Style and handling summary for Motorola FlipOut review
The unique design means you flip the square FlipOut open like a switchblade. It’s well built and compact but feels a little flimsy in the hand, and those corners are a bit short.
Motorola FlipOut

User friendliness summary for Motorola FlipOut review
The flip-out opening of the name is smooth and stable, but that QWERTY keyboard takes some getting used to.

Feature set summary for Motorola FlipOut review
Wi-Fi and multi-touch browsing make for fast and smooth internet browsing, and A-GPS and Google Maps provide good navigation. Unfortunately though, the three-megapixel camera lets it down.

Battery power summary for Motorola FlipOut review
The battery life is average on the FlipOut, with 270 minutes’ talktime and 380 hours’ standby.

Full Review and Specification for the Motorola Flipout

Motorola has never been afraid to try something new with its mobile phones. It was responsible for the first clamshell phone and the only handset to have had a round display, and with the FlipOut it's once again trying something new. It's a square handset that opens like a switchblade, and is fully loaded with the Motoblur social networking interface and the Android operating system.

Style and handling on the Motorola FlipOut

The FlipOut is certainly unique although the design doesn't add a whole lot to the experience. It flicks open smoothly, although does feel a little lightweight, and the sharp edges on the phone can actually start to hurt your hand after a while.

The 2.8-inch touch-screen has a resolution of only 320x240 pixels, so looks pixelated, and it's too small for satisfying web surfing. But it does have multi-touch support which works well when browsing, viewing maps and going through the gallery.

Flip it open to reveal a five-line QWERTY keyboard with a dedicated number line and well-sized keys, although they can be a bit hard to press. A separator bar down the centre is a bit offputting at first, but could prove useful if you were trying to text in the dark. There's a D-Pad positioned on the bottom left-hand corner of the keyboard but it seems a bit pointless when you can use use the touch-screen to move around.

Dialling on the Motorola FlipOut
The handset needs to be opened before you make a call, but that feels comfortable to use. The proximity sensor leaps into action as soon as you move the phone from your ear and the screen comes on almost immediately. However, the touch-screen is sometimes a bit slow to recognise the call-end command.

Use the on-screen keypad to dial, but you don't get the option of typing in the first few letters of a contact's name to find a number that way. Also, there is no favourite contacts option so you'll have to hit a tab to search for the person you want to call. We did attempt to type a name into the QWERTY keyboard, but the phone only recognised our typing as numbers. It just makes things that more unnecessarily complicated than they need to be.

Camera on the Motorola FlipOut

Android phones don't tend to have great cameras, and the standard three-megapixel snapper on the FlipOut is par for the course. No flash or auto-focus means indoor shots suffer and taking pictures and night is out of the question, and you have to hold the camera extra-steady to avoid blurry shots. Daylight pictures are soft and blurry, although better than those taken inside.

Social networking on the Motorola FlipOut

Motorola's Motoblur social networking hub brings all your social networks, email accounts and contacts together to make the most comprehensive universal phonebook you could hope for. When you start up the FlipOut you will be prompted to enter the details of all your social networks and email accounts. Your phonebook is then synced to these so all your contacts are brought together. You can also choose which social network takes precedence when you sync up profile pictures.

You can also choose different groups to display, and your inbox shows messages from across your social world, whether Twitter, Facebook or email. A widget on the home screen shows the most recent.

But the main attraction of Motoblur is Happenings, its social networking app. You can place as many Happenings widgets as you want over the seven home screens, and tweak them to your preferred settings. It syncs the feeds from all your social networks or, if your prefer, you can have individual widgets for Twitter, work, a favourites group of whatever you fancy.

Your widget will display the latest update alongside a blurry picture of the person who posted it, although not the full update. To read that, click on the widget to be taken to the mobile version of the relevant site. It's not the most intuitive system we've come across, and it will take some time to reconfigure the phone to your preference.

Other widgets include Quick Action, which puts a favourite contact on your home screen so you can call or text them directly or see their latest update. Once you have set these you cannot change them unless you delete the widget and make a new one.

There are a few flaws; for example, selecting certain action options can stop the interface working so you need to close the program and relaunch it.

Android on the Motorola FlipOut

The FlipOut is powered by Android 2.1, which is as easy to use as usual. The notifications toolbar is the best thing on the handset: all your alerts show up on a bar at the top of the screen – for example, missed calls, messages or battery power. Swipe down and you will be taken to the right place to check or follow up.

Gmail is as good as ever, with desktop functionality, but for some reason you can't have it as part of your unified inbox – annoying if it's your main email account.

Internet on the Motorola FlipOut

The web browser supports both HTML and Flash Lite sites, so you get a desktop-like view of web pages and embedded video too. The experience is marred by the low-res screen though, with text looking ragged unless you zoom right in. Pages load quickly thanks to HSDPA and Wi-Fi connectivity, and multi-touch makes browsing a breeze.

A-GPS and Google maps are both preloaded so you can expect the same high level of navigation as you would on any Android phone.

The verdict on the Motorola FlipOut

The FlipOut certainly looks original and is compact too – you may well find it to be a welcome change from many of the bulky Android phones on the market. Social networking is front and centre here, so its appeal is definitely to those users who can't stay out of touch for long. Other users might find it a bit overwhelming. The low-res small display does let it down though. It's cute and quirky and aimed firmly at social networking users.

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