Hands-On: Motorola Admiral
Nov 17, 2011, 8:13 PM by Eric M. Zeman
The Admiral from Motorola pairs a touch display with a QWERTY keyboard in a monoblock design. This smartphone for Sprint will surprise you. Find out why.
We had the opportunity to spend some time with the Motorola Admiral, a bar-style Android phone that has a touch screen and QWERTY keyboard on the front.
This is a nice phone. It isn't the thinnest or sexiest looking handset ever, but it's looks are good enough and its very functional. The materials aren't top-of-the-line, but they have a touch -- almost rugged -- feel to them that lends an air of confidence to the device. The textured battery cover really helps the Admiral stick in your hand, and the rounded side edges give it a comfortable shape. The footprint isn't too large, and the weight of the Admiral is just right.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.
The screen is a bit smaller than today's flagship phones, but what you lose in screen real estate, you gain in keyboard functionality. By choosing the bar-style form factor (AKA, BlackBerry-esque), the Admiral keeps a slim profile while still offering a touch screen and physical QWERTY keyboard. The screen is bright, clear, and looked very good to our eyes.
The keyboard appears to have been lifted directly from a BlackBerry Bold. The keys have an almost identical shape and feel to them, with the scalloped shape, tight dimensions, and almost buttery feel. They keyboard is great. I was able to peck out a few test messages in an instant and feel confident in my keyboarding skills. The keys have a teeny little bit of side-to-side play in them, but otherwise were nearly perfect.
The rest of the controls were typical, with the volume rocker on the left and the power/lock button and 3.5mm headset jack in the top.
The user interface is Android 2.3 Gingerbread with the mild Motoblur-esque skin that Motorola has been using of late. It is not intrusive, and feels natural to use. The phone performed very well in the time I played with it.
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