Motorola Flipout

Everything good about the Flipout is attributable to Google's Android and not Motorola. The handset design is novel but is more focused on style than the way we use our phones.


5.8
CNET Rating
6.4
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


It's been a while since we've seen an intriguing gimmick, a design quirk to break the monotony of glossy black monoliths we see week in, week out. The opportunity to review the Flipout with its unique swivelling display should be cause for celebration, but the party ended pretty quickly.

Design

When we ripped the Flipout from its packaging, this quirky cube had so much promise. Its milky white battery cover and subtle grey logos are classic Motorola; a company that manages to deliver a stylish handset regardless of price. The real magic happens when you push on the edge of the screen, rotating it 90 degrees and exposing a full-QWERTY keyboard underneath. This is where the problems begin.

The keyboard is packed as tightly as can be, which is to be expected when you try and squash 45+ keys into a 6.5x6.5cm space. Each key is raised into a small hump and is taller than it is wide. This, of course, is the opposite to how our fingers are shaped, being wider than they are tall. The result is a very difficult keyboard to type on — your fingers will likely cover three keys at once and where typos are a frequent annoyance.

More troubling than the cramped keyboard is the low quality of the display Motorola has used in making this phone. The Flipout employs a 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen showing a QVGA resolution and it is a stinker. Not only do the logos and fonts look jagged, but the poor viewing angle of this display polarises the display even when the screen is only on a subtle angle to your eyes. The result is a poor-looking display giving the Flipout a decidedly cheap feel.

On the back of the Flipout is a 3.1-megapixel camera with a self-portrait mirror where you'd expect to find a flash. The SIM card slot is under the battery cover and there's also a microSD card slot on the side, which Motorola has generously filled with a 2GB memory card. The phone's charging and headphone sockets are separate, with a microUSB port on one side, and a 3.5mm headphone socket on another.

Features

Though Motorola's CEO has confirmed that the company will ditch its MotoBlur social-networking interface, it lives on in the Flipout, perhaps for the last time. MotoBlur is a personal information aggregate that pulls in data from a number of sources which make up our online lives. These sources can include Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, Gmail and MySpace. MotoBlur pulls updates from these services to a home screen widget called "Happenings", allowing you to view them all in one place, or filter the feed to only see the services you actually use.

Unlike previous MotoBlur phones — the Dext, Quench and Backflip — Flipout runs on Android 2.1, but otherwise features pretty similar hardware. It sports HSDPA for fast web access, wireless N-compatible Wi-Fi, A-GPS and Bluetooth with support for A2DP wireless stereo headphones. In the box you get a charger, a grey-coloured alternative battery cover and an EcoMoto USB cable, which we believe means the USB cable was made from recycled materials.

Performance

By virtue of the fact that the Flipout runs Android 2.1, you can expect a decent user experience, but don't make the mistake of thinking this equates to lightning fast processing and a responsive touchscreen experience. Mostly the Flipout performs OK, but the experience is far from the silky experience of using a more expensive Android model.

Photos taken with the Flipout aren't spectacular.
(Credit: CBSi)

The music experience stands out as one of the phone's best uses, besides making calls and sending messages. The music player isn't particularly attractive, but it works and the music sounds good through a pair of decent headphones. Our experience with the camera wasn't so cheery, the lack of both a flash and auto-focus are good indicators that the end result is far from exciting.

Overall

Without an impressive list of features, the Flipout relies on its good looks to impress, and our informal poll of friends and family has given this phone a thumbs down. The swivel concept works, but nothing else about this design considers our hands and how they use mobile phones. The keyboard is cramped and the screen is small and of a low quality. Having the Android OS means you can set-up push email, sync the calendar with online services and backup your contact with Google, but you can say exactly the same thing about so many phones these days.

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k
10
Rating
 

k posted a review   

The Good:I love it

The Bad:nothing

people say the battery is not good? But mine last's about 2 days with full on texting, i think this is a good compact phone!

stafford
1
Rating
 

stafford posted a review   

The Good:its sooooooooo bad

The Bad:restarts regularly, awkward to talk on and has a very sluggish gallery

i swear this phone is so bad, I wouldn't even keep in my house. The bin would spew it up. Nothing is good about this phone it might look pretty kool but dont get fooled. after a year of flipping it up it would be very loose. i strongly do not like this phone

 

Stacey posted a comment   

The Good:Design, qwerty keyboard, handy pocket-size

The Bad:520MB Internal phone storage

This phone is overall pretty good! I brought it mostly for the qwerty keyboard(i text a lot!) and the design. But there's a HUGE problem- the 520MB internal phone storage.
After installing a few apps i ran out of storage space. Apparently i cannot install apps to my SD card... Because it runs on Android 2.1... Is anyone experiencing the same problem? Do you know any way to fix this? I tried rooting the phone and downloaded the 'apps2sd' app, and it STILL didn't work.. I had to root the phone in order to download the app... Will really appreciate some help! Thanks mate!
P.S. Also, i wish motoblur isn't only limited to U.S. users...

 

bang posted a comment   

knock-off of an old design from the chinese indie e81 tv mobile from 2009/10 release. not so unique anymore is it?

Mitch
10
Rating
 

Mitch posted a review   

The Good:Android 2.1, physical QWERTY, quirky design

The Bad:Battery isn't great

This review completely misses the mark, this is a fancy texting phone aimed at teens & not a full-on business phone for a 'professional'. Anyone who spends major portions of their days reading email & browsing web pages might want to consider a laptop/netbook - no phone is best suited to that, and I will admit this is less suited than many other Android devices, so the OS might mislead some people but the fact is (unlike some other phone operating systems (iOS) Android is a versatile little trooper

 

singaporean posted a comment   

The Good:very good

The Bad:overheated easyly

OVERHEATED after 15 mininutes games only. will it explore? need to service? or exchange? Anyone else have the same problem? pls advise.

AreYouHuman?
9
Rating
 

AreYouHuman? posted a review   

Really happy with everything about it I dont see how you could find the keyboard cramped its perfect, and it is definitely not sluggish and the display is really good but bad veiwing angles is good for me so creeps sitting next to me on public transport cant read my txt's.
And lovin all the comments of jealousy from peers :) tehe

paper7
8
Rating
 

paper7 posted a review   

The Good:Unique design, Back covers, Value, Android, Camera satisfactory, Keyboard is GREAT,

The Bad:Battery Life, sometimes the small screen size can be inhibiting.

Overall very happy, Screen is perfect the only time I noticed a problem was web browsing (which is annoying on every phone)
although the camera isnt great, its perfectly fine for normal pictures.
Bettery life isnt bad, but its not really good either.


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User Reviews / Comments  Motorola Flipout

  • k

    k

    Rating10

    "people say the battery is not good? But mine last's about 2 days with full on texting, i think this is a good compact phone!"

  • stafford

    stafford

    Rating1

    "i swear this phone is so bad, I wouldn't even keep in my house. The bin would spew it up. Nothing is good about this phone it might look pretty kool but dont get fooled. after a year of flipping it..."

  • Stacey

    Stacey

    "This phone is overall pretty good! I brought it mostly for the qwerty keyboard(i text a lot!) and the design. But there's a HUGE problem- the 520MB internal phone storage.
    After installing ..."

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