Motorola Motosmart – Review

Motorola have a clear cut divide between their high end devices (Razr, Proton, Razr Maxx, Razr HD, Razr M) and their current budget devices (Motoluxe and this the Motosmart). When Motorola first introduced the Motoluxe they were full of the fact it was a fashionable well designed piece of kit. The Motoluxe didn’t really do that we’ll mainly down to the fact the Galaxy S2 had dropped down to a similar price on most networks and then Motorola announced they weren’t going to update it to Ice Cream Sandwich either. Final nail in the coffin.

The other week we published our initial impressions of the device and after a few weeks of using it, it’s time to bring you the full review.


Design

Jump forward six months from the release of the Motoluxe and we have the Motosmart, a smaller dumbed down version of the Motoluxe. They have shrunk it and removed the fairly useful indicator light from the bottom. It still retains the nice soft touch material all over the back part, the front is now a slightly matt affair with an odd screen that I initially thought was a resistive screen as it actually flexes. The back of the device has a metal backplate that houses the battery compartment, the Sim slot and the micro sd slot. The sides of the device have the usual volume rocker, power button, headphone socket and lastly on the back is the camera. Overall it feel nice in the hand and is well put together with no odd sharp edges.

Here are some shots of the Motosmart:

Hardware

The Motosmart has pretty basic specifications, similar to the Xperia Tipo we reviewed earlier. Here are the specs:

  • BATTERY TYPE 1400 mAh
  • MP3 PLAYBACK Yes
  • STANDBY TIME Up to approximately 550 hrs (2G); 500 hrs (3G)
  • EMAIL Yes (POP3, IMAP). Corporate Sync, Google Mail, Push Email
  • MULTIMEDIA MESSAGING (MMS) Yes
  • TEXT MESSAGING (SMS) Yes
  • INSTANT MESSAGING (IM) Yes, embedded (Google Talk)
  • CAMERA 3 MP fixed focus with 4x digital zoom
  • FLASH No
  • FOCUS Fixed
  • WEB CAM No
  • SYNCHRONISATION Corporate sync, PC sync
  • WI-FI 802.11 b/g/n
  • BLUETOOTH® TECHNOLOGY Bluetooth™ Class 2, Version 4.0 LE + EDR; profiles, HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP, OPP, SPP, GAP
  • Micro USB charging and data
  • DLNA (DIGITAL LIVING NETWORK ALLIANCE) Yes
  • OPERATING SYSTEM Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  • LIGHT-RESPONSIVE DISPLAY Yes
  • MICROPHONE Yes
  • PINCH TO ZOOM Yes
  • MotoSwitch UI 2.0, which allows you to switch between personal and work modes; LED alerts / charge notifications
  • TOUCH SCREEN Yes
  • DISPLAY TYPE 320 x 480 TFT LCD (262k) / HVGA Capacitive Touchscreen Display
  • WEIGHT 115 grams
  • SIZE (H X W X D) 116 x 63.5 x 11.2 mm
  • DISPLAY SIZE 3.5-inch
  • MEMORY 165 MB user available memory (512 MB Internal ROM, 512 MB Internal RAM) expandable by up to 32 GB microSD card
  • ACCELEROMETER Yes
  • REMOVABLE MEMORY Up to 32 GB microSD
  • SENSORS Gravity sensor, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor
  • CPU Qualcomm MSM7225A 800MHz

A few key points here, internal memory is quite low, you are going to run out of space for apps pretty quickly. The camera is low spec with no flash. One tiny plus point is the micro sd slot. The speaker on the back of the device performs well for such a priced device, it was surprisingly loud.

Software

When I saw Motorola announce the Motosmart it was shortly after they had announced that most of their devices wouldn’t receive any updates to Ice Cream Sandwich. As the Motoluxe was on the naughty list I assumed that the Motosmart would be in the same group. Lo and behold the Motosmart comes with Gingerbread, nearly a three quarters of a year after Ice Cream Sandwich was made available. In it’s defence though the Motosmart is nicer to use than the Motoluxe. The lag I experienced before is no where near as bad, screen transitions are a lot smoother and the app drawer actually scrolls now. I guess the lower resolution screen takes less CPU power to run. The Motosmart also runs the same version of Motoswitch as the Motoluxe, so you get a few extra widgets to use. They are actually quite usable. The favourite contacts and favourite apps widgets are quite useful. Most of the standard apps have been skinned in some way or another, we’ll have a  look at these shortly. The lockscreen is slightly different this time round, you can access the Camera, the Dialler, Messaging, quick mute and unlock from the lock screen. There is no lag either this time either.

As usual I like to try normal everyday stuff with review units. So I have tried out Calling, Messaging, Web browsing, taking photos, playing music and watching videos. Here are my findings whilst trying these things out

Calling performs as you would hope, the Motoswitch dialler adds a few shortcuts to the normal dialler meaning you get a little extra functionality.

Messaging and emails suffer from the small screen, typing on a small screen is a struggle, this small flexy screen struggles if you are a turbo typer. Installing Swiftkey things a little easier as the prediction makes up for any errors. The messaging app again is slightly skinned compared to the stock version, it doesn’t really offer much different though.

Web browsing isn’t as bad as the Tipo as the screen is slightly larger, but as the Motosmart runs Gingerbread I couldn’t install Chrome, so all of my bookmarks weren’t available. Mobile versions of websites are definitely a good thing for the Motosmart as with desktop sites things start to slow down and the older browser and low RAM take effect.

The camera on the Motosmart is only 3.1mp and doesn’t have a flash. Which means it’s outdoors well lit photos only. No auto focus or macro lense also limit functionality as well. I guess for the price people aren’t going to complain.

Whilst using the Motoluxe is was surprised by the slightly above average quality of music playback, the Motosmart is along the same lines and having a micro sd slot makes storing your music easier. Just get yourself a better pair of headphones if plan on listening to much music.

Video playback via YouTube is as you would expect. As the Motosmart runs Gingerbread you are not going to be able to experience the latest version of YouTube, but I’m sure you will survive.

Normally during a review we would enable USB debugging use the Android SDK to take some screenshots. Well Motorola have removed that from the settings, so I can’t bring you screenshots. So I just got my camera out instead. Here are some pictures of the Motoswitch UI.

Motorola Motosmart   Review Motorola Motosmart   Review Motorola Motosmart   Review Motorola Motosmart   Review Motorola Motosmart   Review

Conclusion

Overall the Motosmart feels a bit out dated. Especially when you can get jems like the Xperia Tipo for about the same price.

At the moment you can get it on the following networks:

Payg the Motosmart costs: £94.99 (+£10 top up)(T-Mobile)

On a contract it costs from: £7 per month for free (T-Mobile)

Overall it is a nice device that is let down by it’s flexy screen and the software Motorola decided to ship it with. It would be a perfect first Android device though if your looking for something on a super tight budget, it is only my overly critical self that notices these tiny quirks. To Joe Bloggs user these little bugs wouldn’t be a problem. “So what that I can’t access my cloud bookmarks from my desktop” being the sort of thing the man in the street would say.

I look forward to what the next generation of budget devices from Motorola is like. A small RAZR M would be a great device, or something this sort of size and quality but with ICS or JellyBean.

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  • Clair4382@gmail.com

    How do I add a picture to an existing contact??

  • Rohid Zaman

    This phone lags a lot and has near to no app storage. Not recommended. Sometimes it freezes when there’s a incoming call and you can’t pick up the call. It will make your life hell.