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Motorola MotoSmart Review

By Simon Thomas on 27th August 2012


3G Total Score

Pros :
Nice for typists; decent social/app widgets 



Cons :
Awful battery life; Android OS;  unresponsive display; sluggish performance

 

Verdict:

The Motorola MotoSmart is targeted at smartphone newbie’s, but the awful battery life, sluggish performance and unresponsive display may well put people off.

Full Review and Specification for the Motorola Motosmart

Motorola is aiming its Motorola MotoSmart phone at smartphone newbies – that’s why it comes in at a very decent £100 SIM-free, and less than £10 a month. But there are lots of budget Android handsets coming onto the market, including the new Xperia Tipo from Sony, and Alcatel’s range of handsets priced at less than £100. So does the MotoSmart offer enough to compete with its rivals?

 

Weighing in at 115g, the MotoSmart is a nice weight. It may feel a bit bricklike, but it’s actually comfy to hold in one hand, so that you can use your thumb to swipe and prod the touchscreen. There’s not much in the way of ports and keys on the side – just the headphone jack, volume controls, power button and the Micro USB port to allow you to hook up the handset to a PC. A slide-off panel on the rear reveals the SIM card slot, battery and microSD slot – a welcome addition as onboard storage is pretty sparse. 

 

 

Looks familiar


The MotoSmart is reminiscent of the Motoluxe, with its glass panel, which covers pretty much all of the front, and the sloping plastic lip at the base. The rear and sides have a softer texture.

 

The display is small at 3.5 inches, and appears even smaller thanks to the wide black border around it. Under the screen sit four touch-sensitive buttons – they are lit up when the handset is in use.

 

The keyboard is well laid out, which makes it easy to email and text – whether in landscape or portrait mode – and the autocorrect feature is excellent, The display is bright enough to be read in sunshine too.

 

Simple setup


Setting up the phone is easy. Fire it up for the first time and you’ll be asked to sign into your Google account – or asked to create one if you don’t have one. This will also sync your calendar, mail and so on. Then you can get busy downloading from the Google Play store and pop them onto your seven desktops, which can be populated with all kinds of apps and widgets. It’s just a pity that it runs on the rather dated Android Gingerbread.

 

Surfing the web was not such an enjoyable experience. Because the display is not so responsive, you find yourself dragging a digit across the screen, while the website is standing still. It’s not at all easy to get around larger websites.

 

Wonderful widgets


The MotoSmart may well have a dated OS, but Motorola has introduced some neat new widgets. Contacts and most-used apps are taken care of by the Social Graph and Activity Graph – the bigger the square the more you use that contact or app. It’s simple, but really effective. It’s also possible to access your recently used apps via the notifications tab.

 

Some apps and games took some time to load and lost frame rate, resulting in a juddery experience. It was difficult to tell sometimes if it was the processor struggling or just the touchscreen not responding well. The phone was also a tad sluggish when we browsed through menus or tried to switch between desktops. And we suffered some apps crashes too. Not great

 

In the picture


Budget smartphone snappers are never that impressive and the MotoSmart doesn’t disappoint. It’s a three-megapixel model and produces blurred, soft images thanks to the lack of autofocus, and our pictures were dull and bland. There are filters such as mono and sepia – and there’s a ‘burst mode’ facility – but given that there’s a one-second gap between taking each image it’s a bit pointless really. There’s no flash so low-light and nighttime shots are useless, and the video facility produces grainy results, with poor sound.

 

If you’re watching HD video, quality’s not bad for a budget handset – but don’t expect really lifelike bright colours. It’s really too small a screen for watching a full-length movie, but it’s okay for YouTube clips and TV programmes.

 

It’s a pity that the battery life is such a letdown – it left only a third of power after just fours hours of playing with apps, emailing and texting. Video streaming sees the juice drain even faster. Switch off GPS and Wi-Fi and it does help a bit.

 

 

Our conclusion


The Motorola MotoSmart is aimed at smartphone newbies, but the shuddery performance, poor battery life and unresponsive display could put off a lot of people. While Motorola has done a nice job adding its own touches to Android Gingerbread, there’s not much else for us to recommend here.

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Motorola Motosmart Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Motorola Motosmart Phone Specification

GENERAL

Type of device

Smartphone

Operating System

Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Dimensions

116x63.5x11.2mm

Weight

115g

Form factor

Touchscreen

Input

Touch Screen

Processor speed

600MHz

CPU

Qualcomm (model not specified)

Graphic chipset

 

Status

Available

DISPLAY

Screen size

3.5 inches

Screen type

TFT

Resolution

480x320

Display type

Two-inch, 256,000 colours

Memory

RAM

512MB

Internal storage

165MB plus 2GB microSD card

Memory card slot

 

Camera

Camera

3 megapixels

Secondary camera

N/A

Special camera features

 

Sound

3.5mm Jack

 

Music player

MP3, AMR-NB, AMR, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, WAV, OGG

Audio recording

 

Radio

 

FM Radio description

Radio

Video

Video recording

 

Video player

WAV, H.264, AMR WB, AAC, WMA v10, MPEG-4, H.263, AMR NB, DivX, eAAC+ , AAC+, MP3, WMA v9, MIDI

Video calling

 

Video streaming

 

Additional Features

Browser

Android

Games

Android

Voice control

 

Voice dailing

 

Other

 

Messaging

SMS

 

MMS

 

Email

 

IM

 

Connectivity

Band

Quad-band

Wi-Fi

 

Bluetooth

 

USB

 

NFC

 

GPS

Yes

Network

EDGE

 

GPRS

 

HSDPA

 

4G/LTE

 

Other

Colors (Standard)

Black

Handsfree speaker phone

 

Customisable ringtones

 

What's in the box

Charger

Website

www.motorola.com

Battery

Standby

500 hours

Talktime

8 hours

Battery life multimedia

4 hours

 


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