Motorola Charm Review: A Great Android Phone Married To Crappy Service

MotorolaCharm What I find most fascinating about Android’s success, is the devices that are carry the mobile OS. If you take a look at anything other than the manufacturer’s logo,a all of they devices look the same, with minor differences more apparent under the hood.

Why is this fascinating? To me it says that hardware for Android isn’t going to make much of a difference between user interactions for each device. The Motorola Charm comes in a style that blends old school favorites with new school technology.

Size and Display

Running Android 2.1 with Motoblur, the Motorola Charm packs a punch in 3.87″ x 2.65″ x 0.45″ and 3.9 oz. The 320 x 240, 2.8″ capacitive touch screen is a nice addition, stunted only by the QVGA quality. I’d note that the compact display is not the most ideal for an extensive touch OS like Android. It’s very easy to make mistakes trying to press tiny links on the small screen.

Navigation Pad, Camera, and Keyboard

Two features that win me over on the Motorola Charm are the backtrack navigation pad and the amazing keyboard. On the back of the Motorola Charm sits a backtrack navigation pad designed to help you navigate your display. It’s easy to use and the best way to scroll through long web pages, but does have a learning curve. Just be careful when relaxing your hands once you’ve enabled the nav-pad.

Motorola Charm Back

The 3.2 mega-pixel camera takes decent quality pictures, though you probably won’t be printing them out. Notably missing is a dedicated flash option for the camera. The keyboard is compact, but you won’t have any trouble typing on the Motorola Charm’s keyboard. Key presses are soft and quiet with a smooth rubbery feel. There are dedicated keys on the keypad for accessing messages, the camera, and search.

Motorola Charm Keyboard

Memory & Battery

The Motorola Charm’s 512MB of internal memory and an included 2GB MicroSD card will hold you long enough to max out the 32GBs of supported storage. However, I’m not sure if the phone will last as long as the space.

In my experience, battery life on the Motorola Charm is disastrous, even on standby. I’ve seen the phone drained in a matter of hours (6 – 8) on standby alone. According the Battery Manager in Android, cell standby makes up for over 30% of the battery usage on the Charm. This explains the extra battery that comes in the packaging.

SheThinks? It’s A Winner…On The Wrong Network

Before my switch to the iPhone, I was a Motorola Q owner. And I loved it. I could customize it to my liking and Windows Mobile had plenty of applications to keep me connected like Skyfire. It had a great keyboard and fit nicely in the palm of my slim hands. The Motorola Charm brings back these pleasant memories with a modern OS, Android.

All in all, the Motorola Charm is a great phone. The compact design wouldn’t cause me to switch from my iPhone but could join my pack of gadgets. I could see myself using it as a back-up phone, but the battery life is a disappointment for road warriors like myself. A carrier change could change my mind.

Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on