4 May

Review of the Motorola Backflip MB300

Look, Design, Feel…………………7/10

Motorola Backflip contains a very unique design which makes it fashionable and in demand within the smartphone industry these days because its keyboard is located on its back. It is a flip phone, not a slide phone. It has a rectangular shape and rounded edges; however it has a somewhat smaller footprint with a dimension of 4.25 inches in length by 2.08 inches in width and 0.6 inch thick. It actually looks a lot like the Motorola Cliq at first glance.

Features…………………8/10

Being a flip phone, the keyboard is uniquely located on the back of the smartphone, so when you swing it open, the keyboard sits right beneath the display. The keyboard and the screen are both faced outwards when closed. It can be flipped flat or it can stand on a table while watching a movie, and can even function as a digital picture frame or an alarm clock.

However, some users worry about the durability of the keyboard on the flip phone, although Motorola has continuously assured its consumers that the keyboard on this flip phone can withstand for a definitive period of time. The keyboard is spacious and its square buttons are exceptional because they minimize mistakes when pressing the wrong buttons when typing. The number and symbol keys which are marked in blue are doubled up with the letters marked in white, and its bright backlight makes the keys very visible especially in a dark room. With this flip phone, shortcuts in the bottom row and left side give quick links to web access, search button, messages and the home and menu screens. The camera lens and flash is placed in the corner of the keyboard.

When the backflip is open, a trackpad or the backtrack navigation pad located on the back of this smartphone can be used in scrolling through photos, menus, lists, and home screens without touching the 3.1-inch HVGA (320×480) screen.

On the right side of the phone is a volume rocker, a Micro-USB expansion port that supports up to 32GB cards, and a camera placed on an activation and capture button. The power/lock button can be found on top of the phone, alongside with the headphone jack.

The Backflip is operated by a customizable Android 1.5 which includes AT&T Navigator, AT&T Radio and AT&T Mobile Hotspots. The Android feature has a 5.0 megapixel camera with zoom and flash, 2GB pre-installed memory card and has great access to the Motorola Phone Portal which by the way, enables you to back up, edit and delete all files from your pc when the smartphone is connected to it

Connectivity…………………8/10

The phone supports the new HSPA 7.2 network that AT&T is putting into place, according to Motorola representatives and the phone’s spec sheet; the spec sheet says it only works on AT&T’s 3G band, not T-Mobile’s. Other specs include 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, and a 2GB memory card included with up to 32GB. MicroSD cards are supported, according to the device spec sheet. The 2GB memory card enables storage of an unlimited number of contacts in the phonebook and unlimited calls on its call records, as well as its photo calling option.

The Backflip also features voice dialing, a speakerphone and noise reduction technology aside from its 3G support, WIFI connectivity, Bluetooth and GPS.

With its Android operating system along with Qualcomm MSM 7210 A 528 MHz processor, the connectivity of the Backflip is super in the sense it can browse any type of website. It comes with EDGE and GPRS for uninterrupted network connectivity along with the 3G technology. The phone’s browser supports HTML and xHTML formats so internet browsing will be smooth-sailing. Its Bluetooth 2.0 feature makes data and multimedia file-sharing easy. The JAVA and GPS features of the smartphone makes it trouble-free in finding any location.

With its MotoBlur software, it is the only smartphone where your Facebook updates, Twitter feeds, Google, Yahoo, Exchange, and Picasa contacts and messages are synchronized to the home screen. Motorola Backflip is powered with MotoBlur software to merge information from various email accounts and makes it visibly functional for social networking sites. Motoblur enables the user to stream contents such as updates on RSS newsfeeds right to your home screen.

With Motorola Backflip, you have the Android Webkit HTML browser, Android Market, Amazon MP3 Store, Gmail, Google Talk, Google Maps, and Youtube. However, the default engine for this smartphone is Yahoo.

Performance…………………8/10

Its QWERTY keyboard is awesome and spacious, however, it gets so exposed when the phone is closed.

Sad to say, even though this is AT&T’s first Android phone, the Backflip runs the Motoblur Android which takes on the Android Operating System and shuns the standard, grid-like home screen in favor of a gizmo-based user interface. However, these widgets are customizable and function really well. Browsing the news and weather sites, or search engines and social networking sites is impressive.

The phone’s 528-MHz processor gets sluggish due to a handful of widgets functioning simultaneously. Motorola tries hard to address this by presenting multiple home screens, which are accessible through left-and-right hand whisks, however, there is not much you can do with a screen 3.1 inches in size.

Call quality is pretty good, its audio performance is crisp and clear using AT&T service as the phone blocks noise during talk time. Its speakerphone performance has also good sound quality.

On its 5-megapixel camera, photos tend to be murky, even though it has flash and autofocus features. Watching videos or movie clips is fairly decent except for a couple of seconds for some videos to buffer. Its powerful speakers give so much delight in watching movies or video clips.

Although the Backflip is powered with a 528-MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A processor, it has a hard time keeping up with its performance as it lags at times even with very simple tasks like accessing email or toggling with the home screen.

Its 1400mAh lithium-ion battery life is quite short with a rated talk time of 6 hours and standby time of 13.5 days.

Value for Money…………………7/10

It is quite pricey for a phone with limited technology. However, if you want your phone primarily because you want to be constantly connected to social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, then the Motorola Backflip is a good choice.

Pros

+ 350 minutes talk time, 315 hours standby time
+ MotoBlur to back up info, sync with social networking sites
+ GPS
+ Wifi connectivity
+ Music is compatible with itunes and windows media player
+ Its 2G memory card allows unlimited storage of contacts in phonebook
+ MicroSD expansion slot enables storage of music and photos from pc to phone
+ QWERTY keyboard makes texting and intern
+ Its Bluetooth 2.0 makes data and multimedia sharing easy and fast
+ 5.0 camera with flash and autofocus
+ Internet connectivity is uninterrupted especially when browsing Facebook or Twitter accounts
+ It has a trackpad that can navigate lists or messages fast without using the touch screen
+ Notification menu bar at top of the screen is useful and well-situated
+ It vibrates on touch mode

Cons

+ QWERTY keyboard and touch screen are exposed when phone is closed or not in use
+ Sometimes it is sluggish when sending a text message or email
+ Autocancels user out of programs when internet connection is slow
+ Poor quality of photos
+ Poor battery life could be better
+ Uses Old Android OS (Android 1.5)
+ Camera causes phone to reboot
+ Finicky backtrack a

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