garbage October 21, 2011
This is one of the worst pieces of technology I have worked with. It stalls out, does not sync email with exchange (HUGE PROBLEM) and overall not user friendly. I had this phone for three weeks and went through 3, finally switched to a different product.
Bad Battery August 14, 2011
Reviewer: james wu "jiminy" (ny) -
the Samsung Charge is aptly named, because it needs a charge all the time.
i use the phone both for business and recreation.
i bought the phone for all the bells and whistles, particularly the 4G hotspot, and ability to view Netflix.
the bells and whistles on the phone are decent, but the phone does not fulfill its capabilities well because it's power hungry and if you are not plugged in you get little life out of the phone.
for Netflix, 30-45 minutes from a full charge.
for GPS, 1-hour tops from a full charge.
for ordinary usage, email, phone calls, it has never lasted past late afternoon. admittedly, i have a busy worklife, i'm on the phone a lot, i email alot, i like to read the news on the phone, and i expect my phone to last a full working day, or at least 8-hours. this has never happened.
i travel with a charger and i've bought a spare battery.
the phone is good for what it can do, but it is a reach too far for its own capacity. a better battery would've made the phone functional.
instead, it is too often a doorstop and i have begun to look for other options.
Great Android Phone/Computer July 16, 2011
Reviewer: Steve Cohan (Phoenix, Arizona) -
I have owned a computer company for 25 years so I guess you could say that I have some experience with technology. When the Blackberry Storm came out I stood in line at a Verizon store at 5:00 am in order to be one of the 1st to own one. I sold it on craigslist.com a month later. I did not like the phone. I reactivated my previous phone. After a friend was raving about his iPhone, I decided to try another upgrade so I visited a Verizon store again. I met with a very patient Verizon representative who spent 2 hours with me picking out a phone. I read Internet reviews on her computer in the store. I chose the Charge for 3 important reasons. The memory chip and battery are user replaceable and the display is awesome. I wanted the freedom to swap memory chips and the ability to change the battery myself.
The first thing that I did was download the user manual from the Samsung Web site. I took it into Kinkos and had them duplex print it (print on both sides of the page) and also bind the manual. The manual is 159 pages long and much more comprehensive than the user book that comes in the box with the phone.
A couple times a week, the phone gets buggy. I mean like 2 times a week. I reboot and everything is cool. I have XMradio in the house and for a very small monthly fee I am able to get it on the phone paired with my home unit. My auto radio has an input for a stereo miniplug and I can play XM from the phone through my car stereo. You don't need to buy the Verizon cable. Any stereo miniplug cable will work. The service can be a little erratic but I rate it very good.
I have read lots of negative comments about the battery life. However, I find it to be very good. I am not an App nut so I can't comment on that. The camera is pretty cool and even has some SLR kinds of adjustments. It's nice to be able to take a pic and upload it to Facebook immediately. It also shoots video and does an acceptable job. The speaker phone is very good and the phone has some pretty intuitive software making it very usable. I often use the speech to text feature when driving and it's surprisingly accurate.
I highly recommend the phone.
Managing battery life July 10, 2011
Reviewer: A. Graham
Have had this Charge for a few weeks and being new to Droid the biggest adjusment has been battery life. Not in a 4G area so set to cdma. Have found that juice defender, at least for me, isn't working properly- 3g connectivity doesn't happen or takes 5 min. or more to come up. I continue to wait for them to fix with the Charge. Have the screen brightness at 15-20%..So, after a couple nights out and having my battery run dry after 3-4 hours, have been determined to figure out how people are saying they get 10+ hours of life. Here's what I've learned..unless you are using wifi, blue tooth, gps, google location, mobile data, shut them all off. It requires actively using and monitoring the drop down menu, the power widget, settings, and I use spare parts to check battery status (instead of taking an extra step within settings.) You'll receive calls and texts, but if you want to see if you've got email, use certain apps, surf the web, use location services, just turn them all on and off as needed. Now my phone doesn't die quickly with very little use if away from a charger.
Now that I've gotten to know the phone better (and developed above habits), my initial review seems a little harsh/extreme. To be clearer, I have wifi in my apt and at work and can leave it connected all day long and think I'd get close to 10 hours of life with moderate use. But if I see it drop to 70% battery level, I'll charge it, just so I'm prepared with adequate life when I head out. I think my experience with the battery draining quickly had to do with leaving mobile data on (and maybe gps and google location, too- not sure if that eats battery when not being used or not.) Anyway, I'm very happy with the phone and the battery life isn't as much of an issue for me now.
Recommend getting the Samsung desktop dock- charges the phone, plus an additional battery. There are some days where you're going to want that extra charged battery to take along with you. Nice also as serves as travel clock/alarm..can attach portable speakers for music or watching video.
(I have to admit) "It's Getting Better All The Time" June 27, 2011
Reviewer: steve (LAS VEGAS, NV, United States) -
I nearly made a big mistake. I had decided based on specs and reviews to get this phone, but when we went to the store to check it out, the web access on their display model was very glitchy. So my wife and I decided to get iphones. Couple of days later, I went into a different store to take a 2nd look at the iphone, and ended up looking at the Droid Charge again.
Awesome! I compared picture and video quality and found both on the Charge to be superior to the IPhone. Web access was also smooth and fast.
We've had the phones now for a couple of days and I'm excited as a kid on Christmas morning every time I use it. (Confession: I'm new to smartphones, so that may account for some it.) The screen is beautiful, big, crystal clear and bright- what more could you ask for? I live in Vegas and we have 4G coverage, so it's fast. Just made my first call and was pleased to find that the call quality was crisp and clear. (Seems like that would be a no-brainer, but from some of the reviews I've read, apparently it's not.)
It's a bit large, the small price you pay for that big screen, but the shell/hoslter combo (by Verizon, with a kickstand!)that I got to hold it works perfectly. I don't know how practical it would be to try and carry it in my pocket, and I've always worn phones on my belt, so this works exactly like every other phone I've carried- only 10,000,000 times better, of course...
Verizon wanted $350 for the phone. AmazonWirelss sells it for $180. Hello....? Very happy with AmazonWirelss and ecstatic with the phone.
Great battery life; Stellar voice quality; FAST! June 14, 2011
I have had this phone for a little over two weeks now, and I just love it! I am consistently surprised bythe battery life of this phone Today i shot and uploaded two several minute long videos, played an hour of Pandora Radio, surged the net, read for half an hour on Kindle, made a few phone calls, and played a.bit of Unblock Me. I still have over 60% battery left, and it is now 10 Pm (I had taken the phone off the charger at 7 AM )
For the most part the voice is crystal.clear, especially when you hold it to your ear, but the speaker also works well.
And oh my gosh but the DL speed when using 4G is incredible! !! It beats the WiFi speeds. It has gone out once or twice, but not for more than a min pr two But that's a Verizon issue, not a Charge issue
I love the video on this phone, and i takes a very decent picture as well
I highly recommend this phone if only for the sheer customization. I recommend Google Voice Light if you don't want to spend extra cash for Visual Voicemail I also recommend Go Launcher I have experienced no bugs with it at all.
Hope this helps. Enjoy!
Comparison to the Thunderbolt June 1, 2011
Reviewer: E. Hall
Having now purchased the Thunderbolt and the Charge during the first week each phone was on the market, I have a sense for the pros and cons of each phone. Below, find my observations of each phone:
Screen - The Charge has both a brighter and more distinctive screen. It is easier to see in direct sunlight (but neither phone is a pleasure to use outside.) However, both screens are more than adequate and even pleasing.
Speed - Once again, both phones are quite fast, with the edge going to the Thunderbolt. I use the phone in a 4G area, and 3G speeds quickly become annoying once you have had the benefit of 4g. One MAJOR difference between the Thunderbolt and the Charge can be found in their respective abilities to connect to 4G in buildings. I never had a problem with the Thunderbolt in my office or restaurants. However, the Charge quickly reverts to 3G inside. Perhaps I have a defective Charge, and Verizon has agreed to send a new unit, so I will let you know if it is the Charge or just my phone.
Battery - By now you have all heard about the Thunderbolt battery issues. I returned my Thunderbolt for just this reason. The Charge was reported to be much better. However, it is only marginally better. You will need either a second battery or a charger for either phone if you rely on the phone for internet access. Fortunately, I found a great option. The Trent iCruiser IMP1000 11000mAh External Battery Pack and Charger is the savior of the 4G smartphone. It has about 6 or 7 times the capacity of the internal battery. It will both power and charge the phone and is about the size of a small external drive. There are smaller versions both from this manufacturer and others. The benefit of the external battery is that you can still use protective cases and other accessories which are not usable with the extended internal battery.
Size - The Charge is bigger than the Thunderbolt (but not as heavy). These phones are fast approaching the size of a small tablet. They both fit in my shirt pocket, but the days of the compact pants pocket phone are gone.
Other issues - My Charge has turned itself off twice in the past five days. I do not know what has caused this problem, but if you are relying on the phone for an important call and find it has turned itself off, you may long for the days of the old flip phone. With respect to the Thunderbolt, I was constantly pressing the volume control button while holding the phone. Also, the kickstand being installed upside down (you cannot use the stand and charge the phone at the same time), was indicative lack of forethought, at least as to small issues.
Summary - I am afraid that the current 4G phones are not quite ready for prime time. Nonetheless, I am hooked and am not willing to wait for Verizon to implement their tiered pricing plan before getting the "perfect" phone. I will keep the Charge and live with the issues I have described above (as long as the new replacement phone does not turn itself off as well). For me, the better screen, the more ergonomic layout of the buttons (including real push buttons rather than touch sensor buttons), and the better phone performance (both in terms of hearing the caller and the clarity of the message to the person being called) were the deciding factors. However, you can get a better deal on the Thunderbolt and at least for now there are more (and cheaper) accessories for the Thunderbolt, including cases.
"You pays your money and you takes your chances." Good Luck!
Absolute worst September 6, 2011
Reviewer: Julia Nelson (Bethesda, MD) -
I had such high hopes for this phone. My first smart phone. UNFORTUNATELY THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST piece of junk. Cannot get a reliable browser or hotspot wifi connection despite having a strong signal in my area. They replaced the SIM card, said it would fix the problem. IT DID NOT. They are sending me a refurbished replacement to see if it improves. Now I have to use the throwaways from someone else? I paid full price for this phone and it is the worst.
I am paying for a data package and hotspot phone and Verizon won't give me credit even thought I can't get on the internet!! The only nice thing is the screen clarity. This helps you see the error message when not able to connect to internet.
Not Ready for Primetime August 22, 2011
Reviewer: Tom Barrister (Florida) -
The Charge certainly has a lovely display, and LTE (Verizon's version of 4G) is definitely fast for a phone, but the phone has problems that need to be fixed:
There are plenty of reviews that deal with the phone's features, and with its good and bad points. This review is mainly about the problems that I had with the phone.
I'm not a newcomer to Android phones; I've had one or another since the G1 came out for T-Mobile. I know what to do in order to increase battery life, make the phone operate faster, etc.
DATA SPEED: 4G speed was in the 5-8 Mb/s range, while 3G clocked at 1.4-1.8 Mb/s. This was in a smaller metro area, population-wise. I'm told that LTE/4G speeds in large cities can be faster.
DISPLAY: The display looks good, although the colors didn't always seem to be correct. It also seemed to be over-saturated (the colors were unrealistically rich). I'm not a camera user, so I have no opinion on how that works.
Here are the problems:
INTERFACE: The Charge's TouchWiz is annoyingly slow. Screen-changing lags considerably until all of the many preinstalled widgets are removed; that helps speed things up a bit. Selecting a shortcut can take up to 45 seconds from the time the home-screen is pressed until all of the various menus. This can be alleviated somewhat by getting a different launcher (i.e. Go Launcher EX), but it still lags more than other phones I've had.
SCREEN BUG WHILE IN CALL: Don't plan on using the Charge for anything else while you're making a call, unless you have it on the home screen. Exiting via the Menu or Back buttons brings you to the home screen---and the phone's screen will then turn on and off, seemingly at will. Unlock the screen, and it will turn back off. Trying to slide to a different screen instantly turns it back off. I was able to exit to the main screen and QUICKLY choose an icon, but the screen still turned on and off.
LIGHT SENSOR BUGGED: The screen changed back and forth from dim to bright, even with the phone in a stationary location. This happened on many apps and long before the the screen timeout of 2 minutes was reached.
BATTERY LIFE IS HORRIBLE: After tweaking everything to conserve battery and even installing 2X Battery Saver to turn off the data connection when the screen was off, the phone still only lasted about 4 hours, this with very light usage. It may last longer than the Thunderbolt, but it certainly isn't acceptable to me. If you insist on getting this phone, you should consider buying an extended-life battery, carrying an extra battery (or two) around, or keeping a charger nearby.
GPS: The GPS took almost 2 minutes to find the satellites and get an exact fix, even standing outside in an open area.
The Charge doesn't quite seem ready for prime-time, a problem that seems to plague all Samsung
Android phones that I've seen.
Junk August 17, 2011
I had this phone for a week. Should have known when they provided extra battery with the dock. I killed one battery in one week. The phone constantly froze up. 4 g phones arent there yet. Gamers and kids are getting sucked in.
Ex Droid X Lover, Loves This Phone May 21, 2011
Reviewer: George E. Love (Sandston, Va United States) -
I am not a writer, but I do think I know cell phones, for I am a junkie. I eat and sleep cell phone news and when I became aware of this phone coming out, I went out to Verizon to check it out, with no intention of bringing it home. Once I saw how beautiful the display was and how fast it was, I decided to give it a try, making sure Verizon understood that I would bring it back within the 14 day period if I was not happy. Sound quality is very important to me, for I am hard of hearing, so I needed to be able to return it, if calls were not clear. To make a long story short, the display is out of this world, I can download or update 10 apps in the time it use to take me to do one on my Droid X, the sound quality is excellent (you really have to turn the speaker down when you which over to speaker for the sound becomes distorted), the phone must weight about a third of my Droid X. This phone is a keeper. Also, some how Samsung or Motorola has finally figured out how to put 50 or 60 apps on your phone and they aren't always crashing. Battery life is unreal and there is a larger battery if you want it. If you must have one complaint, it would be the speaker phone switch over volume - you really have to turn it down, but that is my only little complaint. Needless to say, I am keeping the phone :) Oh, I took advantage of Verizon's Trade In Program and got $96.00 for my old Droid X, which helps with the high price of the Charge.
Beautiful Display and Solid Battery Life May 16, 2011
Reviewer: T. Every "titan"
I'm going to keep this short, rescueswimmer review pretty much touch on everything I was going to say, I suggest reading his, here are the main points I agree with
1. Light and thin
2. Beautiful display, best I've seen or used
3. LED notification needed
4. Love it or hate it with Touchwiz
5. Good Battery Life
I had owned a Thunderbolt for about a week before returning it for this; so far I'm glad I did. The battery life and screen quality really make the Charge a better choice for me.
Also, though somewhat superficial and a matter of opinion, I find the design of the Charge to be a little bit more stylish, not once did anyone comment on my Thunderbolt, while I have had numerous compliments and questions about the Charge in just a matter of days.
Two nice advantages of the Thunderbolt was that it did not use slippery plastic, far easier to grip, also HTC is known to provide updates sooner then Samsung.
Both phones are winners, I'm sure the next round of Dual Cores will be even better, but I think most will still find a 4G single core to be quite fast for your standard needs.
Droid Charge **DON'T BUY** November 24, 2011
This is the worst droid phone I have ever had. It is nothing but problems. a 4G phone thats usually in 3G and even looses that connection. You have to toggle the airport mode to get your data back working. Sometimes when you take a picture with the flash your phone will shut off. The Navigation takes forever and a day to calculate. I swear the droid one functioned better then this. I'm on my third one now. Turns out they are all afflicted with the same problems. Not worth the money and certainly not worth the aggravation.
Worst Phone I Have Ever Owned November 19, 2011
Reviewer: M. Poellinger (Naperville, IL USA) -
This phone is all promise and no performance. The first few weeks were fine and i enjoyed the super fast LTE network speeds. Then things started to go awry. First the GPS lock seemed to take longer and longer until today (4 months later) if someone else has a smartphone we use theirs GPS as my Samsung Charge may or may not work, may or may not lock up, may or may not have a data connection.
The Samsung Charge has a myriad of online GPS lock complaints. The GPS functionality has degraded to the point I have to use a stand alone device in the car because the Samsung Charge GPS is more nonfunctional than functional. Plus I want to avoid the frustration of painfully coaxing usability from my device.
Then came the data connection drops. The icon indicates a 4G network connection but the connection has dropped. It used to reset with a reboot, but now it may take several reboots and reacquiring a data connection is not alway possible. Again time to use someone else's phone.
Then came the messaging problems. I sent a picture MMS at 7:20 AM one day and it took until after 5 PM for the message to be received. I send messages that are never received or received even days later. There are times yet again that I have to use another phone to send a message.
Now I have a locking up problem that requires battery removal to reset. I hate this phone. It is the worst developed half baked software running on a suspected defective platform (Samsung Charge) and the users of this phone have to deal with Samsung and Verizon sticking their collective heads in the sand when asked to comment on an update road map or even when asked about the problems. Verizon is very inconsistent with their responses to these problems and reek of avoiding the truthful reality. There are some interesting screen captures of Verizon being all over the place on the Gingerbread OTA and giving different answers to the same complaints. I think it odd that many of the the tech support representatives I speak with seem to have a Samsung Charge that works 100% as expected. Well just Google: "Samsung Charge sucks" and standby for the pages of comments and complaints.
My phone is basically unusable as a smart phone. I have delayed a warranty replacement as I have read of folks getting multiple replacement Charges and the problems persist across multiple devices. Where was this phone Beta tested? Because I feel like an Alpha tester. How this phone made RTM I will never know. It sure shakes any confidence I had in Samsung and Verizon as technology companies. They are all marketing and service sellers, the devices are a necessary evil for their profitability which seems to trump customer satisfaction.
After another unusable Samsung Charge episode while traveling I finally broke down and accepted Verizon's offer to replace the phone under warranty. I am not very confident that the data connection problems are easily resolvable. It appears that the Verizon LTE roll out has network wide data connection problems going back to the first 4g device and the data connection issues are common across all 4G LTE phones. Droid Bionic the latest to experience the all too familiar data drops.
This is what happens when marketers run technology companies. All glitz and fancy ads and the actual technology and customer satisfaction is secondary to "winning."
Run, don't walk away from the Samsung Charge and read up on the Verizon LTE issues before buying into their 4G hype.
drops signal, consumes battery, GPS takes 5 minutes November 19, 2011
Reviewer: Rob Greene (Colorado Springs, Co) -
I cannot say enough BAD things about this phone. I'm on my second phone, having replaced the first one, and both have the same problems. (1) This Phone/PDA can be sitting on the table while I reading news and it losses the tower. Phones switches from 4G to 1g then no signal. In a couple of minutes the signal comes back. Is this the service or the phone? I have seen this behavior in 5 locations across two states, so I'm thinking it's the phone. (2) While I have seen days where the battery is still 50% after 16 hours, at least 2 times a week, something will happen and the battery will loose 10% an hour. Best solution is to turn it off, back on, and recharge the battery. (3) I can leave the house or work for a jog, and it takes the GPS 5 to 10 minutes to figure out where I am. Once it's tracking me, it can still loose me for 5 minutes at a time. This has happened in 4 locations (home, work, 2 favorite parks) all at locations that my 2 year old Motorola Droid had no problems with. I cant imagine how bad this would be trying to use the GPS for driving instructions.
Plain and Simple: The battery does not last my 8 working hours October 14, 2011
Reviewer: Juan M. Casas "juli81" (US) -
It is a great phone... if you can plug it during the day. Otherwise you better have some additional batteries handy.
Seriously, even if were the best phone ever, what's the point if the battery does not last more than 5-6 hours with normal use.
Mildly dated superphone; gorgeous display July 9, 2011
Reviewer: Scott Mccool (Hoboken, NJ) -
I joined the rush to get in on at least two years of unlimited LTE data and made the switch to Verizon by ordering a Charge for myself and an [[ASIN:B004WKBW60 HTC DROID INCREDIBLE 2 Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)]] for my wife. We're both switching from an AT&T Iphone 3g and use the phone as our only personal phones. I've used a [[ASIN:B0042RUOFI T-Mobile G2 with Google Android Phone (T-Mobile)]] as my work phone for the past 8 months or so.
Overview: The high end Android phone ecosystem moves very fast, and at this point the Charge has some minor shortcomings already pointed out in other reviews, namely it's lack of RAM and "dated" single core processor. This has not impacted me yet, and games like Plants vs. Zombies and Fieldrunners both play smoothly; every day phone UI navigation is as snappy as you could want. Additionally, the phone is still shipping with Android 2.2 which is a definite step back in terms of functionality and speed compared to 2.3, though some of these shortcomings are covered by Touchwiz, the UI layer Samsung puts on their phone (toggles in notification bar, etc).
Size: The charge is a big phone, make no mistake. That said, I was surprised to put my iPhone 3g and the incredible 2 next to it. It's bigger in most dimensions, but not noticeably so. I expected to need a belt holster (fashion faux-pax or not), and may still buy one, but it's certainly pocketable (at least with the relatively baggy khaki's I wear to work). It feels good in the hand, though it's a little bit slippery. I would prefer capacitive buttons, but the physical buttons are growing on me, and my phone seems well put together.
Display: The display is the reason to buy this phone. Absolutely stunning blacks and just a beautiful screen. Readable at nearly any angle and in bright, direct sunlight, it's by far the best display I've ever had on a phone. The display justifies the purchase to me completely.
Software: As mentioned above, to this date the phone is still running 2.2, which I find a little ridiculous for a flagship LTE phone, but enterprise software development is what it is. This is my first Touchwiz phone and I don't mind it, though Sense seems to have a better collection of default widgets. I switched to Go Launcher immediately. Verizon has positively stuffed this phone with bloatware. There is plenty of space available, but no way to remove all the vcast apps, verizon navigation, or other bundled junk. While I understand an alarming percentage of smartphone customers never load their own apps, there is a much better way to do this -- put stubs in so that on first launch the app is installed, and make those stubs removable/hideable.
Performance: I've only had the phone for a short while at this point, but it's snappy and responsive with only occasional lag after lots of app start/stops and navigation, mostly seen while first customizing the phone. Battery life seems acceptable and I'm sure I'll get through at least a long day (which includes some time without service in subway tunnels, during which I'm probably playing a graphically intense game, an hour or so playing podcasts or music, and an average number of data widgets running).
Network: I haven't traveled far yet, but I'm switching from AT&T (and use a T-Mobile HSPA+ phone for work). I live in the NYC area. So far the coverage is living up to it's reputation, lasting longer into subway platforms, stronger inside buildings, and quicker to acquire a signal when coming in from poor coverage. The 4G/LTE network is blazing fast and absolutely worth the premium verizon charges for their plans.
Misc: I had some trouble with the order and activation process. Amazon shipped very quickly and we were porting numbers. The phones could not be activated until the day after they were received because the port request had been held. I understand the reasoning, but it was a bit inconvenient. Unfortunately once I did get the phone activated I ran into my next problem -- everything worked flawlessly, except the _phone_. I can place and receive calls, but there is no audio for either party. Verizon support confirmed this was a hardware problem and sent me to the store; the store redid all the troubleshooting and reached the same conclusion, only to tell me because I'd purchased from Amazon I couldn't in fact get a replacement from them. Reasonable enough, but the phone support should have been able to tell me that. Amazon customer service was fast and efficient, overnighting a replacement phone.
Conclusion: Early: At this point having passed the unlimited data cut-off, I would strongly consider waiting on the Galaxy SII, which should have at least as good a display and slightly updated hardware and software. That said, if you need something today (as I did trying to beat the data limit clause) this phone is worth the discounted price Amazon is selling it for. I'm relatively confident I can live with it happily for two years, though if updates remain slow I may be rooting it to keep up on the software side.
I will update this review after living with the phone for a week or two.
OK phone, but DO NOT use Juice Defender/battery saving apps that will break the phone's data July 9, 2011
Please note this review has been heavily edited three times since its original posting.
The major flaws as I see them are:
1. The GPS is terrible on this phone,takes forever to lock and is always off by a good bit. Unreliable for driving.
2. TouchWiz 3.0 UI lags
3. There are far too many pre-installed apps
4. The 3G connectivity can get "stuck"
5. See edit notes: the Droid Charge will NOT be getting Android 2.3, so next update is a ways off and will be a jump to 2.4
I really don't know what the GPS's problem is. It all started sometime in October of 2011. The GPS, in my opinion, just doesn't work and the reports by almost every current Droid Charge owner is that GPS is completely unreliable on the phone. There are no words on a fix from Samsung. I am really hoping I can get Verizon to replace this phone with a new 4G phone.
TouchWiz 4.0, on other Samsung phones, is much snappier and I assume the Charge will see it when it gets Android 2.4 (see edit notes, due in Q4 2011). Alternately you can install a different launcher App from the market and get rid of TouchWiz 4.0.
For #3, the phone is simple enough to root and remove the unwanted apps (and simple enough to unroot back to stock)
#4 is a tough one. This phone does have problems with restoring connectivity whenever one of the data connections is shut off. This happens when:
a) you live on the border of a 4G area and constantly swap between 3G/4G
b) have an APP that turns the connections off (Juice Defender or other battery saving APPs being a main culprit)
c) do not have the phone set to "wake up" data connections upon data packets being sent
For A, this is something Verizon is aware of and working on. However, it is unknown if there is a fix. Switching to 3G only does seem to fix this (unless B or C are affecting you). Still I've had the phone seemingly lose data connection for no reason in 3G or 4G mode.
For B, there are no working battery-saving APPs that I am aware of that work well with the Droid Charge. Juice Defender will 100% make the phone not function as expected. Wouldn't be so bad if the battery didn't die so quickly with everything turned on.
For C, check under settings (don't have the phone on me to check exactly what it is called) to make sure to connect to mobile data whenever a data packet is sent.
Now that I'm past the bad points, there are some positives to this phone:
1. Its a 4G phone and 4G is amazingly fast in my area (Upstate SC)
2. Beautiful screen (it convinced me to buy this over the Thunderbolt)
3. 32 Gb storage (where else were they going to put all the bloatware?).
In conclusion, the Samsung Droid Charge is an acceptable 4G phone, but the buyer has to be aware of the possible data connectivity issues. Reading other reviews and doing A LOT of investigative work with my phone, I've all but eliminated the problem and realized in the long run had my phone been set up properly to begin with and had not had Juice Defender installed, I would not have had as many issues as I did.
My recommendations for anyone that does keep this phone:
1. If you live on the edge of a 4G area, turn off 4G. Constantly swapping from 3G to 4G will kill the battery and your patience.
2. Charge the phone to full every day
3. Consider rooting it and removing the bloatware
4. DO NOT install any battery saving Apps that turn off data
Edit 7/10/11: Through some research I found out the Droid Charge will NOT be getting Android 2.3. The next planned upgrade is straight to 2.4, which means any fix for the TouchWiz UI is unlikely. The 2.4 update probably won't be around until late Q4 2011. This is another strike against this phone. I've updated the review to reflect this.
Edit 7/12/11: I have resolved most of my worst issues and have moved this from a 1-star to a 4-star review as I like the phone and an unfortunate string of missteps lead me to hate it in the first place. Missteps that should have been avoided.
Edit 12/1/11: Back down to 2 stars. There are still data connectivity issues with this phone in 4G or 3G. It just stops working randomly even when the signal strength is excellent. Also the GPS, at some point, just stopped workind and from the notes of other Droid Charge owners, its a problem with the Droid Charge, not just my phone. GPS is completely unreliable.
OK phone, unreliable data network July 4, 2011
The phone is not bad. The Verizon data service where I live in a relatively large coastal NC city is unreliable and inadequate. That therefore makes this Verizon phone subpar. A $45. per month no contract Straight Talk phone had better data service than this phone.
Do not use much data- around two GB per month typically. Yet, the claimed 3G data connection is constantly slow, frequently intermittent or completely unavailable at times. Have five or four bar tower reception. That makes this device unreliable. It looks like I will need to carry another no contract phone in order to insure reliable data service which is what I must have when I need it for what I do.
The phone communication is reliable and works fine all the time. It has fair voice quality per Consumer Reports. Can deal with the weak voice quality but not the way data is unreliable or unavailable from the network for protracted periods.
Verizon apparently does not have the infastructure needed to meet the demand for data service for its paying customers in this area. Yet, it regularly pays large cash dividends to its shareholders. Those are twisted priorities there. Will likely change providers when my two year contract is up. Straight Talk had better and cheaper service than what I have now.
July 6, 2012: Have to restart the phone frequently sometimes. Whith a battery removal restart now and then. Otherwise the phone works pretty good when Verizon is not throttling its data service. They clain to have 4G service here now. It is still the same old subpar data service as before. If I used a lot of data, could understand it but I don't.
Good phone, Solid performance May 31, 2011
First Android phone and I have no complaints. Came over from ATT and an iphone 3gs. One disclaimer-I bought the phone from a Verizon store (paying more) but have had zero problems with it. They checked it out and set it up prior to leaving the store. I am not implying that saving money on Amazon is a bad idea, I almost did it, but it seems that some of the people that have had poor reviews may have faired better getting the phone direct from the source. Battery life is what you would expect from a phone of this caliber. The phone does many things, and if you run it intensely, you will run down the battery. The maps and navigation function replaces the need for a Garmin. Phone feels lightweight, but does not feel cheap as some have noted with the plastic backing. Camera is great. Enjoy the ability to customize the phone function, unlike my iPhone. I also find the Samsung UI to be intuitive and similar to iOS. Seen some Android purists complain about it, but I could care less. 4G LTE where I live and the phone flies when I use it. No complaints so far, solid phone.