Motorola MOTOSURF A3100 mobile phone

The TelstraOne Experience interface makes Motorola's MOTOSURF A3100 one of the more pleasant Windows Mobile smartphones to use

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Motorola MOTOSURF A3100
  • Motorola MOTOSURF A3100
  • Motorola MOTOSURF A3100
  • Motorola MOTOSURF A3100

Pros

  • Curved design, trackball, TelstraOne Experience interface, responsive touch screen, 3.5mm headphone jack, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, GPS

Cons

  • Mediocre screen resolution, text input is frustrating

Bottom Line

Motorola's MOTOSURF A3100 is one of the most pleasant to use Windows Mobile devices we've tested. The screen is mediocre when compared to other phones and text entry will frustrate, but the TelstraOne Experience and Moto Homescreen skins make this smartphone intuitive to use.

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Exclusively available on Telstra's Next G network, Motorola's MOTOSURF A3100 is a competent touch-screen smartphone that features the new TelstraOne Experience interface. TelstraOne Experience aims to simplify access to the most popular applications and services and it makes the Windows Mobile operating system less painful to use.

We love the way the Motorola MOTOSURF A3100 fits into the palm of your hand. It has a similar shape to the iPhone, but the edges are much more curved. The phone is finished in a combination of brushed metal and plastic, with the gloss black plastic that surrounds the display and the silver edging looking distinctly iPhone-like.

The Motorola MOTOSURF A3100 has a resistive 2.8in touch screen and includes a stylus for input, along with a trackball that looks very similar to the one found on the BlackBerry Pearl. The screen is responsive and most actions can be performed without the stylus or the trackball, but it has a low resolution and possesses poor viewing angles. When compared to most current phones, it comes off looking decidedly second-rate.

The MOTOSURF A3100 runs the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system, so it includes productivity features such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint document viewers, a PDF reader and Microsoft ActiveSync.

TelstraOne Experience features a range of commonly accessed applications on the interactive home screen, including quick shortcuts to contacts, call history, Web browser, e-mail, messaging, Telstra services and a shortcut menu. Most Windows Mobile interfaces simply feel like a layer over the top of the frustrating operating system, but the TelstraOne Experience completely transforms the usability of the MOTOSURF A3100 and means you will rarely need to use the Start menu.

The transitions between the screens are smooth and responsive. Users can swipe through applets, scroll through lists and drag and drop icons in certain shortcut menus. You can also customise what applets, applications and services are accessible. If you choose not to use TelstraOne Experience, the Moto Homescreen is also a great option. The default home screen offers access to calls, settings, messages, e-mails and appointments. There are icon carousels at the bottom of the screen that can be flicked through to access contacts, Internet shortcuts, weather, pictures and videos, favourites and Telstra's My Place.

Unfortunately, messaging on the MOTOSURF A3100 is mediocre. Motorola has included an on-screen keyboard that is much larger than the default Windows Mobile keyboard, but despite the predictive text feature we found typing messages with any sort of accuracy to be a frustrating experience. For effective text messaging or e-mailing you'll need to use the stylus.

The MOTOSURF A3100 is a capable multimedia phone, though the poor resolution of the display detracts from its use as a video player. Despite this, streaming mobile Foxtel through the Telstra portal was surprisingly effective. The phone has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and a 3-megapixel camera with flash that captures reasonable photos. The MOTOSURF A3100 also includes a front-mounted VGA camera for video calling and has the A2DP Bluetooth profile (so you can listen to music with wireless headphones, for example).

Mobile Internet browsing is efficient, largely thanks to the inclusion of Opera Mobile. Though not as intuitive as Safari on the iPhone, the browser is quick and responsive and it is a huge improvement over the standard Internet Explorer Mobile. Opera automatically displays full-screen Web pages and renders pages well, including images. Speeds when using the Next G network were impressive. The MOTOSURF A3100 is an HSDPA 7.2Mbps mobile, and it also includes Wi-Fi and GPS.

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