By September 6, 2010

Motorola FlipOut Review

Flipout-main

The concept of the Motorola FlipOut is most definitely an odd one. We have had sliding Qwerty handsets for years now and this one just kind of warps the traditional style a wee bit. 

As you would have seen in Matt’s demo video the FlipOut highlighted some screen issues but does this make it a bad phone?

Read on to find out…

 

 

What’s in the box:

  • Device
  • Charger
  • USB Cable

Our device was not a retail one so expect a little more in the box when you buy one.

 

The ten second review:

Device: Motorola FlipOut

Price: £233 Sim free

Summary: A rather odd designed Android device with a nice full QWERTY keyboard.

Best of: Keyboard, Android OS

Worst of: Screen, MotoBlur

Buy it now from: Various

 

Motorola FlipOut Specification:

  • Dimensions 67 x 67 x 17 mm
  • Weight 120 g
  • Display
    – 2.8" QVGA TFT touchscreen
    – 320 x 240 pixels
    – Rotating QWERTY keyboard
  • Camera
    – 3.15 Megapixels, 256K colors
    – 2048 x 1536 pixels
    – Digital zoom
  • Memory: Internal: 256 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
  • Up to 32GB microSD card
  • Operating System
    Android 2.1 (Eclair)
  • Processor: 700 MHz TI OMAP3410 processor
  • Network: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 (2G) / HSDPA 900 / 2100 (3G)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • microUSB 2.0
  • A-GPS
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Audio & Video formats
    – AAC,  AAC+,  AAC+ Enhanced,  AMR NB,  MP3,  WMA v9
    – Capture/Playback/Streaming, H.264,  MPEG4,  WMV v9
  • Extras
  • Facebook, MySpace, Twitter apps
  • Accelerometer sensor
  • MOTOBLUR UI v1.5
  • Battery: Standard Li-Ion 1170 mAh battery
  • Talk and Standby Time: Up to 4 hrs 35 mins (3G)  / Up to 6 hrs (2G) / Up to 377 hrs (3G) / Up to 365 hrs (2G)
  • Colours: White, Fairway Green, Poppy Red, Raspberry Crush, Brilliant Blue, Licorice, Saffron

 

 

General:

Depending if the device is open or closed dictates which is the top so the below are based on the device being closed.

On the top of the FlipOut is only the up/down volume control.

Flipout-top

Motorola FlipOut Top

 

The bottom houses the microUSB port.

Flipout-bottom

Motorola FlipOut Bottom

 

On the right side is the power button and also the headset jack.

Flipout-right

Motorola FlipOut Right Side

 

The left side is bare with no buttons or ports.

Over on the back we have the camera lens and a small mirror for self portrait shots.

Flipout-back

Motorola FlipOut Back

 

The front mainly screen but there are three touch sensitive keys under it.

Flipout-front

Motorola FlipOut Front

 

And of course when open we have the full QWERTY keypad complete with D-Pad.

Flipout-front-open

Motorola FlipOut Open

 

Highlights:

  • QWERTY Keypad
  • Android 2.1
  • Homescreen customisation
  • Changeable back covers

 

Lowlights:

  • Screen size and resolution
  • Feels odd in the hand when closed
  • Camera Quality

 

 

Review: 

Being compact Is clearly one of the FlipOuts benefits but to be honest it feels really odd when held in the palm of the hand. It is quite wide and square and as it is not thin it does feel quite bulky. The build quality feels ok and with additional back covers, in various colours, you can make the phone look different every day if you feel like it.

Flicking the screen up reveals the full qwerty keyboard. The movement feels solid and although it is really odd and unnatural it does feel kind of cool.
The keyboard is most definitely it’s best feature. The keys are a decent size and respond well. Typing at speed is effortless put not perfect. We are lucky that we have numbers on the top row but these keys also have symbols on them such as the @ and £ signs. To access these you need to press the alt key which is situated on the bottom row. As this key is next to the D-Pad it is nearer the centre of the phone than the outer edge. The issue I have here, although not a major one, is that to hold down the alt key with one thumb and then press the number keys with another means almost crossing one thumb with another. Maybe I am just being picky but I believe that if you are going to have a physical keyboard you want it to be as easy and nice to use as possible.
On a positive note the enter key is nice and big and the space bar is perfectly centered, unlike we have seen on some other devices.

Flipout-angled-open2

 

Upon turning the device on you are greeted with the lock screen. Here you will see the network, time, date etc and beside that you have two green icons. The bottom one you slide up to unlock the screen and the top one flicks down to switch the phone into silent mode.

 

Lock

At the top of the home screen, like on all Android devices you have the notifications bar. Here we see things such as Twitter, SMS and email notifications as well as the status of any apps that are downloading.

Noti

The Motorola FlipOut runs Android 2.1 and as an added bonus you can have MotoBlur running over the top. I say a bonus but it is only a bonus as you can turn it off! I really am not keen on it. I used it on the Motorola Dext and hated it. It will be one of those things that comes down to personal preference.
To sum up MotoBlur:

On setting up the device you have to create a Blur account, this involves agreeing to the T&C’s, Name, email, password, confirm, a point to note here is make sure you have wifi on or a sim inserted. The screen shows ‘Creating account’….now set up your account…this offers options to log on to your existing accounts in MySpace, Facebook. Google, LastFM, Twitter, email, corporate sync, Picasa and Photobucket. Once you have logged on to each that you use including multiple email accounts, there’s it a tick on each box you have logged into and your done.

These accounts now appear on the main screen and are constantly monitored for updates or in Motorola talk ‘happenings’. The thing about this is that all of your ‘happenings’ are in one place, no more logging into Facebook and then Twitter and then your email…it’s all available and easily notified.

I much prefer the naked Android feel so I can fully customise the 7 home screens with widgets and shortcuts and if you are not content with the ones pre loaded you can download more.

Home1 Home2 Home3 Home4

 

On the right of the home screens you will see three icons. These are dialer, contacts and a main menu key. These will be present on all seven home screens for quick access.
Under the screen we have three touch sensitive keys. A home key, a back key and a menu key for altering settings within apps. These seem to work very well.

Let’s jump into the main menu and see what we have in there that is of interest.

menu1 Menu2

 

The web browser is always a key feature on a smartphone. Unfortunately on the FlipOut the browser is a bit poo due to it’s screen. Am I allowed to say poo? Anyway, if you saw Matt’s demo video you would have seen him shown you that when the browser is launched the text is unreadable unless you zoom in. Even then it is not great. The screen just appears to be bad quality.

Browser2 Browser3

 

As you can see below viewing bookmarks, most viewed and history is easy, controlled by tabs. Once you have a few bookmarks added you can scroll through them in a kind of web page view which is quite nice. Unfortunately this does not improve the browsing experience!

 

 Bookmark1

Twitter and Facebook are just the same as we have seen on other devices but I have found a bug with both. If you have the keyboard closed and are on the main menu of both apps, when you then open the keyboard the screen does not rotate. Rather annoying and also odd that it is only with the menu that this occurs on both apps.

Twitter FB2

 

Apart from his issue both apps work as well as can be expected.

Twitter2 Twitter3 Twitter4

 

FB1

 

The calendar on the FlipOut was surprisingly nice and I only felt let down by the screen size, which to be honest I felt with most things on the device.

The calendar has a Black backdrop and inputting events is simple. Just click on the time you want and enter the info. There are various different views available such as day, week, month but even in day mode you can only see a five hour window due to screen real estate.

Cal4 Cal3 Cal2

 

An Android device would not be complete without the Market. If you are new to the OS then this is where you can download applications, both free and paid. I think there are about 100,000 in there now so you wont run out of stuff to try. I must admit though that there is a load of rubbish in there but that is the same with most App stores.

Market Market2

 

The FlipOut comes with a selection of instant messaging clients. GoogleTalk has its own icon in the main menu but there is also an IM folder. Here you will find Windows Live Messenger, AIM and Yahoo. If you need more then just jump into the Android Market as there are loads of other IM clients there.

IM

 

With GPS built in, the FlipOut has two GPS apps pre loaded. Google Maps is the first and the one we are all familiar with. The second is MotoLocator. Unfortunately it would not work so I have no idea how it is different from Google Maps. Shame.

maps2 

The alarm and timer on the FlipOut get there own icon in the menu. Using both is a breeze. Not a huge feature but most of us rely on our phone to wake us in the morning. The best bit here is that you can use any MP3 as the alarm tone.

 

Timer Alarm

 

YouTube on Android is always great but due to the screen on the FlipOut it is not the best. Don’t get me wrong, the quality is okay and very watchable. It is just the size that is an issue for me. If I am going to be watching a video or movie I want a decent sized screen and you don’t get that with the FlipOut.

YouTube

 

Voice search and voice commands are built into the FlipOut. Personally I never even think to use them but that is just me. It does however work very well and can eliminate the need to open the keyboard on the device.

Voice

 

At 3MP I was expecting the camera on the FlipOut to be ok and that is generous. Compared to some other 3mp ones it fairs quite badly. As you will see below the picture quality is not great and don’t even think about photographing something too close up.

The interface is basic and it takes the pictures quickly but like most things on the FlipOut it just lacks something.

Pic 1 Pic2

 

The music player on the device was pretty decent. Album artwork is displayed and the onscreen keys are easy to navigate. The speaker quality was reasonable and loud. As Motorola did not supply us with headphones I am unable to comment on them but using my own I was impressed.

I was unable to take screen shots of the music player. Not sure why as I have with all other Android devices. You will have to trust me that the music player looks good.

 

 

 

Conclusion

The Motorola FlipOut is far from being my cup of tea. It does do everything you would expect but it just doesn’t feel right. Closed it feels very strange due to its shape. Its saving grace is its keyboard. If you are a big texter then I think the FlipOut will suit you. One for the youngsters I think. Definitely not grown ups.

If you are considering buying the FlipOut SIM free I suggest you consider spending your money elsewhere. There are much better phones available for that price.

Posted by: James

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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