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The Biggest Droid Bionic Glitch That Every Review Missed

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Twenty-two months into the life of my original Motorola Droid, I was more than ready to jump ship.

Countless smartphones of exceptional quality had been launched and were enjoyed by many while my Droid -- albeit relatively solid in the first year or so -- was dying a slow death. Aside from a sluggish response time and a hardware keyboard that remained dormant because of Swype, the biggest issue I dealt with was a wholly awful headphone jack.

As seen in the forum here, Motorola used exceptionally poor construction in the Droid's headphone jack, which caused it to loosen after only a couple weeks, producing audio dropouts and deafening pops and crackles. Since I used my Droid as a media player first and a phone second, this was a constant annoyance. But I soldiered on, believing my next phone would be free of any audio problems.

Unfortunately, the Droid Bionic is not this phone.

I patiently waited for the Droid Bionic's release after its grand unveiling at the start of this year. When its launch date was announced and pre-release models began making their way to tech blogs, I pored through every review, analyzed every fault, and weighed every issue.

Expensive? Eh, OK.

BLUR skin? Doesn't look terrible.

Pentile screen? Ugh, fine. I'll deal.

Glitchy camera? Well, I'll hope for a software fix.

By and large, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive and pushed me to jump into the water within a few days of the official launch. But, alas, such is the fate of the early adopter to discover problems that even the advanced reviews failed to notice.

Besides the subpar screen and finicky camera focus, it wasn't until I plugged my headphones in that I noticed a high-pitched hum whenever I fired up the Google Music or Doggcatcher apps. I'll start playing a track and that squeal appears -- very evident in the silent portions of songs or podcasts. When I hit pause, the hum remains for a few seconds and shuts off.

And I'm not the only one.

The Motorola support forums has been flooded by firsthand accounts of this glitch that went unmentioned in reviews. One user believes it to be a software issue and writes, "It's interesting to note that the whine is exacerbated by enabling the treble boost in the EQ, suggesting it may be a software issue rather than hardware." As a quick-and-dirty workaround, the user suggests using headphones with inline volume control, turning the phone volume at full blast, and adjusting the playback with the headphone's inline controls.

While it would be fantastic if this problem could be fixed with an OTA update from Motorola, another user isn't so optimistic.

"This noise is almost certainly due to a switching power supply inside the phone that has poor grounding or filtering. It is a hardware design flaw." Adding, "There is a chance that Motorola may be able to fix the issue in software by turning something off inside the phone, but that is an outside chance."

The user sums up everyone's disappointed sentiments with, "This does not look good."

So, as I grit my teeth and ponder returning what is otherwise a very solid device, I must warn any audiophile to please reconsider before purchasing the Droid Bionic.

And along with that high-pitched squeal, users will soon hear a deep rumbling in the distance. That'll be me, raising my fists to the sky and bellowing, "YOU SCREWED ME AGAIN, MOTOROLA!!!!!"

(See also: Apple Memoir Reveals Biggest Mistake in Company's History and Will Sprint's iPhone 5 Have an Edge on AT&T, Verizon?)

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