Much of this could be forgiven on an entry-level handset, but here it is simply not good enough. And, to make matters worse, what you frame in the screen is not what you get in a picture. Even the manual states plainly that the round display means the viewfinder does not show the edges of a photo, and the reality is much worse than you could possibly imagine.
I framed the coloured dish so that it fitted right to the limit of the phone’s screen. In the photo the dish is lost in its surroundings. Ditto the chair, which has surroundings you never normally see in my photo of it. And, because I must have had the phone slightly off square when framing the chair, the photo is tilted. The flowers were framed so that the three of them were at the far reaches of the screen, but in the photo there is a huge amount of unwanted imagery to their left and right.
The camera is a complete disaster.
Music playback is also a mixed bag. Quality is reasonable through the provided headset, though I do have to grumble about its microUSB connector to the phone itself, which is shared with mains power. Motorola provides a microUSB to mini USB converter so you can use an existing cable for PC connectivity. There is 2GB of built-in memory and no way to add more. Why, on a phone of this price, Motorola couldn’t have fitted a microUSB slot and provided an 8GB card is a mystery.
Other software not already mentioned includes a calendar, clock, alarm, calculator, to do list, notes taker, a couple of games, voice recorder and video capture to 176 x 144 pixels.
Battery life is at least respectable. Motorola suggests you’ll get 7.3 hours of talk and 400 hours on standby. I was still using the phone from its first charge after three days, but then I did not feel overly encouraged to exploit it hugely during the testing phase.
Motorola says it takes two weeks to produce the Aura and given the quality of the swivel and outer casing I don’t doubt it. But, is it two weeks well spent? One could forgive Motorola for producing this phone if it had a big portfolio of handsets covering a wide range of price points and feature combinations. As it stands, though, the Aura is one of just a few currently available from Motorola and it smacks of a complete misunderstanding of what people are looking for in today’s climate.