There are not much Android phone with a physically QWERTY keyboard in a form of candy bar today. Motorola Charm is one of that ’rare’ Android phones. When the first time I saw this phone, it was like love at the first sight. In my mind, this would be the best Android phone at the moment, and Motorola charm price is not expensive either. When we talk about ’the best’of course is not the best in performance, but the best to support my need that often do writing using my phone. But, is it Motorola charm is really charming? Let’s find out in this Motorola charm review.
The phone itself looks wide. It use horizontal 2.8 inch capacitive screen. Almost half of the body of Motorola charm fills with the screen, while another half fill with the keyboard. At the left of the phone there is volume key and micro usb charger port. At the top, there is power key and universal 3.5 mm jack. At the right side there is nothing. Motorola charm actually have dedicated camera key, but the button is not on the right side as usual, but it located on the keyboard between messaging and search button.
To make this Motorola Charm MB 502 review not so boring, let’s talk about what I like and dislike about this unique phone.
What I like:
The main attraction of this phone is the Keyboard. But is it comfortable? Yes it is. It perform well, it doesn’t have spacing between keys, but it still comfortable to use because the button is slightly raised.
Of course is not the best screen out there. The resolution is only 240×320 pixels, so if you zoom small enough, the text is look unsmooth, the color sometimes looks pale, and the screen size is only 2.8 inch. So, what do I like from this screen? I like it because the width of the screen is wide enough, it’s almost square screen. Because of this, I can read text or browse internet quite comfortable. Many reviewer give really bad point for Motorola charm screen and some said that there is viewing angle problem of this phone. My phone is Motorola Charm unlocked and in my case, I don’t have any problem with the viewing angle nor the screen quality, but I have to admit that the screen is below average for today’s standard.
Complete audio player
The audio player program that came with the phone is quite complete. Motorola name it connected music player. When you enter the program you can find Radio function, internet radio, music videos, Community, song identification and the music player that will automatically search the lyric of playing song. The radio FM reception is good and clear. It’s true that you can download all similar features from Google Market, but it’s just nice to ’connect’all the application in just one program.
Motorola Charm MB502 provides three input method for user, which is the touch screen, the keyboard and the touchpad like the computer. The touchpad located on the back of the phone, so Motorola name it ’Backtrack’. If you move your finger in the Backtrack up and down, right or left, the screen will the phone screen will go up and down, right or left. When you tap the backtrack twice, it will shows cursor like a mouse cursor. To make a selection, you move the cursor to the object and tap it once, just like using touchpad on the computer. Some people said is not necessary to use backtrack because the Motorola charm itself already using touchscreen, but for me, the backtrack really handy when I browse the internet so I don’t accidently touch the link that I don’t want to touch. However, if you don’t feel comfortable, you can turn it off, but the truth is, at first use it won’t feel comfortable, but after sometimes, you’ll never get away from it (at leaset for me 🙂 )
Green light when charging
There are green LED at the micro USB port that will light up when I charge the phone and will turn off when the charge is full. I like it because it’s handy so I don’t have to check the phone screen to know that the battery already fully charged or not.
When there is notification such as new email, the backlight at the menu, home and back touch button grid will continue blinking until I read the email. I like it because it minimizes the possibilities I miss important email because I don’t hear the notification sound.
With assisted GPS activated, the phone GPS lock the satellite pretty fast. I usually only need 5-10 seconds to lock the satellite.
Power VR SGX 530 Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
Motorola charm use Power VR SGX 530 GPU. It’s the same GPU that used on Motorola Milestone. With using this GPU, there should be not a problem for playing 3D games, even though there is no guarantee that all 3D games will be playable on this phone. The games that I try to install in this phone are Speed Forge and Angry Birds, and it performs well.
I haven’t tried any other game, because I rarely playing game using phone and I install this game just to test the GPU, but if you search on the YouTube, there are videos that shows Motorola Charm playing many 3D games.
Update: I try to install GT Racing Academy HD version and it can run pretty smooth, but unfortunately there is a problem with the accelerometer. Motorola Charm default layout is horizontal, while the game is for the phone that have vertical screen, in result, the game is unplayable. I tried to calibrate the accelerometer in many ways but no luck.
The phone have battery manager feature, it’s like profile for handling battery performance. You can choose high performance, battery saver and smart mode. In high performance mode, there is nothing you can setup, it same like not using battery manager.
In battery saver mode, you can set default brightness, and the phone will turn off data connection after 30 minutes of inactivity plus it won’t allow data exchange over Wi-Fi while the mobile data connection is off. In smart mode you can set the start and end of phone ’peak hours’and ’off peak hours’. After you set the time, you can set after how many minutes the data connection will turn off when the phone not in use at off-peak hours or at peak hours. Also, you can set auto brightness.
Battery manager not only will saves the battery, but it also handy to auto shut down the connection at the time when you don’t want have active data connection, for example when you sleep and you don’t want to wake up because of incoming email notification.
Support Adobe Flash Lite
Even though the Motorola Charm MB502 running on Android OS 2.1 Eclair, but it already support Adobe Flash lite. So, you don’t have to worry to visit website that using flash. I try to visit desktop version of YouTube and this phone can play flash (flv) video online even if it’s a little bit laggy
What I don’t like:
The Battery Performance
The Motorola charm battery is draining fast. After full charge, it won’t last one whole day in normal use (data connection active). I know that Android phone tend to be a battery eater, but this phone battery management is not good, even if I use the battery manager. I buy Motorola Charm unlocked Asian version which only have one BT60 1130 mAh battery. But if you buy Motorola Charm TMobile, you will get two batteries, the standard BT 60 battery and the BT7X battery which require special back cover (included) because the battery size is bigger. I supposed the extended battery will give better performance.
No Auto Focus
The camera is no autofocus and no LED light to shoot at the dark. The picture quality is actually pretty good, but it feels not enough.
Maybe some of you think that some of Motorola Charm advantage that I mention is not important. Well, it’s your choice, but that little thing can make a difference whether or not you like to use your phone in your daily life.
Anyway, it seems that there is more the plus side than the minus sides. However, battery performance is crucial and for the people who often use the phone to watch videos or looking for pictures, besides complaining about the battery, they also could be complain about the screen quality. So, the conclusion is:
This phone is good for:
- Heavy texting user
- People who like unique phone
- People who work near the electric outlet (so you can recharge the phone anytime needed)
This phone is not good for:
- People who travel a lot (the battery issue)
- People who want crystal clear screen
- People who want use the phone only with one hand
Motorola charm specs:
Connection: WCDMA 1700/2100, GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 3.6 Mbps (Category 5/6), EDGE Class 12, GPRS Class 12, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, Micro USB
Camera: 3MP Fixed Focus, Video
Dimensions: 98.4 x 67.2 x 11.4 mm
Screen: TFT capacitive touch screen, 256.000 colors, 320 x 240 pixels, 2.8 inches, Gorilla Glass display, pinch to Zoom
Memory: 512MB RAM, 512 MB Internal memory (but you can’t use all the 512 MB), Memory card support up to 32 GB.
CPU: 600MHz processor, GPU: PowerVR SGX530, TI OMAP3410 chipset
Etc: BACKTRACK touchpad, Corporate (Exchange), Gmail, IMAP, POP3, attachment and browser document viewer (Microsoft Office and pdf), HTML email composer, MULTIMEDIA MESSAGING (MMS), TEXT MESSAGING (SMS), INSTANT MESSAGING (IM): Gtalk, Yahoo! Messenger , AOL IM, MSN, GPS with A-GPS support, Social networking integration with live updates.
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