Droid Bionic reviews hit web

Motorola's long-awaited Android flagship, the Droid Bionic, is out tomorrow.

At Gizmodo, Brent Rose says it's similar to other recent 4G models such as Samsung's Galaxy S II, with fast-performing hardware in a thinner body. Unfortunately, it has a "super harsh" display and "just falls flat" when using certain features. He also reports lots of pre-installed junk.

The software side is a mixed bag of "Hey, that's cool!" with "Arrgh, please kill me!" On the cool side it has some robust security features, including onboard and SD storage encryption, remote wipe—why isn't this a standard part of Android yet?—and tons of control for your IT admin. Your office really has no excuse to not to let you use this phone. On the bad side, there is just a ton of bloatware on this.

At Engadget, Tim Stevens reports that it's a "bit drab" in the style department but seemingly an excellent performer, and reserves judgment until full testing is complete.

TechCrunch's Jordan Crook says that there's no doubt at all about it being a snappy performer, but finds it a bit large and isn't impressed by the smudgy finish.

USA Today's Mark W. Smith says that it's a winner.

For those who have been waiting out the 4G smartphone race this summer, hoping for a hit with the Bionic, your wait has been rewarded. This one is worth buying.

Joshua Topolsky at This Is My Next awards it 7.5/10 -- "Essentially as good and as bad as other recent Motorola entries" -- and says its not the killer handset expected by fans. Overpriced, too.

The Bionic has a 4.3" display, 16GB of internal storage and a 16GB microSD card, an 8MP camera with 1080p video, and weighs 5.6 oz. Available tomorrow on Verizon, it is $299 with a 2-year contract.


  1. But does it come with a plastic robot head and unreasonably demanding marketing?

    More seriously, is there going to be a Sprint version, and when?

    1. I’d make popcorn, but if half the DroidTrolls who threatened to take their business elsewhere actually keep their word, then I’m afraid we’re about to be disappointed.

      1. Yeah, your probably right. I still love this post, because it says “No we will not be part fo your little marketing game, cause we’re not children, but we will still report the news of the product, because we are adults.”

        1. I’d like to think in my heart of hearts that, right this very moment, Beschizza is filming his own Bionic review, where he’s pitted it against a chainsaw, a microwave, and a shark.

    1. Didn’t you hear? They found a new code after Rob ruined everything, forever.

      We sure screwed the pooch on that one. The world ground to halt after BoingBoing didn’t hold up its end of the bargain which it didn’t make.

    1. LTE-A is a 4G candidate, yes but this phone is certainly 3GPP-LTE as “4G” is not yet available. I long ago learned that marketing committees are going to screw up and misuse every piece of technical jargon they can and there’s nothing we can do about it. I say just give in and learn to love the bomb.

    2. “4G” is not 4G. LTE, WiMAX, HSPA+ are just “3G” upgrades (sadly 3G wasn’t even up to spec), so it’s all moot to argue about it. It’s the same thing as marketing using base 10 to describe hard drive capacity, when computing uses base 2. No one has a 4G network, and probably won’t until “5G” comes along. 1Gb/s is 4G spec.

  2. I read a little while ago that they were going to announce the iPhone 5 today, but nothing has been said. I was wondering why, until I realized that it must be Rob that’s not doing something right. I dont know what, maybe he didn’t accept a UPS package from Ridley Scott, or failed to complete the Lost Experience arg, or had sex with a poodle… I don’t know! I just know that I’ve been waiting weeks… literally WEEKS!… to hear information about this phone! I was just telling my wife of 20 years, while flying around on our private jet visiting all the companies around the world that I am CEO of, that I’ve never had to wait this long for anything since that summer in high school between the release of the Matrix 2 and 3!

  3. For anyone else (like me) who didn’t know what the commenters are referring to, there’s this thread from last week: http://boingboing.net/2011/08/31/3d-printed-robot-head.html

    Basically it looks like Verizon’s PR dept. decided to involve a number of tech websites in a crappy viral marketing effort without any warning. When the code they gave Rob to enter on a website didn’t work, there was an ensuing kerfluffle as moronic android fanbois descended on BB in an effort to shame him into entering the code so they could watch a video or something. Which they released anyway. Ahem.

    The hilarious part was the veiled threats about how happy BB should be that Verizon or whoever brought this whining, ignorant, moronic horde to this “completely unknown” site. (I guess they missed the part where Obama gave BB a shout-out during a speech).

    Anyway, there were many LOLs.

    1. You left out that even after the code was finally put in by the PR people, the fanbois were then greeted with a 61 hour wait until they could use some silly app to play a game to get a chance to win one of these and other prizes.

      I am glad my predictions were proven true.
      Its rectangular, has a screen, and might make calls.

  4. I… Would like a phone.
    A phone that just made call’s & received them well.

    Sadly, I’ve yet to find one.

  5. @boingboing-9adeb82fffb5444e81fa0ce8ad8afe7a:disqus  you’ve clearly never heard of John’s Phone https://www.johnsphones.com/

    Back on topic; I think Google really missed a trick.  People have favoured Apples approach of not bundling crap people don’t need on their machines for years.  It’s one of their selling points and one of the biggest complaints when buying package PC’s.  Google could have retained control over this, but no, bloatware still lives.

    1. That’s not really Google’s fault though, the bundling comes from the carrier. Given the open nature of Android, that is something that the carrier can do. As far as it goes, I vastly prefer that Android be an open system that can be put on just about anything to it being closed and strictly-controlled like IOS.

  6. I wish you would link to something besides a Gawker site. It makes me trust you guys a little less every time I see a gizmodo link.

  7. Motorola’s fine print:

    DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license.

    It’s interesting that Motorola is paying George Lucas to license the trademarked name “droid” but it doesn’t appear that they’re licensing “bionic” from Universal (Universal used to be pretty protective of that word, despite it having been coined earlier.)

    And yet Whoopi Goldberg got away with telling Brent Spiner “You’re a droid, and I’m annoyed” without paying off either George Lucas or Domino’s.

  8. Your crusty Uncle Donnie querulously asks why anyone on God’s green earth needs to shoot 1080p video on a smartphone.  If you’re viewing that footage on the phone (or any other), you’re never going to be able to make out that kind of resolution on a 8-square-inch screen.  And if you’re shooting for a larger screen, your viewer is gonna wish you used sticks with a fluid head, or a steadi rig or something.

    Aw, let the old fart complain.  People been shooting cameraphone video for years, and they’re perfectly happy with the shaky-cam.  Just seems like overkill, and a bandwidth- and storage-hog.

      1. How does the sound come out?  I followed the crowd and recorded a couple of snippets at a couple of live gigs: AC/DC on the Black Ice tour (from the fourth row), and Rush on the Time Machine tour last year.  Both looked okay, but sounded like ass.

        Flatulent ass, at that.  Is there an app to keep from overdriving really loud audio when recording on Android?  Or is it something best left for coffeehouse gigs?

  9. “a bit drab”. I agree. Something of a disappointment. Perhaps I had my hopes set too high.

    (Of course I’m talking about this thread. Last week was soooo much fun. I was really looking forward to this review. Didn’t expect it, but I miss the DroidBois. Wish Rob hadn’t turned them all off of this unknown site,… ;-P )

  10. I won’t be buying it for one reason: Verizon is trying to establish a
    new $300 price point here. I don’t want that encouraged. If this has hot
    sales, know that every top end phone from here out will hit the same
    price point.

  11. I used to be one of those people that wondered why on earth people needed so much CPU power for these phones, and what on earth you’d possible want a camera on one for. Just get a real camera and leave your phone for talking!

    Then a couple weeks ago I got a Droid X. It’s not a phone, it’s a small tablet computer that runs on linux. It has internet access everywhere, with a GPS, and a compass, and the video is actually of surprising high quality. I can hook it up to my computer over wifi and give my laptop access anywhere using it. It beeps when I get an email. Oh, and there is a program on it that let’s you make phone calls.

    I’m now regretting that I held of for so long. Let me tell you, these things are magic. No more going on google maps before leaving and writing directions down, they’re right there. If I’m in a store looking for beer, I can read reviews online before purchasing. It’s pretty freaking slick.

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