Motorola Karma QA1 Review

Introduction and Design

AT&T hasn't seen a Motorola QWERTY device since the Windows Mobile powered Q9h, offered back in 2007. The landscape has changed for the one time great handset manufacturer with competition forcing them to limit device releases. We've seen them steer away from the popular form factor, that the RAZR series pioneered, with devices like the Krave ZN4 and the Aura. The Motorola Karma QA1 follows that same trend providing AT&T users a taste of a much-needed new styling and form factor. The QWERTY device, with it's focus on social networking, may make it enticing enough for messaging happy users to pick from AT&T's current offerings.

The package contains:

•    Motorola Karma QA1
•    Charger
•    Users Manual


It's always a pleasure seeing Motorola venture out to other form factors that don't emulate the RAZR look. The slider phone utilizes two different materials – an aluminum finish for the front and soft matte for the back. Both radiating a sense of quality materials that adds to its universal appeal. Although it's a bit wider and thicker (0.70”), it feels quite natural in the hand and provides a good grip with its rounded corners. You'll definitely notice the weight (4.97 oz) when carrying it around, but it's a welcomed thing that emits a sense of durability. However, the construction will stand up through a lot of normal wear and tear except those extreme accidental drops – thankfully the matte finish will help minimize those occurrences.

You can compare the Motorola Karma QA1 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The ample sized 2.5” LCD screen with a 320 x 240 resolution is complimented with its 262k colors brilliantly illuminating the screen. We must admit that it's quite luminous and reflects the quality that went into the creation of the handset. There's just so much room that reading text won't ever become a hindrance. The screen is reflective, which is a minor drawback, but placing the brightness to the maximum setting will make it usable in direct sunlight.

You'll find the standard set of buttons on the front; send and end, directional pad, left and right soft keys, back/clear, and a dedicated one for messaging. Besides the send and end buttons, which are raised, everything else is flush with the surface. One thing to note is that they're all somewhat stiff when pressed; requiring a second press to make sure it was registered. The Karma keeps it simple with a small-sized volume rocker on the right side with the dedicated camera key on the other – both having a sensible tactile feel. There is much to love with the microUSB port on the bottom and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge. The 2-megapixel camera with flash is tucked away on the back with the speakerphone placed towards the bottom. Removing the rear cover will reveal the battery, SIM card slot, and microSD slot – all fitting in the cramped space.

We've seen great placement of ports (like the charging and 3.5mm port) on the Karma, but found it baffling to find the microSD slot placed behind the rear cover. If you're one for media playback, the Karma will support microSD cards up to 16GB.

The QWERTY keyboard on the Motorola Karma QA1  harks back to the golden age of Motorola with the design almost reminiscent of their once flagship smart phone; the Q. The pebble shaped buttons are raised high enough to give your fingers the differentiating feeling of each one. Additionally they have a hard plasticy feel – with some tight spacing between each. Still, people with larger hands will find the need to use the edge of their fingers to type. The numeric keypad is highlighted in light blue with a single dedicated key used to launch the web browser. We would have liked to see a brighter backlighting – which was almost faint to visualize even in dark settings. After a while, we found the QWERTY to be useful and adequate for most of our messaging needs.

Motorola Karma QA1 360 Degrees View:

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