We always have an illusion that Android phones are always full touch screen devices but the Motorola Charm shows it is actually not so. Motorola Charm is a different approach for Android with a square design just like the Motorola Flipout but it however doesn’t twist open. The Charm includes a Backtrack sensor making itself as just the second after to include one after the Motorola Backflip. The MotoBlur interface is been refined but because of the small screen, we didn’t feel it effective. The Motorola Charm does not run on Froyo but only the Android 2.1 and surprisingly it includes only a 3 MP camera. We expected the price of the phone to be low but not this less because it is priced at just $74.99. If cost is the only problem for you to buy an Android phone then here is one cheap option.
The first impression of the phone was it looked like a BlackBerry clone with almost the same sized display and the full QWERTY keyboard below it. The phone overall measures 3.9 inches in length, 2.7 inches wide and thick by 0.5 inch. These numbers clearly show that it is much compact and its weight of 3.7 ounces makes it one among the easily portable phones. The Motorola Charm is available in two color options as bronze and cabernet. The back of the phone has a soft touch and all along the sides of the phone is the strip of silver.
We have always admired the massive sized displays in Android phones but the display in the Motorola Charm is just 2.8 inches. It has a QVGA resolution (320x240p) which is not that vibrant as others. Even though it is a capacitive touch screen, there will be some trouble when browsing web pages. Zooming can be done but double tapping on the screen. The phone includes a proximity sensor at the top left corner that will lock the screen when you take the phone close to your ears during calls.
If you don’t wish to use the touch screen, you can use the Backtrack navigation pad that is present at the back of the phone. It works much like a trackpad as it supports taps and finger swipes. Backtrack will be very useful is smaller screens but the Charm’s display is not that small and hence felt the Backtrack unnecessary. The location of the Backtrack is also awkward because it might be difficult to reach it at times. The physical buttons under the display are for home, menu and the back and just below them is a full QWERTY keyboard which is much roomy than in a BlackBerry phone. The key gives a tactile feel because all of them have a raised domed surface. The keyboard includes navigation buttons which might be difficult to use at first but you’ll get used to it. The keyboard also includes shortcuts for message inbox, search and for camera.
On the left spine of the phone are the controls for volume rocker and a micro USB charging port. There are no connections options on the right side. The 3.5mm headphone jack is shifted to the top of the mobile just next to the power button. The micro SD memory card is to be placed behind the battery. As usual the camera lens is present at the back just above the Backtrack pad. Out of the box, you get an AC adapter, extra battery, USB cable, cover for extra battery and a wired stereo headset.
As said above, Motorola Charm runs with the Android 2.1 and includes the refined MotoBlur software. As before, the home screen includes widgets for weather, social networking, favorite contacts etc. Are you wondering what is new? The widgets can be now resized so that you can store more in a single home screen. However because of the small display, if you place more widgets in the home screen then will give more of a crowded feel. This feature will be more effective in large display phone like the Droid X.
The phone has seven home screens in which you can also add Android widgets like folders and shortcuts. If you wonder in which home screen you are in then just look the tool bar at the bottom that has seven tabs and highlights the one you are in. However the phone does not support the Sense Leap feature which would have helped you jump to a particular home screen by tapping on the icons. Usually, the shortcuts to main, phone dialer and the address book at the bottom of the display but here it is at the right side. We are happy that we are having a universal contact list and inbox but because of the small display we didn’t feel it effective.
Motorola says nothing about upgrading the Android 2.1 to Froyo but we are always happy with the Android 2.1. Some of the notable features of the Android 2.1 are speech to text, live wallpaper, multiple home screens, voice control and you can also use multiple Gmail account.
We are disappointed with the Charm as it includes only a 3MP camera. Picture quality is exactly what you would expect from such a camera. We expected the pictures to be sharper as the phone features the Kodak Perfect touch processing but we resulted with disappointment. The camera records videos at 24 fps. Music player is the same as the one in other Android phones.
We are always excited to use Android phones and the only reason for that it is the features it comes with. Here is a chance to experience all the Android features for such a low price. They are the IMAP email support, unified email inbox, POP3, Gmail and most of all, the Android Webkit browser that supports Flash Lite. The phone also includes features like Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, 3G etc. Some of the apps that the Charm includes are for Quickoffice, MySpace, Google Maps, YouTube etc. Of course, you can download more apps from the Android market.
Call quality is good as always with the T-Mobile network. Calls are mostly clear on both the ends. 3G speeds are reliable through out the country. Web pages loading time will not be more than a minute and YouTube videos doesn’t buffer too much expect for a few seconds delay at the start. YouTube video quality is however not that good.
We cannot say that the 600 Mhz processor as sluggish but it is more evident when multitasking. The Motorola Charm has a battery life of 5 hours talk time and stand by time up to 13.9 days.