Motorola BACKFLIP review: Back and forth
Tiny retail package
The moderately-sized retail box does well to cover the basics. A charger is supplied, along with a microUSB cable to use with it, or connect to a computer. There is also a one-piece headset which isn't your only option though since the BACKFLIP has a 3.5 mm jack.
There is also a 2GB microSD card bundled with the BACKFLIP. Don’t go looking for it in the box though – it’s already inserted into the device and ready to use.
Motorola BACKFLIP 360-degree spin
At 108 x 53 x 15.3 mm the Motorola BACKFLIP is obviously not the smallest QWERTY smartphone out there but still reasonably compact. The front of it looks very much like the iPhone but we guess this is the least likely of all phones to be blamed of being a copycat.
The hinge is solid, allowing still a smooth and effortless folding motion. In its open position the screen is not absolutely level with the keyboard, but has a slight tilt for comfortable viewing. The whole setup is secure and easy to use. The keyboard is spacious and offers quite a number of handy shortcuts.
It’s interesting that there’s an automatic desk mode. When you open the flip to a certain extent, the screen automatically rotates in landscape mode and displays a special standby screen with a large clock. There’s even a convenient option of starting an image slideshow from this standby screen.
The BACKFLIP weighs 133 grams and it feels just perfect. The lower deck (keyboard) accounts for much of this weight allowing a secure hold when typing.
Design and construction
It’s pretty much the folding communicator form factor but not in the buttoned-down style of business devices. The Motorola BACKFLIP is keen to flaunt its buttons and that’s what makes it unusual. The outward facing keyboard may be too eccentric but we still think the BACKFLIP will connect with its target audience.
The Motorola BACKFLIP packs a 3.1” capacitive touchscreen with 320x480 pixel resolution. The size and the resolution are OK, but we’re not impressed with the colors and sunlight legibility.
The BACKFLIP’s display is 256K-color capable but, due to Android OS 1.5 restrictions, the effective colors are 65K. Banding is quite prominent.
Upgrading to later Android versions with support for 256 000 colors will possibly resolve this issue. Unfortunately nothing can fix the poor sunlight performance.
On a positive note, the capacitive touchscreen is very responsive.
When you unfold the keyboard the UI automatically rotates to landscape mode.
Below the display there are three capacitive controls, which are equally sensitive so the transition to and from the touchscreen is seamless. The touch-sensitive buttons have solid backlighting and nice haptic feedback.
Apart from a dedicated Search key, the typical Android buttons are on hand – Back, Menu and Home. The Search key is placed on the QWERTY keyboard.
The earpiece is centrally placed above the display, a subtle Motorola logo and a proximity sensor on each side.
The left side of the Motorola BACKFLIP features no controls – it’s where the hinge is. By contrast, the right side is quite corwded – there’s the volume rocker, microUSB port and the shutter key.
The microUSB port has no protective cap over it. Instead, there’s a green LED enclosing the actual connector, which emits light when you plug the charging or data cable. It also blinks to alert when the battery charge drops below 15%.
On top we find the power/screen-lock key and the 3.5 mm audio jack.