Motorola Flipout review

Full review: Pocket-friend Android smartphone with full QWERTY and Motoblur

Image 1 of 4 Motorola Flipout main menu
Motorola Flipout main menu
Image 2 of 4 Motorola Flipout keyboard
Motorola Flipout keyboard
Image 3 of 4 Motorola Flipout orange back
Motorola Flipout orange back
Image 4 of 4 Motorola Flipout twist
Motorola Flipout twist

The Motorola Flipout is a compact Moto handset with a twist (see our image, right). Now that's worth shouting about

Since with its ‘comeback’ last year with the Motorola Dext and Milestone, Motorola’s introduced some really interesting handsets like the Motorola Backflip, which featured in the T3 Hot 100 and now the Flipout, which has an almost unique design, apart from similarities to the Nokia Twist 7705.

It doesn’t even look like a traditional phone. Measuring 67x67mm and weighing 120g, it’s very compact, easily fitting into a pocket. The clever bit is when the square screen flips, out to reveal a compact full QWERTY keyboard. One of our initial worries was for its sturdiness, but the swivel hinge feels OK, although we wouldn’t suggest treating it too roughly.

View our Motorola Flipout gallery here:

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The Flipout definitely isn’t as well built as the Milestone; we noticed the paint had scraped away a tiny bit through wear and tear, although our review sample wasn’t brand new unit.

Despite the small key size, using the five line QWERTY keyboard is hassle free. Although the keys are small we had no problems typing, although anyone with chunky fingers may not find the experience quite so smooth. Less successful is the four-way controller. Located at the bottom left, of the keyboard, it’s in an awkward position and far too small to use comfortably. There’s also a virtual keyboard.

With the Flipout, Motorola is seemingly targeting the youth market, highlighted by the interchangeable back. Our review unit came in a rather garish orange, but you can choose from black, red, pink and blue.

Motorola Flipout: The interface

Running Android 2.1 (there's no news when the Android 2.2 update is due), choose from seven homescreens, each customisable with widgets and apps from the Android Marketplace. Supporting multitouch, pinch to zoom and swipe to move between pages, touch commands are effective, if as responsive as we’d like on the 2.8inch screen.

However the highlight of the Flipout is the social networking portal Motoblur 1.5. First seen on the DEXT this fantastic feature lets you sync Google, Picasa, BeBo, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Gmail and Microsoft Exchange accounts. along with RSS feeds into two widgets, Happenings and Messages, as well as a single contacts list. It’s completely customisable so you can opt out from friends with particularly self-indulgent updates.

Additionally Motoblur backs up your information remotely, so you can easily restore contacts and messages. Additionally you can erase your phone remotely if it gets stolen and even locate it via GPS. All excellent features you wouldn’t expect to find on mid-range handset like this.

Motorola Flipout: Connectivity and Multimedia

In fact the Flipout is full of surprises. You get WiFi (N), Bluetooth 2.1 and aGPS for Google Maps, which locks onto a satellite relatively quickly. CrystalTalkTM PLUS adds a second microphone to improve call quality. We can’t say it was crystal clear, although calls do sound clearer then the Milestone.

Our biggest complaint is the screen. At 320x240 the resolution is too low and consequently the screen just isn’t sharp enough, couple that with its comparatively small size and browsing is far from a sublime experience, likewise the small screen is best for short video clips. Elsewhere you get support for Flash Lite.

There's a 3MP camera, but no flash, so the camera is really best for outdoor shots, which it makes a reasonable stab of. With only 150MB internal memory, you need to ensure the 2GB MicroSD card is installed to take a photo. Music fans will appreciate the addition of a 3.5mm jack.

With moderate calling, texting and browsing we got into our second day from the Flipouts battery, which isn’t bad at all, although with more multimedia use this would drop. Battery Manager is a nice touch, letting you select between three power management options.

Motorola Flipout: Conclusion

The Flipout is a surprising handset. It has all the hallmarks of handset for the youth market: interchangeable back, strong social networking with Motoblur and even a Data Mode that lets PAYG users track credit. But it also offers features you’d normally find on high-end models like the Milestone: including ‘N’ WiFi, the full QWERTY keyboard and Exchange support.

The pokey, low-res screen and cheap build mean this is not a rival to the Motorola Milestone XT720 or HTC Legend, look on it more as a rival compact Android handsets the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro.

If social networking is your main requirement from a handset and you want a full QWERTY keyboard for messaging, the Motorola Flipout is for you. For browsing, photos and video look elsewhere.

There's no news on contract pricing yet, but we'll let you know as soon as we find out

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SPECIFICATIONS

OS: Android 2.1
Processor: 600 Mhz
Storage: 150MB 2GB MicroSD card
Screen: 2.8inches 320x240
Connectivity: 3G, 3.5mm, WiFi (b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1, USB 2.0, HSDPA (7.2Mbps)
Camera: 3MP, fixed focus
Video: 352x288 25fps
Talk time: 275 mins
Web browsing time: not quoted
Dimensions: 67x67x17mm
Weight: 120g

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