Should I replace my Droid Charge
May 25, 2012 5:40 PM   Subscribe

I got lemoned once, Should I upgrade my phone again? Is the grass as green as it looks? Android phone questions ensue.


Last summer I got my first smart phone, a Droid Charge, on the day it launched. Initially everything was fine, but life went downhill from there. For the first seven months a good portion of the hardware didn’t work until android 2.3 was finally released to the Droid Charge. Even after the upgrade the OS was buggy, slow, and had a tendency to crash and restart the phone a few times a week. A bit after I got mine Verizon pulled the phone from its shelves for a few months because it was preforming so terribly; this was a strong indicator to me I bought a lemon. People could never hear me over the phone; they said it sounded like I was far away. Every time I went in with this problem Verizon’s solution was to do a factory reset and due to a bug with the phone each reset did not carry my settings and apps over. Instead Google would treat it like it was another phone and not restore my settings. Finally when the screen would only display everything tinted blue Verizon sent me a replacement phone. It’s been generally working hardware wise. But it seems there is no prospect of updates or bug fixes in the future, which it desperately needs. It’s the phone Verizon and Samsung want to ignore. The third update it got even removed functionality. During daily use the phone feels slow, and is constantly low on RAM just maintaining the OS and software it came loaded with, and has a tendency to kill background apps and clear the home screen to clear enough RAM to run an app. Every time I quit any app the home screen is blank for 5 at least seconds until the phone recovers. Since this is my first smart phone I don’t know how much of this is standard and how much is just this particular model phone. It seems everyone else is having a much better time with their phones, and that this phone was basically a $250 mistake.

There is an upgrade on my plan that I can borrow from another line that won’t need it. I have been looking at phones the last week and there are two phones I think I would like, both of which have been out long enough to make it seem like they are not the flop the Charge was. I was thinking about either the Razor Maxx or the Galaxy Nexus. I am worried that I will spend the money to upgrade the phone, get the accessories for it, and then find it’s no better than what I have now. I also feel bad about getting another expensive phone when I already have one. I don’t want to throw more money down the drain. It seems the newer 4G phones are faster and have more RAM, along with way better software support. I expect the Nexus and Razor will receive way more support since one is developed by Google and the other’s company just got bought by Google.


So mefi, I am very frustrated right now (I have another replacement on the way since a button just broke on this one) and there is the possibility of an upgrade and I want to know how much of an improvement would I see if I upgraded? What phone do you recommend? Or am I better off calming down, sticking it out, and saving the money? I would like to stick with Android and I know newer and better phones come out all the time, so whatever I get will be outdated shortly, but I just learned being newest it not always best.
posted by token-ring to Technology (6 answers total)
How do you feel about rooting the Droid Charge and installing a cleaned up OS on it? I did that to my Droid charge, and it's been working 100% better since then.
posted by 254blocks at 5:54 PM on May 25, 2012

In a way, the CDMA Nexus isn't a "real" Nexus, because Verizon is still holding back updates for it, and there have been some complaints simmering online about it. So that may not improve matters, although I do think the hardware is better. The hardware from the Nexus is also Samsung, so... dunno. I will say, in my very limited time with it I thought it was lovely.

The Maxx has far and away the best battery life, but the screen isn't very good and somehow, Moto manages to make their Android phones feel really pokey even with massive hardware.

When I was looking at phones, about when the Charge came out, I ended up going with the Incredible 2 because it had more RAM. Android really benefits from having as much RAM as possible in my experience, and I also think that the HTC software is a little less incompetent than what Samsung usually comes up with. So if it were me, I would look at the HTC Rezound or wait a short while for the Incredible 4g.

Or, if you really don't want to worry about it any more, get an iphone. I like Android quite a lot but if you don't need the customization it offers I do think the iphone is quite a bit better out of the box.

Another option is, how much of a pain in the ass are you willing to be with Verizon? If you point out that they sold you a piece of garbage persistently enough, they may give you a new phone to get rid of you.

And 254blocks has a good point; if you strip out all the Samsung tripeware it will probably run a lot better. Try a third party launcher, at the very least.
posted by selfnoise at 6:28 PM on May 25, 2012


That has been something I have been considering, I briefly looked at that and there seems to be fewer options for ROMS on the Charge. Did you add a ROM or just root and remove software?
posted by token-ring at 6:31 PM on May 25, 2012

I rooted and installed the same ROM that's on the phone, but debloated. I followed the instructions on this video:

I never updated to FP1, but if I had, I suppose I would have used this video:
posted by 254blocks at 7:13 PM on May 25, 2012

I would recommend the Galaxy Nexus to anybody. I got one. Back in February - my first android phone after years of crummy blackberries - and it still feels like I'm in the future every time I use it. I've had zero issues whatsoever. Because it's a Nexus, it's very easy to root and there's a hugely active development community for it, both CDMA and GSM versions - so if you're willing to go down that route, it doesn't really matter that Verizon are holding back updates.

You might be able to solve a lot of your problems by rooting your current phone, but if you have the option to upgrade to the nexus i'd take it. It's an incredible device that can stand up to anything else I've seen.
posted by Ted Maul at 1:29 AM on May 26, 2012

Sounds like I am going to go the root and ROM route first and try to save the $200 bucks on a new phone. What was the name of the ROM you used 254blocks? Or does anyone have any recommendations of which ROM to try? I never really kept up with whats out there so picking a ROM is untested waters for me.
posted by token-ring at 9:25 AM on May 26, 2012

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