Review: Motorola Charm … Not So Charming

With T-Mobile just days away from releasing the new Motorola Charm, I thought I’d review it although there’s not a whole lot exciting about this new Android device.

Here’s some basic features of the device:

  • 2.8 inch touch screen display
  • Multi-touch capable
  • Proximity sensor
  • Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity
  • GPS support
  • Android 2.1 OS aka Android Eclair
  • Lithium Ion battery

The 2.8 inch display is bright and looks nice, but it’s small size leaves you wanting for more because the display is so small.  It’s all a matter of keyboard vs no keyboard, and weather or not the manufacturer wants to go with a slider, (either landscape or portrait) or a full blown touch screen sans the keyboard, and a big display, which has other uses when not (at least partially) in use as a keyboard.  For example, watching movies, playing games, or viewing web pages.  The Android 2.1 OS is fine, and the phone does offer full voice turn by turn GPS built in to Google Maps.  The screen is multi-touch, but again the small screen comes into play, and you’re a bit cramped when trying to perform standard gestures.

The single “biggest” new thing introduced is the rear facing track pad.  The idea being, you run you finger over the small area on the back, and you can flip pages or perform certain other functions, but to me it  seemed not to be not much more than a gimmick, and it’s certainly going down in history as an idea that should have never made it to an actual product.  With that said, it was fairly intuitive to use despite having to trigger it blind and reversed, but still, I wasn’t impressed with what it brought to the phone.

There also your standard crop of “social media” apps built in with features that other phones don’t offer so that people who don’t know how to buy a smart phone will go “ooohh, I can retweet right from the widget!”, and then have a reason to buy the phone.   I’m glad that Apple doesn’t buy into that retarded mentality that dictates a device be preloaded with a bunch of garbage to appeal to the less cell savvy.

Just looking at the phone, it looks like someone took a blackberry bold and put it into an iPhone press and pushed down really hard.  It has the form factor of your typical “small screen up top/physical keyboard down below”  Blackberry, but the sleek, thin, flat design with chamfered corners look of an iPhone 4.  Overall not a bad looking phone, but it’s SO iPhone 4 like that one wonders if Motorola, a company that is never short on innovation, would stoop to such an obvious low as to make the phone resemble an iPhone so closely.  What happened to the days when Motorola owned the cell phone market because they were putting out such a revolutionary device as the Razr line.  That was a bar raiser for sure.  The simple addition of aircraft grade aluminum for the case material enabled a redesign that changed the industry.  I don’t’ see that level of innovation here.  What I do see is a mediocre phone on par with RIM’s latest Torch, especially in CPU speed.

The best features of the phone don’t really deal with the phone itself, but rather Motorola’s Motoblur system to streamline things more for both user and the cell provider techs as well.  Not a keeper though.