Motorola BACKFLIP Review
The Motorola BACKFLIP utilizes Android’s native music player. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, but it could use some more polish. Still, it handled all of the mp3s we threw at it just fine, properly displaying album art and track info. Yet another sign of AT&T’s strong presence on the handset, the Amazon MP3 music store is blatantly omitted with no alternative to be found on the phone for purchasing songs. Audio from the handset had a decent pitch to it that made it audible to the ears as long as it’s not set on the highest setting – at that point, it began to start crackling.
We tested the playback of several videos on the BACKFLIP, as it supports MP4 files encoded with H.263 and H.264. Even though the display is physically limited to 480x320 pixels resolution, the device could play videos of up to 640x272 resolution with 1080 kbps bit rate. To our surprise, the video at that resolution still managed to play smoothly with no indications of slowdown – audio accompanying it was decent unless volume was set to the highest option.
Motorola has reworked the picture gallery and video player so they are now prettier to look at. When flipping through pictures, for example, the transition is much like turning a page. The photo viewer allows for picture editing as well. Users can adjust a number of variables, such as RGB, brightness, contrast, color saturation and others, and an auto-fix noticeably touches up images. There is a very cool preview feature where half the picture stays as the original and the other half is adjusted so you can compare the differences. The image can be cropped and rotated, or have the resolution cut down. The user can select from different color effects or add speech bubbles, clip art and frame the picture. All-in-all, it offers some very handy stuff.
The camera interface is pretty simple, but one nice feature is that when you take a picture, it displays your location information and integrates that into the filename. Settings are fairly sparse; the user can adjust resolution, geotagging preferences, color effect, toggle auto focus and choose from automatic or preset white balances. Quality from the 5-megapixel camera was decent for the most part with a lot of detail in shots taken in good lighting conditions with the exception of colors – which came out washed out looking. Although the LED flash did a good job of illuminating shots in low lit conditions, the auto-focusing system had a difficult time adjusting – resulting in some decently lit, but fuzzy looking shots. It goes to show that the BACKFLIP is more than capable of taking photos that you would want to remember.
With a maximum shooting resolution of 320 x 240 pixels at 25 fps, the Motorola BACKFLIP produced smooth looking videos that really lacked any detail. Despite not displaying any slowdown, thanks partly to the frame rate, videos still looked too pixilated while audio captured sounded muffled. Videos taken with the BACKFLIP can be cropped, but that is the extent of the editing capabilities. Finally, another distinct advantage that it has over other handsets is the fact you can take self portraits when you have the device completely opened – using the actual touchscreen to see yourself as you record. It’s definitely a neat feature and can really come into play for those who prefer being able to see themselves as they record.
The Motorola BACKFLIP is a quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and tri-band UMTS (850/1900/2100 MHz) handset which makes the perfect solution for the global trotter. In addition, it packs 802.11b/g Wi-Fi for an alternative internet connection and Bluetooth 2.0 to pair up with various devices for wireless transfers.
There’s really not much to say about the web browsing experience on the BACKFLIP as it’s similar to others before it. Despite the lack of multi-touch on the handset, loading pages through AT&T’s 3G network wasn’t a problem as it replicated our web site with no problems. Kinetic scrolling could be a bit smoother, but it doesn’t deter from the overall usability of the Webkit based browser. Unlike the Motorola DEVOUR and HTC DROID Eris over on Verizon, the BACKFLIP doesn’t support Adobe Flash Lite – which means a separate app will launch whenever you attempt to watch a YouTube video. Finally, you can use the trackpad behind the touchscreen for another way of navigating – it’s definitely different and has a useful purpose, but we found ourselves always resorting to actually using the touchscreen.
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!