

    I mean how-why did at&t get the better version of motorola’s droid?

    I guess verizon is really getting the iphone now if at&t got the better android phones, verizon didn’t pursue it.

    Very disappointed verizon very dissapointed.

  • http://Website Lauren

    I have an iPhone 4 and its miles ahead of this droid bionic. When im purchasing the upcoming iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, you can have my iPhone 4 if you can afford it.

  • http://Website UniqueNate

    Dual core is awesome and all, but the Droid bionic and attic seem a little laggy to me in some areas. It’s slight but noticeable when it happens.

    I think it’s that bloat ware UI they have. Dual core alone doesn’t make the phone better. Every aspect needs to be clean. The UI is what makes the performance and experience so pleasing to use. Dual core behind that will be icing on the cake.

    They need to take consideration in how responsive the screen is, the guts of the phone, clean fast fluid UI.

    I want a Samsung Dual core or a Stock android Dual core. Reason I say Samsung is because they have quality devices. I can get past the plastic. I can get past the late updates and past Touchwiz. It still works fast and fluid. Epic owner.

    All in all I do welcome every device that was announced. It’s amazing how far they have come and what Android is accomplishing.

  • http://Website UniqueNate

    I meant to say atrix 4G in my last post. Auto correct made it “attic”

  • http://www.droidbionicx.com Larry Messner

    they should definitley resize the screen on the new droid bionic, or at least just widen it out a little more. that way it kind of sets itself apart from the iphone’s. also im hoping they make the new droid bionic with mobile hotspot capabilities, i see huge room for improvement in that area of mobile development. even still, 3G is difficult and makes for a choppy UX. guess we’ll have to wait and see what 4G brings. great post.

  • http://www.droidbionicreviews.com Droid Bionic Reviews

    they should definitley resize the screen on the new droid bionic, or at least just widen it out a little more. that way it kind of sets itself apart from the iphone’s. also im hoping they make the new droid bionic with mobile hotspot capabilities, i see huge room for improvement in that area of mobile development. even still, 3G is difficult and makes for a choppy UX. guess we’ll have to wait and see what 4G brings. great post.

  • ericwilborn

    A few months late to the game, but I’m still loving my Bionic!