Motorola Karma QA1 Review

Software and Features:

It might not have the flashiest looking interface, but the Motorola Karma QA1 has a simplistic one that makes navigating a breeze. The personalization is minimal with only one wallpaper and skin to choose from right out of the box. There is an option to create your own theme – giving you the ability to choose a ring tone, various alerts, wallpaper selection, screen saver, and skin. It's very limited and just does not give users enough choice without the need to pay for additional content. The home screen is pretty bare with only the clock and date being displayed. Finally, there is no hint of slowdown when navigating through the various sub-menus.



The amount of contacts that can be stored will depend on how much memory is used – only a percentage is given for the used capacity. The typical information like various phone numbers, home address, email, assigning a photo or ringtone, and birthday can be inputed.



The standard SMS application can be launched by pressing the dedicated messaging button on the front or going through the menus. There are also a good amount of SMS and MMS templates you can choose from if you're feeling lazy.

Yet again with other AT&T devices we've seen, the mobile email application is the same one. You can select popular email providers like Yahoo, Windows Live Hotmail, and AOL, butunfortunately Gmail isn't on the list. Instant Messaging is the same with AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger as options. Exiting back to the home screen while logged in will keep the IM app running in the background. Unfortunately, you can only run one client at the time without the ability to simultaneously log on all three at once.  We were hoping to see something refreshing with the Karma in this department, but content in the end with keeping to the same fashion.



Social networking exploded and Motorola decided to incorporate that aspect into the Karma. There is a social networking icon on the main menu that launches the web browser to the mobile home page of Facebook, MySpace, and a dedicated app for Juicecaster. It's a nice touch, but doesn't really jump out because you can simply accomplish the same by launching the browser and typing in the web site.

Other common AT&T applications can be found like XM Radio, MusicID, Yellowpages mobile, WikiMobile, Mobile Banking, Where, MobiTV, Zuma and AT&T Navigator.



Camera:

Taking candid snapshots is probably best reserved for the Motorola Karma QA1 – with images producing somewhat  decent colors and lacking detail despite having an LED flash. You can choose between four resolutions from 320 x 240 to the maximum 1600 x 1200. The interface follows the same suit with most of the phone; simple and uncluttered. Other settings can be modified from exposure, lighting, zoom, and color style.





The maximum video resolution (320 x 240) resulted in jerky movies that were too pixelated at times to distinguish. Reducing it to a lower setting makes it more smooth with detail sacrificed. Luckily, the audio captured was audible – making it more prominent than the video itself.  Also worth noting is that it's a Video Share capable device.

Multimedia:

There's nothing pretty about the music player – it's boring with a minimal set of functions on screen. Other similar devices have set the bar a bit higher than what is found on the Karma. The time elapsed, song title, artist, and time remaining are displayed with the navigational pad corresponding to the playback options (forward, reverse, and pause/play). Thankfully, the 3.5mm headphone jack is a welcomed sight to see on the handset. Although it's nice, the speakerphone does an exceptional job of producing some audible tunes. It's loud and vibrant without the cracking ruining the serene music in the air. The stereo Bluetooth option only compliments the rich audio capability of the Karma.

With the 2.5” screen taking up almost more than half of the front surface, we were also impressed with its video playback.  We loaded up a movie trailer in MPEG4 format at a resolution of 320 x 240 and were pleased with how smooth it played. From the colors, quality, and stellar audio from the speakerphone, everything contributed to the overall experience.



Connectivity:

You can sleep knowing voice calls can be made almost anywhere in with this quad-band GSM phone (850/900/1800/1900 MHz). Running on 3G will work only here domestically with its dual-band UMTS capability (850/1900 MHz).

Now the Motorola Karma QA1 is placed above the rest of similar QWERTY handsets when it comes to web browsing. It will actually load complex sites like ours in no time, all the while reproducing an almost facsimile of what can be found on a computer. We would have liked to see a page overview for long sites – the constant zooming required to find the perfect fit is annoying. Scrolling is smooth with no lag when trying to get to the bottom of a page. The biggest thing that caught our attention was how  quick it loaded up with 3G connection – even sometimes faster than popular browsers like Opera.


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