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Smartflip is a comparatively big clamshell phone with an in-built antenna. Its colour is black and its form has an austere look with the lower part slightly beveled and narrower but not with a rounded edges either. Most of the front and rear panels are made of metal, which adds to the austere hi-end feeling inspired by its design and by its feel. The phone is exceptionally stable and you will not be disappointed in any way by its fine workmanship. It can be opened or closed with one hand but since it has no special automated mechanism we prefer to do so by both hands; naturally it has a spring to help with the opening, which does that quite well – after the lid has been half-opened it is ‘caught’ and opened to the end.

Being a lid-phone, Smartflip has two displays instead of one: in a circular opening on the front lid there is a small (1.2”, 128 x 128 pix) 65 thousand colour one. Its main use is for system information, helping you avoid opening the phone for trifles such as battery level, signal strength, time, etc. Normally it also visualizes caller identities and informs you about missed calls or received messages. However, apart from these standard applications the colour display may be used for multimedia – with its help you can take a picture of yourself with the camera or pick the music to listen to using the small interface of a media player. In our view it is very convenient and we like it but unfortunately the display is hard to see by bright daylight, which can render it unusable. Moreover, the circular glass surrounding it gets easily stained, turning into a mirror.
Inside there is a bigger 2.2-inch display with a much higher resolution (QVGA 240 x 320 pix) and better quality. This is the main display of the phone and in most cases – the one to supply the information. The screen itself has a sufficient resolution for its size, the brightness is normal and the colors are deep and real - the images there look really good.

Apart from the standard touch-buttons when opened, Smartflip has four side ones and three on the front panel: on the left there is a volume control and a shortcut to the voice commands and on the right there is a shortcut to the camera, also used as a shutter key. These buttons are situated on the upper shell and we consider them inconvenient, only the one for the camera being accessible with relative ease. This, however, is valid for the closed phone; when opened, we were hardly able to push any of the buttons. In addition to the side ones, there are three control buttons for the music player: play/pause and two for changing tracks, but the latter cannot be used as ‘fast forward’ or ‘rewind’. They are easy to push but have almost no relief and therefore are difficult to find. Unfortunately all seven buttons have no back-lighting, which makes their use even more difficult in a dark environment.

The opened keyboard is very different: though almost entirely flat like the one of RAZR, its surface is made of plastic, not metal; the digit buttons are very big and the remaining software buttons, though small, are very convenient, so confusing them is a rarity. We had problems solely with the d-pad which directions (up and down) are shorter than we would like them to be. The entire keyboard is flat and it is hard to say which button is being pushed without looking, the buttons themselves are too close to each other, and the backlighting is light blue-green. It is controlled by a sensor, which helps prolong battery life. Unfortunately it does not control the brightness of the screen as in Blackberry Pearl.

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