Droid Bionic on Sale Now; Here’s What Reviews Are Saying

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Nine months after announcing the Droid Bionic at CES 2011, Motorola and Verizon Wireless have finally birthed their first dual-core, 4G LTE smartphone.

The oft-delayed Android handset goes on sale today for $300 with a two-year agreement. Specs include a 4.3-inch qHD display with 960-by-540 resolution, a 1 GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a front-facing VGA camera, 16 GB of built-in storage and a 16 GB microSD card. It runs Android 2.3 software, also known as Gingerbread.

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Some gadget reviewers have already tested the Droid Bionic, and they’re mostly feeling good about the high-powered handset. Here’s a round up of Droid Bionic reviews for your perusal:

This is My Next’s Joshua Topolsky liked the Bionic’s design:

“If you’ve seen Motorola’s Droid X or Droid X2, you’ll have a pretty good sense of what the Bionic looks and feels like. The phone … has the same unusual, sloped build with which Motorola seems to be in serious “like” with. Like other 4G phones on Verizon’s network, the Bionic is somewhat thicker than its 3G counterparts, coming in at 0.43 inches versus the X2’s 0.39 inches. As big a device as it is, it doesn’t feel quite as chunky as entries like the Charge, and the build quality certainly seems more solid.

It just comes off like a nice, expensive device (fitting, given the price tag). While it is a bit heavier than many other Android phones on offer, it never feels bulky.”

TIME’s own Harry McCracken was impressed with the Bionic’s 4G speeds:

“You might see different results in your neighborhood, but there’s no doubt about it: The Bionic is one fast phone. Web pages that take seconds to load on most phones snap into view, and it’s one of the few mobile devices I’ve seen that does a decent job of streaming Flash video. Motorola also bundles an app called ZumoCast that lets you stream video, music, and other files stored on your home PC across the LTE network and onto the phone. And unlike Verizon’s older 3G network, LTE lets you talk on the phone while using the Internet at the same time.”

But USA Today’s Mark W. Smith offers a word of caution about blazing-fast data:

“In just a week of heavy use of the Bionic, I amassed nearly 6 GB of data usage, so customers will have to be careful how much data they use with the fast 4G connection. It’s now easier to use a lot more data.”

TechCrunch’s Jordan Crook liked the Bionic’s performance, although it wasn’t flawless:

“There’s no doubt whatsoever that the Bionic is snappy. It handled just about everything I threw at it (some games, a little web browsing, and some Hulu-style video playback) with no problem at all. But I did expect loading the apps themselves would be faster. There was a bit of a lag opening up some games, the camera, and the browser.”

CNet’s Nicole Lee snapped pretty pictures, but still wanted more from the camera:

“We have to admit we’re a little disappointed that it’s not a dual LED flash, or the dual Xenon flash that we saw at CES. We’re also not pleased with a slight shutter lag–if we moved even a little bit, the image would appear a touch blurry. Still, the results impressed us. Photo quality was pretty good. Images looked tack-sharp, and colors were accurate.”

Gizmodo’s Brent Rose had nitpicks with the display:

“While it was bright and extremely responsive to touch, the PenTile technology used in Motorola’s qHD display makes it super harsh on the eyes. Everything looks super grainy. And this isn’t the first Motorola phone with this problem. Any time you’re looking at black text on a white background you’re due for some eye scrunching.”

Let’s give Harry McCracken the last word, which actually appears early in his story:

The latest model in Verizon Wireless’s Droid line, the Bionic is probably the most potent smartphone on the market in terms of raw horsepower and bountiful features. (If history is any example, it’ll soon be trumped by an even more souped-up model, which will itself have only a short reign at the top.)

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