Another Motorola tweak is the addition of the Phone Portal, which once setup with the included software lets you sync your phone’s content over Wi-Fi, which is a surprisingly liberating and useful ability.
As well as Motorola’s tweaks the review sample we have has been tweaked by Orange, with a News feed and Orangemaps added. The former is a basic RSS reader while OrangeMaps, well, didn’t work. Having convinced itself it required the French version, it then proceeded to fail upon installation. What it would normally get you, though, is a fairly rudimentary mapping application that isn’t as nice to use as GoogleMaps but is useful for the fact is stores the maps locally so doesn’t require a data connection to download maps mid journey.
Other apps include the staples of GoogleMail (to find out where you’re meeting), the Google browser (to check if where you’re heading is any good), GoogleMaps (to check the whereabouts of said place), Google Navigation (to guide you on your way), Google Places (to show you where to refuel on the way) and Google Latitude (to tell your friends where you ended up). They all work as well as we’ve come to expect, though the GPS seemed rather slow to lock on.
GoogleTalk is on hand for instant messaging while QuickOffice lets you view and edit Office documents, so you can spend your spare moments productively rather than just playing games. Rounding things out for the included apps are perfectly capable versions of a Calculator, Alarm/Timer, Picture Viewer, Music Player and a Calendar. To add to the library of included apps, there’s access to the Android MarketPlace, which has just about every app you could imagine (though notably, the latest craze, Tiny Wings, isn’t on there.
Performance of the handset is okay with most interface elements responding rapidly, and certainly not feeling too inhibiting. However, scrolling through long lists does result in a bit of stutter. This is down to a combination of the slightly older 2.1 version of Android that the phone is running, and its 600MHz processor, which trails the latest and greatest models packing 1GHz+ chips. Joining the CPU is healthy 512MB or RAM, which means you should seldom run out of space to run many apps at once.
Calling can only be undertaken with the phone open, which is understandable. However, call quality isn’t all that great with a slightly distant, tinny sound through the earpiece. Likewise, battery life is only okay with a couple of days being a stretch, especially if you keep any widgets on.
On paper, the Motorola Flipout shouldn’t work. Its rotating slideout keyboard design results in a small screen but not a particularly small phone, while its processor is a bit slow. Overall it smacks of a concept taken too far. However, Motorola has done the best it can with the idea, producing a phone that’s very well made, has a great keyboard and wants for little in the way of features. It’s also available for a great price. However, when push comes to shove, it doesn’t do enough well enough to standout from the crowd.