Motorola BACKFLIP Review

Introduction and Design

There's a lot to say about AT&T's undeniably slow gallop in joining the Android table, but nonetheless it's finally here to some degree with minimal fanfare surrounding its launch. For a brief time we saw AT&T seemingly knock on Android as they probably were under the mercy of Apple – who of course sees Android as their biggest competitor right now. To that degree, we see the hints of that on-going animosity as AT&T officially announced getting into the Android game with the Motorola BACKFLIP. Instead of following Verizon’s lead in premiering a high-end contender in the Android market, AT&T takes the approach on a slightly different path as they intend on offering a device that sets itself apart from the usual line of Android smartphones we’ve seen. We’ll see how the BACKFLIP can attract AT&T customers that have been stuck on the mindset of seeing the iPhone OS as the carrier’s flagship platform.

The package contains:
•    Motorola BACKFLIP
•    Quickstart Guide
•    2GB microSD card pre-installed
•    Charger
•    USB Cable


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. Taking plenty of design elements from the Motorola CLIQ, the BACKFLIP sports a slightly smaller frame (4.25” x 2.09” x 0.60”) that easily makes it more compact and comfortable when holding in the hand thanks to the rounded soft edges. The silver metallic-like casing feels high quality and constrasts well with the black color that adorns the touchscreen and QWERTY – not to mention it feels light weight (4.69 oz) in the pockets as well. Unlike the CLIQ, with its questionable build quality, the BACKFLIP does exude a higher level of workmanship that doesn’t make us worry about the hinge that holds the two parts of the phone together.

You can compare the Motorola BACKFLIP with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Continuing its resemblance to the CLIQ, the BACKFLIP features the same 3.1” HVGA (320 x 480) capacticitive touchscreen with support for 262k colors – there’s no question it’s more than manageable and responsive to the touch. Colors are brilliantly reproduced in variable tones while text on-screen are more than detailed enough to make out. The screen can be visible in just about any viewing angle and can withstand even the blinding conditions that comes with outdoor viewing – you’ll still be required to slightly cover the screen though in direct sunlight. Although setting the phone to its maximum brightness level will provide the most optimal viewing experience, the lack of a light sensor to automatically adjust the brightness does make it an eyesore. 

The same layout of buttons seen on the CLIQ are found directly beneath the touchscreen – the menu, home, and back keys; although this time around they are all touch sensitive as opposed to physical ones. Luckily we didn’t experience any issues with them as they were accurate and responsive to the touch. The same can’t be said about the other physical buttons on the sides of the phone – the dedicated power/lock, volume rocker, and camera. The latter felt the most button friendly as it’s slightly raised from the surrounding surface while the other two were just about flush to the suface which made it difficult in feeling them out. Music lovers will enjoy seeing the 3.5mm headset jack found prominently on the top edge of the phone while the microUSB port used to charge and connect to a computer is located on the right side. When you open up the phone, there’s a trackpad found directly behind the touchscreen to provide an alternative navigating tool as there are no physical directional buttons on the BACKFLIP. There’s a slight notch in the back cover, used as an outlet for the speaker, that comes off to reveal the battery, SIM card slot, and microSD slot.

It’s almost confusing at first to see the QWERTY keyboard dominate the face of the entire back portion, but it becomes quite clear how the designers intended for this to happen. Seeing that when the phone is in a closed position, the QWERTY keyboard will actually face the unforgiving surfaces we place it upon – that’s why the QWERTY looks to be consturcted out of a single plastic-like material. Buttons are separated with notches to the surfac that encloses the entire surface of QWERTY to prevent dirt and debris from entering. Regretably they lack any tactile feel and we found ourselves struggling to speed type with the QWERTY. Thanks to the brilliant backlighting, there was no problem seeing which button we were pressing. Finally, the 5-megapixel auto-focusing camera with LED flash is found towards one corner.

Fundamentally, the Motorola BACKFLIP's design provides some freshness that will enable it to be easily recognized from afar. It could've really hit it out of the ball park if the keyboard were a bit more useful as opposed to focusing on how it'll withstand the harsh surfaces it will come in contact with.

Motorola BACKFLIP 360 Degrees View:

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