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Motorola FLIP W220
Motorola’s latest RAZR offspring needs no introduction—the FLIP W220 has been all over the city, in all shops, over all hoardings and almost everyone’s already got one. But are they happy? Let’s find out.
The first RAZR V3 was initially launched at Rs. 30,000 and then gradually tumbled down to around Rs. 12,000 when the V3i came in. Now, the V3i itself costs around Rs. 9,000—and everyone including the panwallah in my area has one—but Motorola still felt like it needed to bring down the price and make it even more widespread than it already is. Thus was born the MOTOFLIP W220.
At Rs. 3,990, it’s extremely difficult to find faults in this phone. But the nitpick that I am, I’ll go ahead and try anyway.
Basics and Ergonomics
The phone is a simple dual-band GSM/GPRS phone. There is no EDGE support and—I shouldn’t even mention this—no 3G. WAP 2.0/XHTML is supported for browsing.
The phone actually looks as good as it does in the pictures. The entire casing is made of plastic, unlike the metallic RAZR, but it doesn’t feel cheap or tacky at all. I had my own doubts about the shiny, black part on the top, but it’s survived my somewhat rough usage (I dropped it once) and it isn’t too prone to smudging. The fall did chip a tiny bit off the silver part, but that’s expected from any phone.
The phone is 1.67cm thick, which is a bit thicker than the RAZR’s 1.39cm, but the phone’s height and width are lesser, making it seem more compact and more KRZR-like. The clamshell hinge is not flush with the rest of the body, so while the RAZR opens up to be almost entirely flat, the W220 has a wee bit of a difference in the levels, but this doesn’t come in the way. The phone is lighter than the RAZR and I’m very pleased with the way it feels.
The display on the inside is a 128x128, 65k color TFT. The screen is physically larger than most other phones with displays of the same resolution, and that makes the W220 display appear a little low-res and blocky, but the screen has been utilized well by tweaking the size of the text and icons—however, it may be a little difficult for the elderly to read. Sunlight can have an adverse effect on the visibility of the display.
The W220 has no external display, but instead, has three LED 'status icons' that light up bright whenever you have an SMS, a missed call or if the battery is low. The incoming call is denoted by green, if the caller is from your phone book, or orange, if it’s an unknown number. This is a very simple method of providing information and I really appreciate the effort. In fact, I find this more convenient, as I can now tell—from even ten feet away—whether the caller is someone I know or not.
Keypad and UI
The keypad is also shiny black, which looks good, even though it doesn’t have the brushed metal finish of the RAZR. The backlighting is a little uneven, but this can be forgiven, as all the numbers and characters are lit up and readable. Probably the only problem I had with the keypad was the proximity of the right navigation key to the 'no' button. SMS can be keyed in using the regular multi-tap method or Motorola’s iTap, which is a modified version of T9. For experienced T9 users, iTap takes a while getting used to, but as much as I dislike that, I have to admit that iTap is more powerful, with full word completion and adaptation—it learns what you type and auto-completes it for you the next time. The user interface is typical Motorola—the same that’s found on the RAZR, only slightly slower. After using my old Samsung E880, the W220 user interface feels pretty slow, especially while typing the message.
The W220 comes with a few interesting features, such as a 'Notepad' feature which lets you type in a number—as you would when you want to dial—and simply clicking the red ‘no’ button. The typed number gets saved and is available in the 'Notepad' application under the ‘Recent Calls’ list. This is a really quick way of saving a number – you don’t have to type in a name or decide where to save the number if you’re in a hurry. Just type and click ‘no’ and give the number a name sometime later. I find this very convenient.
The calculator comes integrated with the currency converter. You need to update the exchange rate manually, but it’s a simple two-click affair to get the converted rate. The phone also comes with a 'Lantern' application that blanks the display to only white, letting you use it as a torch, exactly like the Series 60 Torch application).
There is an FM radio tuner in this phone, which is probably the single deciding factor for most of its users. As usual, it needs the headset to use as an antenna, and the reception quality of the radio signals is great. Even the built-in loudspeaker of the phone works wonderfully. The phone comes with a standard 2.5mm stereo mini-jack handsfree, so even if you lose or break it, you can buy a third party replacement off the shelf, saving you money.
The phone doesn’t support playback of MP3s, neither can you use MP3 ringtones, but you have AMR and the iMelody format. Or you can compose your own using the built-in composer. The ringer is LOUD, but unfortunately, the preset ringtones aren’t very interesting. I couldn’t get myself to use any of those, so I kept the basic conventional ring. There’s one thing I couldn’t figure out here: a lot of the ringtones are short – making them excellent options for message tones—but you can’t use them for message alerts. You can only choose from a set of 5 preset tones, none of which sound interesting.
The W220 doesn’t have an integrated camera. That’s obvious since this is a budget phone, but I thought it appropriate to mention!
Connectivity and Memory
The phone has only around 500kb of usable memory, in which you can store upto 600 phonebook entries and 250 SMSes and a number of ringtones and wallpaper depending on the size of the file(s). But with no connectivity options whatsoever (no Bluetooth, no Infrared, no USB), the only option left to transfer with is GPRS and MMS, so you can use the WAP/XHTML browser.
The phone has very good battery life—I used it for a little over four days before I had to recharge it again. When I was testing this phone, I made and received a lot more calls than I usually do, so the battery life is indeed very good. This can be attributed to the lack of an external sub-display and any other high-end features like a camera, MP3 decoding or EDGE network support, which is appropriate.
Like I said before, it’s difficult to argue with a phone that looks this good and costs just Rs. 3,990. It’s got a great set of basic features and also brings in some bonus features such as an FM radio, quick saving of numbers, a roomy 600-entry phonebook and the slim, stylish form factor that’s not common in this price range. The UI is a little slow, you can’t use caller ringtones for message alerts, and the main display just about cuts it, but still, all this didn’t stop me from buying the phone for my mom. She loves it.