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Motorola Aura review

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5

Motorola's Aura caused a sharp intake of breath from the first moment I heard about it because of its price tag. At £1,300 it is even more expensive than Nokia's 8800 Carbon Arte. The Nokia was a triumph of style over substance, and so, I have to say at the very outset, is the Motorola Aura. Unlike Nokia's costly offering the Aura does have something very different about its design, but it is short on features.

Motorola says the Aura has the world's first circular display. Err, can't the company remember its own V70, or the Toshiba G450? Clearly, it can't.

Anyway, the Aura does have a round display. Furthermore, like the V70, this is a phone with a rotating top section that flips round 180 degrees to reveal the keyboard. This flip mechanism is beautifully smooth. It responds to the merest push from either the left or right side, though I think Motorola is over-egging the custard to suggest that the feel is more like opening a luxury car door than accessing a mobile device.

The mechanism can be seen under a viewing hatch on the backplate and it looks rather like the innards of a watch thanks to its cogs. Various clock-like patterns can be set to pop up on screen as the phone goes into standby mode, and what with the round display you won't be surprised to learn that Motorola is trumpeting the Aura's watch-like appearance. It boasts a Swiss-made main bearing and apparently more than 200 parts are involved in the opening mechanism, including 130 ball bearings.

Thanks to its polished steel shell, the Aura feels heavy in-hand (a point confirmed by the 141g weight) and is etched with a rather nice patterning both front and back. It's a little on the chunky side, too, at 96.87mm tall x 47.6mm wide and 18.55mm thick.

Measuring 1.55 inches and 480 pixels across the diameter, the screen is an excellent one. Its sapphire crystal fascia is very scratch resistant and it does a fair job of presenting information, though on occasions it is irritating. For example, Web browsing is not a very satisfactory experience. Like many other viewing options, (pictures, video) Motorola has to force a rectangular peg into a round hole; the result is often lots of unused space.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Will

April 17, 2009, 5:09 am

Hi,


I hate to be one of those guys, but the V70 and that toshiba had square displays inside a circular piece of glass (like the zen stone plus), so it might well be the first with a circular display.

lifethroughalens

April 17, 2009, 6:06 am

I should hate this phone. I know I should hate this phone. I should not even think about owning one. I should never look at this phone ever again, never read this article again, never contemplate, consider or muse over its sublime looks and lines...but...





I WANT ONE! (sorry, oh dear. Gets his coat and leaves)

GoldenGuy

April 17, 2009, 7:52 am

It's like the crew on the Titanic yelling, "Damn it people, we need more ice!"

Rok Krznar

April 17, 2009, 1:34 pm

I've got to say, the round screen strikes me as pretty remarkable. And as Will said, all past "round" displays were just masked rectangular screens...

Wilfried

April 17, 2009, 2:18 pm

Might be a crappy phone but it sure is stunning to look at. It also sure is for a very limited audience too considering the price tag, overall this is only a fashion statement.

ilovethemonkeyhead

April 17, 2009, 2:27 pm

for some reason i reckon the phone would be much more tempting if it were carved in brass,had a black and gold monochromatic display no camera, but a 32GB music player, real gauges that show battery life and signal strength. add a few well placed dents, a nice crack over the crystal covering the cogs, and give it an ancient rusting grinding sound to accompany the opening mechanism and this might just become the steampunk phone of the century.

stephenallred

April 17, 2009, 3:55 pm

Reminds me of the O Phone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Tarik Bos

April 17, 2009, 6:13 pm

like anyone is ever going to buy a freakin motorola for that price:P

eyepopper

April 18, 2009, 2:24 pm

I heard that David Beckham actually contacted and spoke to Scotty of Star Trek fame with this phone, so it's far more than a conventional handset/metallic piece of junk to wow the hoi polloi with.

swifty

June 11, 2009, 3:30 am

I have this phone and no i do not or have not conections with motorola before i begin. The reason why i got it i live in a v poor 3g/2g reception for any network this phone has 5 bars on reception what ever, because at the end of the day i want a phone. My blackberry storm or tocco ultra would not work. Things i love, build quality, fantastic, screen quality awsome,call quality amazing,camera is very good for only 2 mega things i do not like text is a bit fiddly, takes a bit of getting used to the moto menus. I got this phone at a very good price, and if you think some people are paying £600 for a htc pro 2 etc , i would have this moto any day, it is beautiful and you cannot discribe the quality of the screen . 9/10 off me

Daniel Terci

September 30, 2009, 7:11 pm

I liked and still like very much the handset. It has an unique design and exquisite choice of materials with one disappointing flaw - see the cons.


I will buy it again at the same sky rocketing price just to know that it doesn't behave as the one I already have.


After 8 months of usage it looks like this


http://img5.imageshack.us/img5...


http://img269.imageshack.us/im...


http://img17.imageshack.us/img...


http://img34.imageshack.us/img...


The Motorola Customer Service's answer regarding the problem I had was that the warranty doesn't cover it - even it behaved as a 20$ handset.

B.Rich

January 20, 2010, 7:41 pm

Iv got one, And I am not rich, I am at Uni, I work a 71 hr week at Manchester Airport/Cargo, Mummy and Daddy dont pay my way like some of these other bratts, I depended on myself ;) b

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