Betabeat has been using the original Droid since 2009, and with the occasional factory refresh, it’s been an amazing phone. But as much as we love the old girl, she’s reaching the end of her usable life. After reading some horror stories about how Android was being ruined by crapware from the manufactures and carriers, we were planning on getting the iPhone 5. But after spending a few weeks with Motorola’s new flagship phone, the Droid Bionic, we may end up sticking with Android after all.
The phone has a big, sharp screen, but is lighter than the original and fits as easily in a pocket. The big difference, of course, is that this is a 4G LTE device, and the speed when connecting to web apps in the wild is extremely satisfying. The wifi in my apartment has been a little spotty lately, so it was a relief to have the 4G hotspot, which had my laptop streaming video without a hiccup.
In terms of the native software, there is a great widget for favorites which puts all your top contacts in a slick set of drop down tiles. The camera turned on quickly, although photo resolution left something to be desired. Twitter integration seemed a little off, I kept getting alerts about old direct messages, even after opening, replying and deleting them. But the GPS was amazing, helping Foursquare to find me nine times out of ten.
One of my favourite new things about Android is the Google+ app, which automatically uploads photos to a private page and has me creating more albums after weekend jaunts. I found the battery on the Bionic lasted me through a full day, even when I was uploading photos. The only real battery killer was the 4G hotspot, which is to be expected.
There is no physical keyboard on the Bionic, which was one of our favourite features on the original Droid. But the phone gives terrific haptic feedback when you type, along with an intuitive scroll to jump to any part of a word and a good auto-correct. It was this set of features which really left Betabeat with that man-melds-to-machine feeling worthy of the moniker (An)droid Bionic.