Motorola MOTOFONE F3 review: Budget wonder

Jan Horalík, 25 March 2007. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Telephony is crucial

There is no doubt that Motofone has been particularly created for calling. The rest of its functions are pure extras. The phonebook is very simplified, what’s important here is that you learn to work with it, just like it was in the menu. The phonebook only uses SIM card memory as Motofone has no internal memory. It opens up after a press on the special phonebook key assigned to it. Saved names appear in the top line, while their position on the SIM card is visualized in the bottom one. By pressing the right way of the navigation key you will reach the phone number assigned to the opened entry and the delete entry option. Contacts can be deleted, but not modified.

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Dialing a phone number

Searching uses first name only and is relatively slow. The way a new number is inserted into the entry list is rather unusual too. It is necessary to write the number on the display as if you were to dial it; then you need to press the phonebook key, enter the corresponding name and confirm it.

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A contact in the phonebook

Motofone works in GSM networks at 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies (there is a version for the Americas with GSM 850/1900 bands). The sound coming out of the speaker is clear, the maximum volume levels are sufficient. A loudspeaker is available too. On stand-by you can use the horizontal ways of the navigation key to modify ringing volume or deactivate ringing completely if necessary. In any case the loudest ringing is more than sufficient. Melodies are preceded by one-time vibration and get gradually louder. A silent mode as well as an vibration-only option and vibration + the loudest ringing option are available too.

The phone offers 7 ringtones, all of them polyphonic. It is not possible to download any additional ones. It is not clear why in Motofone Motorola forgot to implement the standard ringtones it used in its older models. There is no doubt that those are still pretty popular among Motorola owners. Instead it has built-in a fixed amount of rather unpleasant and pretty identical melodies. What’s worse, when volume levels are set up at maximum, the speaker tends to vibrate too heavily.

Message only if you really have to

Comfort is certainly not one of the characteristics of SMS management in Motofone. The device only offers very basic operations. As we mentioned earlier, messages are typed on a single line, which means that only 6 characters can fit onto the display at a time. Forget about assistant tools like T9 or character countdown. Motofone cannot send messages longer than 160 characters, either. When you type a message, do all your best to avoid making mistakes, because the editor is applicable to the last character only. So if you need to correct the first word of your SMS, you should delete your entire message. Once you confirm the text you have typed, the phone asks you to enter a recipient number or refers you to the phonebook, and then sends it. Notifications of delivered messages are not available here. Besides, the phone does not store sent messages, so if you need to write a message identical to one written earlier, you have no other option but type it once again from the start.

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Typing a SMS

Newly received messages are alerted through beeps and a voice notification. To read them simply press the context key. Motofone stores messages on the SIM card memory only. To browse the Message inbox use the vertical ways of the navigation key; bear in mind it is pretty slow. During browsing the first several characters of each message appear on the display. To read messages press the horizontal keys of the navigation key. SMS can be replied, but cannot be edited or forwarded. Our efforts to set up or modify the number of the SMS center failed miserably.

As you could see from the examples given above, Motofone is not suitable for frequent message typing. SMS should only be written in case of emergency, especially considering the fact that the phone lacks some very basic characters.

Motofone does not feature any entertaining or organizing functions. This, of course, is logically correlated to the lack of a normal display. The phone only offers a simple alarm clock with daily repetition. If you need to wake up at a certain time on only one day of the week, it is necessary that you deactivate the alarm time on the rest of the days. The alarm alone is very loud and quite annoying; you can be absolutely sure it will make you jump out of bed. There is only one type of alarm and this cannot be modified.

For mobile beginners only

Motorola Fone F3 is a unique device, with which Motorola is going to certainly observe a significant vending success, particularly on the developing markets. In Europe mobile beginners and people in need of a cheap alternative phone are the most likely customers. Motofone features a very attractive design; besides, it offers a large font exceptionally useful for senior people. When you decide whether to purchase Motofone, however, bear in mind that it is only suitable for making calls. Do not expect anything more from it. Its display limits significantly restrict full-function SMS management.

Motofone is already being sold on the market for approximately 45 euros. This launching price has been set somewhat high due to the broad interest that the manufacturer expects the phone will enjoy. We, however, expect it to go down to the originally advertised 35 euros. If you are looking for a simple and cheap phone, you may also want to have a look at Nokia 1112. The latter is about 5 euros more expensive, but on the other hand it offers a far greater amount of functions, a graphic display, a full-function SMS application, as well as a simpler and more comfortable control and a friendlier user interface. In terms of fashion, however, Motofone is an absolute sparkler.

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