By guest editor Steven Nersesian
This offering from Motorola clearly represents the direction that Motorola is heading after their disastrous, albeit profitable and brand building, release of the RAZR line. Sorry to hang more s*%t on the RAZR but if it weren’t such a sleek, beautiful-but-manly phone it just might be the worst ever product to ever exist. I’ll rant more about this subject another time.
So coming off of that you might think I’m going to completely trash the A1200. But hold on just a minute… don’t judge me!!! I really like this phone!!!!!!! The interface is truly a step up from the RAZR (wow… I really hate… no dislike, that naming system). And the fit and finish of the product is very very nice. It is quite a svelte, modern-looking phone (I had the white with silver and black accents).
Even in white it doesn’t look like a girly phone. The black has a stronger visual impact but beware of the fingerprint issue. And THANK YOU for using a touch screen. There is nothing more annoying than a graphically rich interface that requires you to use a pointing device to navigate. I found that I could use my finger for most operations.
The Good: The transparent flip cover is very striking. Click the volume down key and the display lights up with all your current pertinent information. It is really a nice touch. The buttons all have a very positive feel to them. They don’t rattle or squeak and are quickly recognizable by feel. The flip feels solid… and when talking on the phone it feels secure. And I really, really, really like touch screens. Have I mentioned that I like touchs creens? This on is very responsive… I could quickly dial numbers without error, although the virtual keyboard’s density required use of the stylus, which I didn’t mind. I got used to it. I found the voice quality to be excellent especially relative to their current offerings.
On the Fence: There are quite a few cool seeming apps included on the device…. like a business card reader that is supposed to use the camera to take a picture then use recognition software to capture the details into text and save it to your contacts. Trouble is that after repeated attempts to make it work I gave up. Then there’s the photo editing app… which sounds cool except all you can basically do is draw random squiggles over a picture you’ve just taken which isn’t very useful. Maybe if you wanted to write a goofy note over your dorky friend’s picture and send it to all of the rest of your friends, okay… but otherwise this isn’t replacing Photoshop anytime soon. And all the usual “smartphone” features are there… calendar, audio player, camera, email, but nothing earth-shattering or innovative.
The Bad: The interface, although greatly improved over current Motorola offerings, is still lagging behind the industry. I found there to be too few settings and options (like control for what is displayed on the main screen with the flip cover closed) or at least so buried that they are practically unusable. Email, web and general connectivity was quite slow… surprising given how responsive the rest of the device felt. And I was bummed to wake up one morning and the stylus tip had sheared off. Good thing they included a second on in the box.
Bottom Line: This is a solid phone with a solid interface. It still has all the quirks of a Motorola product (seeming functionality with little usability) but they are less noticeable than previous offerings.
I give it 7 out of 10 stars. It gives me hope that Motorola will continue to improve their product offerings and are well aware that the market is getting competitive at the usability level. I think this product will be a success for Motorola when they release it here under the “MotoMING A1200″ moniker.
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