updated 12:50 pm EDT, Thu April 21, 2011
Samsung Droid Charge official, due April 28
Verizon today set a new price ceiling for non-iPhone devices by launching its second 4G phone, the Samsung Droid Charge. The new flagship phone uses the same LTE to hit an average 5-12Mbps in download speeds but focuses most on its image quality. It packs a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen that's sharper and easier to see outdoors than others and also comes with both an eight-megapixel back camera and a front 1.3-megapixel camera.
Inside, the phone is very similar to the several months-old Galaxy S with a 1GHz Hummingbird processor and Android 2.2, although Samsung has a unique edge over even the similarly 4G-equipped HTC Thunderbolt. Users can take of the hotspot creation feature to share either 3G or 4G with as many as ten devices, twice as many as what most are allowed to handle.
Samsung's Media Hub store and Swype's touchscreen keyboard layer both come stock.
The Droid Charge is Verizon's most expensive smartphone from a non-Apple phone designer in recent memory and will cost $300 on a two-year contract when it ships on April 28, as much as a 32GB iPhone 4 but without the same storage. An HTC Thunderbolt costs $250. Verizon helps justify the price by noting that it won't require a rebate to get the lower price.
We've tried the Droid Charge, both when it was called the i520 and last month, and found the connection fast but the phone itself limited. The Galaxy S-era hardware both feels slow in certain circumstances, primarily in navigating the browser, and may be a bottleneck on the connection speed as well. It's good in the hand for the size but may not necessarily have an advantage over the Thunderbolt, especially for those who prefer HTC's Sense interface over Samsung's TouchWiz.
Verizon has so far had mixed results selling 4G phones. It moved 260,000 Thunderbolts in the phone's first two weeks on sale, which was strong for most phones but was largely overshadowed by the cheaper iPhone 4.