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printed August 21, 2014
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Review: Motorola Charm

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Though the music player on the Motorola Charm seems deceptively simple, in fact the phone packs a surprising number of preloaded features to make music listening just a bit more social. The music player itself comes from TuneWiki, which also makes its own Android app. When you start playing a song, TuneWiki automatically searches for lyrics. If it finds a lyric sheet, the words scroll up from the bottom as the song plays, usually in time to the music. It's a very cool feature, it's unobtrusive and requires no work on the user's part. It didn't catch every song, but lyrics popped up for about 60% of the music I loaded. You can also turn the lyrics feature off and just stare at the barebones music controls and the album artwork, instead.

TuneWiki also offers a music map on the phone. Tap on this option and a Google Map will appear with tiny TuneWiki icons spread all over. You can then zoom in on an area and see what other TuneWiki users are listening to. The map didn't offer usernames or any way to connect to people in your area with similar music taste, which would have been a cool, if a bit creepy, addition to the feature. In addition to TuneWiki features, the music player can also send recommendations to Blip.fm if you're signed up for the Blip service. Finally, you can jump from the Now Playing screen directly to a YouTube search for music videos.

In addition to the digital music player, the Charm also has an FM radio on board, and it uses your headphones as an antenna. FM reception was pretty good, with no static on the more powerful NPR and music stations I favor.

In terms of hardware, the Motorola Charm is well equipped. There's a standard 3.5mm headphone jack up top so you can listen with your own earbuds. A microSD card slot is hidden beneath the battery cover, but not under the battery, so you can swap cards without turning off the phone. The Charm comes with a 2GB card pre-installed, which is a nice start, and the phone supports cards up to 32GB. Like I said earlier, the speakerphone produced a clean sound for music, but the volume won't come close to filling a room.

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