Motorola phones were extremely popular at the time of the RAZR. Motorola unfortunately became stagnant, thinking that the RAZR had topped it all. With the release of the Apple iPhone and the rise of Android powered smartphones, it seemed as though Motorola was doomed. Motorola slowly began it’s upward rise, embracing Android. Among the first batch of Android powered Motorola’s was the Motorola CLIQ. The CLIQ has been renamed the Motorola DEXT with slightly different and improved features outside of the United States.
The Motorola DEXT is the second phone by Motorola which runs the Android operating system (OS). It is a phone meant for the social networking savvy audiences that love to tweet, and update their Facebook status all day. The only mini setback is that the DEXT doesn’t ship with the latest version of Android, but rather with Android 1.5 (cupcake). Recently there have been leaks released, updating the Motorola DEXT up to Android 2.1 (Froyo).
Design and Display (3 out of 5)
The Motorola DEXT is beautifully designed, has a sizeable form factor, and weighs around 163g. The phone feels solid and when you slide the phone closed, you will feel a slight grating noise, but then, everything falls into place neatly. The Motortola DEXT may seem a bit bulky for some as the full QWERTY keyboard does add some thickness to the smartphone. The display is a 3.1-inch touchscreen, having a resolution of 320 by 480 pixels; not too impressive, but not bad either. The dimension of the sliding keyboard accounts for the bulk of the DEXT. It measures 58 by 114 by 15.85 mm.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
The DEXT’s keyboard has domed buttons, and there are three rows of letter keys. On the left is the directional pad,
and the shortcut commands (Alt, Search, Spacebar, etc.) are at the bottom. The plastic keys (on the keyboard) are firm, and have a nice clicking noise when you press them. Only the small spacebar creates a little concern for people who are used to a bigger one. The Home button also indicates ‘’busy’’ onscreen. The Menu and Back keys lie on its left and right, respectively. On the sides of the Motorola DEXT, there are a number of controls. The ring silencer switch, 3.5mm audio jack, keylock and camera shutter are some of them. The camera shutter, and lock/power buttons (which lie on the right side of the DEXT) are nearly hidden by the screen (when the phone is closed), hence they may be a little hard to locate. Also, Motorola could have done away with the D-pad, and the keyboard would be a nice full-width one.
The Motorola DEXT features a user interface called MotoBLUR, which is designed specifically for the Android platform. This particular version of MotoBLUR is pretty intrusive, covering large amounts of the screen for social networking updates. It’s targeted towards consumers who enjoy social networking and receiving constant updates, but for some, the Motorola DEXT may come off as too intrusive with information.
Features (3 out of 5)
The Motorola DEXT comes with an innovative feature called MotoBLUR. This great feature by Motorola basically integrates your social networking profiles, contacts, as well as your e-mails, all in one huge… blur. It aims for ease of access, so that only a click or two will access nearly everything. The DEXT prompts the user for a MotoBlur account registration, the first time it is powered up. You need to add all your social networking accounts (like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter) on it, and then add your e-mail details. The MotoBlur feature will download all your information from the respective websites, and display it in five neat piles; Happenings, Social Status, Messages, Weather and RSS feed reader. Happenings displays your friend’s status updates (or tweets) and shows one update (or post) at a time. For getting to the next update, you need to swipe left.
However, the weak point of MotoBLUR is that it really is a blur. It’s just a constant stream of information bombarding the 3.1 inch display and it’s really hard to use quickly. As time has progressed, MotoBLUR has been changed to be less intrusive, but on the Motorola DEXT, it really comes off as too much information.
Contacts are arranged in a cool way, because when you click on a contact, there are several options to communicate with them (phone, text, e-mail, retweet, poke, etc). Messaging allows you to view direct messages (from Twitter), Facebook messages and all your e-mails, in one go. Social status is there to display your own update/post on your social networking account (most recently used one).
Another feature in MotoBlur is that of device location via GPS. So if your phone is lost, you can find it from up to 7 meters if the GPS is on. You can also delete your data, in case your phone is lost, via MotoBlur. The phone also features 3G, Wi-Fi, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Performance (3 out of 5)
The Motorola DEXT is powered by a 528 MHz Qualcomm processor, 256 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM, and includes 32 GB MicroSD memory. The phone has a good call quality, but sometimes the signal strength seems troublesome and the voice may sound a little hollow, which makes you feel as if you are talking in a empty hall. The speakerphone has a good volume, and the sound is bright and clear. The device overall performs fairly well, but there is a noticeable time lag when opening applications. The DEXT’s touchscreen has a good response, but there are times when the screen refuses to respond to a touch or tap. The battery life doesn’t live up to its promised 6 hours of talktime, and 13.5 days of standby. In actuality, the battery dies at the end of a day of heavy usage, depending on how many background apps and widgets you run.
The Final Verdict (3 out of 5)
The Motorola DEXT is a fairly capable phone with a decent design, but it does have its drawbacks. There could be major improvements to the phone, like an OS update, improvements to the keyboard layout, video capture, battery life, etc. There have currently been leaks of Android 2.1 for the Motorola DEXT but nothing official. Overall, if you can live with information overload (like in MotoBlur), then this phone is definitely meant for you.