So Motorola gets brownie points for the phone's software, but what about the Dext's hardware design? It has to be said that the phone is a bit of a disappointment when it comes to looks. For a handset that's obviously aimed at the young, or at least the young at heart, it looks very 'businessy' and drab. The boxy, all black finish comes across as very dull next to the funky styling of the HTC Hero, for example. But it's the chunkiness of the phone that's so disappointing. At nearly 16mm thick, it really does feel quite large and ungainly in your hand.
Of course there is a reason for this as the body of the handset houses a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Interestingly Motorola hasn't used the full width of the phone for the keyboard, but has instead used a portion of it on the left hand side for a four way direction pad. Despite this, the keys are actually fairly roomy and have good response, so it's easy to work up a decent speed when typing out emails or text messages. It's certainly one of the better keyboards we've used on this type of device.
Kudos also goes to Motorola for using a 3.1in capacitive screen rather than a resistive one, especially as it's nice and bright and has a decent resolution of 340 x 480 pixels. Nevertheless, Motorola hasn't gone quite far enough because unlike HTC with its Hero phone, it hasn't managed to add multi-touch support - something which you really miss when using the otherwise excellent Android web browser. Also the screen isn't quite as responsive as we've come to expect from capacitance displays, with the result that on some occasions you find yourself dabbing at it a couple of times before it recognises your input.
What we do like, however, is the fact that the Dext uses a standard micro-USB port for charging and syncing, plus there's a standard 3.5mm headphone port at the top of the handset so you can easily use your own headphones with it rather than the lacklustre ones Motorola supplies in the box.
The 5.0-megapixel camera is also a cut above the rest. It may lack a flash, but it does have autofocus and indoors, under decent lighting conditions, it actually puts in a respectable performance, while outdoors it does a good job of capturing realistic looking colours and plenty of detail. What's more, it shoots pretty good video too.