My first mobile phone was a Motorola handset, which had the best looks in the market at that time in the year 2003. I was also quite satisfied with its sound output. Eight years from then, I have now another Motorola handset — a smartphone and not a feature phone like my first handset. However, this time I had a similar experience — great looks and music.
But since itï¿½s an Android smartphone, I had a lot to look out for under its hood.
Look and feel
As I said earlier, it has great looks. The 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen rests on a chrome finished body. The back side is made of plastic with a matte finish that gives a decent grip. There is a steel band running around the phone between the frontal chrome plate and the rear plastic cover which is very nice to look at.
The handset is made for the natural grip — it is thick in the middle and gradually gets thinner towards ends. It also has maximum substance in the middle. Overall, though, it is not outstanding, but is very decent and has a casual look that would appeal to the youth. However, it comes only in dark titanium gray colour, which could be a sore point for those who want to flaunt their mobiles.
The TFT capacitive touchscreen measures at 3.5 inches — the highest which is available in this price bracket from a known brand. However, the display, which produces pictures at 320 x 480 pixels, is not the brightest. Although it does ensure that you would enjoy the vast number of games available on Android Market.
There are four capacitive touch buttons at the bottom of the display, which is sort of a norm these days. There is a dedicated camera key and the volume rocker on the right hand side. While the lock button and the 3.5 jack is at the top. On the left side there is one charger/USB port. So, basically, Motorola has stuck to the basics vis-à-vis the placement of buttons and you would not have to scramble to locate the keys.
Motorola Fire XT comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread with an 800 MHz Qualcomm Scorpion 800 MHz processor and an Adreno 200 GPU. For storage, it has 512 MB of RAM, 512 of ROM and 150 MB of internal memory. However, users could expand the memory up to 32 GB, which is sort of a norm these days in case of smartphones.
Fire XT boasts dual cameras — a VGA camera in the front and a 5 megapixel one in the rear, with autofocus and LED flash. GPRS, EDGE, 3G and WiFi have been provided for internet connectivity. Fire XT can also create a 3G mobile hotspot, providing internet to multiple devices.
For entertainment, Motorola has adopted a modified version of TuneWiki where you can access hundreds of radio stations across the world. Plus there is also FM radio.
Though the handset does not come with a preinstalled Facebook app, you could download the latest from Android Market. When installed, the Facebook app gets automatically integrated with many other applications like camera. Hence you can then directly upload your pictures from the gallery itself. Otherwise, the phone comes integrated with Gmail and Picasa.
Motorola Fire XT undoubtedly has an impressive specification sheet among Android smartphones under Rs 10,000. Android 2.3 Gingerbread with an 800 MHz processor is only found in a couple of other smartphones priced below Rs 10,000.
Motorola has used a modified Mode Switch user interface which provides four customisation options for the home screen like — Default, Personal, Business, and Entertainment. The UI is made keeping the communication angle in sight so on the home screen itself you could see tiles showing your call logs and messages in a very interesting mode — which I liked the most, and kudos to Motorola for this feature.
The fabulous specification of Motorola Fire XT, however, does not fully convert into performance. The 800 MHz processor is good but is not the best in the industry. Initially, the response was lightning fast but the response gradually delayed by 2-3 seconds after about 20 days. The phone definitely slows down during multitasking.
Fire XT boasts a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, which looks very impressive on paper. In fact, very few smartphones priced under Rs 10,000 from a known brand have a 5 megapixel camera today. However, Fire XT camera fell short of my experience. It does not capture the nuances of colours and is only good in bright light conditions. In low light, it failed to impress us.
Motorola is always known for its music and this time also it passed with flying colours. The TuneWiki music system lets you listen to chartbusters from across the world. For more on TuneWiki, you can also refer this article.
Coming back to the music, Fire XT supports MP3s, WAV and AAC+ only, which could be a sore point for some, but for an average user like me, it does the job.
The biggest disappoint for me is its battery life. The Motorola Fire XT features a 1540 mAh battery which should have a decent performance. However, despite being charged fully, it barely lasted a day with medium usage involving an hour of calling, music playback and WiFi use for a few minutes. You have to keep the charger handy always to ensure that you do not get stranded.
A phone ought to have an USP to make a mark for itself and especially if it has a lot of competitors. Unfortunately, Motorola Fire XT has no specific USP of itself. Motorola launched it as a budget phone, neither cheap nor with extraordinary features. It seems to want to establish itself in the crowd.
In the sub-Rs 10,000 segment there are multiple choices including the Galaxy Y (Rs 7,250), LG Optimus Net (Rs 10,000) that offer almost the same features and specifications.
However, the price reduction has definitely upped its appeal. With a price of Rs 9,000, it is definitely considered the best as it offers better features compared to other devices in this range. One thing is for sure — you wonï¿½t be on the top of the world because you have this phone, but this device wonï¿½t let you down either. It has all the features and looks to please you.