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Review: Motorola Backflip

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The Backflip's display is identical to the Cliq's and measures 3.1 inches with 320 x 480 pixels. It looks okay, but doesn't hold a candle to the AMOLED displays from Samsung or the HTC HD2, for that matter. It is bright enough indoors and is colorful, no doubt. It is completely useless outside, though. Android's black menus make it impossible to read in daylight. As with the Cliq, given the size of the phone, I wish the display were a couple tenths of an inch bigger.


The Backflip has quad-band GSM/EDGE and tri-band (850/1900/2100MHz) WCDMA. Performance was excellent on all signal tests I conducted. The phone remained connected to AT&T's 3G network the entire time I used it. Not once did it drop to EDGE. How did that translate into phone performance? I had no problems making phone calls with the Backflip, nor did I miss any. On the data side of the equation, the Backflip's 3G performance was decent, but I've seen faster. It never stalled on me, however, and always delivered SMS/MMS messages with no delay.


True to Motorola form, the Backflip excelled at phone call quality. Calls I made were crystal clear in both directions, and neither I nor my callers noticed any noise or problems. Volume could be made sufficiently loud so that there was no problem hearing through the earpiece in environs such as a coffee shop or walking a city street. The speakerphone also worked well, and was loud enough for a home-office situation. It wasn't blaringly loud, though, so it might not be enough for use in a noisy office. Ringers could have been a bit louder, in my opinion. I didn't miss any calls due to lack of ringer volume, but more wouldn't hurt.


Just as with the Cliq, battery life is horrid. I bashed the Cliq for battery life that barely lasted 6 hours (in some instances), and asked Motorola to do something about it. They didn't. You can blame the Backflip's battery woes on Motoblur, which is a radio-intensive app that is always connecting to the Motoblur server looking for information. I tweaked every setting possible, and the very best I was able to achieve was 12 hours of battery life. That's simply not acceptable. In one instance, the battery fully depleted in less than 7 hours. Motorola needs to do better, and AT&T should have a higher standard for battery life.


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