Motorola BACKFLIP Review
Following suit after the Motorla CLIQ and DEVOUR, the BACKFLIP also features MOTOBLUR to give AT&T customers a customized Android experience right out of the gates. Everything about it is nearly identical to what we’ve seen previously on other handsets, but the distinct affinity for Yahoo as the only option for web searching really highlights the confusing stance that Google supplants its Android platform.
The user can sign into accounts from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo, Skyrock, Last FM, Picasa, Photobucket, Yahoo! Mail and Google, as well as corporate and other personal email accounts. Similarly to webOS, contacts are pulled from each location and merged together, and if a contact’s info isn’t recognized you can link to other services. Thankfully info from one service does not get pushed back to another; for example if you have a Gmail contact who is also a Facebook contact and they have different email addresses with the two services, Gmail is not updated with the Facebook address. Similarly to HTC’s contact management you can view your communication history within a contact, as well as their “happenings,” or social network updates.
The homescreen has several custom widgets as well. The Happenings widget pulls all of this social network info and gives you a constant feed of updates. Messaging offers your standard SMS, MMS, etc. but also integrates Facebook, Twitter and other messaging services. There is also a News and Entertainment widget that displays relevant info. Lastly is Social Status, which allows you to quickly update your status for the various services. The best feature of these widgets is that a tap brings up more info right on the homescreen without launching an app. For instance, if you tap on a news headline it will bring you a brief synopsis, with a link to launch the full story. If you click on a Facebook profile update in Happenings it gives you the full text, ability to read any comments and the option to comment yourself. On any of them you can swipe across the screen to get to the next item.
Despite exuding the same experience as other MOTOBLUR devices, the Android 1.5 powered BACKFLIP is littered out of the box with AT&T’s laundry list of applications found on its feature phones – these include AT&T Maps, AT&T Music, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Radio, Mobile Banking, Mobile Video, MobiTV, MusicID, Where, and YPmobile. Although they sometimes can be regarded as extra clutter in the applications listing, they’re permanently stuck on there as they can’t be deleted. Aside from that, there are some instances when the phone lagged and we noticed a good amount of times when certain apps would crash unexpectedly – more on this than others, When it did manage to work consistently, the experience was decent to say the least – but we’d suspect MOTOBLUR being the culprit to some of the problems we witnessed.
Organizer & Messaging:
All of the organizer options are stock Android 1.5. The calendar integrates with your Google account and syncs wirelessly. There is no memo or tasks program, but several are available in the Android Market, and the alarm clock has been ever so slightly tweaked to allow the user to change the snooze time between 5 and 15 minutes.
One item worth noting that really makes the Motorola BACKFLIP unique is its ability to run the clock app when you tilt the phone at an angle – displaying some useful information like the weather. We enjoy how it acts as a digital picture frame by shuffling through your photos in this mode, but it also works well to double as an actual alarm clock. When you have it in this mode and connected to with the wall adapter, the LEDs behind the touch sensitive buttons are constantly lit – this can cause some strain to the eyes in the pitch black conditions when going to bed.
As mentioned before, messaging is not only SMS and MMS, but also integrates messages from the various social network services, as well as other user-defined personal and corporate email accounts. In addition to the physical QWERTY, the on-screen Android keyboard is available as well, which we found to actually be somewhat more usable due to the fact that we found ourselves speed typing a bit more flawlessly on it.
1. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)
I recently got this phone to replace my last phone. I was an iPhone user for 3 years, and I must say, I really like the BackFlip despite missing all the apps on Apple. I like how Motorola has also integrated motoblur into the phone because I love how much information I can get from just the homescreen. I enjoy this phone very much and I honestly recommend it to anyone. I've played with Android before, but this is my first personal Android phone. :] I love it.
2. EvoAnubis (Posts: 11; Member since: 14 Jan 2010)
I'll be getting mine next week; can't wait!!
3. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)
"There’s no question that the BACKFLIP’s strength mostly lies in its unusual form factor that really manages to separate it from all the existing pack of slate/candybar devices – essentially requiring a literal backflip to expose its QWERTY." how is being the weirdest and dumbest form factor a strength. i just don't see it.
4. fit2000rider (unregistered)
this phone is so slow and you have to restor it every day it really is a bad phone dont buy it.
6. mmmmm (unregistered)
its the crappiest phone i have ever used
7. prady4 (unregistered)
huh? so very confused about getting this phone!