Samsung’s Droid Charge is the latest high-end Android smartphone from Verizon. It carries a premium price – but it’s not worth it.
The Charge is one of the first phones capable of accessing Verizon’s new 4G network, joining the HTC Thunderbolt that I reviewed in April and the recently released LG Revolution. The three phones are fairly similar. They each have 1-gigahertz processors, large 4.3-inch touch screens and run Android 2.2, which is a recent, but not the latest, release of the operating system.
But the Charge stands out from the others because of its weight, battery life and storage capacity. The device weighs just 4 ounces, which makes it lighter than Apple’s iPhone 4G despite having a much larger screen. It feels light in the hand, too, if a bit bulky thanks to its oversize screen.
Samsung promises about 11 hours of use out of the Charge between charges, which dwarfs the promised battery life of the iPhone or the Charge’s rival 4G devices. I didn’t get anywhere near that much use out of the Charge. But unlike the Thunderbolt, which always seemed to be out of juice when I wanted to use it, the Charge usually endured a good day of off-and-on use without needing to be recharged.
Another nice thing about the Charge compared with the Revolution or the Thunderbolt is that it includes a 32-gigabyte SD card. That’s comparable to the storage built into the similarly priced, top-of-the-line iPhone and four times as much as other 4G Verizon devices. It will give you ample room to store apps, music or even movies.
One way Android phone makers have tried to distinguish themselves is by offering a distinct interface in the form of customized buttons, home screens or widgets. The Charge has a row of virtual buttons you see when you pull down its notifications window. The buttons allow you to instantly turn on or off items such as the Charge’s Wi-Fi antenna or its ability to access data over the cellphone network.