Samsung's Droid Charge is a delicious, data-crunching smartphone that accelerates application use, thanks to Verizon Wireless' 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network.
I've been testing this Android 2.2-based smartphone with a 1GHz processor for a full week; I took it with me to Orlando, Fla., where I'd wager it was one of the fastest smartphones around at Research in Motion's Blackberry World developer show. That is, of course, unless there were any HTC ThunderBolts, which also scream on Verizon's 4G network.
Before I get into the Droid Charge's details, let me lend some context. First, you can't get the Droid Charge just yet. Verizon prematurely promised a delivery date of April 28, which is when I received my review unit.
Rumor had it that the Droid Charge was delayed due to the carrier's one-day, 4G network outage, though Verizon declined to confirm this. They're not sure when they're going to roll it out.
Nevertheless, the Droid Charge came with a pleasant surprise. I work from home in Fairfield County, Conn. When I reviewed the ThunderBolt in March, I tested it New York City because Connecticut was not one of the 45 markets Verizon is currently serving with its 4G LTE network.
I'm happy to say that Verizon is currently testing its 4G LTE network in Connecticut. Since I removed the Charge from its box April 28, I've consistently received three bars of 4G LTE service.
I checked with Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson, who told me: "We always test before we launch." There was also a smiley face after his quote. So there you have it, folks: Verizon's 4G LTE is here in Connecticut.
How good is it so far? After a full week of testing in Connecticut, including five days in Trumbull, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford, I am happy to report consistent download speeds of 4 to 11M bps and upload speeds of 3 to 5M bps.
So that's the news scoop. Now about the phone, which for me personally is the best Android smartphone I've put in my hand to date. Simply, I'm enamored of the hardware design and its 4G LTE performance.
I appreciate the black and sleek polished look and feel of Samsung's Galaxy S smartphones, such as the Fascinate, Vibrant and Captivate, but the Droid Charge with its 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus (super active-matrix organic LED plus) touch-screen and mirror-gray plastic back gets the grand prize from me thus far. It's muscular and powerful.
I wager that, at 5 ounces, the handset is the perfect weight for many people, particularly measured against the ThunderBolt, which weighs 6.23 ounces due to a bulky battery.
The Charge's 5 inches of length and sub-half-inch thick dimensions were perfectly proportioned. One knock is that, at 2.66 inches wide, the phone is too wide and may be uncomfortable for people with smaller hands (think women and children). This is where the longer design of the Motorola Droid X and HTC Evo 4G smartphones come in handy.