Great Battery Life/Pretty Good Phone too!! May 18, 2011
Reviewer: Todd "Todd" (Gaithersburg, MD) -
I've been watching the HTC Thunderbolt 4G phone and finally gave up on it due to all the bugs and horrible battery life. So after reading several reviews on the Samsung Droid Charge, I decided to take the plunge. Here's how my first few days with the new phone went - the good and the bad. First some qualifiers - I live in the Maryland suburbs outside DC where there is 4G service. My previous phone was a Blackberry Storm 2 (touch screen - no physical keyboard).
The first three things you notice are how big the phone is, how bright the screen is and how surprisingly light the phone is given its size. You should go to the Verizon store and check this phone out before you buy just to make sure you are comfortable with the size. The screen is as big as my Garmin screen! For me, it was a good thing. Web pages, email, maps, etc are generally easier to read.
Day 1-I bought this phone midday on the Monday following its release. There was a software update that installed even before leaving the Verizon store parking lot. No problems with the install. The phone felt a little buggy afterwards. So I did a restart which cured all problems. Coming from a Blackberry, there was a learning curve. So, I spent some time reviewing the included tutorial to learn the phone and get comfortable with the different features. I had to call Verizon tech support to figure out how to set up my POP3 email account. I have my own email server and couldn't find all the settings. Kudos to Verizon for being so helpful. I installed a compass & Sudoku apps from the Android Market (very cool) and paired the phone with my Plantronics Voyager Pro + headset. The volume on the headset was actually louder with this phone than with my old Blackberry. This was a welcome surprise. The HTC Thunderbolt has had problems with its bluetooth functionality. I'm happy to say the Samsung Droid Charge has caused no problems for me so far. I found the Contacts function to be missing one feature that my Blackberry had. I can't program the phone "Not" to ring when a particular person calls me (we all have one in our life). The silent ringer function exists in other places in the phone. It just didn't make it to the Contacts feature. Samsung, please fix this. Both the Samsung keyboards (regular & Swype) are far superior to that on my touch screen Blackberry!
Day 2-I'm happy to say that on my first full day of use, the phone made it through an entire day without charging (7 AM to 11:00 PM) with apx 40% battery life left when I went to bed! I used the phone normally - a little web browsing, phone calls, email, a few apps and 4G turned on and working all day!! I did turn off Wi-Fi and the GPS. Though, I turned the GPS back on while using the maps and a compass later in the day. I like the phone! I saw no noticeable problems or bugs with the phone. 4G is incredibly fast!! Sound quality is good too - both for me and for the person I'm calling.
Day 3-I spent a lot of time using the phone today. The included calculator is too basic - missing the memory buttons (M+,M-,MC,MR) which I need. My Blackberry calculator had them. While it's not a big deal given all the available apps in the app store, Samsung could have done a better job with a few of it's features and widgets. I spent the day doing everything I normally do (see Day 2). In addition, I downloaded 4 different calculators, uninstalled those I didn't like and installed Angry Birds! I now understand why people like that game so much. I also spent some time in an appointment out in the mountains where there is no cell reception. This causes your phone to constantly search for service and torches the battery. My old Blackberry did the same thing. So when 5:53 PM came, I got a low battery warning. So today, the phone made it from 7:00 AM to 5:53 PM without a charge and everything but Wi-Fi turned on. My advice... Buy a car charger! I discovered problems later in the day. I couldn't sign into my voicemail from my cell phone. I called tech support. Again, kudos to the Verizon guy for being so helpful. He confirmed that this was a problem with the phone and that Samsung is working on a maintenance update. I also found out that the Samsung Media Hub only works in 4G (not sure I really care - I have no intentions of buying any music, etc from Samsung). One other odd problem I had was with the Music Player. It keeps turning itself on periodically throughout the day. Samsung has a widget called Program Monitor that I REALLY like. It takes the place of an app killer app like you need on the Thunderbolt. It automatically tells you if any programs are running in the background and gives you the ability to easily turn them off, either one at a time or all at once. Doing this extends battery life. While talking to tech support, I shared the Music Player thing. He said he would include it with the info Verizon sends to Samsung. Getting back to my voicemail problem, I remembered all the app installing and uninstalling I did earlier in the day. The tech guy said it wouldn't hurt to restart the phone and try dialing voicemail again. This fixed the problem. Lesson learned - after installing or uninstalling apps or software updates, restart the phone! Spent the balance of the evening playing Angry Birds and messing with the phone. These new phones really are pocket computers. You notice this as you move from one app or function to the next. This phone seems to handle everything you throw at it very smoothly and with very few hiccups.
Day 4-Phone off the charger at 7:00 AM. Everything seems to work fine. The music player turned on 4 times during the day - don't know why or if it even matters. I turned it off using the Program Monitor widget. There was not as much time spent on the phone today. I did take a couple of test shots with the camera. It seems to do a really good job for a cell phone camera. Shut down at 9:00 PM with 50% power left on the battery. Everything was turned on except Wi-Fi.
Day 6-Saturday-Hardly used the phone today. Turned on at about 8:00AM. At 9:24PM, I still have 74% battery life left with everything turned on except Wi-Fi. Samsung has cured the 4G battery problem!!
***Update Wednesday 5/25***Day 10-This phone does have a few bugs beyond those already mentioned. The phone stopped making phone calls last Sunday. I got this loud screeching/static sort of sound right in the middle of a conversation. I ended the call and tried to redial. At that point, I could not make or receive calls without hearing that screeching sound. I called Verizon for the third time since purchasing this phone. They were good to talk to, but had no suggestions other than to restart the phone. This DID fix the problem. I have not had any more problems of any kind with the phone since last Sunday. My guess is this phone could use a maintenance software update from Samsung to improve stability. Verizon could still be having some 4G problems too. These bugs aren't that big a deal. Every problem I've experienced has been fixed by turning the phone off and then on again. It is something for you to be aware of though. I still like the phone!***End of Update***
***Update Sunday 6/5***Day 21-This phone has two bugs that I am aware of. The first - The Mobile Hotspot feature has stopped working. According to Verizon tech support, it's a Samsung problem. Verizon and/or Samsung are working on an update. Until that update is released, at least some of the Droid Charge phones won't have the ability to use the mobile hotspot feature. 4G and everything else seems to work just fine. The second - I'm having a very occasional problem using my Plantronics Voyager Pro+ headset with this phone. It seems the first call made with my bluetooth headset after powering on the phone has a problem where I can hear, but the person I'm talking to can't hear me. Verizon tech support wants me to go to a store and demonstrate the problem for one of the techs. I'll update this again after this has been completed. It would be interesting to know if anyone else is having this bluetooth problem. Verizon suggested that the bluetooth problem could be something that would allow for a replacement phone. The last item is minor. The power button is finicky, but only when trying to turn the phone on. I turn off the phone at night. The next morning, it requires just the right (firm) touch to turn the phone back on. All other functions supported by this button work fine. These are the first real problems I've had with this phone. While there is no excuse for the problems, this phone has far fewer bugs than phones like the Thunderbolt. I dropped my rating from 5 to 4 stars until they fix the problem. I'm still happy with "the rest" of this phone and have my fingers crossed for a quick fix/update to the hotspot feature.***End of Update***
***Update Saturday 6/11***Day 27-I just installed the maintenance update Verizon/Samsung prommissed us. It fixed a number of things - mobile hotspot works now, 4G reception is improved (I consistently have one extra bar of reception sitting here in my living room), battery life improved, the screeching noise I previously mention fixed, mild performance increase and a number of other improvements. There still seems to be an occasional issue with my bluetooth headset. This could be the phone or the headset. I just can't say right now. I'll update this review when I have more info.***End of Update***
***Final Update 6/16***Day 32-The last update seemed to take a day or so and a few restarts before it really took effect. It appears my bluetooth headset problem is the headset's fault. Plantronics replaced it for me under warranty. The predictive text seems to work better with the new update. Previously, it made you work a little too hard to choose the right word. The handoff between 4G, 3G & 1x works pretty well most of the time. Occasionally it will struggle with the switch back & forth.***End of Update***
***This is the "I hope this is my final update" update 7/1***Day 47-Some final details to help you with the phone and get started with the android operating system. I've played with a number of apps and decided to keep the included email, sms and contacts. They do everything I need them to do and seem to use fewer resources than some others I tried. Some business users may want to consider a replacement email program. I did not feel the need. I installed the Dolphin HD Browser for surfing the web. It seems faster than the stock browser. I downloaded a ringtone app from the android market that allowed me to assign a silent ringtone to a contact, thus solving my earlier complaint from Day 1 above. I did install a new home screen launcher - Go Launcher. It allows for more customization and speeds up the phone just a bit. Instructions are online. If you install Go Launcher, you loose the included Program Monitor Widget, but get to keep the Task Manager app which does everything the widget did. Look for it in the app drawer. In addition to my Gmail email, I also switched from a POP3 work email account to an IMAP (push email) account through the included email app. The weather clock I settled on is Beautiful Widgets. It's MUCH better than the included version. I've installed a number of other apps that were for personal use. These mentioned affect how well the phone functions. I feel like I'm done with my customizations and really like how the phone turned out. And yes... 4G is really worth it!!***End of Update***
***Update 7/29 One Final Bug Remains***The bluetooth bug is a Samsung problem. I've been through two Plantronics Voyager Pro + Headsets and three Droid Charge phones. They all exhibit the same behavior. There is an occasional problem where callers can't hear you, but you can hear them. This problem continues until the phone disconnects itself from the headset. To get the phone & headset connected again, you have to delete the headset profile from the phone and go through the process to pair them again. I've also been told that Jawbone and Motorola headsets exhibit this same behavior. Through trial and error, I've figured out a workaround that works most (but not quite all) of the time. If you pair your bluetooth device while the phone is awake (screen turned on), you'll eliminate most of the bluetooth problems. Pairing takes a good 12 to 15 seconds. This is important because after about 5 seconds, my headset says, "phone one connected". Well, it's not fully connected yet. In my case, there is a final beep after about 12 to 15 seconds indicating the bluetooth device is properly paired to your phone. If you don't keep your phone awake while pairing or accidently walk out of range of your phone while wearing your bluetooth device, the problem will return unless you power off your bluetooth device and re-pair while the phone is awake. According to Verizon, there is another software update (likely the upgrade to the Gingerbread 2.3.4 operating system) coming at the end of the summer. They could not say if this bluetooth bug will be addressed in that update. ***Verizon has now said they ARE looking into bluetooth compatibility issues. So hopefully, another update will be coming soon.*** According to Samsung tech support, they ONLY claim that this phone will work properly with Samsung headsets. This seems to be a problem with Verizon's other 4G phones as well. So, I can't offer anything other than to say this is something to be aware of. It may be related to the how the phone tries to save battery life while in sleep mode (screen shut off). The bluetooth bug is my only reason for 4 stars instead of 5. One final disclosure I feel I should make... Since I finished setting up the phone and installing all the apps, I have noticed that battery life has dropped off a little. On heavy use days, the phone hits the charger on my 5:00 ride home. On normal use days, I usually get the 15% low battery warning around 10:00 PM. On those low to no use days, I typically shut down with anywhere from 40 to 65% battery life left. It is also important when discussing battery life that you know my screen was set to auto brightness.***End of Update***
***Update 10/10/11***The bluetooth bug has finally broken my phone. Everything works great except my phone will no longer hold a pairing with my bluetooth headset beyond turning it off at night. Verizon is willing to replace my phone for free with a new Charge or any of their other 4G phones. There is a big update coming in perhaps the next month that will likely fix my Charge. Given that I'm a real estate agent that spends a lot of time on bluetooth, I've decided to try the Motorola Bionic instead of a replacement Charge. I really do like the Charge. Verizon tech support has been very nice and very helpful. The price of the Charge has been greatly reduced making it a better deal. If you can live without bluetooth until the update comes out, I still like the Charge. If bluetooth is important to you, I recommend you look elsewhere for at least the next few weeks.
Moving forward... My recommendation is to wait 30 days before buying a new phone. The updates for the existing phones should be out by then. You can check Verizon's community forums for information about the updates. There are also rumors of three new 4G superphones hitting Verizon between 10/18 and say 11/10 - Motorola RAZR, Samsung Nexus and an HTC. This will do two things. First, it will reduce the price of the existing line of 4G phones. Second, it will give you more phones to choose from. Either way, I truly believe Verizon 4G is the way to go.
If you want some initial thoughts on the Bionic, see comment number 42 in the comments section below.***End of Update***
***Update 12/2/11***The operating system and bug fix update is being pushed out by Verizon today. It could take a week or so before everyone gets the update. My guess is this update will fix the bugs and provide some new features. If you are thinking about buying this phone, It could be a good lower cost 4G phone. I would check the Verizon Communtiy Forum and/or other Droid Charge Forums to see what others think about the update. I own the Motorola Bionic now and am waiting for my own update from Motorola/VZW. I put so much effort into this review, I just wanted to close the loop. Good luck!***End of Update***
Final negatives-The Price! I paid $270.00 for this phone after a $30 discount from Verizon. It should be cheaper! I plan to update the included Weatherbug Widget. According to the Weatherbug site, the widget gives what has happened during the day, but not what WILL happen. For example: The included Samsung Weatherbug widget says today is 61 now, and 58 was the coldest so far today, a partly cloudy animation(neat looking) and the time. What's missing is the predicted high temp for the day. Kinda silly leaving out THAT piece of info, especially if you check the weather at 7:00 AM. The included clock widget leaves something to be desired as well. I'll go back to the app store to find replacements I like. When I read people's complaints about the Samsung UI, I think they are referring to things like these widgets that just don't function like they should. It's easy enough to fix with a trip to the app store. The question for Verizon/Samsung is... With as much money as we have to pay for this phone, why do we have to fix such simple little things? Note to Samsung: You have a great phone. Please fix these annoyances.
The bottom line-This phone is incredible and so is 4G! I got 12.2 mb download and 4.6 mb upload speeds with the speedtest.net app from the Android Market!! There are a few quirks in the way the phone operates. This phone and Verizon's 4G network are still very new technologies. With these few exceptions, Samsung has done a great job creating a phone that is smooth to operate, surfs the internet incredibly fast, seems to be relatively bug free and has really good battery life - at least for a droid. I can also say that the reception of the Samsung Droid Charge is better than that of my old Blackberry. I had little or no problems with reception and/or call quality. The speakerphone works well too. If you compare this to Verizon's other 4G phones, this IS your best option! I can find NO reason why you should not purchase this phone. I know there will be the few that feel they have to wait for the dual core processor in the Motorola Bionic when it gets released in another few months. For most people, this phone will have ample power and all the features you could want. I will even go so far as to say this phone is better than the iPhone. I say this in part because the speed of this phone (4G) simply blows the iPhone away!
Practical suggestions: Buy a car charger or spare travel charger. You won't need it every day. You will need it sometimes though. I'm not sure I see the need for an extended battery - unless you are a really heavy user. I never tried turning 4G off. Turning this feature off should extend the battery life beyond those I've reported. Perhaps I'll give it a try during my next camping trip where I won't have an option to recharge the phone. If you like belt clips, the Verizon store has the best I've seen. (Amazon sells it now for half the price: [[ASIN:B0051HAYQ2 Samsung Droid Charge Shell/Holster Combo W/ Kickstand]]) I really like the one I bought. Remember to restart the phone after adding or removing apps or updates. It does make a difference and will keep your phone running smoothly. I did find replacement apps/widgets that I really like in the Android Market to replace those that were included with the phone that I didn't like. Install the included Samsung Program Monitor widget. It works, is simple to use and could help extend your battery life.
I rely a lot on reviews here on Amazon when I make purchasing decisions. I hope this review helps you with your decisions. I'm very happy I bought this phone and would buy it again. Highly recommended!!
An everyday users review May 5, 2011
I have had it only a few days. So this quick review is based upon that. I am your typical user. I use it as a phone, email, text, FB etc.
1. Build quality its nice and light feels good in the hands. I like the 4 physical buttons compared to capacitive touch buttons.
2. The super amoled + screen is the best on any phone out there..... No comparison
3. Using the phone I have no real issues with the Touchwiz interface. If coming from another phone you may not like it but its what you get used to. The phone is powered by a 1ghz hummingbird processor it works O.K. Sometimes the phone lags a bit. If anything that is my only complaint with the phone. Its not a deal breaker but when your pushing the limits of these processors for what you want the phone to do. You get the occasional hiccup. Of course this could be software related and it gets smoothed out in the future. Its really not that bad but something you notice once in a while.
4. NO notification LED's Really unforgivable Samsung. Would have been nice to look at the phone and see a blinking led to see if you have a VM, EM or PM. but nope. They do have a program out there that turns the screen into a LED since the screen uses such little power. (NOLED)
5. The biggest surprise. Unlike the Thunderbolt that I had that would constantly die in about 4 hours of use. I can get a day maybe a day and a half with out a charge. This is what a phone should be. You should not be afraid to use your phone for fear its going to die. With that being said keeping a charger around would not be a bad idea. After all you pretty much have a pocket computer in your pocket. Gone are the days of phones that just make phone calls and text messages and last for a week on a charge.
6. 4g LTE. What can I say it is seriously fast. If you use your phone on the 4g network and are forced to use the 3g network you will cry and find your self getting frustrated. The easiest way to compare this is the first time you used Cable internet, then had to go back home to your crappy dial up. That is what 4g to 3g is like. If you don't live in a 4g network area or will not use it for some time. You may want to look at the HTC incred 2. Its the Tbolts little brother pretty much. Same hardware - the lTE antenna.
7. In summary, great phone you can get it for 250.00 Here on amazon or 299.99 pretty much any other place. I think the price is a little to high for what your getting. For 80% of the users this phone will last you until the next contract is up. For that 20% of us, when the duel core phones start rolling out at the end of the year, and we still have a year left on the contract we might find our selves itching for more power, and paying the off contract price for those phones are not going to be pretty.
Great Phone despite some flaws May 19, 2011
Reviewer: Josh "techman" (Long Island, NY USA) -
Overall the phone is a great 4G device, the screen is unmatched by any other vzw phone on the market today. It does have some flaws that makes you wonder who handles Samsung's QC.
~Screen- Readable in all lighting, including sunlight. Text and Graphics are crisp
~Keyboard- I found no problems typing on the included interface
~Volume- Phone Ringer is very loud and easily heard in noisy environments
~Camera- Takes solid pictures & has many options for taking the picture such as face detection, blink detection, etc
~4G LTE- Service is very fast & generally runs above the advertised speeds of 6-12mb
~LTE Switch- You can turn off the 4G radio when your not going to use it, saving battery life
~Battery Life- Big improvement from the Thunderbolt, last for about a day with moderate use. If you remember to turn the 4G off when your not using it, it last even longer
~Responsiveness- The touchscreen is generally responsive with no lag time when using it. The only time it begins to tire out is when your running many apps at once due to the small amount of RAM installed on the phone
~Samsung's Touchwiz interface- not much to say other then you either love it or hate it
~Call Quality- Callers say I sound fine on their end but when listening to them while loud and clear sound somewhat robotic
~LED Indicator- There is None! Seems like someone in quality control overlooked this. There is no indicator light telling you that you have text messages or missed calls
~Bloatware- The phone comes pre-installed with 3 pages worth of apps(48 total), most are useless and you cannot uninstall them, you can only reorder them in your app list
~RAM- It only comes installed with only 328mb of ram. If you run many applications at once you will notice the phone slowing down a bit, which can be fixed by going into the built-in task mgr & ending apps/processes running that you don't need. For a high-end phone, more ram should have been included.
I would buy this one for the battery life, the built-in ability to turn off the LTE, and because it has the best screen available on vzw today
Feedback May 28, 2011
Reviewer: William Powers
I just upgraded my Blackberry Storm to the Droid Charge. I like the phone. The battery life is much better than the Droid X or Droid 2, similar to the storm. Screen display is awesome; there are some quirks when it appears to have a mind of its own. My dislikes, dropped calls and spotty reception. I still carry my Blackberry with me and compare signal strengths and the Blackberry is always at least one bar higher than the Samsung. In some remote areas the Samsung will display no network. So bottom line is this, nice phone but the antenna needs a little work. I don't feel comfortable with this phone everywhere I go. I have carried this phone over 260 miles across the state of NC and feel I need a backup. I have had at least 20 dropped calls the past 7 days in the same areas I used the Blackberry without any reception issues. Might be taking this back to Verizon and wait for them to address these bugs on the next release.......Turn on your old phone and compare signal meters when your not next to a cell tower :)
Outstanding Phone May 18, 2011
Really nice display, fairly quick, and comes with a 32 gigabyte card. Camera is decent -- for a smartphone. Battery life is solid, too. Downsides are that it has a single core processor, runs Froyo (not Gingerbread), can get bogged down on flash-intensive sights, and doesn't have an indicator light. You can get by this last downside by downloading noled (free) from the android marketplace. There's also a lot of bloatware. Verizon's 4g network is a little inconsistent, even in areas that are supposed to have great 4g coverage, as it will occasionally drop to 3g for not apparent reason. When it is connected though, it's lightning fast -- literally 40 or 50 times faster than 3g. I have yet to drop a call on this phone. Hopefully Samsung can get a Gingerbread update out to this phone soon. On an expensive phone like this, there's no reason for it not being there at the launch.
4g Choice Worth Looking At! May 5, 2011
I see a lot of real negative reviews about this phone and not completely sure why. Yes the processor is a carryover from the galaxy s but it just so happens this is the best single core processor for 3d performance and achieves the highest frame rate of any one core processor. Quadrant scores don't reflect this but its true. Also this is the most balanced phone in other aspects, hummingbird is also efficient, battery is larger than tbolt and screen if used right will give exceptional battery life (up to 2 full days with moderate use). The touch wiz interface isn't bad like people make it out to be it's actually very easy to use and quite colorful and pleasing to the eye, and swype is a must have for me i love it and it's not on the tbolt. Of course I do use launcher pro though. I have had other htc phones and while they are overall good phones reliability, efficiency, amazing screens, and good resale value is what Samsung does best(think of it has the Toyota or Honda of phones). I work for Verizon and have the chance to try all the phones and this has been nothing but a pleasure to work work! LTE is amazing and Verizon has bought the entire network from the fcc. Everything (including 1g areas will be 4g by 2013) Sure dual cores are coming but unless you do hardcore gaming or need 1080p video as a must this phone will get you better battery life and a more practical phone that doesn't overheat(bionic)As for updates my thought is better late than never and Samsung did come through as i'm sure 2.3 will on this one as well.
Great phone!!! May 27, 2011
Reviewer: Kathleen Karsko "47 states" (MN) -
My last phone was a Blackberry Storm and I upgraded to the Charge. There have been some hiccups going from a Blackberry (and very easy syncing) to the Android platform. If you are a new convert or considering converting:
1. You have to setup a gmail account and you sync through that.
2. Syncing Outlook calendar is easy as Google Calendar has a very easy setup and auto sync.
3. Syncing Outlook contacts is a pain. If you are on a network e-mail client there is a sync program but if you are just an individual you have to go through saving the file as a .csv file. Then import in your gmail account and then sync on your phone. There are some apps that make it easier but they don't support all of the fields I needed and reviews show they wiped some data. But now I have this 3 step process for every time.
4. Syncing files is also an issue. But I discovered Dropbox, free up to 2GB, that allows you to sync files amongst several computers and phones.
The Charge has amazing speed, a very bright and colorful display and is very easy to use if you have ever used a smart phone before. But there are some quirks. It added some icons to the desktop when I never intended it to. The online manual doesn't show how to delete but I found an Android platform that shows if you hold down the icon a delete button appears that you can use.
There are several cool apps for the Android market and many are free. Some that are recommended:
Advanced Task Killer - really helps with battery life
Google Sky Map - hold it up at the sky and it shows the constellations
Battery life is not great. I am charging the phone every other day and not using it that much. But the wall charger works very fast and the USB crawls. In comparison I used to charge my Storm about every 5-6 days.
Uploads and downloads were very fast and it displays if you are on the 4G or 3G networks. Reception in my neighborhood is one bar better with this phone than my Storm. Phone quality is great according to the people I call but on my end I would say average. It doesn't drop calls like my Storm did but even on the highest volume I sometimes cannot hear them very clearly.
You don't need Verizon Navigator with this phone. I cancelled it and have been using Google Maps program for navigation. It works well and it is so much easier to integrate with restaurants. You can see reviews, rate, navigate, call, go to website, etc... Much more detailed than Navigator and it has been accurate so far.
My research covered several providers and phones and I was hoping to try the Droid Bionic but the original phone was scrapped and my Storm was dying so the Charge was my second choice. I am very happy with it but wish someone would make an Outlook - Droid sync program. Most forums have people saying they would pay up to $50 for that program and I agree .... File integration would be nice too.
Droid Charge - Excellent Phone, but wait until the price goes down June 28, 2011
I purchased the Droid Charge about 5 days ago, but I have only been able to really use it in the past 2 due to going on a camping trip over the weekend and being left most of the time with a dead phone. This happened because of weak car charging capabilities (I will get to this later). Also, upon getting the phone, I flashed it's software to the voodoo based kernel which is supposed to give it a faster and more efficient file system in addition to rooting the phone and providing superuser access. Based on these factors, I will give you my first impressions of this phone.
- The massive 4.3 inch SuperAMOLED display on this phone is BEAUTIFUL! I cannot stress this enough! It blows away the screen on any other non Samsung mobile device on the market. The text is crisp, and the colors are amazingly vibrant. Even in the sunlight, this display is still very easy to see. This, and the sheer size of the screen makes most anything you view on it easily readable.
- Battery life (After being fully charged) is extremely good for a phone in the high end segment. On the first day, with regular usage, I wound up having 50% battery left. The next day, after gaming a bit as well as downloading lots of apps and HD video to test, I still had 35% battery by the end of the day. Techies explain this increased battery life from other 4g smartphones as being a result of Samsung's SuperAMOLED display's lower power consumption and other software updates. I can only see battery life being a problem if you are constantly using the phone for something that will tax it's resources and thus require more power (such as high end gaming or constantly switching from a 4g to 3g area) As a comparison, I only had slightly better battery life on my original droid, so I am quite content to have a much faster, high end phone that does not have to be constantly charged. And an additional FYI - I turn Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and data off when I am not using them. This I am certain helps my battery life and I advise that you do the same to conserve yours.
- Call quality is great on this phone. Even after being in a remote area with one bar of service, I had full use of my web browser (with 3g coverage) and crystal clear reception with no dropped calls.
- The keyboard on this screen is a huge improvement to my original android phone. I rarely, if ever, make typing mistakes like I had in the past on the touch screen. I attribute this improvement to the large 4.3 inch real estate and probably some software updates to improve touch responsiveness. Speaking of the keyboard, I enjoyed the new option of using "swype" to input text. This is an option found one some of the recent android based phones. It allows you to swipe the keys with your finger to improve the speed of texting and typing in general. In my limited experience with this feature, I found it to be easy to learn and I feel that once I improve I will be much quicker at sending messages than I ever was using conventional texting methods.
- I thought the 8 MP camera on this phone was very detailed and produced a great image, but I am not big into photography so I so not know how it compares to a professional camera. I feel that the one included in this handset is MORE than sufficient for a camera in a smartphone and is one of the best that I have personally seen. Again, this is coming from someone upgrading from a 5 MP phone.
- Speaking of cameras, it comes with a 1.3 MP front facing camera designed for taking self pictures and video chat although I haven't utilized this camera or it's associated features as of yet.
- This phone comes with a whopping 32 GB MicroSD card preinstalled - nuff said?
- Includes an HDMI out (I have not tested this yet)
- General responsiveness of the phone was great, but keep in mind that I flashed to a peppier "Voodoo" kernel with the improved EXT4 file system. I heard, and saw some videos, which voiced the complains of the slight sluggishness while changing menus and launching some applications with the native RTS file system that comes bundled with the Droid Charge. If you are a techie, you can resolve this lag issue like I did - by modifying the kernel. Keep in mind that by doing this, you will void your warranty if you send the phone back to Samsung or Verizon and they are able to notice the kernel modification. The responsiveness of this phone may also be hindered by having a few applications open due to the lesser amount of RAM that this handset has. This can be remedied by closing apps with the Charge's own task manager application or by installing a variant of "Advanced Task Killer", but keep in mind that you will notice some slowdowns after having a few applications open compared to if you had double the RAM on some of 1 GB phones in this class. This is definitely not a "deal breaker" or something extremely annoying (At least not at this point in the game) but it may become a problem down the road as applications gobble up more and more memory and you are still 1 year into your contract.
- I felt that the UI of the Charge was intuitive but only brought a few extra features to the table that don't currently exist on other Android handsets. I liked the fact that you can uninstall programs straight from the applications menu. I also liked that you can access all of the "battery drainer" functions of the phone (Bluetooth, Wi-FI, GPS, Data Services) straight from the notifications curtain which provides an easy way to save battery life without having to put a widget on the desktop. What I did not like was that the phone came with many useless bundled apps which are not easy to remove for the standard user. Also, the icons looked a bit "IPhoneish" for my tastes, but that is a matter of personal preference. Again, keep in mind that my comments on the UI may not be applicable to everything on the stock Charge since I flashed the kernel.
- The phone is lightweight (Much lighter than the original Android) and despite other reviews complaints of the feel being "cheap" because of the plastic backing, I did not get this same feeling. I suppose having a phone encased in metal would give it a more "upscale" appearance and feel, but this is a really minor detail. I suppose this matters to some people, so I rated the physical design as neutral. Still, you are really nitpicking at this point if you are making a commotion out of it.
- The 4g service is EXTREMELY fast on this phone - when it is working. Web pages load almost instantaneously and most apps download in seconds. A 100 MB HD sample I downloaded took well under a minute for me to receive. Unfortunately, I have seen the network bug out and cut service multiple times which required me to either turn on Wi-fi or disable and re-enable the data service on the device to remedy. This will soon change into a positive when Verizon works out the kinks and builds upon their 4g network. As a side-note, 4G and 3G data costs are the same price as this writing, but it is unknown how future pricing will work and it is unknown if current 4G cell phone customers will be "grandfathered" into any future pricing plans. Keep in mind that you may have to pay more for 4G service down the road.
- You can use this device as a Wi-Fi access point for up to 10 Wi-fi devices (and it is free until the beginning of July 2011). I briefly tested it and it was fast, worked very well and was easy to configure, but it will cause extreme drain on your battery if it is not plugged into a wall outlet. Verizon will definitely be charging for this service in the future.
- The phone charges pretty quick through a wall charger, but I found it to be very slow charging on the car charger - even after being plugged into a "quick charge" port. While using the Androids Navigation GPS service, and driving an hour, I found that the battery was at exactly the same level from when I plugged it in. Even after turning the handset off, and charging it for the hour drive back, I barely had 1/6 of a battery when I got home. Don't expect the car charger to be a viable way of charging your phone except on VERY long drives. Generally, it will only be useful for keeping your battery life at the same level when you need to use it on the go and while traveling.
- Although it sounds crisp and clear, the default speaker volume is not very loud even when maxed out (despite the warning it gives you that you may damage your hearing when you turn it up most of the way). I am sure that this can be remedied with different apps, but do not expect this phone be loud for media out of the box. On the contrary, the ringer, alert and speaker volume can be set to be relatively loud.
- Hardware: This phone includes a single core 1 GHZ Hummingbird processor with 512 MB RAM (328 MB user useable). While this is not necessarily a huge problem right now, it very well may be a year into contract when gamers yearning to play graphics intensive games want to use them on this phones beautiful SuperAMOLED screen. The only problem is that they will be using hardware from phones produced in 2010. I tried some of the more taxing games, and did notice sluggishness in some of them (Specifically the more intensive Gameloft HD series games like Extract 5, Assassins Creed - Altair and GT Racing HD). I feel that for the $200 price tag, there should have been at least 768 MB of dedicated ram and a Dual Core processor under the hood, not hardware that the year old Droid X features. As a side-note, I noticed MAJOR stuttering when playing 720P and 1080P videos, but I suspect that this may be a software issue that can be resolved down the road.
- There is no LED indicator on the phone, so you need to go through the phones interface to check battery life and other miscellaneous notifications like having a new voice mail or missed call.
- This phone gets pretty hot, even under moderate usage.
If you are not a big gamer, this device is wonderful especially considering it's gigantic 4.3 inch display and vibrant colors. Also, the call quality and ample storage for media mongols is welcome. The 3G service is great and the 4G service is even better on this device - it is more than enough for even those that are constantly browsing the internet. It's camera is one of the best used in phones within the high end segment. If your purpose for this phone is utilizing it's multimedia capabilities (Video, music, photos and web browsing) you will certainly not be disappointed.
On the other hand, if you are a gamer, you may not be satisfied with the hardware under the hood. There is currently some sluggishness while using high end games produced today, and this will certainly get worse as you get further into your contract. If you are one who primarily uses the device for gaming, you may be best advised to wait for the Droid Bionic or the Samsung Function. The Droid Bionic should be out by July 2011 and will feature 768 MB memory and a dual core processor with 4G capabilities, but you will lose the beautiful SuperAMOLED presently on Samsung model equipment. If you have even more time to wait, the Galaxy S2 equivalent for Verizon will arrive as the Samsung Function and will have a dual 1.2 GHZ processor with a beefy 1 GB ram and feature Samsung's popular display. Unfortunately, it is unknown when this device will launch, and it is unknown whether it will be in 4G.
Alternatively, the Droid X2 is a great gaming phone which is currently out and can be found for $120 on Amazon, but you will again lose the vibrant display and 4G capabilities.
New to smart phones, so far, it's great! June 1, 2011
I have to admit, even though I am technical and pretty decent with computers, I am WAY behind the smartphone curve (I have never texted!) So my first purchase was the Samsung Charge. My reasoning: 1) Verizon will eliminate unlimited 4G soon and 2) of my three 4G choices, it had the best battery life and for me, the screen matters. I bought my phone last weekend (at Costco - don't hate me) and I am VERY happy with it. Prior to getting this phone, I used an Apple IPOD as my travel companion for games, books, maps, ... This phone takes the place of the IPOD, my dumb phone, and my camera. The battery easily lasts for 12 hours of use consisting of web browsing, software downloads (I am still adding apps to make it the ultimate travel companion), and reading email. I love it. It's fast, has a general good build quality (much better than other phones I looked at ... ). I wish it was global (note the Incredible 2 is, but it is only a 3G phone so you don't lock in 4G data). Another downside is it is so new, finding an extended battery seems to be tougher than I thought. Note at one time the Charge 4G was also called the Stealth. Anyway, I give it a big recommendation and I am very picky. Good luck!
PS. Google voice, maps, ... works great with this phone (Google products in general seem to work much better with Android - no mystery here).
Update (3 weeks of usage):
I am very happy with my purchase. Here are some additional positives:
1. you can pull down a menu and turn on/off: Wireless, Bluetooth, GPS, Mobile Date, Auto Rotation
> turning off mobile data you can still make/receive calls but it greatly enhances battery life.
2. fit and finish of this phone is very high (much better IMO than Motorola, have not compared it to HTC)
3. Android has a very similar application (main stream) selection to the iPhone
4. Android has a superior widgets (ex. airplane mode, screen brightness, ...)
1. compatible accessories are lacking - extended battery, inductive charging back, ...?
Well after using the phone now a good period of time, here are some more observations:
1. When someone says Samsung doesn't provide software updates and they only seem to care about the next big thing - it's 110% true.
2. Juice Defender doesn't work on this phone because the firmware is screwed up (2.2), too bad because it can really save battery life.
3. Getting your GPS to lock sometimes can take minutes, so if you know you are going to need it, turn it ASAP.
4. The phone would be a truly great phone if Samsung supported it.
5. Android could be great if Google unified their updates and forced compliance, but they don't.
6. If you want a care free phone you don't have to mess with, buy an iPhone.
Decided to try "rooting" my phone to install a custom version of Gingerbread. This is a first for me and yes, it invalidates the warranty so YMMV. It turned out to be relatively easy and now I am much happier with the phone. The phone is much faster (~2x), it finds GPS quickly, and I like the Gingerbread edit much better than Froyo 2.2. Plus, I am no longer waiting for the long delayed over-the-air upgrade.
Just Terrible September 18, 2011
After too many hours with customer support at Verizon, Amazon and Samsung as well as 4 factory reset and 2 new phones, I give up on Samsung Droid Charge. All the complaints listed by others, I have experienced them. Poor battery life, poor/static sounds, dropped calls but most annoyingly Bluetooth that won't stay connected. It couples fine but after few hours to days, just disconnects and you can't restore it unless it is reprogrammed to connect as a new device.
Initially I thought it was the phone and Amazon Wireless replaced it with no hassles. Same problem. Talked to Verizon. Very understanding but punted to Samsung. Samsung customer support is indifferent but did acknowledge the issue but no fix or update in sight.
I am very happy with Verizon and can't praise Amazon Wireless enough but will never buy Samsung ever again.
Fantastic device! July 23, 2011
I have had my Droid Charge for three weeks, and I don't know how I lived without it! Battery life is very good now that I read the Task Manager section of the manual and know what I was doing wrong at first. The phone is excellent for texting, talking, emailing, calendaring, and sending pictures. The camera is truly amazing and works better than my "real" camera! I can also store all kinds of files and have easy access to them anywhere, and I was able to put all my MacBook's iTunes music on it via Double Twist. The phone is light, but feels well made. Did I mention the amazing clarity on the screen? I wear glasses with progressive lenses, but I have absolutely no trouble with the screen. I have found many useful apps, and I now use my phone each morning to do a quick check of the news and weather. With 4G service, the speed of everything (web, email) is phenomenal. I thought I'd get an iPhone since I am a MacBook and iPod Touch owner, but the iPhone won't access web pages that use Adobe Flash (which several sites I need to access for work do). I'm afraid to pinch myself because the Droid Charge is the phone I have been dreaming about, and if I'm still dreaming I don't want to wake up!
Great service/value from Amazon. Greatest 4G phone w/ long battery life. June 6, 2011
Reviewer: P. To "PTo" (USA) -
Updates / Further Notes About Battery Life after about a month of the original review:
I see a lot of people complaining about the Droid's battery. So, I thought I share my experience in how I get GREAT battery life from the Droid Charge every single day:
Simple Habits That I Develop:
- I leave it in 3G mode (CDMA) most of the time. It's more than fine for most web browsing. I only switch to 4G if I am downloading a big file, or streaming video from YouTube, etc. (BTW, in many cases, Verizon 3G is faster than my old HTC EVO on Sprint 4G!)
- Avoid using Skype!!! If I have Skype signed in, the battery is drained in 3-4 hours!
- Install the "Program Monitor" widget on home screen. It is VERY useful because it tells you how many active apps are running in the background. I always keep an eye on it to make sure I did not leave any power sucking apps running that I forgot to close.
- If you use GPS Navigation, remember to fully exit the app and/or turn-off the GPS when done.
- Turn-off WiFi if you are not using it. (I often forget to this.)
The above is really just common sense. I have NOT installed any "power trick" programs, such as JuiceDefender (I tried and uninstalled it). I leave GPS on most of the time. I am completely "stock" in terms of settings. I have 2 GMail and 1 Hotmail ActiveSync accounts and I let them sync using default settings. I have DoubleTwist which occasionally sync using WiFi. In other words, I don't really pay any special attention to saving power. And I STILL get at least 15 hours out of it most days. I typically starts at 8am, average about 30-60 minutes talk time in a day, and spend about 2 hours web browsing, playing games, reading news, email, etc. When I get home around 9pm, I normally still have at least 30% battery left if not more. I have the occasional car trips where I would use Google Navigation, and for short trips (less than 30 minutes) I don't even bother to plug the phone in anymore.
The same usage pattern on my HTC EVO would normally means needing to recharge by 2pm.
________Original Review Below___________
First of all, I want to say that Amazon is great. Shipping was fast. When I ordered the phone, the $199 price was $50 cheaper than even Verizon. They then dropped the price further to $149 a couple of days after I ordered. One pleasant phone call to Amazon, and they gave me a $50 refund without any hassle. Can't beat that!
OK. Now the phone. I came to this from a Sprint EVO 4G, and an AT&T iPhone 3GS before that. The Droid Charge is perhaps the most refined and advanced phone out there.
- Ridiculously long battery life, especially if you leave it on 3G. I can easily go a full day plus more on 3G, and a 8-10 hour day on 4G without any tricks, and without turning off GPS, Bluetooth, etc. all the time.
- Slim and lightweight, yet feels VERY good in the hand
- Large screen. As good as the iPhone4 screen, but WAY bigger.
- 4G LTE is really fast. It downloads large files faster than my office WiFi.
- 3G is not too shabby neither for web browsing, email, etc. I leave it on 3G most of the time. Based on my experience (in SF Bay Area), the Verizon 3G is faster or at least as fast as Sprint and AT&T 4G.
- Price. Particularly, you cannot beat the Amazon $149 price.
- I have no huge issue w/ the TouchWiz interface. It's not ridiculously snappy, but more than adequate.
- Finally, I think the shape and style is more attractive than your run-of-the-mill iPhone and clones.
- I love that the battery / back cover is plastic and replaceable ($9.99). Why bother with extra weight and bulk of a skin case, when you can get a new back cover for $10? I generally am very gentle with my phone and never get any scratches on the side anyway.
- The charger is the same tiny cube shape as the iPhone. Very compact.
- Camera is AWESOME.
- The tactile buttons are a mixed blessing. They feel great. But when I am lounging out on a bed and operating it with one hand, the touch buttons are easier to operate.
- Camera not very good with close up, and underexposes Flash photos (easy fix using the exposure compensation)
- It's not a dual core. But on the other hand, that's why the battery life is so great.
- The on-board memory is only 512MB, although I have not had any real life issues with this.
- No HDMI mirroring
I honestly think it's the best phone out there at the moment. The single greatest useful feature is the battery life. What a great sense of freedom!
Great Hearing Aid Compatiblity - Poor Battery Life - Easy to Use May 21, 2011
Reviewer: R & the triplet's Grandma
Will try to touch on areas other reviews have not mentioned.
I am a senior citizen and this is my first smart phone. I was able to pick up on almost everything just from playing around with it a bit - everything except how to answer the phone when it rang. Finally called Samsung support. Agent did not have the best English and did not understand my question. Got to a supervisor who was easier to understand and who did understand the question.
**When phone is ringing and it is dark, scroll down from the very top left to bring up the phone., Then scroll the green button to answer.**
This phone has the highest hearing aid compatibility rating there is and works very well with my hearing aids - no lost words, no static - everything is great. My old phone dropped about 1 word in 3.
Phone does get quite warm when used.
Very poor battery life, especially if using any of the apps. OK if only using it for a regular phone, but not if want to do anything else. 4G internet use heats phone up and depletes the battery. Playing Angry Birds also really depletes battery. One reason I purchased this phone was to help keep the grandchildren occupied (frequently fly coast-coast with one) so the battery depletion rate is a big negative for me.
My screen is set to turn off after 30 sec, but it frequently turns itself off in only 5-10 seconds. I have to press the power button to turn the screen back on.
No manual anywhere. If one clicks on the ask a question button on the Samsung droid charge website, one is sent to a dead page.
Name stinks. Samsung - try searching for 'droid charge' and see what you come up with. Name makes it difficult to search for accessories; wish you had picked a different one.
Also wish you sold a good protective case.
I purchased the phone 1 week ago - the first day it was offered for sale.
UPDATE: Had the phone almost 2 months now. Love it even more as I find more and more things it can do. Just purchased a house and have been using it to connect my laptop to the internet as we don't have internet service yet (can't believe how frustrating and time consuming it can be to deal with V.. and CC for service. Understand other major providers are the same.) Having this phone takes the urgency off of getting a major provider. Husband has even agreed that it was money well spent!
UPDATE: April 2012 - The latest update has greatly improved battery life. Still not great, but noticeably better!
Try before you buy April 27, 2011
Try this phone in your local verizon store before you go out and read unfounded reviews or buy the phone anywhere. Samsung in my opinion has done a great job on this phone and on their Galaxy line.In my personal experiences with Samsung they do care about their clients, unfourtantly when it comes to carriers software upgrades or hardware may change from original design that Samsung intended to originally sell. Thunderbolt is a Sprint Evo for Verizon with some changes in hardware to accomodate carrier's request. I test phones for different carriers and get to try out many different phones and i have tested this phone for a couple of months. For my personal phone i have the Samsung Fascinate but will be moving to the Droid Charge when i upgrade later this year, so far Samsung products have been great.
Finally a phone I can live with for 2 years May 29, 2011
First some background. You can call me a smartphone addict. I have had the following phones recently (not in order). HTC Thunderbolt, Samsung infuse, Iphone 4g, Nexus S, Droid X2, HTC incredible 2 and of course I had many of top 2010 phones for android. I work downtown Chicago and I take the train. I need a phone that gets reception on the train and works in my high rise offie building. Verizon is the only carrier which works. So I am limited to Verizon as long as I work downtown. Beleive me I tried AT&T and T Mobile with different phones and they do not work well at all.
The the DC (Droid Charge) meets all by criteria. I use Exchange for corporate email, and all phones do not work well on this.
DC does. Email clients are not all the same. DC works well. The display is really nice. Sreen to screen, Youtube and moviess all look great. The phone is very light and feels great in hand. The tbolt was so big and thick. This phone also allows screen shots a really cool feature. I have take some and shared with friends on facebook. I cool app from the market is pi cube a 3D cube which you an customize with your own pics. It shows off the great display. I have only had this phone now 1 full day and I am starting my second, so too early on the battery life but it has to be better than the horrible battery life on the tbolt and many of the other phones I tried. Performance not as fast as the tbolt but still acceptable.
reception so far better than the tbolt.
I love this phone and will keep for 2 years.
Finally, the perfect phone May 28, 2011
Super long battery life with everything turned on(iphone like battery life), the best screen on a phone - wow factor, stable and wifi-like data speed and call quality on verizon 4g lte (network is order of magnitude ahead of the competition). Runs all android apps and games flawlessly with no lag. What more can you ask for?
I consider myself a power user but not a spec geek, so the lack of gingerbread update & dual core does not bother me, as they have no impact on how I use my phone - it just needs to be fast, stable and last 24 hours. Everything on android right now works fast and perfect with this phone. By the time when dual core is actually being utilized as oppose to a spec innuendo the geeks obsess over, my 2 year contract will have expired for a new phone. This along with every other flagship phone will be nothing more than a $100 outdated doorstep on ebay.
Some perspective, I have tried the iPhone on AT&T (constant call drops, communication error running apps), the LG g2x dual-core android on T-Mobile(horrible signal strength, only has EDGE instead of even 3G in a lot of places) and the ThunderBolt on Verizon 4G LTE (This takes the cake - 4 hour battery life haha), before settling on the Samsung Droid 4G LTE.
Unfortunately your phone is only as good as the network, and in the US, there is just no comparison to verizon 4G LTE, so no matter how good the hardware is, if it's not on verizon 4G LTE it's meaningless.
To wrap it up, I finally found the perfect phone...for the next 2 years anyway :)
It's NOT the hardware. It's the network. June 19, 2011
Reviewer: M.D.C. "The Franchise" (San Diego, CA) -
At least, that's what people would tell you. Realistically I find it to be a combination of the two. Anyway, this review is specific to comparison of 4G devices, NOT jumping from a 3G device to this.
I have owned the Thunderbolt since the early days of 4G. It has its issues, especially if you don't root it. But one thing about the Thunderbolt: I know what to expect of it day to day. I've only had one instance of erratic behavior and it hasn't happened since. I recently considered the Charge as a potential superior battery replacement to the Thunderbolt. What I found was rather shocking.
First, the build quality of the Charge is identical to its 3G brothers; the Fascinate, Captivate, Vibrant. Cheap plasticky shell with no real feeling of durability. However, the Charge's side bezel reminds me of a BlackBerry Curve the way it's designed. I'm sure that wasn't accidental. From a general solidity perspective the Thunderbolt and the LG Revolution both run circles around the Charge. If you're the type of person who likes a feather light phone you probably won't really care. To put it in perspective, I would get this for a girl in a hot minute.
But what I found intriguing about the Charge is that it does get superior battery life to the Thunderbolt. The problem is why: the Charge has many network-related issues that cannot be explained, and no real clear way to work around these issues. First, the phone took hours to actually activate. Apparently the software has been configured to auto-activate itself, but this failed numerous times. I had to continually power cycle to get it to finally click through and accept the activation, and even then it still said it wasn't activated on the last reboot. Next, the phone struggled to maintain a 4G signal, even when the Thunderbolt right next to it was surfing along happily on 4G with no hiccups. That indicates a problem with the reception for the phone...and given the case material for the Thunderbolt, I would expect it to have more issues than the Charge, but realistically the Thunderbolt seemed better capable of maintaining a 4G signal. Once connected to 3G it was of course rock solid, but you don't buy a 4G phone to do 3G, so I was thusly disappointed with this. It's unfortunate, because outside of the build quality, I might have been tolerant of everything else, but the inability to sustain 4G is a dealbreaker for me. Unfortunately I can't prove it to the local Verizon Wireless store because they don't even get 4G in there. It's a miracle they manage to sell any such phones.
Where the Charge exceeded over the Thunderbolt is in general microphone and speaker quality. The Charge's microphone was able to recognize my voice extremely well, and the speaker is at least twice as loud as the Thunderbolt on the loudest setting. There are also some vocal quality settings you can adjust on the Charge that are not present on the Thunderbolt. Additionally, the Chaarge seemed less affected by wind noise than the Thunderbolt.
I'm not suggesting you steer away from this phone if you're in a strong 4G area, but I am warning you that even though the signal might be strong, you may still experience issues staying connected to 4G. Even if it does connect, you might not be able to browse, which indicates a connection issue. The Thunderbolt at least has a way around this by way of programmer codes; the Charge presently has no such codes. The other issue is that HTC is more apt to update the software than Samsung, so you may be stuck with older firmware, as is what happened with the Fascinate.
There are other features that I have purposely glossed over, such as the Touchwiz interface and such. But I do so because I want the reader to understand that the biggest, most important feature of any phone is the ability to handle its calls and data (if applicable) properly. If a phone is sold as a 4G phone, it better be able to do 4G with minimal issues. I'm not suggesting the Thunderbolt doesn't have its share of issues. Rather, I had substantially less data and call issues with the Thunderbolt than with the Charge. If you decide on the Charge, make sure you are happy with it, run it through its paces, and don't be afraid to return it if it doesn't work for you.
Just not reliable, buy it from Verizon if you must. October 23, 2011
Reviewer: P. Szalay
Ordered this from Amazon for what I thought was a great price at the time, I was wrong (see below).
Original phone I got could not record video unless it was freshly rebooted. Talked to Amazon and they agreed to send me a replacement. The second phone wouldn't recognize the SD card (neither the one it came with or the one from the first set) so I sent that one back and asked for another. The third set would not recognize the SIM card. I finally just decided that video recording was something I could live without and sent the third set back to Amazon and told them I'll just live with the original as is - my mistake.
About a month later the set just stopped connecting to any data source, Wifi, 3G or 4G. After a few days though it magically started working again. I have have random reboots, missed calls, random notifications sometimes days late (I had none of this on my OG droid which I used in the same area) since then. The battery life can be OK but I have had it last as little as 8 hours from full charge to the phone telling me to charge it but I knew this coming in that a 4G phone would not get me great battery life.
My big problem though is that I am stuck with a defective phone that seems to be slowly getting worse. I contacted Amazon and they said they would take the phone back since they could not provide me with a working model, however I used my Verizon upgrade to get this phone so the refund I'd get from Amazon doesn't come anywhere near the price of getting me any other smartphone from Verizon. So basically I can get $199 back for this set but would have to pay full retail price (generally about $650) for a replacement phone. Verizon also will not help despite the first person I talked to saying they wanted to take ownership of this problem and they insist on telling me what a great phone I have and that they get virtually no complaints about these sets.
So buyer beware - I generally like Amazon BUT had I paid a bit more and bought this phone from Verizon themselves I might be able to get resolution. As it is, I guess I'm stuck with a "premium" phone that never fully worked and will continue to slowly die for the next two years and a cell plan that I can't really take advantage of.
Samsung Droid Charge July 2, 2011
Reviewer: Alexandra Philips
I'd had this phone for three days now after debating between this phone and the HTC Droid Incredible 2. The reason I decided to get the Samsung was the 32GB card, a slightly larger screen (.3 inches really), and the 4G. The HTC also had global capabilities, but I found that to be superfluous. Previously I had a LG enV Touch, a durable phone, but only a phone. I could not reach the internet easily or do anything with the phone. So having something as new and as pretty as the Samsung Droid Charge is amazing for me. So for all the people that have had an android phone before and I say something that has been on them all and is pretty obvious I apologize, I'm not used to androids yet.
The first day I had the phone I ran the battery down by 2 after turning it on at 8. I had to restart the phone multiple times and call the Amazon customer service for the device to activate it. So that ran the battery down quickly. I also downloaded multiple apps, which were downloaded quickly, faster than my friend's iPhone 4 with Verizon. So if I hadn't been using it as a toy for the first day then it would've last longer. It charged until 6 and then I played with it for the rest of the day, but was unable to completely wear the battery down. I can note though that on the puzzle screen it will tell you when to plug the device in.
The second day I had the phone the newness of it worn off by then, mostly, so I wasn't playing around with it as much. The phone battery finally died around 9 after I took it off the charger at 11. A convenient thing I noticed is that in the phone information under settings is that it will tell you what is eating up the battery and how much battery is left percentage wise, which I found very useful. When I called someone and asked about the call quality they told me that it sounded the same as my old phone, so I don't known it that's good or not really but I am happy with it.
The third day, today, I had some problems with it freezing on me for a bit but I took the battery out and restarted it and the phone worked just fine after it. I have no clue what caused it but its fine now. The battery is still going fine right now after being unplugged at 11, and I've used it minimally today.
Overall: I like the phone. The 4G is great, and you can change it from LTE to CDMA, which I'm pretty sure means 3G if you want to. It might make the battery last longer. For all those that knock the battery, stop treating the phone like its a toy and you'll be fine. The thing is a phone, not a laptop computer or something else like it. Everything I downloaded from online is soon on my phone, it took a second to download facebook. I'm happy with that. The camera is fun to mess with but it does not have a vertical mode, it can only be done horizontally, Which is not a big deal at all. Just something I noticed. It came with a bunch of junk already on the phone that I know I won't use but I'm pretty sure its some Samsung/Verizon thing for all of it to be on the phone. Swype is fun to use and makes texting someone that much faster. In general this is a nice phone and I like it.
I really dislike my Samsung Charge! September 9, 2011
Reviewer: J. Battan (Portland, OR USA) -
After using my Samsung Charge Android Verizon phone for the past month, I must say I'm very disappointed in it. First, may I say I'm quite experienced in mobile devices and computers, being in IT for 30 years and having owned over 15 smartphones over the years, including iPhones, BlackBerries, and Windows Mobile. On the pro side, the Charge has a nice display, and 4G data service is REALLY fast when it's available, which for me isn't too often. The Verizon data service is more reliable in that it doesn't get clogged like AT&T's 3G service does in major metro areas. I haven't had a dropped call yet. And I get access to the filesystem. Now, on to the problems. The Charge uses battery power amazingly fast. I couldn't go more than 8 hours of minimal use with the standard battery. With the extended battery, which weighs a lot and makes the handheld huge, only goes about 14 hours before being at 10%. And I don't even have WiFi or Bluetooth or GPS or mobile hotspot turned on, and have few data sync apps going. It can barely keep the same charge when powered through a USB port or a car battery. Only with the AC adapter will it charge more quickly, and even that takes 3x as long as my BlackBerry. The user interface is very slot and inconsistent. It takes a good five seconds to get to the phone screen after pressing the phone icon. Entering a calendar entry start time took me 20 sec once while the phone was doing who knows what. No, I haven't loaded on any malware or CPU-hogging apps. Button presses don't always take, or if they do there's no change while it thinks, so I don't know that it recognized the press and I press again. Updating an app fails about half the time. Apps crash regularly, including mainstream ones like Pandora and Meebo. The GPS is next to useless; it can take 10 minutes to acquire a signal and start doing turn-by-turn directions. The camera is so-so, but it regularly gives moiré patterns, and it crashes the whole phone if I use the flash (I have to reboot). When I turn off the sound, apps still can make sounds. I need a separate file transfer app that rarely works the second time after a reboot. The On button is poorly placed opposite the volume button, so I often press it when pressing the volume button. Sometimes I can't answer a call; I swipe to accept it but the screen is totally unresponsive. The data service often goes between 4G, 3G, and 1X all within 20 minutes of sitting in the exact same spot. You have to kludge together Outlook integration with a couple different apps that are hard to configure, whereas it's easy on the iPhone. The Gmail app UI is pretty bad. Voice quality is warbly. I can't believe I'm going to have to live with this thing for two years!