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Old September 3rd, 2010, 10:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Motorola Charm Review

Hi everyone, I thought Iíd leave a quick review on the Motorola Charm for anyone who is interested in buying this device. Currently in Canada it is only available through Telus, however there are some websites that are claiming they can unlock them already. I bought one directly through Telus for only $249.99 but had no luck unlocking them. So I ended returning it and bought an unbranded one for only $280.

Before this phone Iíve tried many other Android devices including the HTC Hero and my most recent, Sony Xperia X10. Iím heading back to school this year so I felt like I needed a more durable and less costly Android phone so I opted for this bad boy. And man am I glad I made the switch.

When I first found out about the phone I was very excited because itís combined something Iíve always wanted in a phone. Itís a blackberry style of phone with a full capacitive touch screen! How cool is that?

Looks/Design Ė 8.5/10

With a landscaped 2.8Ē screen, yes this phone is a little on the wide side. When my friends first saw it they though it was a ďbeastĒ of a phone until they actually held it. If held next to a Nokia E71 and a Blackberry 9700, it does look like the chubby, shorter younger brother of the three. But there are other phones out there that are just as wide, like the Blackberry Bold 9000 or the HTC Evo 4. Honestly, although it has an odd shape it doesnít look that bad and it feels fine to hold and I have no problems fitting it into my pocket. Because itís a touch screen, you wouldnít want the phone any narrower than this.

The quality of the plastic of the phone is very good. The phone is very sturdy and although it doesnít look as glamorous due to its matt finish all around, it doesnít look that cheap. I just wished they added a few chrome accents or left the matt finish out to make it less budgety.

In terms of buttons and plugs for this phone everything it is very basic. You have your Home, Back, and Menu buttons right below the screen (similar to Milestone). They are touch sensitive buttons and are very responsive so you may press them by mistake. I donít really have that problem. These buttons also light up and act as your notification indicator. So this phone has NO blinking coloured LED light. Which I thought was stupid because I like customizing that on my other Android phones. It also has your standard power/sleep button on top, your volume rocker on the left, a 3.5mm jack on top, and microUSB on the left. There is nothing on the right side of the phone which feels like wasted real estate. They could have put the microSD slot there instead of behind the battery cover.

The full 4-row QWERTY keypad is great. Itís made of rubber and feel nice to the touch, but it will make a squeaky sound if your texting like a mad-man with sweaty fingers LOL. The buttons are small like a Blackberry but you get use to them. I like the fact that they included 4 arrow keys on the bottom right corner.

And letís not forget about the touchpad located on the back of the phone. It acts as a scroll pad and is awesome. At first I thought Iíd rarely use it, but it comes in handy when reading articles on the browser and you donít want your hands touching the screen. Very cool feature. I have to warn you though, if you end up buying the gel case from Telus it kinda hinders your ability to scroll left to right.



Display Ė 6.8/10

The screen is a very bright TFT capacitive touchscreen, however the images look very pixalated. If you have used phones like the x10, HTC Desire, Milestone etc this screen is very hard to look at and takes some getting use to. Heck even the HTC Dream looks a tad better.

Donít let this deter you from buying this phone because I think the low resolution actually makes this phone perform a lot faster. And the touch screen is very responsive.


Performance Ė 8.5/10

Ok, for what is going to be considered a budget, entry level Android smartphone this thing rocks. Itís pretty quick running Android 2.1 with a 700Mhz processor. I barely see any lag when scrolling through the home panels, and I fill up all pages with widgets and shortcuts. The only time I do see lag is when Iím running a bunch of programs at once.

The phone uses Motoblur, which isnít that bad. I actually use some of the widgets. But I prefer HTC Sense UI better. Setting up other email accounts like Yahoo! and Hotmail are a breeze. Only downside to Hotmail is that you canít delete or mark messages as read in your ďrealĒ hotmail account. Itís only good for reading the messages.

My main beef with performance on this phone has to do with the apps. Since the screen is landscaped many of the apps are not laid out properly so youíll have to rotate the phone. Thatís fine until you have apps that use the accelerometer. Because itís tilted some apps that use the accelerometer think youíre constantly tilting the phone. Very annoying. And I guess because of the display features (low resolution, landscape), not all of the apps will show up in the market.

Iím also not sure exactly what app it is, possibly HandcentSMS or Beautiful widgets, but something I downloaded caused the security swipe screen to not appear sometimesÖ

Like most Motorola phones the sound quality of the speakers are nice and loud and the reception is great.

The phone has a Kodak 3MP camera. No auto-focus and flash which is dumb. It actually takes pretty quick photos and the quality is not that bad. Iíd say itís just as good as the Milestone, if not better.

In terms of connectivity, it has everything you need. Wifi, GPS, Bluetooth and 3G. All work flawlessly.

The battery life isnít too bad. With 3G and some heavy usage I can get a full 24 hours out of it. Way better than my X10. With EDGE/2G use I can get a day and a bit.



So there you have it, my quick review of the new Motorola Charm. Donít let the teenager styling and price tag fool you, this phone is great value. It will make a great choice for anyone who is looking to get away from Crapberry and try an Android device.



Pros:
- Solid build quality
- Great call quality
- Quick performance
- Running 2.1
- Price tag
- Trackpad
- Connectivity options
- Fast camera

Cons:
- Display resolution
- Too dull of a finish on the body
- Some apps wonít work on it

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Old September 3rd, 2010, 11:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tase25 View Post
Pros:
- Solid build quality
- Great call quality
- Quick performance
- Running 2.1
- Price tag
- Trackpad
- Connectivity options
- Fast camera

Cons:
- Display resolution
- Too dull of a finish on the body
- Some apps won’t work on it
I agree with just about everything here, and as for some apps not working on it- most do but you have to download the apk yourself and install it via file browser since when you go on the Market or AppBrain the page won't display even though the app would work. I actually consider the trackpad a con, I disabled it after the first day of using the Charm because my finger kept touching it while interacting with apps, and I use the touch screen anyways, if there was a touchpad on the front I would've been much more comfortable with it using my thumb. Battery life is stupidly weak, if you look at talk time/standby time it's about a fraction of similar speced phones (Spica), I mean 6 hours? Come on, and I spoke with a Motorola rep and said there's no alternative battery for it... yet.

As for the screen, it's the only thing that bugs me, especially if you tilt it sideways the images becomes inverted much like those laptop screens did back in the 90's (dual-scan TFT?).

Also for pro, bluetooth 3.0!
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 04:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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In regards to the trackpad I guess it's just personal preference. I still like it.

sookster54 did you charge the battery properly the first 3 times? I was very careful with my first few charges and I think I'm getting the optimal performance out of it. It seems to be ok so far for me. You may want to try an app to save battery like JuiceDefender.

And how do you download the apk files yourself?
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Old September 9th, 2010, 04:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Excellent - review. All the things I really needed to know.

I have stubby fingers and desparately need a QWERTY bar android phone to repalce my HTC Tattoo (thick buttons is a good app which helps a lot)

I can live with the 320x24o resolution (which matches the Tattoo) and I'd gain the fact that it's capacitive.

All I need now is UK sim-free avaialbility at a sensible price (not a "rip of BRitain 1:1 £/$ price). It it's priced far enough south of £200 (GBP) I'm definitley in - and this appears a better choice than the X10 Mini Pro
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Old September 9th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tase25 View Post
In regards to the trackpad I guess it's just personal preference. I still like it.

sookster54 did you charge the battery properly the first 3 times? I was very careful with my first few charges and I think I'm getting the optimal performance out of it. It seems to be ok so far for me. You may want to try an app to save battery like JuiceDefender.

And how do you download the apk files yourself?
Oh yes, I know how to charge Li-Ion batteries, brand new cells I usually charge 3+ hours the first time, let it drain to about 15-20% then charge over night (8ish hours) then use as normal. Compared to my other phones, this has probably the worst daily battery duration, I use during the day and plug it in every night, the HTC Desire is another phone with poor battery life but still not as bad as the Charm's.

As for downloading apk's, well having another Android phone that can download and install apks then be backed up with a backup app then transferred to my PC via adb then transfer to the Charm, a bit of a pain in the butt but there aren't alot of apps that don't show up on the market.

Terry, the domed keys are pretty good but like I said takes a little getting used to because they're so narrow. Have a feel at it at a store with a dummy model.
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Old September 12th, 2010, 12:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry to break the ice, but I'm now going to boycott Motorola, I'm not happy with their decision on non US customers, after seeing their decision with the OS updates, the chance of the Charm getting one just became slimmer.

In the meantime, enjoy your Charm.
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Old September 13th, 2010, 11:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What OS decision are you referring to??
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Old September 14th, 2010, 05:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Motorola decision to not push 2.1 updates to non-US Motoblur phones, they originally said they will release 2.1 but changed their minds. They also advertised flash support on Motoblur phones (Cliq XT most especially) but flash is available in 2.2. And the unreleased Milestone 2 will have Motoblur, they simply don't care about anyone outside the US.

Given that, the Charm is still a decent midrange phone and I'd go as far as that, it'll probably be my last Motorola device after 15 some years of owning different Motorola phones.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh that sucks. I was using an unbranded version. Must have been US version since it was running 2.1.

I'd be PO'd if I were you too.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sookster54 View Post
Motorola decision to not push 2.1 updates to non-US Motoblur phones, they originally said they will release 2.1 but changed their minds. They also advertised flash support on Motoblur phones (Cliq XT most especially) but flash is available in 2.2. And the unreleased Milestone 2 will have Motoblur, they simply don't care about anyone outside the US.

Given that, the Charm is still a decent midrange phone and I'd go as far as that, it'll probably be my last Motorola device after 15 some years of owning different Motorola phones.
Moto blur sucks and I could care less about 2.2.

I'm on Telus in Canada and I'm quite happy with my phone!
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 02:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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excellent review, thanks.
Just ordered this phone.
I don' care about low screen resolution, I had even lower on my old blackberry and it was completely ok. I won't install stupid motoblur so battery life should be better.
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Motorola CHARM
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The Motorola CHARM is the very first candybar QWERTY Android phone to hit the scene. This phone finally gives those last Blackberry users that are on the fence about Android to give it a shot. The Motorola CHARM is not a powerhouse by any means, ... Read More



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