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Motorola Flipout: Accidentally Backflipped!
After seeing how well Motorola’s Milestone XT720 has performed, we expected something very similar with the Flipout. It certainly looked good at first glance, but later on collapsed in almost every aspect. To our disappointment, it turned out be very mediocre.
Design and Form Factor
If you vaguely remember how the Micromax Bling Q55 looks, you’ll get an idea of how the Flipout is designed. It’s a small square smartphone with dimensions of 67 x 67 mm and the thickness is a bit on the higher side at 17 mm. The volume controls rest on the top and on the Flipout’s left is an audio jack and a power/lock switch. At the bottom of the smartphone is a microUSB slot for charging and data transfer.
Well designed for sure
The display is very tiny at 2.8 inches. There are three touch-sensitive buttons on the display panel for menu, home and going back. Missing anything? How about the search button? You’ll have to slide the phone to reveal the QWERTY keypad which in turn displays the search button at the last row. Coming to the keypad, it feels comfortable at the start. However, it becomes a lot more irritating once you try typing fast. The keys are too small and just like the display, it’s cramped.
Small display, big problem
The design is pretty unique, which is good for starters but doesn’t really do justice for a touchscreen Android smartphone. Touchscreen phones should have bigger displays to utilize the interface properly.
Bundled with the Flipout are a pair of headsets, a charger and a USB cable. While you get a 2 GB card with the smartphone, memory can be expandable up to 32 GB.
Flipout runs on Android Eclair 2.1 and the bad news is it will be sucking on its eclair forever. Motorola will not be dishing out Android updates for the Flipout. Coming back to the interface, Motorola’s customized MOTOBLUR UI runs on top of the Android OS.
Sad UI, really...
Operating Eclair isn’t fun and the User Interface only makes it worse. On the screen, you’ll see the quick launcher menu at the bottom with a maximum of four options that can be displayed on each of the seven desktops. Navigating through the desktops is quite smooth but the lag is noticeable while scrolling through the main menu. At 320 x 240 pixels, the icons are a little blurred as well.
Overall, we couldn’t expect much from the Flipout’s 600 MHz Cortex processor. An old operating system coupled with an irritating UI spelled disaster for the Flipout.
Flipout’s media support is not great, with only MP3, AAC+ and WAV audio formats and MP4, WMV, H.264, H.263, XviD video formats supported. The mid tones are a lot more obvious while the highs are audible at least. However the lows seem to be non-existent. It still doesn’t make for a good music source while travelling short distances.
Not the best for media
Watching videos on this display were a little weird in the first place but they played pretty decently without lagging too much.
The Android Market acts as the saving grace for the Flipout, so you can download games and apps for it. The pre-installed YouTube application is quite convenient to use and searching for videos is easy as well.
Starting with signal reception, the Flipout doesn’t catch signals very well, even in areas with good connectivity. The caller’s voice and the outgoing voice are good but when you use the bundled headset, there’s a certain decline in the volume.
Looking at the fact that Flipout boasts of a QWERTY keypad, we expected the smartphone to have business or social network integration. This is where it doesn’t fail. There are Twitter, Facebook and MySpace applications pre-installed and although they'll take some time getting used to, these applications will eventually perform smoothly.
Decent connectivity options
The Flipout is Wi-Fi enabled with the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n protocol supported, which lets you surf the internet at a very good speed. The handset is 3G enabled and you can exchange media via Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) which is not lightning fast but is not too slow either.
Widgets are divided into Motorola and Android Widgets. Motorola’s section includes smartphone related stuff like the music player, date and time, Sticky note and Weather while Android’s section has Analogue clock, Facebook, Calendar, Android Market and Power Control widgets.
We've seen this design before
Flipout comes with built-in A-GPS support which can be used with Google Maps and geo-tagging is enabled with the help of a camera.
Being an Android smartphone, there are pre-installed Gmail, Google Talk along with Maps and Latitude.
Flipout has all the regular smartphone features like an alarm clock, organizer, calendar, calculator and a browser. The Voice Dialler application lets you make calls and send text messages through voice commands. The Moto Phone Portal lets you connect your handset to a PC via USB or through Wi-Fi.
The 3.15 Megapixel camera is not the best and the results are rather poor, as is visible in the image below. It offers a Panorama shot option that lets you capture a 180 degree view. This feature, thankfully works fine.
Average image quality
After charging the battery to its maximum capacity, the Flipout will not last for more than a day. Surprisingly, after half an hour of listening to music, browsing the internet for about 30 minutes and maybe 45 minutes of calls, the battery drained out completely.
If you frowned while reading through the review, get ready for the final blow. The Flipout is priced at Rs. 15,999 which is terribly expensive for an outdated OS that cannot be upgraded, mediocre features and an otherwise standard smartphone. On paper, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Ace looks a lot more promising and it's also Rs. 2,000 cheaper.