Motorola Backflip Android smartphone
Motorola's Backflip Android mobile phone boasts a "unique reverse-flip" design and features a touch-sensitive trackpad in an unconventional position.
- Good build quality, large keyboard, MotoBlur software, reasonably inexpensive
- MotoBlur can become cluttered, flip design isn't completely comfortable or practical, trackpad is more of a gimmick, no multitouch or Flash
Motorola scores points for trying to differentiate the Backflip from the wealth of other Android smartphones on the market, but its design isn't as practical as the company intended it to be.
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
Motorola's aptly named Backflip is certainly a very different looking Android smartphone, boasting what the company calls a "unique reverse-flip" design. Also featuring a touch-sensitive trackpad in an unconventional position, the handset scores points for trying to be different, but we feel the Motorola Backflip's design isn't as practical as the company intended to be.
The Motorola Backflip is quite possibly the strangest smartphone we've ever had through our offices. It is classified as a clamshell phone, but opens like a book — when closed both the screen and the Backflip's full QWERTY keyboard sit on the outside. The keyboard is the rear of the phone when it's closed, and Motorola has also implemented a rear trackpad that sits behind the display. Sound confusing? It is. Once you grasp the design, however, it is fairly functional. As the keyboard forms the entire rear of the phone it is spacious and comfortable, and the design means the Backflip can easily sit on a table or desk for video watching.
Despite the odd flip mechanism, the Motorola Backflip smartphone is fairly compact, even if it is quite thick when closed. Build quality is excellent, though we aren't sure how the keyboard will hold up over time given that it forms the back of the handset when closed. External volume controls, dedicated camera and lock screen buttons and Android's standard menu keys (menu, home and back) make the Backflip relatively straightforward to navigate. We aren't a fan of the rear trackpad though — it is awkwardly positioned, so you have to stretch your fingers around behind the display to use it. Although the keyboard is spacious, each key is flat and lacks the travel of most BlackBerry keyboards, for example.
The Motorola Backflip's 3.1in display is bright and clear, but it uses resistive technology rather than capacitive, so it's not as responsive as the iPhone or even Motorola's own Quench smartphone. If you aren't a fan of the physical QWERTY keyboard, Android provides the regular on-screen keyboard. Despite the small keys, auto-correction and haptic feedback make typing relatively intuitive.
Other than the unique design, the Backflip isn't a terribly exciting smartphone. Like Motorola's DEXT and Quench smartphones, the Backflip runs an older version of Android (1.5), and Motorola hasn't announced any plans to update to the latest version (2.2). The older software means the Backflip doesn't support multitouch (so you can't pinch the screen to zoom in) or Flash.
All the features and benefits of Android are present on the Backflip, but it's Motorola's MotoBlur service that the company is touting as a key feature. MotoBlur is a widget-based system that combines multiple social networking and communications accounts into one portal. For example, you can view Facebook status updates, read tweets, check your Gmail and update your MySpace profile without the need to log into separate applications. You'll need to create a MotoBlur account to use the service, but it's free and all content and data is pushed live to the handset.
Though the idea of MotoBlur certainly has its merits, we feel Motorola's execution isn't perfect. Setting up Facebook, Twitter and Google log-ins resulted in a very cluttered phone book — and that's with only three out of a possible 10 services selected (others include MySpace, LastFM, e-mail, Picasa, Photobucket and Yahoo Mail). MotoBlur automatically synchronises your contacts, but the problem is that it adds every contact from every social-networking service you use, including Twitter. Though you can sort by regular contacts, it's still overwhelming; we can't think of anyone who would want Twitter contacts in their mobile phone book. The MotoBlur service also quickly becomes hard to follow if you have a large number of Facebook friends or followers on Twitter — it's not as advanced as many Twitter iPhone apps, for example.
Among the more positive features of MotoBlur on the Backflip is the unified "happenings" menu, where you can see at a glance updates from all connected social-networking services, and a universal message inbox that displays SMS, Facebook messages, direct Twitter messages and e-mails. We were particularly impressed with the last of these, although it can become cluttered if you are using more than one e-mail address.
The Motorola Backflip has a 3.5mm headphone jack, but features only a basic music player; Android is still lagging behind the iPhone in terms of a polished music experience. A microSD slot handles memory cards of up to 32GB in capacity. A 5-megapixel camera with a single LED flash doubles as a video recorder but photos taken are only good enough for the odd happy snap. The camera's positioning means it blends into the keyboard, and the unique flip design makes taking portrait photos quick and easy. Being an Android phone, the Backflip naturally provides access to the Android Market for third-party applications — though it doesn't have as many apps as Apple's App Store, common applications are readily available.
The Motorola Backflip is exclusively available through Optus in Australia, on a range of "social" plans starting from $19 per month.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 3 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
- 5 Parrot Mambo Drone review
Latest News Articles
- Google releases Android 7.1.1 images for Pixel and Nexus devices
- Lenovo promises 12 new Moto Mod add-ons per year
- The Samsung Galaxy Note7's extreme thinness may be behind battery explosions
- Random iPhone 6s shutdowns due to faulty battery component, Apple says
- The mysteries of the GPU in Apple's iPhone 7 are unlocked
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSoftware Implementation ConsultantVIC
- CCSAP CRM Technical LeadACT
- CCPerformance Test AnalystQLD
- CCProject Manager - Cabling, Network Sys Design and DeliveryNSW
- CCIAM Technical Specialist/ConsultantWA
- TPAndroid DeveloperNSW
- CCChange & Release AdministratorNSW
- CCProject CoordinatorNSW
- FTRuby On Rails DeveloperVIC
- FTSEM / PPC SpecialistNSW
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCService SupportACT
- FTEnterprise Architect - Information ManagementVIC
- TPSenior Software EngineerQLD
- CCNetwork Support EngineerNSW
- TPSHAREPOINT SPECIALISTQLD
- FTEngineering ManagerACT
- FTProject ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Integration DeveloperVIC
- FTNetwork Engineer / Systems Engineer (January 2017 Start)QLD
- CCSEM / PPC / Paid Search Specialist - 6 Month Contract RoleNSW
- CCSAP HR Functional ConsultantQLD
- CCSenior Networks EngineerVIC
- FTBusiness Development Manager | Digital MarketNSW
- TPSharePoint DeveloperACT